One thing about Alex and I, we love Kauai. If you ask us one of our favorite travel destinations, Kauai is always one of them. This year was our fifth visit to Kauai since 2020 and we got married here in 2022. Since we have been here so many times in the last 3 years, I feel like I have finally created a master list of recommendations from where to eat, to our favorite hikes, favorite places to stay and more. All of my recommendations span from all locations on the island, you truly can’t go wrong on Kauai. We always rent a car from Turo to explore the islands every day during our trip. A car is key for the experience so that you can get out and about. I feel like this Kauai recommendations blog will keep getting updated because I don’t see us stopping our exploration of the island any time soon. Let me know if you end up at any of these spots on your next trip and if you enjoy them!

Where To Stay:

We always prefer to stay on the Northshore in the Princeville / Hanalei Bay area. Here are my favorite resorts:

  1. Hanalei Bay Resort – we’ve stayed here every year. You can get affordable condos off Airbnb and VRBO with one of the best views of Hanalei Bay.
  2. 1Hotel Hanalei Bay – this hotel opened this year so everything is brand new. We had the opportunity to stay there earlier this year in March and again on this trip in December. Everything about this resort is perfection from the dining, the spa, and the rooms, it is truly magical.

On this trip, we split half of our time at Hanalei Bay Resort and the other half at 1Hotel Hanalei Bay. Both of these resorts share the same beach and similar views but we like to save with Hanalei Bay Resort for the majority of our nights and then we splurge for a night or two at 1Hotel Hanalei Bay.

What To Do:

Explore! The great part about Kauai is there is so much to do outside of the resorts. There are tons of beaches and you can go out and find your favorite one versus just staying at the beach at your hotel or resort. Our favorite thing to do is drive around and find new beaches.

Our Favorite Beaches:

  1. North Shore Beaches: Hanalei Bay, Tunnels, Lumahai, Hideaway 
  2. South Shore Beaches: Shipwreck, Poipu Beach, Mahaulepu
  3. East Side: Polihale and Salt Pond

There are also numerous hikes and lookouts to enjoy. Some of our favorites:

  1. My favorite is Kalalau which overlooks the Nā Pali Coast and the Waimea Canyons
  2. Waterfalls: Waipoo Falls, Hanakapia Falls, Wailua Falls
  3. Our favorite way to find hikes is on the AllTrails app, this gives you exact trail maps, difficulty and conditions of the trails

Other Experiences to Enjoy:

  1. GoBlueAdventures – we have done the rafting tour and it was our favorite experience to see the Nā Pali Coast
  2. Helicopter Tours – we haven’t done this yet but it’s on our list for our next visit

Where to Eat & Drink:

On the Northshore:

Coffee + Breakfast 

  1. Wishingwell Coffee and Tea – my favorite latte in the area and the acai bowls are amazing
  2. Java Kai Bar Coffee Roasters – great breakfast and coffee options 
  3. Hanalei Bread Company 
  4. Outpost Coffee

Lunch + Dinner

  1. The Hanalei Dolphin – this place has the best and most fresh calamari 
  2. Postcards Cafe – our favorite place for date nights. We always sit at the bar, make sure to make reservations in advance
  3. AMA Restaurant – awesome ramen and great views
  4. Welina Terrace – located within the 1Hotel Hanalei Bay make reservations at sunset 
  5. Tahiti Nui – great spot for lunch and known for Mai Tai but we our personal favorite is their coconut margaritas

South of the Island: Lihue + Poipu Recommendations:

Once we fly into Lihue our first stop is always at Timbers Resort for lunch or dinner. They offer a great menu and incredible views.

Coffee + Breakfast 

  1. Little Fish Coffee
  2. Dark Horse Coffee Roasters
  3. Eden Coffee
  4. Kind Coffee
  5. Lawai Market – in Kalaheo and they have my FAVE latte on the island, hands down


  1. Living Foods
  2. Koloa Fish Market 
  3. Da Crack Mexican Grinds
  4. Leahi Health
  5. Kukui’ula Fish Hut
  6. All food trucks in Koloa – can’t go wrong here


  1. The Beach House – this is where we got married, so obviously can’t recommend this enough 
  2. Eating House 1849
  3. Red Salt at Koa’Kea 
  4. Merriman’s 
  5. Kiawe Roots
  6. Lava’s on Poipu Beach
  7. La Spezia 
  8. Tidepools – located inside of the Grand Hyatt

Overall Favorites:

  1. ‘Anakes Juice Bar – great place for acai bowls
  2. Kauai Juice Co
  3. Lawai Market – for the Lawai Latte
  4. The Beach House – for dinner + beautiful sunset 
  5. Eating House 1849