Everyone needs a break sometimes. And even though I live in Hawaii, island hopping is a common way for us locals to go on a quick vacation (or “holoholo”) on the weekends. I always love exploring other islands and seeking out a little adventure.
Tyler and I decided to go on a weekend adventure to the North Shore of Kauaʻi. It has always been the island we escape to after a long week. Here are some tips to navigate the perfect weekend getaway!
The Lihue Airport is a quick flight over from Honolulu (or any island for that matter!) You can choose from several different interisland airlines including Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air. I frequently have friends ask me what it is like traveling between the islands. I am constantly traveling between the islands I don’t even realize it can seem stressful to some! I always suggest packing light and checking-in on your phone to avoid any lines at check-in. The interisland terminal is usually always a breeze!
There are also domestic flights that fly direct from the mainland through Hawaiian, United, and Alaska Airlines.
Kauaʻi is one of those places that you will need a car to get around. There is no reliable mass transit and hitchhiking will definitely get old. The Lihue Airport has all the major car rental companies to get you in a car and on the go!
WHERE TO STAY:
THE PALMWOOD. This well-curated guesthouse is tucked down a quiet winding road and conveniently situated between Kapaʻa and Hanalei. Tyler and I stayed in the East room and got our very own hot tube and hammock. They even have a pool and the best gourmet breakfast (made by the owners son Mychael!) If you want a more intimate and peaceful weekend on the North Shore I definitely recommend staying at The Palmwood!
HAWAI'I OVERLANDER. If you’re looking for more freedom and adventure I highly suggest renting a 4x4 with Hawaiʻi Overlander! It is such a unique experience and allows you to experience all of the open beaches throughout the island! All of their vehicles come with a rooftop tent, propane stove, water, and the 411 on the do’s and don’ts of camping around the island!
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:
JAVA KAI. We always like to stop in Kapaʻa for a good cup of coffee and exploring the surrounding shops before making our way to Hanalei. I love the Iced Chai Latte and Espresso Brownie Bars from Java Kai!
HUKILAU LANAI RESTAURANT. Mychael from The Palmwood suggested Hukilau for dinner and mentioned the Poke Nachos. I love Poke Nachos (think raw ahi with all the fixings, won ton chips, and a wasabi aioli drizzle) and will go to any restaurant if it’s on their menu. The menu is a fusion of Hawai'i’s mixed cuisine and there’s a little something for everyone!
HANALEI BREAD CO. I love a good coffee shop. Hanalei Bread Co. is a necessary morning stop before any adventuring takes place. They have fresh baked pastries every morning and a great breakfast menu with [my favorite] an amazing pizza with all the fixings.
WISHING WELL SHAVE ICE. This is a great place to go in the afternoon to cool off. Shave Ice is a popular treat in the hot Hawai'i heat and all of Wishing Well’s syrups are organic!
GO HAVE FUN:
HANALEI PIER. The pier is probably one of the most photographed places in Hanalei and for good reason. It stretches out over the most popular coastline and surrounded by the dramatic Hihimanu, Namolokama, and Mamalahoa mountain ranges. If you want to get a little adventurous you can jump off the pier too!
NA PALI COAST. Drive all the way to the end of the road and hike part of the Kalalau Trail (or all of it if you’re in for a real adventure!!) The trail is one of the most dramatic and picturesque areas of Kauaʻi. If you have the entire day you can hike to Hanakapiʻai Falls and enjoy the waterfall! Note: the Kalalau Trail is a popular but dangerous hiking trail and requires some solid hiking gear, a lot of water, food, and camping equipment. If you decide to go to Hanakapi'ai Falls bring a lot of water, a snack, and your swimsuit!
THE BEACH. Choose any of the beach dotted along the Hanalei coast. You can’t go to Hanalei without enjoying a little sun and salt water!
A FEW THOUGHTS ON TRAVELING TO KAUAʻI:
TRED LIGHTLY. Over the last few years Hanalei has become one of the most visited [and photographed] places in Hawaiʻi. Simples said, it is a small places with a lot of tourists. Be respectful to the locals when you’re driving, out at restaurants, or enjoying the places they call home. Wave to people when they let you go down the one lane bridge, don’t cut in line at the coffee shop, and leave the beach/ocean better than you saw it.
SNAP HAPPY. We all love taking photos of beautiful places and our experiences on vacation. But be mindful of sharing it with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Geo-tagging has ruined a lot of less-frequented, special places all over Hawaiʻi and the world. The reason it was so special is because no one really knew about it! Be respectful and discrete about the places you visit and how you are sharing it on social media!