Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

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lthenderson
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Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Mon May 30, 2016 5:08 pm

I had such good luck asking Bogleheads about things to do and see in Boston last year, I thought I would do the same for a trip early next year (end of January) to the island of Kauai, Hawaii? My wife has a conference there and I will have six days and five nights to do some exploring. We will be staying on the south shore.

1. From my cursory search, it sounds like they have a bus system but it only runs once an hour along the main highway. A rental car for the week is around $240 so I will probably go that route. It will also allow me to take the wife out after a long day of listening to boring dry lectures.

2. I'm into getting away from the hordes of people so I'm thinking perhaps doing some hiking.

3. I've always wanted to see an active volcano and I know there are some in the island chain but not sure if any on Kauai.

4. I'm a history buff so any historical sights would be on my short list as well.

5. As always, best places to eat especially around the south shore area would be great.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions from this crowd. Thanks.

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blueblock
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by blueblock » Mon May 30, 2016 6:01 pm

North Shore. Na Pali Coast zodiac raft trips. It's a splashy ride, and you'll probably get wet, but you'll feel like Indiana Jones.

Make sure they include a venture into a sea cave or two.

Seriously, you'll remember it for the rest of your life.

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Nicolas
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Nicolas » Mon May 30, 2016 6:16 pm

We went there last year. Be sure to visit Waimea canyon, Mark Twain called it the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". There are no active volcanos on Kauai, only on the "big island", which is the only island still on the hot spot. The other islands are older and continental drift has carried them off of it.
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon May 30, 2016 6:40 pm

Don't know if they are still in business, but I had the best hot dogs ever on Kauai, at a place called "Puka Dogs". We stayed at the Sheraton Kauai, it's about five minutes away from there.
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon May 30, 2016 6:55 pm

Nicolas wrote:We went there last year. Be sure to visit Waimea canyon, Mark Twain called it the "grand canyon of the pacific".
++1
Beautiful place. Also recommend Allerton and McBryde Botanical Gardens.
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by step-in-time » Mon May 30, 2016 7:00 pm

We also greatly enjoyed Waimea Canyon State Park, Na Pali Coast State Park/Kalalau Lookout, driving into Hanalei Bay with views of taro farms (and one way bridges with hairpin turns), visiting Hanalei beach and seeing the nurses quarters (now private residence) from the film South Pacific.

Enjoyed eating at Gaylord's Restaurant, rum tasting and lu'au at Kilohana Plantation. Whale and bird watching at Kilauea point lighthouse/national wildlife refuge. The ancient terraces at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. Breakfast at Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa. Also ate at Kauai Brewing Co, which was more for beer tasting though.

Spouting Horn in Poipu was fun to see, as was visiting Kauai Coffee Company for tasting/tour. If you like macadamia nuts, Walmart (or Costco if you have a membership) seemed to be the best places to purchase those.

It's a fairly small island so driving around exploring can be a great adventure, just watch out for chickens. Enjoy your trip!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by clast » Mon May 30, 2016 7:56 pm

Good comments so far. See the canyon. The helicopter ride (Blue Hawaiian I think) isn't cheap, but it was worth it.

If you like sushi, go to the Hanalei Dolphin on the north side of the island.

The zodiac raft ride was great. It starts from the south side of the island, and goes around the west side to the north. We saw whales (this may be seasonal?), dolphins, close up to the volcanic rocks, and we even stopped at an old fishing village beach (500 years old) to eat.

One hidden gem of a restaurant was Kauai Pasta. Who knew Kauai would have such great Italian food?

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by WL2034 » Mon May 30, 2016 8:21 pm

clast wrote: The helicopter ride (Blue Hawaiian I think) isn't cheap, but it was worth it.
Agree with this, great experience. We used another company. Just check the tripadvisor reviews--there are several with good reviews.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Mon May 30, 2016 8:33 pm

Bah. Wrote a longer post that got eaten by the web. Highlight of the post: get the Unleashed guidebook for the island. Written by locals, it's got some good tips and directions to tricky-to-find-places. We did run into an outdated restaurant recommendation, but what guidebook doesn't have those?

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Peter Foley » Mon May 30, 2016 8:47 pm

We have done the sunset cruise along the Na Pali Coast twice - once by ourselves and once with our kids and their spouses. Hiking a portion of the coast is also a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Ke'e beach is good snorkeling and the jumping off point for the hike.

For a couple, the riverboat trip to the Fern Grotto is a pleasant excursion. It is partially narrated with a bit of Hawaiian music thrown in.

Wiamea Canyon is a must see. Don't just see it from the car and the look outs. Do a bit of hiking as well.

We liked "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook" and used it extensively to plan the trip.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by YoungDentist » Mon May 30, 2016 8:57 pm

I just returned from Kauai. A few pointers.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which we thought was excellent.
Take the helicopter ride - we used blue Hawaiian
If you like golf, play Poipu Bay (can play the back 9 for 99$ at certain times)
Get reservations at The Beach House about 30-45 minutes prior to the sunset on a clear evening and make sure to ask for a patio seat towards the front end of the restaurant. Excellent Mai Tais if you drink.

Aloha!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by IronMantis » Mon May 30, 2016 9:15 pm

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by itstoomuch » Mon May 30, 2016 10:09 pm

Will be on NCL POA June 11-18. We are renting a car on Kauai. Remind me in 3 weeks.

Recs on what to do in Big Island, Hilo/Kona?
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon May 30, 2016 11:25 pm

Mahaulepu Heritage trail is near where you are staying and meets your desire of walking and history.

Kuilau Ridge and Arboretum could be worth a shot for you as well.

These are both easy to follow and relatively short trails that you can do alone.

Kauai enjoys some beautiful locations with extreme rainfall. Trails can get flooded and if you want to get out more off the beaten path, I would recommend signing up with a hiking tour company. They will help you get into some great locations using local knowledge, local weather knowledge, and their safety protocols. Waimea Canyon, for instance has some great adventures that you can access with a hiking guide.

There is a modest museum in Lihue. For an easy to read, somewhat sarcastic, take on Hawaiian history, buy Sarah Vowell's "Unfamiliar Fishes" to get a sense of Hawaiian history. Invest the energy to learn what is unique about Kauai. It is apparent in the story of how Kamehameha came to unite the islands.
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by bruination » Mon May 30, 2016 11:49 pm

1. Hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapa'i (spelling?). Beautiful tropical hike from spectacular beach. Ke'e is also good for sunsets and snorkeling. My favorite beach on island.

2. Check out the Waimea lookout. Look for red-tailed tropic birds.

3. Check out the Kalalau Beach lookout.

4. If you are not married to your room rez, try a few nights on South Shore and a few on North Shore (e.g., Hanalei Colony Resort).

5. Bubba's Burgers are fun.

6. Brick House Pizza (?) in Poipu.

7. Snorkeling at Tunnels and Poipu.

8. Hanalei Valley lookout and drive up the valley.

9. Hanalei Beach (Descendants)

10. Slack Key guitar. Find some on island.

11. Koke'e State Park

12. Lighthouse Point (can't remember name; someone else mentioned it).

13. Hamura Saimin Stand, Lihue

Aloha!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by jackholloway » Tue May 31, 2016 12:04 am

Jack Harter helicopters treated us well.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by oragne lovre » Tue May 31, 2016 12:44 am

If you want to truly relax in a quiet setting, check out Kauapea Beach (aka Secret Beach.) You may have to hike down a bit to get there but it would be well worth the effort. I'd carry a good book, a decent camera, and a beach umbrella that is mainly for unexpected rain.

For unique local food, poke is a must. The Fish Express, which is a take-out shop, is probably the best place for poke. Ask the seller to seal your takeout in case you want to bring some poke onto your plane.
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by harrychan » Tue May 31, 2016 1:00 am

We may do a Kauai -> Oahu trip in Aug. This thread is a godsend :)
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by ClaycordJCA » Tue May 31, 2016 1:29 am

We visited several years ago. Captain Andy's sunset sail on the Na Pali coast was first class. Also the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour was well worth the expense, even for a Boglehead. Have fun!!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by shelanman » Tue May 31, 2016 1:46 am

You've already got some good suggestions, but...

I only spent about a day and a half on Kauai -- I was on that same Norwegian Cruise that itstoomuch is taking. I had a bunch of fun, but definitely the best thing I did on the island was the inner-tubing down the Lihue Plantation irrigation channels. Basically, you go partway up the mountain, grab a big inner-tube, hop in the water, and ride down. There are a bunch of tunnels, and it's really cool.

I went with a group from Kauai Backcountry Adventures (http://kauaibackcountry.com/tubing/) and can strongly recommend it and them.

The tubing was really fun, and a neat way to experience a bit of the island and its history (you travel through a natural waterway that was expanded into the (now abandoned) sugar plantation's irrigation system by digging a series of tunnels using only hand tools.

A second recommendation, though much simpler is: if you find yourself near Koloa, take a quick trip out to the Spouting Horn. It's a rocky section of coastline whose unusual formation causes huge gushes of water up into the air (with accompanying honking sounds!) which is pretty cool. You only really need to spend a few minutes there, but it's a pretty neat thing to see if you happen to be nearby. And while you're there, Poipu beach is awesome and not far away.

For itstoomuch: The cruise line will offer a "mountain tubing" excursion that will sound remarkably similar. That is operated by Kauai Backcountry as well -- it's the same trip. They charge a lot more for the official excursion (I think it was $50/person extra, but that includes transport to/from the boat), and my guide said that the official one isn't as fun because time is tighter and groups are larger. Either way, if you are going to have a car anyway, book directly with Kauai Backcountry and save a bunch. If you aren't planning on having a car, but are at least 2 people, book a car, it'll be cheaper and totally worth it.

Also for itstoomuch: I don't have as great of recommendations for the Big Island. I did excursions offered by the ship, because time was tight there. In Hilo, we went out to Volcanoes National Park. It's a bit of a trek on the bus... the park itself is pretty cool -- a fascinating kind of desolation. You see a bunch of volcanic aftermath, get good views of the active volcano, and walk through an old lava tube. Definitely worthwhile if you've never been to a volcano before (as I hadn't). Alas, though, you spend half the day on the bus, because it's kinda far.

From Kona, I did another ship excursion -- this time to visit a chocolate plantation and coffee farm. I happen to love both chocolate and coffee, so it was a fun and tasty time, but it was decidedly tourist-trappy (though the family that runs the chocolate plantation gives a nice tour, and both places give tasty samples). Afterward, we went looking for lunch, and ended up at the Kona Brewing Company, which was super touristy too -- but unlike most super-touristy places, it was actually really tasty, and I'd totally stuff my face there again.

You didn't ask about Maui, but I'm going to tell you what to do anyway, because this thing I did on Maui was the absolute highlight of my trip. You should go on a Kayak & Snorkel tour of Makena Bay (they call it "Turtle Town") with the super-friendly folks from Maui Kayak Adventures (http://mauikayakadventures.com/tours/ma ... rtle-town/). You have to be a half-hour drive from the ship at 7AM (which means you're going on your second day on Maui), but it's totally worth getting up with the sun. The trip is, dare I say it, a three hour tour. They bring everything, including guides. You kayak a relatively short distance in Makena Bay, your guides point out all sorts of things to look at. Then, they take you to a likely spot with some sea turtles, and you put on snorkel and mask and hop out of the kayaks. As an added bonus, the guides bring their waterproof GoPro, and don't charge for their pictures -- so I have a nice collection of photos with my family on (and in) the water. The kayaking isn't terribly hard (you travel a total of about a mile, at a manageable pace, in calm water). If you're really into Kayaking, the same folks offer more demanding tours, including one where you paddle out to Molokini Crater and back -- which is a real workout, or so they tell me. If you ask in advance, they have your choice of either individual kayaks or two-man tandem kayaks. We did the tandems, and it was great. For this, you really have to have a car.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Cunobelinus » Tue May 31, 2016 3:28 am

Kauai is my favorite island out here. Any of the above recommendations are spot on.

The only thing I haven't seen listed so far is The Feral Pig (restaurant), near the airport in Lihue, serves up locally sourced feral pigs when available. The rest of the food is quite good too.

Hanakapi'ai Falls on the north coast is worth a visit for a hike. It's not super strenuous to make it to the beach (maybe 2 miles from parking lot) and thence another 2 miles to the falls themselves. The helicopter ride was expensive, but we made that a wedding present to ourselves and it was absolutely worth it, even having been to Kauai many times.

Kauai is the Hawaii that I thought of when coming to Hawaii. It's fantastic.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Jim85 » Tue May 31, 2016 6:26 am

Was there last December. Definitely rent a vehicle. Highlights for us:

The hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapa'I stream area (this might be considered upper NaPali coast). Morning hike with a stop at Bubba's Burgers after is a good day.

Drive though Hanalei Valley stop at lookout

Hanalei Beach

Kilauea lighthouse- there’s a nice look out off Kilauea road

Waimea Canyon – can’t miss

NaPali Coast catamaran trip (on Capain Andy’s). Terrific day spent sailing ,seeing whales, dolphins, the spectacular NaPali coast, food, beer, snorkeling.

Played golf at Wailua Golf Course. A municipal course along the coast. If you want to play some golf without breaking the bank this is not a bad option. Can rent clubs.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Emilyjane » Tue May 31, 2016 8:12 am

Is she going to the Mayo conference? If so, it is always excellent- not dull at all, and plenty of time to goof off in the afternoon.. I am a fan.

We enjoy the hike east from the Hyatt along the coast for sunrise (might have to be short to be back for classes), and sunset is awesome from poipu beach.

I second (or fourth) Allerton and McBride botanic gardens, captain Andys dinner cruise, Waimea canyon. Snorkeling on south shore is ok at poipu beach, better at the beach next to the beach house restaurant. Ke'e beach (on the north shore) is good too, but have to be careful of north shore beaches in winter. Good snorkeling info at http://www.tropicalsnorkeling.com.

Restaurants - Tidepools is lovely, although $$, brick house pizza, beach house.

Aloha!
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 8:17 am

autolycus wrote:Bah. Wrote a longer post that got eaten by the web. Highlight of the post: get the Unleashed guidebook for the island. Written by locals, it's got some good tips and directions to tricky-to-find-places. We did run into an outdated restaurant recommendation, but what guidebook doesn't have those?
Excellent tip that I hadn't thought about. I will definitely look for it online and get one ordered.

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lthenderson
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 8:19 am

YoungDentist wrote:We stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which we thought was excellent.


This is where we will be staying!

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lthenderson
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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 8:23 am

oragne lovre wrote:For unique local food, poke is a must. The Fish Express, which is a take-out shop, is probably the best place for poke. Ask the seller to seal your takeout in case you want to bring some poke onto your plane.
I always eat as the Romans when in Rome, or so the saying goes so I will definitely have to eat some poke, whatever that is!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 8:28 am

Emilyjane wrote:Is she going to the Mayo conference? If so, it is always excellent- not dull at all, and plenty of time to goof off in the afternoon.. I am a fan.
She is and I'm sure will be thrilled at their quality. I was saying boring in my engineering perspective!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 8:36 am

Thanks everyone for their excellent suggestions so far. I have quite a list of hiking to do which will come in handy when working off the foods/places to eat suggested, especially poke, whatever that is! I hadn't thought of a guidebook but I will definitely get one ordered.

Reading through these, I do have a couple more questions that I thought about.

1. A lot of sites seem to be on the North Shore and I will be staying at the Grand Hyatt on the South Shore. I read somewhere where the one road there around the island is one lane and speed limits of 30 to 50 mph. So if I were heading to the north shore from the Grand Hyatt, how long does it generally take? I'm having a hard time fixing the scale of this island in my head.

2. Several people mentioned lots of rain which I have heard before but hadn't thought about. I guess that leads me to the question of what is the best apparel/shoes to be wearing while out hiking around? Shorts and Tevas work? Several of the outings that I would have to pay for require closed toe shoes (I'm guessing to protect your feet from the lava rock) so I at least need tennis shoes or perhaps hiking boots too?

2a. What is the weather like in January? I.e. is there a rainy season?

Thanks everyone again for their advice. I wrote it all down and will have to do some more research on all the suggested places.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Da5id » Tue May 31, 2016 8:43 am

lthenderson wrote: 1. A lot of sites seem to be on the North Shore and I will be staying at the Grand Hyatt on the South Shore. I read somewhere where the one road there around the island is one lane and speed limits of 30 to 50 mph. So if I were heading to the north shore from the Grand Hyatt, how long does it generally take? I'm having a hard time fixing the scale of this island in my head.

2. Several people mentioned lots of rain which I have heard before but hadn't thought about. I guess that leads me to the question of what is the best apparel/shoes to be wearing while out hiking around? Shorts and Tevas work? Several of the outings that I would have to pay for require closed toe shoes (I'm guessing to protect your feet from the lava rock) so I at least need tennis shoes or perhaps hiking boots too?

2a. What is the weather like in January? I.e. is there a rainy season?

Thanks everyone again for their advice. I wrote it all down and will have to do some more research on all the suggested places.
For 1, note that google maps does work there. So you can get time estimates, that include speed limits, for Kauai. BTW, been a while since I was there, but breakfast/brunch at Grand Hyatt is awesome (particularly fresh fruit). Saw whales offshore while eating breakfast, hard to beat that.

Kauai is kind of rainy in January, but it often is quite heavy for a short period but doesn't last long. Note that mountain in middle of Kauai is rainiest spot on earth. Also note that the seas can be rough on the north shore, particularly in the winter. Our zodiac to Na Pali coast was cancelled due to high seas.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by AllieTB1323 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:51 am

We just returned from 10 days on the island. It was our third trip to the island in the last ten years. First, it isn't that big and there isn't much highway so your time traveling isn't too long. Also, we have been to Maui, the Big Island and Honolulu and by far our favorite island is Kauai. As someone else said, it is Hawaii as it should be.

For tours we also recommend Captain Andy's and Blue Hawaiian. Do the Lighthouse and Tunnels Beach. For reviews and ideas, TripAdvisor is a good source. Don't over pack, we lived on shorts, tee shirts, flip flops and a pair of trail shoes.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by quantAndHold » Tue May 31, 2016 8:59 am

jackholloway wrote:Jack Harter helicopters treated us well.
My first trip (of many) to Kauai, Jack himself flew us around. (He was a WWII helicopter pilot, so I'm sure he isn't flying the copters now.) It was the peak experience of that trip, and still 30 years and a lot of travel later, ranks up there. I still have a picture for that flight hanging on my wall.

We learned about Jack Harter from the Kauai Underground Guide, which is still highly recommended.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 9:03 am

Da5id wrote:For 1, note that google maps does work there. So you can get time estimates, that include speed limits, for Kauai.


Hadn't thought about this either but I'm guessing a GPS device for driving is unnecessary here. I do have a smartphone with Google maps. I'll have to tinker with that to get some time estimates but it sounds like traveling from the south to north shore and spending some time before heading back is easily doable in one day.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by cheapindexer » Tue May 31, 2016 9:38 am

on your raft trip to the coast, absolutely avoid the front left seat. You have to hold on for dear life. It's the worst seat in the house, even the captain agreed with me

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 9:48 am

lthenderson wrote:
autolycus wrote:Bah. Wrote a longer post that got eaten by the web. Highlight of the post: get the Unleashed guidebook for the island. Written by locals, it's got some good tips and directions to tricky-to-find-places. We did run into an outdated restaurant recommendation, but what guidebook doesn't have those?
Excellent tip that I hadn't thought about. I will definitely look for it online and get one ordered.
I double-checked because another post mentioned "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed", and that is the correct title of the book I recommend. I think the series used to be called Hawai'i Unleashed, but has been rebranded--or I'm just completely getting guidebook series confused, which is entirely possible. Those books are the best on all the Hawaiian islands. They're on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and used to be at B&N, etc. They apparently also have apps and other info on their website http://www.hawaiirevealed.com

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 9:58 am

lthenderson wrote:1. A lot of sites seem to be on the North Shore and I will be staying at the Grand Hyatt on the South Shore. I read somewhere where the one road there around the island is one lane and speed limits of 30 to 50 mph. So if I were heading to the north shore from the Grand Hyatt, how long does it generally take? I'm having a hard time fixing the scale of this island in my head.
My memory is that could easily be a 2-hour drive from the Grand Hyatt all the way up to Hanalei Bay. There is plenty to keep you busy on the south, southwest, and east coasts if you aren't up for that kind of drive back and forth. I don't know about January, but I know for a lot of the year, all the Na'pali coast boats leave from the SW (Waimea town or nearby). Even though the boat ride is longer from there, the weather is more favorable. I think winter is ok for northern departures, but for you it'd actually be easier to go from the south since it keeps you from having to do a long drive to the boat.
2. Several people mentioned lots of rain which I have heard before but hadn't thought about. I guess that leads me to the question of what is the best apparel/shoes to be wearing while out hiking around? Shorts and Tevas work? Several of the outings that I would have to pay for require closed toe shoes (I'm guessing to protect your feet from the lava rock) so I at least need tennis shoes or perhaps hiking boots too?
Heh... shoes for hiking on Kauai... well... read about the red dirt before you go... Short version: wear shoes (and possibly shorts and shirts) that you either don't mind getting permanently stained orangish-red or that you plan to throw away anyway. I wore some Keen sandals on a few shorter hikes and they were fine. ETA: I wore a pair of old trail-running shoes on a longer hike on the Awa'awapuhi Trail. That trail was beautiful, but we were also lucky that it'd been incredibly dry the week before we were there, so trail conditions all around the island were less muddy than normal.

If you have a day that you can dedicate fully to the north shore, leave pretty early, head directly to Ke'e beach to get there as early as possible, do the hike toward Na'Pali, cool off with a swim at Ke'e, and work your way back, enjoying the pullovers and sights on the way back instead of on the way up. Ke'e parking gets quite crazy, especially on weekends. And absolutely obey the No Parking signs. They do ticket frequently!

All of this should be in the guidebook too, but I think it's worth highlighting.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Flashes1 » Tue May 31, 2016 2:07 pm

I loved Kauai, and it's funny because it's a kind of chain restaurant, but the best fish I've ever had was at Duke's attached to the Marriott. My wife found it in a travel guide, but we drove to a 20 foot falls not far from the Marriott that while it was on private property, the owner tolerated people----it was along a very small, back road---I was too chicken, but there were a lot of 20-some year olds jumping off.

The Guide also referred us to the "best" place on the island for Shaved Ice which was on the way to the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 2:31 pm

Flashes1 wrote:I loved Kauai, and it's funny because it's a kind of chain restaurant, but the best fish I've ever had was at Duke's attached to the Marriott. My wife found it in a travel guide, but we drove to a 20 foot falls not far from the Marriott that while it was on private property, the owner tolerated people----it was along a very small, back road---I was too chicken, but there were a lot of 20-some year olds jumping off.

The Guide also referred us to the "best" place on the island for Shaved Ice which was on the way to the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.
Duke's and the other restaurants in the chain are all pretty good, from my experience. There's one in Poipu, which is relatively close to the Grand Hyatt. The Hula Pie is a nice desert for warm weather. There's also an excellent fish market and restaurant in a newer shopping center that is part of big golf development that was just starting to go in a few years ago.

JoJo's Shave Ice is the one recommended in Waimea town. There are two of the same name. Lengthy online debates about which is the original and which is better. I went to the shack. If you don't mind a slightly dingy place, it's great. Get the mac nut ice cream on the bottom of the shave ice--that's true regardless of where you go.

Lots of good memories from my last trip to Kauai. Good to re-live them a bit through this thread!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue May 31, 2016 3:27 pm

lthenderson wrote:
oragne lovre wrote:For unique local food, poke is a must. The Fish Express, which is a take-out shop, is probably the best place for poke. Ask the seller to seal your takeout in case you want to bring some poke onto your plane.
I always eat as the Romans when in Rome, or so the saying goes so I will definitely have to eat some poke, whatever that is!
Only food I had on Kauai that I really didn't take to was poi. Kind of like Hawaiian tofu, but soupier.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by runner26 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:29 pm

One more for the hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapl'ai stream/beach area. I did this 25 years ago, and it remains etched in my mind as a favorite lifetime event. Funny, when I as starting the hike, I commented that everyone exiting smelled really bad and were filthy, and I assumed that they had been hiking and camping the coast for days, as I heard people do this. A few hours when I was exiting, I smelled really bad and was filthy from the tropical conditions and slipping on my ass descending a few of the steep trails and I was getting those same looks. During the short walk in to the beach, the sandwich I brought to eat got moldy (it is a rain forest). In those days, people that hiked past Hanakapl'ai just took all their clothes off and hiked nude, don't know if this is still the practice. The scenery is incredible and while I as at the beach, only one other person passed by.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 3:57 pm

autolycus wrote:
lthenderson wrote:
autolycus wrote:Bah. Wrote a longer post that got eaten by the web. Highlight of the post: get the Unleashed guidebook for the island. Written by locals, it's got some good tips and directions to tricky-to-find-places. We did run into an outdated restaurant recommendation, but what guidebook doesn't have those?
Excellent tip that I hadn't thought about. I will definitely look for it online and get one ordered.
I double-checked because another post mentioned "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed", and that is the correct title of the book I recommend. I think the series used to be called Hawai'i Unleashed, but has been rebranded--or I'm just completely getting guidebook series confused, which is entirely possible. Those books are the best on all the Hawaiian islands. They're on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and used to be at B&N, etc. They apparently also have apps and other info on their website http://www.hawaiirevealed.com
Good to know. I had done a quick search for Unleashed and found several books with that title either about pets or steamy romances judging by their covers. I ended up getting the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook 2014 edition.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by lthenderson » Tue May 31, 2016 3:59 pm

runner26 wrote:One more for the hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapl'ai stream/beach area. I did this 25 years ago, and it remains etched in my mind as a favorite lifetime event. Funny, when I as starting the hike, I commented that everyone exiting smelled really bad and were filthy, and I assumed that they had been hiking and camping the coast for days, as I heard people do this. A few hours when I was exiting, I smelled really bad and was filthy from the tropical conditions and slipping on my ass descending a few of the steep trails and I was getting those same looks. During the short walk in to the beach, the sandwich I brought to eat got moldy (it is a rain forest). In those days, people that hiked past Hanakapl'ai just took all their clothes off and hiked nude, don't know if this is still the practice. The scenery is incredible and while I as at the beach, only one other person passed by.
It sounds like I will have to either pack more clothes for the ride home or see if the Grand Hyatt has laundry service. I usually recycle clothes to pack light on vacation trips. Some of these hikes sound like the clothes couldn't be recycled by a homeless person!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by runner26 » Tue May 31, 2016 4:45 pm

lthenderson wrote:
runner26 wrote:One more for the hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapl'ai stream/beach area. I did this 25 years ago, and it remains etched in my mind as a favorite lifetime event. Funny, when I as starting the hike, I commented that everyone exiting smelled really bad and were filthy, and I assumed that they had been hiking and camping the coast for days, as I heard people do this. A few hours when I was exiting, I smelled really bad and was filthy from the tropical conditions and slipping on my ass descending a few of the steep trails and I was getting those same looks. During the short walk in to the beach, the sandwich I brought to eat got moldy (it is a rain forest). In those days, people that hiked past Hanakapl'ai just took all their clothes off and hiked nude, don't know if this is still the practice. The scenery is incredible and while I as at the beach, only one other person passed by.
It sounds like I will have to either pack more clothes for the ride home or see if the Grand Hyatt has laundry service. I usually recycle clothes to pack light on vacation trips. Some of these hikes sound like the clothes couldn't be recycled by a homeless person!
Yea, the soil never washed from my socks, had to toss them. Must be something with the volcanic soil.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 4:55 pm

lthenderson wrote:
autolycus wrote:
lthenderson wrote:
autolycus wrote:Bah. Wrote a longer post that got eaten by the web. Highlight of the post: get the Unleashed guidebook for the island. Written by locals, it's got some good tips and directions to tricky-to-find-places. We did run into an outdated restaurant recommendation, but what guidebook doesn't have those?
Excellent tip that I hadn't thought about. I will definitely look for it online and get one ordered.
I double-checked because another post mentioned "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed", and that is the correct title of the book I recommend. I think the series used to be called Hawai'i Unleashed, but has been rebranded--or I'm just completely getting guidebook series confused, which is entirely possible. Those books are the best on all the Hawaiian islands. They're on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and used to be at B&N, etc. They apparently also have apps and other info on their website http://www.hawaiirevealed.com
Good to know. I had done a quick search for Unleashed and found several books with that title either about pets or steamy romances judging by their covers. I ended up getting the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook 2014 edition.
lol... Sorry about that!

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 4:58 pm

runner26 wrote:
lthenderson wrote:
runner26 wrote:One more for the hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapl'ai stream/beach area. I did this 25 years ago, and it remains etched in my mind as a favorite lifetime event. Funny, when I as starting the hike, I commented that everyone exiting smelled really bad and were filthy, and I assumed that they had been hiking and camping the coast for days, as I heard people do this. A few hours when I was exiting, I smelled really bad and was filthy from the tropical conditions and slipping on my ass descending a few of the steep trails and I was getting those same looks. During the short walk in to the beach, the sandwich I brought to eat got moldy (it is a rain forest). In those days, people that hiked past Hanakapl'ai just took all their clothes off and hiked nude, don't know if this is still the practice. The scenery is incredible and while I as at the beach, only one other person passed by.
It sounds like I will have to either pack more clothes for the ride home or see if the Grand Hyatt has laundry service. I usually recycle clothes to pack light on vacation trips. Some of these hikes sound like the clothes couldn't be recycled by a homeless person!
Yea, the soil never washed from my socks, had to toss them. Must be something with the volcanic soil.
It's literally rust. As the volcanic rock was broken down into the current clay form, iron was exposed to air and oxidized.

A possible souvenir: https://dirtshirt.com

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by scouter » Tue May 31, 2016 5:22 pm

Poipu is a good beach for swimming, sunning, snorkeling (great protected cove with lots of beautiful fish), and I took surfing lessons there as well. Also, at the top of the canyon you can take a hike to the highest swamp in the world.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by corner559 » Tue May 31, 2016 6:53 pm

I would second the chopper ride. Absolutely worth the hefty cost.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by autolycus » Tue May 31, 2016 7:24 pm

One more thing I had meant to recommend but had forgotten after losing the long first response: The Koa Store is a good place to buy some beautiful pieces of hand-carved koa or other local woods. Lots of picture frames, jewelry boxes, etc. Their store is at the turn off for Wailua Falls.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by runner26 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:02 pm

Apparently hicking the Kalalau Trail nude is still a practice
http://www.napalicoastmagazine.com/kala ... ked-truth/

More official info on the trail here
http://kalalautrail.com

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by harrychan » Tue May 31, 2016 8:11 pm

autolycus wrote:One more thing I had meant to recommend but had forgotten after losing the long first response: The Koa Store is a good place to buy some beautiful pieces of hand-carved koa or other local woods. Lots of picture frames, jewelry boxes, etc. Their store is at the turn off for Wailua Falls.
I picked up a koa paddle at the flea market one time. It sits above our living room! Do you recall if they have paddles there at the Koa Store?
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Things to Do and See on Kauai, Hawaii

Post by Raymond » Tue May 31, 2016 9:00 pm

lthenderson wrote:...I always eat as the Romans when in Rome, or so the saying goes so I will definitely have to eat some poke, whatever that is!
Food of the gods

Pronounced "po-kay"

It's been a few years, but the Koloa Fish Market in Koloa (ten-minute drive inland from the Hyatt) was excellent.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

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