Explore the Kauai's North Shore: hidden beaches, tiki cocktails, and mellow vibes
It makes sense that Kauai is called the Garden Isle. With lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and hibiscus blooming everywhere it is the definition of a tropical paradise. Whether you head to sunny Poipu Beach on the south side of the island or opt to explore the rugged north coast near Hanalei Bay, Kauai offers wonderful activities for everyone.
Check out the these personal recommendations from OnPo!nt user Leigha J after her recent trip to Kauai:
Head North! The north shore of Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It sits just above the rugged Na Pali coastline with mountains draped in mist and waterfalls cascading in the distance.
Check out Hanalei Bay for mellow, beachtown vibes. This laid back community features a long, sandy beach with great wave action...perfect for surfing and boogie boarding. Even though the beach is popular, it’s still not too difficult to find a more private stretch of sand. Walk to town and check out all the cute restaurants and shops:
-Start your day off at the Hanalei Bread Company for an iced coffee and breakfast and enjoy their open-air patio.
-Kalypso Island Bar & Grill has a great happy hour and service is always fast and friendly.
-Head to Ama for dinner. They are known for their ramen, but be sure to try the beef short rib skewer and the deep-fried brussels sprouts dressed with fish sauce and lime. The outdoor setting is gorgeous and you can cozy up to the fire pit while you enjoy one of their delicious cocktails.
Situated overlooking to Hanalei Bay is Princeville. This community is centered around the golf course and the Princeville Resort. Despite feeling more developed than Hanalei, this area has some great hidden beaches if you don’t mind a little hiking. Check out these favorites...
-Queen’s Bath: Hike down to this natural pool formed from lava and filled by the ocean. Just make sure to check surf levels before you go...if the waves are over 4 feet it can be dangerous.
-Sealodge Beach: This mellow, shaded beach is reached by an easy 15 minute hike. The water is calm and perfect for snorkeling. Even better, you might even get lucky and have a whole beach to yourself.
-Hideaway Beach: Don’t be scared by the steep path or the ropes used to maneuver it! The trail down to this beautiful beach looks way worse than it actually is, and it’s absolutely worth the quick hike. The beach is sandy, shaded and great for swimming. Make sure to bring your snorkel gear because the reef in this area is teeming with sea life.
After the beach, relax with a cocktail and dinner at Tiki Iniki. This restaurant is open late and serves their cocktails in vintage glassware in a tiki-themed bar and dining room. The food is good and service is friendly. Or check out Piazza...a little more upscale and they offer awesome cocktails and Italian food. Their wood-fired pizza is legit, with a delicious crust that tastes like it was made in Italy.
As of June 2019, the road going beyond Hanalei Bay is closed due to damage sustained when the island received over 50 inches of rain within 24 hours in April ‘18. While the work is supposed to be finished soon, currently tourists are unable to drive past the barricades to reach the beaches in this area or the trailhead to the Na Pali coast. Hopefully this will change soon, but in the meantime plan accordingly. One great way to see this stunning coastline is by boat! Book day cruise with snorkeling and lunch, or opt for the dinner cruise and enjoy the sunset from the boat.