Kauai without regrets: a classic week

Photo by Michele Bigley

A first timer's guide; gift yourself a week on the Garden Isle

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With its slow pace and abundant nature, Kauai is best experienced with the luxury of time. Speeding through the isle is possible, but you’ll miss the joys of relaxing on a lanai, watching the rainbows appear, or reading a book on the white sand beaches.

Gift yourself a week on the Garden Isle.

Classic Week in Kauai: Day 1

Plan an entire day of lazing at Hanalei Bay to get acquainted with Hawai’i Time and unwind from your travel day. If you need coffee or quick eats, make a quick jaunt to Hanalei to grab picnic fixings. After you watch the sunset, grab dinner at Postcards Cafe.

Day 2 

Explore the North Shore with a morning meander around the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Reserve. Spot the Hawai’i state bird (the nene), and the nesting albatross.

Grab a quick lunch at the Kilauea Fish Market. Pop into the home decor, souvenir and clothing shops at the Kong Lung Center. Pick up a coffee and sweet treat at Kilauea Bakery. Then spend the afternoon wading in the lovely ‘Anini Beach. Finish your day with dinner and drinks at Tahiti Nui.

Day 3

After breakfast at Eggbert’s, motor over to the Kauai Museum to learn about Kauai’s fascinating geological and social history. Enjoy a heaping bowl of noodles at Hamura’s Saimin Shop. Sign up for a kayak trip down the Wailua River to explore the sacred jungles once haunted by the ancient chiefs. Grab a sunset cocktail at Duke’s. Travel to Kauai’s past at Smith’s Family Garden Luau.

Day 4

Grab coffee and pastries at Small Town Coffee’s shack. Stock up on picnic goods for a day in Koke’e. Catch a peek of the Kalalau Valley before the fog blankets the area. Hike down the slopes of Waimea Canyon before meandering back through Waimea for traditional shave ice at JoJo’s. Spend the afternoon swimming at Poipu Beach. Enjoy an oceanfront dinner at Poipu’s Beach House restaurant.

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Day 5 

Snap pictures of Mount Wai’ale’ale on a helicopter tour of the island and Ni’ihau. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many eateries at Shops at Kukui’ula. Hop onto a guided tour of Allerton Gardens to explore the tropical flora that gives the isle her the nickname the Garden Isle. Dine on classic Hawaiian dishes at Plantation Gardens.

Day 6

Hop onto a full day snorkel trip with Holo Holo Charters to explore the Na Pali Coast. Chill out with a sunset cocktail and a plate of fish tacos at Lava Lava Beach Club.

Day 7

Spend your last day lazing by the warm waters at the quiet Maha’ulepu, or Polihale beaches. Then toast your vacation with a sweet candlelit seafood dinner at Hukilau Lanai, one of the island’s best restaurants.

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