Island Life in Kauai, Hawaii
~ H a w a i i ~ the quintessential dreamy vacationland in the minds of almost everyone, ever. I’ve always had the impression that if you’ve been to Hawaii, you won’t ever stop talking about how breathtakingly beautiful it is. And if you haven’t been to Hawaii, it has secured a special spot on your mental bucket list of Places I Need To Visit Before I Die. At least, that’s how it’s been for me, a Hawaii virgin until I just recently had the opportunity to move there for three weeks for a short-term internship. I was so excited to work on the island of Kauai and live out my island girl dreams! Known for its quiet, laid-back lifestyle and lush vegetation, this island (while small in size) has a LOT to offer.
Hawaii is simply any beach lover’s dream come true. With clear waters, great surf, vibrant marine life, and warm temperatures, Kauai offers a plentitude of amazing swim spots. If you’re down for a hike, you can find beautiful, more secluded spots, such as Queen’s Bath, Turtle Cove, or Allerton’s Beach. If you’re looking for the typical bustling beach experience, check out Poipu or Hanalei. I loved being able to take a swim before heading into work almost every day!
South Shore Poipu
I worked in Poipu, a vibrant little beach town on the South Shore of the island. Although known for being touristy, Poipu Beach was one of my favorite places to hang out! Being a small island, weather varies greatly depending on where you are geographically, but the South Shore always seemed to offer the most sunshine (bonus points for you, Poipu). One of my favorite memories was snorkeling out to the sandbar at Poipu Beach and casually sunbathing with a sea turtle! If you’re planning a beach day, be sure to grab a cheap DELISH sandwich and a classic snow cone from Brennecke’s to eat by the waves! The Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club also has a fun walkup poolside/oceanside bar with great drinks, food, and views.
North Shore Hanalei
I worked in Poipu (South Shore), lived in Lihue (South East side), and loved visiting Hanalei (North Shore). Kauai has one main road that stretches from the South Shore counterclockwise up to the North Shore, which can take around 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic. While the commute seems lengthy, it is 100% worth it for the incredible scenic views throughout the drive and of course, the destination – Hanalei! Hanalei Bay was the postcard Hawaii I had always envisioned – a clear blue beach that stretched far, dotted with palm trees and hugged by mountains! Duck into surf shops, grab a bite to eat a Hanalei Bread Co or the Hanalei food trucks, and go to the beach to surf (or if you’re no good, just watch surfers…aka a win-win).
A major foodie, I’m always excited to try new local foods and discover cute eateries when I’m traveling. Kauai did not disappoint with their abundance of fresh eats! Whether you’re making a pit stop at a roadside fruit stand or grabbing a meal, you're bound to find a winner.
Here were some of my favorite places to eat:
Java Kai in Kapaa for classic Insta-Worthy brunch eats (check out the super-cute attached clothing store!)
Hanalei Taro & Juice Co food truck in Hanalei (yummy, fresh, and local taro)!
Aloha Aina in Lihue and Anake’s Juice Bar in Koloa
Puka Dogs in Poipu Try their veggie hot dog & local fruit relishes! Sounds weird…but just trust me.
Wishing Well Shaved Ice in Hanalei for Hawaiian snow cones (extra points for their local, organic flavors and toppings!)
Chasing Sunrises & Sunsets
I am convinced that Hawaii has some of the absolute best sunrises and sunsets the world has to offer. With brilliant colors and insane spots to watch them at, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget some of the ones I caught. (For the record: absolutely worth setting your alarm extra-early to watch the sunrise). Whether you're sitting at the beach, staring out over your backyard, or standing in the Da Crack parking lot, they have a way of making your day feel super special and unforgettable.
So there ya have it – a quick run-down of areas to explore, places to eat, and activities to do on your next Postcard Trip to Hawaii. Have you been to Hawaii before? Where do you like to explore and which island is your favorite?
Island Girl Gracie