It's not uncommon for visitors to make a one day trip to Kaua`i. Many people who spend the majority of their Hawaiian vacation on another island decide to hop over to Kaua`i for just a day, since inter island tickets can be as low at $80 one way. So here is a one day itinerary for the best of the best on Kaua`i. This one day trip is with a full day in mind so if you can make an early flight, it's best to fly in around 7 a.m. and leave at late as possible. If you'd like to see it all renting a car is a must. Otherwise, the Kaua`i Bus is quite helpful and very inexpensive, but will limit you to several choices.
Have a great time on Kaua`i!
-After arrival head straight out to the North Shore. If you're hungry, a quick stop in Kapa`a at Papaya's Natural Foods for a hot bar breakfast is a quick and easy stop. Otherwise, breakfast in Kilauea at the Kilauea Bakery is a great option. After breakfast head right down the road to the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge. The views from the top are beautiful and provide a great photo opportunity. Look below you in the trees for nesting sea birds. They often decorate the trees here while resting.
-Back on the road, drive towards Hanalei and stop on the side of the road at the Hanalei Valley overlook. Morning is the best time for this because it's likely the clearest time of day. Take a moment to take in the peaceful views of taro fields and waterfalls.
-Down in Hanalei, continue to the end of the road to Ke`e Beach. Cruise along the road slowly and take in the views along the drive. Beaches, jungle, rivers, and waves all the make drive an experience within itself. Stop at Ke`e Beach, and if you're an ocean lover hop in the semi protected natural pool with a mask and explore the underwater world.
-After time at Ke`e, head back towards Hanalei. Lunch in Hanalei at one of the many wonderful eateries can be mixed with a quick browse through town. Try Niede's Brazilian and Mexican Restaurant for lunch, an acai bowl from the Aloha Juice Bar, or modern Hawaiian food at the Hanalei Taro and Juice Co.
-Now it's back to Wailua. Head up Kuamo`o Road for a look at Poliahu Heiau. A sacred place for Hawaiian, this was one of the largest heiaus on the island and provides a great view looking down on the Wailua River. Now continue on to Wailua Falls. The large double falls cascade into a large pool, but you'll be looking from above here. It is a great photo opportunity and the thundering sounds of the falls are quite peaceful.
-It's probably around 2 p.m., and a trip to the Kilohana Plantation or the Kaua`i Museum will provide some historical background on the island. For true history buffs, the museum is a wonderful place, and allow yourself about an hour to explore. For shopping, a visit to a rum distillery, and a ride on a historic train, the Kilohana Plantation is a great place to stop. A rich history can be found at the plantation, and the majority of the decor of the manor is original.
-Out on the south side, a drive through the natural tunnel of eucalyptus trees is a magical experience. It will lead you to quaint and historic Koloa Town. If you're hungry again any of the small eateries on the strip will do, otherwise head down to the coast. A quick stop at Spouting Horn is a must, and it won't take long. On the edge of a cliff is a blow hole that rushes water out of the hole in a tall spurt. The height changes with the wave size and it's another good photo opportunity.
-Beautiful Poipu Beach is the next stop. Take a surf lesson, lay in the sun, and enjoy a swim at the long white sand beach. Take in the warmth and keep an eye out for surfing carving up the line up on the outside. If it's near dark, the south side offers some of the best sunsets on Kaua`i. Take it in at Poipu Beach, or head down to the Beach House restaurant and enjoy the setting sun as a backdrop to surfers at PK's surf break from the grassy lawn at the restaurant.
-For dinner, the Beach House is a great option with a full bar and Pacific Rim food. Or head over to the nearby Kukui`ula Shopping center for tapas, or the Poipu Shopping Center for Roy's where you can dress up or go casual for wonderful Pacific cuisine. If you'd like to head to Lihue for dinner to be closer to the airport, Duke's is a classic Hawaiian eatery, or 22 North at the Kilohana Plantation where they use farm grown produce and meats for meals.
A hui hou.