Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

Tuesday, February 4

Today kicks off a series of blog posts on our time in Kauai. My hope is that they help you plan the best trip you can to enjoy some relaxing time in the Hawaiian islands! 

Our home base for the first 4 nights and 5 days was in the town of Kapaa. Located about 10 minutes north from the airport in Lihue, Kapaa is the perfect place to situate yourself on the island. It's central, has a variety of activities, and is incredibly accessible. We rarely used our car while in Kapaa, you can easily walk and bike most places depending on where you stay. 

Here are my favorite places and activities in Kapaa! 

Fuji Beach (Baby Beach) 
This beach is heaven if you have children (which is why it's nickname is baby beach). A reef blocks the waves and creates a natural swimming pool to enjoy with the kiddos. Avonlea wore her water wings and loved splashing around in the shallow waters. If you are on the main street of Kuhio Highway, go East on Panihi Road and you can park right on the beach, which makes unloading super easy. There are also picnic tables to enjoy a meal at! 

Hele on Kauai Bike Rental
Do not leave Kapaa without biking it! What a fun activity for the whole family:) We rented bikes at Hele on Kauai in downtown Kapaa (right next to Wailua Shave Ice). Kevin and I both rode cruiser bikes, and the kids rode in a trailer attached to Kevin's bike. It is one of the most scenic rides you can do on the island, as the trail is 5 miles of gorgeous sand, palm trees and ocean. You can also whale watch off one stretch...we've seen numerous whales every time we've ridden by. They rent bikes for all ages...$5/bike for the first hour and then it increases per hour, with a maximum of $17.50/day.
{this picture cracks me up, haha!} 

Downtown & Beach Side Stroll
Downtown Kapaa is more than meets the eye! It's fun to take a stroll through the main drag. There are lots of fun restaurants, juice bars, coffee shops and souvenir shops. After a jaunt through the main downtown area, we headed east towards the beach where we walked along the bike path with our stroller and could duck down to the sand whenever we wanted to put our toes in the water and play! You'll find that Kapaa feels very local…the local soccer team is usually practicing on the field near the ocean, there are fisherman along the beach and local mamas walking their babies. I just love the vibe!

Kealia Beach 
This is one of the bigger beaches in Kapaa, and it's gorgeous. We only biked along the beach this year, but last year spent a whole day here which was divine! The waves are bigger, but not huge...so kids can just wade and play in the sand and shallow waters (unlike baby beach were they can fully swim in the water). But the view is lovely and it's completely worth a beach day! 

Java Kai
You know when you find that place, and then are obsessed and visit it every day? That's Java Kai for me! With a creative menu including lots of allergy friendly items, I was reveling in my options. I had a gluten free falafel wrap one day, a dairy free coconut mocha with coconut whip cream (OMG AMAZING!), the rainbow salad, and the surfer girl sandwich...all delish. The ambiance is very hipster Hawaiian, I loved it!

Wailua Shave Ice
So there's places to get shaved ice all over the island...but don't fool around...Wailua is THE BEST. And I'm not exaggerating. The first time we went to Kauai, we tried a few places and they all were too sweet and fake tasting. I was a little disappointed. Then someone tipped us off that we had to try Wailua, so we immediately hightailed it there. And OH.MY.HAWAIIAN.GOODNESS. There is no comparison. Wailua Shave Ice uses real fruit puree to flavor their ice (no nasty fake syrups here), fresh fruit to garnish it...and my favorite, haupia foam (which is basically a coconut whip cream). Don't miss this! 

Pono Market
If you are looking for some local Hawaiian food from a legit source, look no further. Pono Market carries a whole deli case of the local favorites...macaroni salad, kalua pork, etc. Kevin and my dad loved their plates of Hawaiian food! Located in downtown Kapaa. 

El Pastor 
The most delicious food truck serving fresh Mexican food…they had a fish of the day taco which might have been the best taco i've ever had (which is a big deal considering i've eaten a lot of legit Mexican food living in Southern California and visiting Mexico often!!). You can find them on the north side of downtown in a  grouping of food trucks…yum!

There are two major Luau options in Kapaa (which actually service tourists from all parts of the island).  There is Smith's Luau as well as Luau Makaiwa. We've been to both, and each ones has their pros and cons.  I am going to be doing a blog post on the differences between the two, so stay tuned! However, attending a Luau is a really fun way to learn more about the Hawaiian culture, specifically the dancing. Both times we came to Kauai I told Kevin we could skip the Luau, and i'm actually so glad he didn't listen to me and booked them anyway! haha! It really is such a fun and enriching experience! (Not to mention they are both at beautiful locations!!).

Well...I hope i've convinced you to stay in Kapaa! It's an incredible little hamlet with friendly people, delicious food choices, and some absolutely stunning beaches! xoxo

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