The Ultimate Kauai Guide: Eat, See, & Do
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
A guide to my favorite beaches, restaurants, and shops in Kauai.
Aloha, here is my Ultimate Kauai guide after having lived on Kauai for 4 months. Here are my favorite places I’ve found. If you go to Kauai at any point, you might enjoy these special places as well.
I'm going to break everything down to four categories: food, beaches, places, and stores.
Overview of each category
Rice Box Emoji - Lotus Garden Chinese & Thai Cuisine (Princeville)
Shave Ice Emoji - Uncle’s Shave Ice (Poipu & Lihue)
Croissant Emoji - Midnight Bear Breads (Hanapepe)
Taco Emoji - Paco’s Tacos (Kilauea, Kapaa, Kalaheo)
1. Polihale Beach
2. Salt Ponds Beach
3. Poipu Beach
4. Shipwreck Beach
5. Lydgate Beach
6. Wailua Beach
7. Pila’a Beach
8. Anini Beach
9. Hanalei Bay
A. Waimea Canyon & Koke’e State Park
B. Old Town Hanapepe
C. Wailua Falls
D. Opaeka’a Falls
E. Kilauea Lighthouse
Stores (not shown on map)
Aloha Xchnge (Kalaheo)
Salt + Sea (Poipu)
Lululemon Athletica (Poipu)
a.ell design & atelier (Kapaa)
Work It Out (Kapaa)
Lotus Garden Chinese & Thai Cuisine
Lotus Garden is hands down my favorite place to get Thai food on the whole island. Their spring rolls are to die for! If you are in the Hanalei Bay/Princeville area you should definitely try them out.
Uncle's Shave Ice
Uncle’s is hands down the best place to get shave ice on the island. The ice is so fluffy—it’s like eating freshly fallen snow. The flavoring is rich and delicious. I probably went to Uncle’s at least 10 times during my stay in Kauai. Both locations are nice and the quality is the same at both places. Large shave ice is $5.50 and a small shave ice is $4.50 (tax is included in the price).
Read more about shave ice on Kauai in my blog post on “Shave Ice on Kauai: Rated”
Midnight Bear Breads
It took me a while to find a bakery I liked on Kauai and thankfully this one was close to where I lived. The croissants and breads were delicious.
I could go on and on about how good the tacos were. They had a vegan option and it was so fresh and rich in flavor. My sister and I got it to go. They had multiple locations throughout the island. One of them was 8 minutes from where I lived in Kalaheo.
Waimea Canyon & Koke'e State Park
Waimea Canyon & Koke’e State Park is one of the most incredible drives you can take on the island. There are many accessible views (viewpoints) as well as hikes. So basically there’s something for everyone .
Old Town Hanapepe
Old Town Hanapepe is the town Lelo & Stitch (the movie) is based on. It’s such a cute and walkable stretch of old town. There’s a lot of art shops and cafes. There’s even a swinging bridge you can walk across, for free!
Wailua Falls is one of the most easily accessible waterfalls on Kauai. You can basically drive right up to it. Sometimes there’s a beautiful rainbow at the base of the falls.
Opaeka’a Falls is another cool waterfall on Kauai. It is easily viewed from a viewpoint off of Hwy 580 (Kuamoo Rd). On the other side of the road you can see the Wailua River. Both views are spectacular!
Kilauea is one of the only lighthouses on Kauai. There’s a wildlife refuge that surrounds the light house. If you aren’t wanting to pay the $5 entrance fee, there’s a lookout right before the entrance of the park where you can park and see the lighthouse and the ocean. During the winter months, whales can be spotted off shore. One of the times I went, I saw a large turtle floating in the cove.
Salt Ponds Beach