This Kauai Travel Guide is a quick reference for the best restaurants, activities, beaches, where to stay, and what to pack. Kauai is a gorgeous tropical island with so much to offer!
Kauai. "WOW." Words fail me. Until you see it for yourself, you can't begin to understand. This island is a surreal place. Mountains collide with ocean mixed with palm trees, vivid flowers, and massive waterfalls.
It would take months to explore everything I wanted to see on Kauai. Everywhere you turn there's something incredible, something otherworldly. But in 6 days, I saw as much of it as I possibly could... while also spending some much-needed chill time at the beach.
Mostly, this Kauai travel guide is about food. Because, hello, I love food AND this is a food blog. But I also included some bonus tips at the end for packing, adventure, beaches, and sightseeing. All of which helps you make room for your next meal, duh.
Where We Stayed
This whole trip was my mom's brilliant idea. We try to do a girl's trip once a year and she decided to knock it out of the park this time. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Resort. It was absolutely beautiful and their team was friendly and accommodating. We weren't overly impressed with the food, but when it comes to resorts/hotels, that's usually the case. The poolside food was actually good, though – I would recommend that over any of the other in-resort restaurants.
The pool situation is AMAZING at the Grand Hyatt. They have a saltwater pool that looks and feels like an ocean tidepool. The surf at the beach was a bit rough for my swimming-skills-set, so I only got in once to test the temperature. While they're all breathtaking, a lot of Kauai's beaches were just too rough for me to feel comfortable with swimming.
Enough about all that, let's get to the main point – FOOD!
Best Food in Kauai
Island Taco – This is the perfect place to stop on your way back from Waimea Canyon. If you spent the whole day driving up and doing some hiking at the top, you're defffffinitely going to have an appetite. This is a small restaurant with lots of taco and nacho options, and outdoor seating. You could easily split with someone – the portions are huge!
Pizzetta – We ate at Pizzetta twice while on Kauai because pizza is life and well, Pizzetta is really good pizza. It's located in adorable Old Koloa Town, so if you time your order right, you can walk around and do some shopping while you wait.
Anake's – This acaï bowl and juice spot is my number one MUST when you visit Kauai. Enjoying a big, juicy, overflowing, and totally ridiculous acaï bowl was at the very top of my Hawaii priority list, so we set out in search of one on our first morning on the island. We rented bikes from the resort (free!) and rode about a mile down the main road to a small shopping center. There, we popped into a juice bar that did NOT have acaï bowls. One of their juice baristas was kind enough to direct us to Anake's just up the road. They have "the most insane açaï bowls," she said.
And so we went. We rode our bikes another half mile or so, walked to the back of the store, and ordered our bowls. Order "The Hulk." Do it. Yes, it's big. Yes, it's over-the-top. But damn, it's good.
Holoholo Grille – This is another one of the spots where I recommend splitting your meal. My mom's avocado toast could have probably served 3 people, TBH. The portions are big, the flavors are good, and the service is excellent – overall, this spot is well worth a visit!
Little Fish Coffee Co. – Breakfast bagel sandwiches. Crispy, golden brown bagel with egg and cheese, and pesto mayo, and sprouts, and preferably a golden milk latte if you feel like living your best life. I've been trying to recreate that magical drink at home ever since. Little Fish has two locations on Kauai – one in Koloa and one in Hanaepepe – we visited both.
We experienced a bit of a wait each morning that we went to Little Fish, but it wasn't too bad. Just allow yourself an extra 10-15 minute window if you have a tour booked or somewhere to be!
Tidepools – This restaurant is located within the Grand Hyatt Resort. The setting is absolutely gorgeous – you're seated just above koi ponds that wrap around and flow under the restaurant. There's always a nice breeze, so be sure to bring a sweater along in case it's a bit too cool for you. My recommendation here would be to stick with appetizers and salads. We LOVED their polenta-encrusted scallops. Their entrees just weren't anything special.
La Spezia – Italian dinner dreams! We split our meal here as well. (If you haven't noticed a theme yet, you can split a meal at most places on Kauai.) We ordered Vognole e Gamberetti – a killer pasta dish with local shrimp and clams in a seafood broth. I looooooved the ambiance of this spot. It was fancy, but in a rustic, cozy way.
What to Explore in Kauai
Waimea Canyon – Do NOT skip this when you visit Kauai. Go all the way to the top of the mountain and take in the views. BUT – be sure to stop frequently along the way. There are so many breathtaking views along the road –stop and be amazed. Especially the waterfall between mile marker 11 and 12. Just.... WOW. This excursion is one that I recommend wearing sturdy shoes for!
Salt Pond Beach – Out of all the beaches that we were able to visit on Kauai, Salt Pond Beach seemed the most accessible. There is ample parking and it's a super short walk to the actual beach. The water was clear and calm – and there are no big waves or strong undertow like many of Kauai's beaches.
Old Koloa Town – This is the most adorable little town to visit while on Kauai. It's one short road lined with artsy shops, clothing stores, and plenty of good food. We loved being able to see it while it was decorated for Christmas.
What to Pack for Kauai
- beach bag
- lightweight raincoat or poncho
- casual ball cap
- 2 swimsuits
- swimsuit cover-up or sarong
- 3 tank tops
- 2 dressy/nice tops
- 2 t-shirts
- shorts (1 pair of jean shorts, 1-2 pairs of colored/dressy shorts)
- 2 dresses (1 casual, 1 dressy)
- lightweight sweater or cardigan
- zip-up sweatshirt
- underwear + bras
- 3-4 pairs of socks
- sturdy hiking shoes or tennis shoes (preferably some that you don't mind getting dirty)
- flip flops
- dressy sandals
- wedges or heels (if needed for fancy occasion)
That's it! That's my guide to the best food and things to do in Kauai. We only had 6 short days on the island, but we searched out the best spots and found some absolute gems.
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