(Can also be downloaded from the store for free)
Lodging in the North Shore Area
Camping! … There are camping facilities at Anini Beach. Please see here for reservations: http://www.kauai.gov/Camping/Anini-Beach-Park. Also, the YMCA runs a campground very near our retreat location on the Kuhio Highway. You can pitch a tent or stay in very rustic bunk buildings, all right on a beautiful and secluded North Shore Beach. YMCA Camp Naue: 7420 Kuhio Hwy (560), Hanalei, HI 96714, (808) 246-9090. (Reservation required.) If space is available, you may also be able to camp at our retreat site. Contact Waipa Foundation at (808) 826-9969. Note: the North Shore can occasionally be wet and chilly in winter months. Be advised and be prepared!
High End to Mid-Range:
The St. Regis Hotel is one of the nicest on the island, and boasts a spectacular location overlooking Hanalei Bay and the ocean in Princeville. Its sister hotel in Princeville, the Westin is more reasonable. Hanalei Bay Resort has great pools and great condos, some with exquisite views.
For condo rentals and owner-rented units in some hotels, Princeville is your best location and we recommend The Parrish Collection property management company (which manages our own vacation condos), or check VRBO, Air BnB, and/or do your own on-line searching.
Hanalei and Haena don’t have many condos at all, but there are quite a few private property rentals in the area, including lovely beachfront homes. We also like the Hanalei Colony Resort, which is very low key and low tech (no TV’s, right on beach) out on the North Shore, near Haena.
You will be on the North Shore for this retreat, which is the lusher, greener, wetter side of the island. (And in our opinion, the most beautiful!) If you have never been to Hawaii and are extending your stay, we recommend you spend part of your time on the East or South shores, too—to be able to experience different parts of the island and its various climates, and especially if you want some solid, warm-weather beach time.
Lodging on the East and South Shores (do your own search too):
● Kauai Beach Resort (near Wailua River, Lihue and Kapa’a)
● Hotel Coral Reef (in Kapa’a, walking to all shops and etc. on beach, budget-style)
● The Grand Hyatt, Poipu (South Shore, High End
● Waimea Plantation Cottages (Southwest Shore. Good for access to Waimea Canyon. Serene, Hawaiian plantation-style cottages on a large compound on the beach)
Big hint from Ami: if you arrive at lunchtime, it’s wonderful to drive the 5 minute drive Southeast to Duke's on the beach for lunch (at Nawiliwili Bay). A great “Welcome” to the island. Great food, good prices and right there on the beach!
North Shore Stuff to Do:
The Na Pali Coast and Kalalau trail: http://kalalautrail.com/information/ on the very north end of the island. Follow highway 560 to the end at Ke’e Beach, and start hiking (Ami’s Note: this is an 11 mile trail in total ... One way! Do not go unless prepared, and you have taken precautions. Most people camp on the way. Weather can strand you on the trail.) This trail will lead, two miles in, to a deserted beach with a semi-cave. There is a branch trail to the left to a waterfall (8 miles round trip). The trail can be very muddy and the red mud is hard to clean off clothes and shoes. So, wear old shoes or hiking boots if you go. Please check weather and conditions before hiking.
Note: North Side of island is the wetter side. Rain can come all of a sudden but will often stop just as quickly. In winter months, flash flooding is a concern. Please always check weather and ocean conditions before hiking and swimming at any beach on Kauai. Queen’s Bath, Princeville … Lava rock-surrounded swimming pool by the ocean. People sit to chat, relax or jump from the higher rocks. If you want to go, wear reliable shoes, as the path can be slippery and you don't want to fall on those lava rocks! Ami’s
Note: Queens Bath is a cool swimming hole in the cliffs, with a cool hike down. Wear good shoes (as in, not flip flops!) and be careful—we've had two falls there already. … Do not go in winter, or when surf is high. Make sure others are there, and no big or even medium sized waves are breaking. Can be very dangerous. Super fun in summer months! Parking challenging, but be creative! My daughter Ali recommends.—ACM
Banana Joe’s Fruit Stand & Saturday Farmer’s Market … Gift shop and miniature golf. On Kuhio Highway 56 at Kilauea. Banana Joe’s is a little fruit shack that serves a very good, all natural pineapple and banana smoothie-thing (they call it a “Frostie”). We always stop and get one on our way to or from the North Shore. … From Princeville, take Highway 560/56 South. You will see the compound the right side of road. Really nice little gift shop at the miniature golf center, and the Farmer’s Market here is one of the best. (Mini-golf recommended when not too hot. This whole venue was built for the community by the founder of E-trade, I believe—Ami)
Groceries can be purchased at the Foodland store along Highway 560 (Kuhio Highway) in Princeville Center. A good-sized grocery store. There are also many health food stores on Kauai, including in Kapa’a; and the “Healthy Hut” in Kilauea (4480 Hookui Rd.) and one in “downtown” Hanalei. (There are more grocery stores in Kapa’a, including Safeway, but you can just do all your shopping in Princeville, really, or at the Big Save in Hanalei. If you want, you can stop at Costco in Lihue before you drive North—Ami)
Princeville Library. Just before the Princeville shopping center on the 560, at the main entrance to Princeville, you'll see a fountain (may be dry) on Ka Haku Road at the roundabout. There is a library to the left when you enter. You can get a temporary library card there for DVD’s and books. I love this library! Great Hawaiiana collection, cookbooks, etc. Wonderful spot, plus A.C.!—Ami
You can rent a golf cart to drive around and watch the sunset after 5pm at the Makai Golf Course in Princeville proper. ($50—Ami)
The St. Regis hotel for afternoon tea or puu puu’s and cocktails at sunset! Very nice views, awesome lobby. (End of Ka Haku road in Princeville). Also, the bar at Hanalei Bay Resort (HBR) in Princeville is up and running again, and maybe the restaurant too. Great views from there, as well! More casual scene.
Hanalei Beach and Bay is a must see, of course, and the best views are from the far Right side of the beach. There is lots of parking there, by the pier at Black Pot Beach. You can actually park right on the sand at that end of the beach (mouth of the Hanalei River) if you want to bring chairs, BBQ, etc. Surfers can unload there, and paddle out to the break further out.
There is a cool little hike w/ beautiful views at the end of the Hanalei Plantation Road. Park at end of road, and go ‘round the fence and hike all the way down to the ocean. If you head left, you can cross the river and end up at Hanalei Beach. If you head right, you will end up at the St. Regis Hotel beach. This road starts off the highway right after the police station, just before you drop down into Hanalei Valley. (Very close to Villas of Kamali’i).
‘Anini Beach is very close to Princeville, and good for snorkeling on the right side of the beach, to the right of boat launch. You can park your car right near beach. Good and safe for swimming, great for little kids. Drive further down the ‘Anini Road to find a rope swing in the trees, and more peace and quiet. If you want to walk from Princeville, drive to the little public parking lot next to the Westin Hotel and hike down the dirt road. You will need to ford a stream to get to the main beach area ...
Very nice to drive to "end of the road" on the North Shore and see the sunset at Ke'e Beach, where the Na Pali cliffs and famous hike begin. You can go in late afternoon & swim and snorkel and then walk to the Right to catch the whole sunset with the amazing cliffs too. The drive back will be dark, but do-able ... Have dinner in Hanalei after ... I also recommend the botanical gardens on the left as you drive toward Ke’e, on the way.
In Princeville, it’s easy to go to Hideaway's Pizza for dinner (on the way to the St. Regis Hotel) ... There’s a path to Hideaways Beach near the tennis courts up the road, or take the paved path from the condos at the pizza place if you feel daring (signs will tell you not to, unless you are a guest).
Other Parts of Island
Waimea Canyon. Entry is from West side of the island. Kauai’s tropical “Grand Canyon” Very beautiful!—Ami ... Worth a day trip and some hiking, especially to see top of Kalalau Valley.
Maluhia Tree Tunnel. Head South on State Hwy 520, Kalaheo. A tree lined road in the South part of the island. You will drive on this if you head to Poipu. We really enjoy the outdoor bar at the Grand Hyatt lobby in Poipu for snacks and drinks. Beautiful view! – ACM
Kayaking the Wailua River. Many companies do this, but there is also a more “hidden” way, which is cheaper and quieter, overall. Drive along R. side of river (on the 580) until you get to an ancient Hawaiian village, down a road toward the river, on the left. You can rent kayaks there, and you won't need a tour guide or need to paddle so far. Just follow all the other kayaks to the Secret Falls trail (a beautiful trail)—not so secret, though! ... Should be much cheaper overall. You can also kayak to the famous “fern grotto,” which is kind of fun to see. Also, at the very end of the 580 is a river and swimming hole, trail heads and etc.
Jeeps, zip-lining, boating, helicopter tours, and horseback riding, as well as rain ditch inner-tubing are all available on island. Look for tourist materials at airport, car rentals, restaurants, etc., and look into them.
Kauai Plantation Railway at Kilohana … around center area of island (Lihue area, near airport). Very sweet and low key train ride, fun tourist shops, restaurant and . Grandma’s Penny Chen’s Note: That was fun! … Please understand that the whole of Kauai is low key, and laid-back, not like commercial high rise-packed Honolulu.
Kauai has lots of loose chickens and you are welcome to eat them if you can catch them. So many beaches to see! Use a guidebook. They are all beautiful. Barukh (my husband) once spent a vacation on Kauai just looking up new beaches in the guidebooks and taking us to them. Amazing! Did you know that Kauai has the most beach area that is accessible on its coastline than any other Hawaiian island?—ACM
Bring mosquito repellant! Bring a rain jacket. Buy snorkel gear at Costco.
Aloha & Have fun!
Ami & Family