Sun Soul Style : Kauai Guide

I've been coming to this little island in the middle of the Pacific since I was a kid - I've always been and continue to be completed captivated by it's magic. When Daniel and I met, we bonded over our mutual love for this place where we would eventually get married! I've stopped counting how many times I've been, but each time I discover something new that I've never seen. I think it would take many lifetimes to see every facet of this island. This list is similar to the guidebook I put together for friends and family who made the trip out to Kauai for our wedding - they loved it so much that I thought I would share it with you, in case you're lucky enough to one day visit this special place. xx

East Side - Eats

Java Kai

4-1384 Kuhio Hwy, Kapa’a, HI 96746

This is always our first stop after we land on the island. Great coffee and eats plus the cutest gear! Pro tip: if you’re in a rush, head to Kai Bar in the back of Java Kai!

Kaua'i Juice Co

4-1384 Kuhio Hwy, Kapa’a, HI 96746

Cold pressed locally-sourced juices, wellness shots and healthy eats.

Kinohiki Seafoods

3-4301 Kuhio Hwy #102, Lihue, HI

This gem may not look like much from the outside - but I'm telling you - the BEST poke on the island by far! Also their Ginger Fried Chicken are what foodie dreams are made of. Grab some lunch to-go and head to the beach!

East Side - Shop

Shipwrecked Kauai

4-1384 Kuhio Hwy B-106, Kapaʻa, HI 96746

I literally can't come to Kaua'i without picking up a little something for myself at Shipwrecked. Cutest assortment of beach wear, kinis and homewares. I recently picked up a pair of Beatrice Valenzuela sandals that I haven't taken off since! Best part - it's connected to Java Kai so you can do some caffeine-fueled shopping!

East Side - Adventure

Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) Trail

The Nounou Mountain Trail is one of the most popular hikes on the island and will take you to some amazing 360 degree views of the East Side. The ridge formation resembles a human body laying flat on its back - hence, the popular trail is known as ‘Sleeping Giant.’ It’s only about 2.5 miles each way, but the climb up is pretty steep and strenuous. If you’re down for a sweat, 100% worth it!

Ho’opi’i Falls Hike and Cliff Jump

Ho’oip’i Falls Trail is a short but action-packed hike taking you to 2 waterfalls. The first falls is a great spot for cliff jumping or a refreshing dip. The second falls is one you may recognize from the film Jurassic Park! The trail can be muddy at times but leads you through some unbelievable scenery. Great for all levels. Plan on spending a few hours here so you can jump in the pools and soak in the lagoons.

The Wailua River

This is the longest navigable river in Hawaii. Take ‘Smith’s Boat Tour’ up to the fern grotto or do a kayak rental and you can stop off there on your way up. The kayak is awesome and you can hike to secret falls at the end!

Kealia Beach

This beautiful stretch of white sand beach is great for bodyboarding and surfing.

East Side - Stay

South Side - Eats

Koloa Fish Market

3390 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

An amazing place to get classic Hawaiian plate lunch and the freshest fish in town! My go-to is the ahi plate lunch with wasabi cream, side of mac salad!

Enjoy a cold brew at Aloha Roastery in Koloa Town

Aloha Roastery

5356c Koloa Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

Nestled in old Koloa Town, this cute little roastery has killer coffee. Their logo-d shirts and hats are super cute, too!

Anakes Juice Bar

2827 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756

Don't judge this place by it's facade - set in the very back of Kukuiula Market - this juice bar is NOT to be missed. Best acai bowls on the island! The market also has great sushi and poke bowls.

Eating House 1849

2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Rd A-201 Koloa, HI 96756

Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s newest restaurant - great for a nice dinner out! My recommendations: Kamameshi (Hot Pot Rice Bowl), Haha Burger and the Ramen Bowl!

South Side - Shop

Salt + Sea

2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St, Koloa, HI 96756

Cutest little boutique that I always hit up when I'm on the South Side - local brands plus favorites like Acacia Swimwear and Flynn Skye.

South Side - Adventure

Lawai Beach

It may not seem like much of a beach but this spot is great for snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling gear next to the Beach House restaurant above. The grass in front of the restaurant is a stellar place to watch the sunsets!

Shipwreck Beach

Situated in front of the Grand Hyatt - I swear, if it's raining EVERYWHERE else on the island the sun seems to peak out at Shipwrecks! Perfect for surfing and bodyboarding - not great for kids unless you’re just planning to hang on the beach (waves can be rough).

Maha’ulepu Beach

You can either access this gorgeous, usually uncrowded stretch of white sand beach by hiking the 2 mile trail from Shipwreck Beach, or by driving down the dirt road that begins where Poipu Rd ends. Road is a bit bumpy (we said adventure!) but was recently paved so your rental car should be safe.

Maha'ulepu Beach

Allerton Garden

Also known as as Lawai’i-kai. This 80-acre botanical garden is stunning! (Fun fact: this garden has been featured in films like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean!)

West Side - Eats

Ishihara Market

9894 Kaumualii Hwy Waimea HI 96796

Touted by locals as some of the best poke on the island. The perfect place to pick up lunch - they’re best known for their poke, sushi and plate lunches. Spicy and wasabi poke and the kimchee cucumber are our faves!

G’s Juice Bar

9679 Kaumualii Hwy Waimea HI 96796

/ closed Friday and Monday

This sweet local juice bar serves up yummy acai bowls and smoothies!

Island Taco

643 Kaumualii Hwy Waimea HI 96796

This simple roadside shop serves up delicious tacos - blackened mahi mahi, wasabi seared ahi and coconut lime tofu are some of our favorites!

West Side - Shop

Warehouse 3540

3540 Koloa Rd Kalaheo HI 96741

Step inside this old glass factory and you’ll discover a wonderful montage of boutiques and goods from local artisans. Grab a gourmet burger or shave ice (their shave ice is AMAZING) as you stroll through the shops

Warehouse 3540

Aloha Exchange

8309, 2-2535 Kaumualii Hwy, Kalaheo, HI 96741

Cutest surf shop selling everything from boards, outdoor gear coffee mugs and bikinis – their logo apparel donned with the shop’s credo “Aloha Brings Change” – it’s the perfect place to pick up a little piece of paradise!

West Side - Adventure

Waimea / Koke’e

Waimea Canyon, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is truly breathtaking. There are countless hiking rails in Kokee State Park. Our favorite hikes are Awa'awapuhi and Waipoo Falls (via Canyon Trail).

With our friends and family on the Na Pali Coast the day after we got married!

Na Pali Coast Exploring With Na Pali Explorer Boat/Snorkel Tour

If you're going to spend money doing one touristy activity - I would tell you to spend it on a boat tour of the Napali Coast. Stunning doesn't even really begin to describe the 16 mile uninhabited rugged coastline.

Kekaha Beach

Although Waimea Plantation is gorgeous, the black and which in front isn’t the best for swimming. If you want to go find yourself a white sand beach, take Kaumualii Hwy about 5 minutes West and you’ll see the beach on your left hand side

Salt Pond Beach Park

About a 10 minute drive from Waimea Plantation, this beach is protected by an outer reef and great for snorkeling!

Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park

Head here for a beach day that will end with an amazing sunset. FYI: you will be driving for awhile on a long bumpy dirt road and end up in the middle of nowhere on the longest white sand beach in Hawai’i. Also super fun place to beach camp!

West Side - Stay

North Shore - Eats

Pick up a fresh pressed juice next door at Kauai Juice Co to pair with your ahi fish wrap!!

Kilauea Fish Market

4270 Kilauea Rd Kilauea HI 96754

Two words: FISH. WRAPS. We crave these seared ahi wraps on the daily! Pro tip: ask for extra sauce on the side (we’ve asked them for the recipe multiple times - they won’t tell!). A must have while on the island — maybe more than once! Pro Tip: Call head to place your order to avoid 30 min + waits.

Saenz Ohana Breakfast

4488 Hanalei Plantation Rd, Princeville HI 96722

This little food truck parked in the parking lot of Makana Urgent Care may not look like much - but it is a TRUE hidden gem. Ahi eggs benedict and taro french toast are rich but perfect for a weekend brunch!

Postcards Cafe

5-5075 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei HI 96714

This charming restaurant in a garden plantation cottage serves up local vegetarian and seafood dishes, often with an appealing world-fusion twist. Faves include the wasabi-crusted ahi or fennel-crusted lobster tail. Great for a nice dinner out!

Tahiti Nui

5-5134 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei HI 96714

Tahiti Nui has a local atmosphere in the heart of Hanalei. This place is a ton of fun, with live Hawaiian music every night from 6:30-9pm! Really good local food, too!

Village Snack Shop

5-5190 Kuhio Hwy Ching Young Village Shopping Ctr, Hanalei HI 96714

Casual at its best - this local jaunt is known for their chili pepper chicken plate and the (to die for) chocolate haupia (coconut) pie - both insane. You won’t be disappointed.

The Dolphin Fish Market

5-5016 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei HI 96714

Pick up some cut maki sushi rolls or fresh poke to-go for your beach day!


5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714

Tues - Sun 5pm-9pm

Enjoy delicious Japanese style Ramen noodles while taking in Hanalei’s iconic, waterfall-drenched mountains.

North Shore - Shop

The Barn 808

5080 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714

I always look forward to paying a visit to this amazing store owned by Donavon and Petra Frankenreiter. It's a clear reflection of the couple's personal aesthetic - a thoughtfully curated mix of ceramics, linens, art, textiles and clothing that feels like it was collected during their travels. I spend my days looking at A LOT of retail and I love that every time I come here I see something I've never seen.

Ohana Shop

5-5190 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714

North Shore - Adventure

Kalihiwai Beach

One of our favorite beaches on the North Shore! The gorgeous bay is lined with Ironwood Trees (perfect for those who like some shade) and is a great place to bring lunch and spend the day. Waves are generally mellow here in the summer, and there are streams toward the back of the beach - perfect for the keiki!

Gorgeous Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay

Two miles of white sand beach with stunning views of the rugged beautiful mountains. In the summer it's calm and great for stand up paddle boarding - winter waves tend to be bigger.

Kahili Quarry (aka Rock Quarry) Beach

This beach is nothing short of STUNNING. One of my absolutely favorite places to hang out for the day. This rugged stretch of beach is tucked away between two vegetated cliffs where Kilauea Stream meets the ocean. The stream behind the beach is great for little ones - it even has a rope swing!

Tunnels Beach

If you’re on the North Shore, Tunnels Beach is a must – hands down one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. You may recognize the mountain above from the movie “South Pacific.” About 15 minutes North of Hanalei town. Parking has recently been limited so I suggest going early in the morning and hang for the day.

Hanakapiai Trail

This hike starts at Ke’e Beach. Definitely is not an easy breezy hike. It’s tough - but totally worth it. 2 miles in and 2 miles out, you will see caves, rivers, beach, views and wildlife. Hike 4 miles longer to see the Hanakapiai falls. Due to a devastating flood that hit the North Shore last year, you now need to get a day permit in advance to do this hike (get one here)

Okolehao Trail

The Okolehao trail is on the North Shore near the town of Hanalei. The whole hike is about 5 miles and is strenuous - it will take you all the way up Hihimanu Ridge - however if you’re not feeling like doing the whole thing you will still get incredible views of the Bay!

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