Go to Kauai.
If you’re not already convinced by the time you get to my recommendations at the bottom of this post, read those. Kauai is a more rugged island, and the weather is usually iffy, but we lucked out and managed to get some nice beach days. It’s definitely an island for the adventurer; those of you akin to strenuous hikes with rewarding views and swimming under waterfalls, this place is for you.
And if you’re not already following along on Instagram, I’ll continue posting images there @gurrity!
We stayed in an Airbnb in Kapaa — it was perfect for what we were looking for, but a little on the rugged side. It actually reminded me a lot of the Airbnb I stayed in when I visited Mexico, years ago now. But we really didn’t spend much time there outside of sleeping hours.
We ended up spending the majority of our time here. The northern and eastern shores are generally pretty rainy and quiet, so on the rainiest days, we hopped in the car and headed south, to the Poipu areas. But our trip happened to be on a rare summer storm that engulfed the island, so we dodged rain pretty much everywhere. The sunny photos of surfers happen to be from Shipwreck beach, where we saw a spectacular sunset (and a few cliff divers, probably on the crazy side, given the surf report).
The Queen’s Bath
A ridiculously beautiful sinkhole in a giant shelf of lava rock, with the bluest of blue waters. All in all, ocean porn. The hike down was short, treacherous, and very worth it. Julie was a bit apprehensive, but we were both awestruck by how beautiful the place is. And, to be honest, I had pinned a gorgeous photo of it years ago on Pinterest, so I was pretty ecstatic to learn that the place happened to be on Kauai. Go there.
Hanakapi’ai Falls + Ke’e Beach
If you take the island road all the way north, the road will just end and drop you off at Ke’e Beach. If you feel like hiking for a few hours and want some spectacular views of the Na Pali coast, take the trail 2 miles to Haena beach, and then another 2 miles inland to the falls. This trail is not for inexperienced hikers — if you trek after a few days of rain (like we did), prepare to be scaling some slippery mud cliffs and climbing through boulders. No joke, couldn’t use my quads for a couple of days after this hike. But the swim into the waterfall was worth it. After you hike back to the trailhead, proceed immediately to the crystal clear waters of the ocean.
Great for snorkeling, and my actual favorite spot to catch a good sunset. A perfect place to settle down for the day with a good book and great views of the water and the mountains.
It’s more or less a counter in a local grocery store, but it’s a glorious one at that. Tell William I said whatup.
Kilauea Fish Market
The best, freshest ahi wrap I’ve ever had.
Wailua Shave Ice
We tried to go here every day, but we were a little crunched for time. This is what shave ice should be. I wanted to buy a bro tank for spin class, but they were out.
The Happy Taco (aka El Taco Felix)
Ridiculously good taco truck in Kapaa. Open till 11 pm. We drank a pitcher of margaritas at the spot next door, and gorged on some tacos right after. Thumbs up.
Amazing ahi poke lunch specials — you can get a container like this for just over $6. Go early, because they run out and their hours are short.