Not everyone is wired to love the laid-back beach setting; just like not everyone is attached to the high-energy bustle of a metropolitan city. Hawaii draws a certain kind of audience that savors all things sand, sun, and surf. If swapping hustling streets for a hushed waterfront isn’t exactly your strong suit, here are (hopefully) helpful tips to make the experience a bit more easygoing.
Growing up in Southern California, there’s not a day that goes by where the presence of our dreamy coast doesn’t cross my mind. I love the sound of waves grating against cold sand and it’s a lucky chance that I can see postcard-worthy shore breaks everyday. If you’re anything like me, though, it’s hard to put all responsibilities on hold to spend hours soaking up rays in a sun-drenched stupor. Thankfully, though, when I traveled to Kauai, Hawaii this past March with my family, we weaved around spending everyday on the sand and explored some of the liveliness of the island. Take a look at some of the best things to do while in Kauai when the beach becomes just a bit too boring.
1. Shipwrecked Kauai (4-1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa)
Nestled right off the crossroads of Kuhio Highway and Olohena Road, Shipwrecked Kauai is a modern beach boutique with products that range from the tiniest of bikinis to journals to beachy breeze scented candles. It’s hard to not want to stuff everything in your suitcase for the trip home, but luckily you can access their website here.
2. Java Kai (4-1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa)
You may be wondering why Java Kai and Shipwrecked Kauai have the same address. That’s because their stores are actually connected on the inside. Java Kai is a quaint, yet popular coffee shop that keeps locals and tourists coming back because of the welcoming ambiance beyond the glass front doors. If you’re not familiar with the area, the good thing is that you can’t miss the bright teal building at the intersection of Kuhio Highway. Whether you stop by for a house drip coffee or find a table and indulge in one of their dense breakfast burritos, there is nothing on the menu you’ll regret ordering.
3. Kauai Juice Company (2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive,
Maybe it’s the bright, paradise-esque Instagram pictures, clean glass bottles, or deliciously refreshing juice, but Kauai Juice Company is doing it all right. With options ranging from Here Comes the Sun which contains cucumber, coconut water, orange, moringa, clover sprouts, lemon to Akala which boasts a blend of strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, pineapple, raspberry, blueberry it’s hard to pick just one at a time. Even if you’re not a “juice” person and stray away from the cold-pressed phenomena, they also offer hand-pressed nut milk. Although most likely not your everyday beverage, when in Kauai, trying it all is a must.
4. I Heart Hanalei (5016 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei)
If there’s one thing you’ll find as a common denominator on every Hawaiian island is that there is an endless supply of bikinis. Regardless of what beachside boutique you stroll into, you’ll have a fair pick of what works best. I Heart Hanalei, an upscale yet versatile boutique, is located (fittingly) in the heart of Hanalei village. With bikinis from well-known brands such as Acacia, Mikoh, Frankie’s, and Boys + Arrows to all cover ups and beach outerwear to delicate jewelry and pieces specific to the island of Kauai, the store screams chic. A couple of years ago I purchased a bracelet from I Heart Hanalei that wrapped around my wrist with a piece of sea glass on one end and a sunrise shell in the other (a shell found in remote locations in deep waters off the coast of Kauai). Do yourself, but not your wallet, a favor and stop in.
4. Kalalau Valley Lookout (Kokee Road, Kapaa)
It’s fair to save the best for last here. If you find yourself lucky enough to have time to drive up to the Waimea Canyon lookouts (weather permitting, of course) it almost makes the entire trip worth it. By driving 20 miles in from the Kekaha coast into the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve, you’ll end up in a parking lot surrounded by nothing but sky and nature. Just feet away is a railing that restrains you from a plummet of thousands and thousands of feet. The adrenaline rush is more than rewarding, though. Kalalau Lookout, at the very end of Kokee Road, is an experience like no other and offers a look at the island and uninhabited ridge line of the Na Pali Coast in a completely different lens.