Planning a trip to Kauai? Learn about Kauai from local Kauai writers. Fun stories, events and things to do on Kauai.

Explore Kauai – The Garden Island

7 Things To Do on Kauai with Teens

Kauai Farmer’s Markets

Kauai for Dog Lovers: Fur-ever Friends

The Garden Isle is truly a dog’s fantasy land. Boundless outdoor adventures, streams to romp in, and pet-friendly beaches will have your furry friend wagging for joy. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

My dog, Bandi, chasing a stick. Look at that happy face!

My dog, Bandi, tirelessly chasing sticks all day, every day. Look at that happy face! We rescued Bandi from the Kauai Humane Society in 2013, and she has been a loyal member of our family ever since.

Kauai Humane Society’s “Doggy Field Trips”

If you’re missing your canine companion during your stay on Kauai, or simply a Kauai resident looking to make a pup’s day, this is the program for you. The Kauai Humane Society lets dog lovers 18 & up “check out” one of their shelter dogs and take them on a daytime adventure! This includes dog-friendly hikes, beaches, or a stroll on the Kapa’a Bike Path. Pick-up hours are 11:00 AM – 1 PM (Tuesday through Friday) or 10 AM – 12 PM Saturday’s and Monday’s. Tuesday through Friday, your new friends must be taken back to the shelter by 5:30 PM, or by 3:30 on Saturday’s and Monday’s. The lucky field trip dogs will sport an “Adopt Me” vest and must wear a leash at all times. Who knows, you may end up adopting the pup yourself!

Kauai Dog Parks

The majestic Goliath, enjoying his coconut. (Photo contributed by his owner, Garret Smith).

The majestic Goliath, enjoying his coconut on the beach (photo contributed by his owner, Garret Smith).

Two dog parks (one on the North Shore and one on the South Side) give Kauai dogs a wide range to play and make friends. The North Shore Dog Park is community-built, and located in the beautiful Wai Koa Plantation in Kilauea.  It’s open from dawn to dusk year-round, per the dog park rules. Framed by gorgeous mountain views, this free doggy playground offers shade for both you and your dog. Freddie’s Dog Park, on the South Side of Kauai, is on Kauai Humane Society’s property. This park is “member’s-only”, meaning a donation to Kauai Humane Society must be made annually. Visit the Kauai Humane Society’s website for more info.

 

 

 

Where to Walk

Calvin, feeling the tropical Kauai breeze (photo contributed by his owner, Lori Fleming).

Calvin, feeling the tropical Kauai breeze beneath his ears (photo contributed by his owner, Lori Fleming).

Wag more, bark less. That’s the motto to follow on Kauai’s pet-friendly beaches (typically beaches that are not county-maintained or parks). Kalapaki Beach, the Sleeping Giant hike (Wailua), or the Wai Koa Loop  (Kilauea) are all great options. The Kauai Coastal Path is also doggy-friendly, so get those paws moving. Keep your furry friends on leashes and always clean up after them. If your dog poops, you scoop!

 

 

 

 

 

Bella, a Kauai pup and amateur model, enjoying a Kauai sunset (photo contributed by her owner, Kalina Jones).

Kauai Pet Stores

Kauai recently got a Petco (hooray!) which is located in Lihue. Natural Pet Hawaii, also in Lihue, is a smaller pet store with all sorts healthy kibbles and toys for dogs. My own dog thinks a good, old fashioned stick will do just fine on most days. They float in the water (she’s a swimmer) and, most importantly, are free and plentiful in supply!

 

 

Life truly is better with a dog. Kauai caters to all dogs’ needs, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the biggest German Shepard. If you give a dog a Kauai coconut… they’ll be happy for hours!

Best Kauai Beaches for Little Ones

Traveling with little ones can be a challenge, but Kauai’s bounty of family friendly beaches will entertain your keiki (children) for hours. Pack the floaties and sunscreen… it’s about to get sandy!

Hanalei Pavilion

There’s nothing like frolicking in the gentle waters of Hanalei Bay. Sand bars often form at the Hanalei Pavilion, allowing for shallower waters and even more fun. In the summertime, this spot rarely has waves, so it’s perfect for younger kids. In my opinion, Hanalei sand is the best for sandcastles, so don’t forget the buckets and shovels! A long stretch of grass connects the shaded Pavilion to the beach. Keiki can take a break from the sand, and play in the grassy area. The Hanalei Pavilion also has bathroom facilities and showers to rinse off the salt. Best of all, it’s a life-guarded beach!

Anini Beach

Born and raised here on Kauai, some of my favorite childhood memories are at Anini Beach. It’s peaceful, has lots of “fishies”, and is absolutely beautiful. The large surrounding reef forms a protective barrier closer to shore, and little ones will be delighted by the clear, shallow waters. Anini is a morning spot, as the wind can pick up in the afternoon. A stroll down this beach provides tidepools to explore and shells and pebbles to collect. It’s not a life-guarded beach, but is typically very safe in the summertime.

Lydgate Beach

Ah, Lydgate, a toddler’s heaven. Two large, rock enclosed “ponds” that keep the ocean water in and the waves out, make this beach one of the safest places for little kids. To top it off, a giant playground (Kamalani Park) is only a short walk away. There are bathrooms, showers, and a lifeguard on watch. It’s no wonder Lydgate Beach is one of the most popular spots for families on Kauai.

Baby Beach in Poipu

On Kauai, you might hear locals refer to different “Baby Beach” locations around the island. Baby Beach in Poipu is one of the best if you’re staying on the South Side of the island. This little beach has calm and clear waters, protected by a sliver of reef that blocks the surf from entering. Close to Poipu Beach Park’s bathroom & shower facilities, Baby Beach is ideal for little ones. The only downside is the lack of a posted lifeguard. Remember- if in doubt, don’t go out (or bring your keiki out).

More Tips for a Happy Beach Baby

  • Don’t forget to bring shovels, buckets, and other sand toys for your little ones. For a last minute DIY sand toy, grab a pasta strainer. The soft, fine sand will sift through the holes and fall in neat piles, perfect for squishing.
  • Fill a gallon jug of tap water to rinse off sandy toes post beach day, if there are no shower facilities. Keep it tucked in the car during the day, and it will be nice and warm by the time you get back.
  • Besides lots of sunscreen, sun hats and SPF sun shirts are also beach day necessities. Check out a Kauai shop to find the right gear.
  • Pack a big beach blanket to picnic on or take naps. If there’s limited shade (like at the Hanalei Pavilion), I highly recommend bringing a beach umbrella as well.
  • And as a friendly reminder, never allow small children to play in the water unattended, even in baby-safe beaches like the ones above.

For more information on Kauai beaches, visit our Kauai Beaches guide. Many Kauai.com tours are also baby-friendly. Call Kauai.com today for more details (808-822-2846)! Ask us about which tours can accommodate your little ones. 

 

Running on Kauai: Where to Put in the Miles

Running on Kauai can test even the fittest of runners, but also caters to those just looking for a beautiful place to jog. From mauka to makai, there are plenty of trails to blaze. Let’s be honest, sometimes pounding the pavement can make us long for feeling the Earth under our feet. As an avid runner myself, I’ve put together a few of my favorite Kauai routes for those ready to put in the miles. 

The Wai Koa Loop Trail

Get ready to cake on the mud on the Wai Koa Loop trail. This cross-country run takes you through the scenic Wai Koa Plantation, providing mountain views and the breathtaking Stone Dam. Located on the North Shore in Kilauea, I love this path for its wide and moderately flat grounds. The entire loop is right about 5 miles, and takes you through the largest mahogany plantation in North America. At about 2.5 miles in, you’ll reach Stone Dam. Cooling off in the fresh water here is a must before your run back. Your trek will begin at the Anaina Hou Community Park, so they ask you to sign a waiver before you go. To make it easy, I’ve attached their online waiver here. Fill it out and you’re ready to hit the trail.

Hanalei Bay

For the full Kauai running experience, nothing beats taking a beach run on the soft sands of Hanalei Bay. Some may say it’s firm enough to run with shoes, but I personally think barefoot is the way to go. Start at the Hanalei Pier and run until the sand stops. To the opposite side of the bay and back is a little more than 3 miles, depending on how far you choose to run. You will encounter a couple of streams to cross, but they are only knee-deep at most. The relative flatness of the Hanalei Bay, paired with incomparable mountain and waterfall views, make it one of the best beaches to run on Kauai.

Running on the East and South Shores

If you’re looking for an East Side run, check back to my previous article on the Kapaa Bike Path. It’s a paved path along the ocean that stretches for almost eight miles, but can be modified to whatever length your heart desires. Start this run early for a captivating sunrise over the sparkling waters of Kealia Beach.

The South Side of Kauai offers less of the lush North Shore jungle vibe, and more opportunities to run the road. This is where the legendary Kauai Marathon takes place. It highlights the best parts of Kauai’s southern end, with gorgeous ocean views and a romp through the Tunnel of Trees. The race is coming up fast on September 3rd, 2017. It’s not too late to register online!

Ditch the “dreadmill” and hop to it, runners. Running on Kauai is a wonderful way to explore the island’s natural treasures. See you on the trails!

 

 

 

 

 

Kauai King Tides

Kauai King Tides

The rise and fall of the tides is a predictable phenomenon caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon relative to the earth. King tides are also a regular occurrence signifying the highest tides of the year. They typically occur during summer months when the moon is either new or full and is closest to the earth.

This year, sea levels were anomalously high in the pacific basin, resulting in coastal flooding during these king tide events. April’s king tide broke the record set over 100 years ago, with a tide that rose 9 inches above the predicted level.

So what is causing this sea level anomaly? According to scientists at the University of Hawaii, a combination of ocean eddies with high centers, sea level variability from a recent El Nino, and long-term sea level rise caused by global warming all contribute to the excessive tides. Additionally, summer swells can bring even more water in towards the shore exacerbating the effect.

The result is often seen as coastal flooding. According to NOAA, the sea level around Kauai is running as much as a foot greater than the levels predicted by the tide charts. NOAA and the National Weather Service often issue special weather statements predicting tidal flooding, like the one issued on Tuesday, August 22nd when peak water levels are expected in the late afternoon and early evening. This can be seen near boat harbors and in beach areas through Wednesday evening.

What does it mean for visitors to the island? Hawaii’s tidal range is actually much smaller than those seen in mainland coastal areas. Still, if you are not expecting it, water can come up fast and take your belongings with it when it retreats into the sea. It can also damage electronic devices that may contain your vacation photos. It would be wise to check the tide charts and pay attention to where you put your belongings on the beach, especially if you plan leave them unattended.

Sea Grant created the Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides Project, to collect more data about these tidal events. The project involves citizen science where folks like you and me can submit pictures through an app called Liquid Mobile Data Collection that helps document coastal flooding. Scientist can then compile and evaluate the king tides and high water data that is submitted. Documenting the king tides is important to scientists to verify their models of wave run-up and harbor flooding. These events also give us a glimpse into the future as to what to what kind of flooding and subsequent erosion we can expect to see as sea levels continue to rise.

If you are interested in participating in the study, you can download the app and check out the Pacific Islands Kind Tides Project web-page for more information.

Explore Kauai’s East Side on the Kapaa Bike Path

On the Kapaa bike path, anyone can enjoy the magnificent scenery, gentle offshore breezes, and array of photo ops. Get ready to coast your way along almost eight miles of the east side of Kauai.

Formally known as Ke Ala Hele Makalae (The Path that Goes by the Coast), this multi-use path is the perfect place to exercise while taking in Kauai’s mesmeric scenery. Currently, the path stretches from Lydgate Beach to Kuna Bay (AKA Donkey Beach). Eventually, it will be lengthened to about seventeen miles, from Nawiliwili to Anahola.

The Kapaa Bike Path from above. Photo courtesy of Kauai Path, Inc.

The Kapaa Bike Path from above. Photo courtesy of Kauai Path, Inc.

Biking the path is the most popular mode of transportation; however, walking, running, or skating is just as entertaining. If you’re in the mood for some pedaling, many bike rental locations in the area make it easy to do so. The average full day rental costs $15-$20 per bicycle.

For a long bike ride or walk, start near the Kapaa Beach Park and head north towards Kealia Beach. Sidenote: Kealia Beach is lifeguard protected, but is known for its wind swells and strong currents. Use caution, and ask a lifeguard if it’s safe to swim when you visit. Kealia is also a great beach to stroll upon mid-bike ride, or to enjoy a beach picnic. Cruise through the gentle palm trees of the east side and breathe in the salty ocean air for almost four miles. To the end of the path and back makes for a great workout and excellent views.

About a mile up the path from Kealia Beach, lies the historic Pineapple Dump Bridge. The concrete pier was built by a local pineapple company as a place to dump their pineapple waste (like crowns and skins) in the 1900s. A Lihue Plantation train was hired to transport the scraps to the pier, where they were thrown into the ocean. When the wind and currents weren’t right, the floating pineapple pieces sometimes drifted back to east shore beaches, causing a mess and a terrible odor. Railings don’t allow you to walk the small pier, but there are multiple viewpoints to check out this neat place of Kauai history.

While enjoying your time on the path, be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There is minimal shade, so a hat is always a good idea. Little pavilions line the path every couple of miles or so, and each shelter a picnic table; perfect for a pit stop. Please help keep Ke Ala Hele Makalae clean by always packing your trash. Practice path etiquette by following this list, provided by the Kauai Path, Inc.

The Kapaa bike path is an idyllic way to spend the day exploring the east side of Kauai. Set off on Ke Ala Hele Makalae for an active outdoor adventure.

 

Meet Kauai’s Super-Treat: The Acai Bowl

Ah yes, the acai bowl… that perfect, mouthwatering fusion of a sweet acai berry base and crunchy granola, topped with an assortment of fresh fruit on top. Drizzle on a little honey and your acai bowl dreams will definitely come true.

Summertime Blossoms on Kauai

Summertime on Kauai is bursting with brilliant colors and intoxicating fragrances. It is a feast for the eyes and heaven for the nose. Flower lovers rejoice as Kauai blooms throughout the summer with some of the most enchanting blossoms you have ever seen.

What to Pack for Your Kauai Vacation, Tips from a Local

It’s official! You are headed to Kauai for your vacation and you couldn’t be more excited. Now, it’s time to pack and you might just be interested in a few tips from a local perspective.