Guest post by tallison
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Kauai
- Lava Lava Beach Club
- Poipu Beach
- Hilton Garden Inn Kauai
We arrived on Kauai at 2pm so we had the whole day. We rented a convertible mustang, of course, from Enterprise. We got some food and drinks at the Lava Lounge which is right on the beach. We went and relaxed at the hotel for a bit and then drove to Poipou Beach to watch the amazing sunset.
On Kauai we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. The room was very nice. There was a pool, but it was very small so we didn’t use it. It was a one minute walk to your own beach which we did use a few times. They had a retaining wall up so that kids could swim in an area without being knocked over by huge waves. Nice little private beach.
Day 2: Kauai
- Java Kai
- Queen’s Bath
- Chicken in a Barrel
- Kilauea Lighthouse
- Street Burger
We had breakfast at Java Kai- tropical waffles and surfer sandwich were both very good. Drove to Queen’s Bath. Parking is extremely limited, like 10 spaces, right next to the path that you need to take. Thankfully we went early enough that we got a spot. It’s only about a 10 minute hike to the ocean. If it is dry then the hike is very easy, but if recently rained, the hike could take you more like 30 minutes because it is slippery, and steep and rough terrain with roots and hills- be prepared for your shoes to be covered in red dirt. Once you get to the opening you can go left or right. We chose to go left. From there you can see the ocean, the coast line, and you can swim in Queen’s Bath. There are some places that you can jump off large rocks into the water. I would suggest waiting for a local to test this out first, especially if you don’t know the waters. This was beautiful place to find sea turtles, enjoy the view and climb all over lava rocks.
We then headed to Hanalei where we looked around some of the shops and had lunch at Chicken in a Barrel. The food was decent- we got a platter of selected meats and some sides. After lunch, we drove to Waileau Beach. The beach is beautiful with lots of coral reef. After spending some time on the beach, we visited the Light House.
The funny thing about Kauai is that it’s very quiet, remote and many things close early. At around 8pm we wanted to head out to dinner but not much was open for a Saturday night. We ended up at Street Burger which was delicious.
Day 3: Kauai
- Anuenue Cafe
- Waimea Canyon Trail Trailhead
- Island Taco
We had breakfast at Aneuneu in Kola– delicious and highly recommended. We then drove to Waimea Canyon and spent most of the day there. It is a long trek up the mountain with several look outs and trails along the way. If you get car/motion sick, you might want to take something as its very twisty roads and takes about 40 minutes to get all the way to the top even while driving 45 mph. The views were absolutely beautiful. We hiked the Canyon Trail which was two miles but seemed much longer given the terrain and the heat. Good shoes are a must and water and snacks. We found the two waterfalls along the way. The views are amazing as you can look out right over the canyon in several spots.
After leaving the canyon, we had lunch at Island Taco. It was expensive (like most things in Hawaii) but not very good. We would not recommend it. I would have rather drove a little farther somewhere else and had better food.
After getting back to the hotel we were beat and ended up going to the beach by our hotel for a bit.
Day 4: Kauai
- Passion Bakery Cafe
- Tunnels Beach
- Kalypso Restaurant
- Ke’e Beach
- Hanalei Bay Pizzeria
We had breakfast at Passion Bakery– sticky buns and egg sandwich were pretty good. We then went to Tunnel’s Beach and hung out for a bit. We went back to Hanalei and rented snorkel gear. It was $5 for each of us for gear for the day- great deal! Ate lunch at Kalypso which was pretty good- chicken skewers, poke and calamari lettuce wraps. We then visited Ke’e Beach-beautiful beach, not really many waves. We hiked part of the trail where there were amazing views of the Napoli Coastline. On our way back to the hotel and returning our snorkeling gear, we got pizza at the Pizzeria in Hanalei– got a large pizza (half Laua and half Napoli Pesto). The pizza was great and on our back to the hotel we stopped at an overlook (along with about 5 other cars) and watched the sunset. Needless to say it was dinner time and everyone was jealous of our pizza.
Day 5: Kauai
- Kountry Style Kitchen
- Wailua Falls
- Capt Andy’s
- Kauai Beer Company
Breakfast was at Kountry Style Kitchen– French toast and Hawaiian waffle were delicious. We tried to go to Turtle Cove (this is to the right once you go down the path near Queen’s Bath), but we parked in the wrong spot. We tried to park where we parked before, but you are supposed to park between two buildings at the resort. So instead, we just climbed the rocks and found a bunch of sea turtles anyway. We ran into another couple that went to the actual Turtle Cove and parked at the resort but they didn’t see any turtles; so our mistake worked out to our benefit.
We then visited Wailua Falls. It is very easy to get to and you can basically drive right up to it. We then headed to the other side of the island for our four hour sunset catamaran tour with Captain Andy. We were served with dinner, dessert and free drinks. The staff was awesome. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle a four hour catamaran tour on the ocean so I took one Dramamine pill before the tour and then another two hours in and I was completely fine- I was totally able to enjoy the views and experience. Word to anyone that does this- you will get really wet from the waves so wear clothes that are breathable and you don’t mind getting wet. I would also bring sweatshirt or something for when the sun goes down and you are still wet and covered in salt water. We would totally recommend doing the four hour tour with Captain Andy. We saw turtles and dolphins along the way and the staff discussed points of interest- like where movies have been filmed or hikes you can take.
We headed back to hotel, showered, and then stopped by Kauai Beer Co. for some beer and appetizers.
Day 6: Flight to Oahu
- Scratch Kitchen
- Waikiki Beach
- University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
- Supreme Court of Hawaii
- Iolani Palace
- Smith & Kings
We got up early and returned our car to Enterprise, and then took our 20 minute flight to Oahu via Hawaiian airlines. We almost missed our flight because it was super early and we didn’t get there quite in time. After arriving, we rented another convertible mustang from Enterprise and headed downtown to Scratch for breakfast. We got to Oahu during rush hour so this was a bit of a mistake- there was definitely no rush hour traffic on Kauai. It’s a very different island and environment. At Scratch we got the breakfast pancakes and eggs benedict- both delicious and we highly recommend. We then checked in and headed to Waikiki Beach where it was completely packed- much different from Kauai. We also went to the University of Hawaii and looked around. Visited the Supreme Court and Iolani Palace– all very beautiful and so much history. We had dinner at Smith and Kings which was delicious- lobster mac n’ cheese and Caesar crostini.
Day 7: Oahu
- Waimanalo Beach
- Kalapawai Cafe & Deli
- Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout
Our hotel offered free complimentary breakfast each day which we took advantage of it given how expensive meals are in Hawaii. The spread was really nice each day so it was worth it. After breakfast, we took a drive along the coast and stopped at all the scenic look outs. Stopped at Waimanolo Beach which was amazing- crystal blue waters, white soft sandy beaches and not crowded at all. We spent time on the beach and playing in the ocean. This was by far our favorite beach the entire trip.
Drove to Kailua and stopped at the Kalapawai Café where we had yummy, fresh, cold sandwiches and wraps. Visited the Pali look out– costs $3. Then we visited the Wailuah Falls and Botanical Garden but we got there too close to closing time so we decided to come back and explore when we had more time. We headed across the street and watched the sunset at the North Shore.
Day 8: Oahu
- Pearl Harbor
- Lucky Belly
We had breakfast at the hotel. Then went to visit Pearl Harbor– tickets were free because we got there early enough. You watch a movie, then take a 5 minute boat ride to the memorial, stay for about 15 minutes and then go back on the boat. You can also get bus tickets to go to other places like the Aviation Museum and USS Missouri. You have to take their transportation to these places because they are located on the Army base.
Went back to the hotel and walked around Waikiki Beach which was again so crowded but right down the street from our hotel. We also walked down the street that resembles the Vegas strip with tons of high end and low end stores.
For dinner, we went downtown and ate at Lucky Belly. Parking was a huge hassle as it was super crowded.
Day 9: Oahu
- Diamond Head
- Hanauma Bay
- Haleʻiwa Beach House
- Waimea Botanical Garden
- Haleʻiwa Bowls
Breakfast at the hotel then went to Diamond Head. But, we ended up not hiking because there was no parking. We then tried to go to Hanauma Bay, which was a short drive away, but couldn’t get in there either because the parking was full. While we went to a scenic lookout to figure out what to do, parking at Hanauma Bay parking opened and we got in for $1. There’s not much to do here unless you want to snorkel. We think there was an additional fee, maybe $8, to even get to the beach.
We had an ant infestation in our car and had to return it to Enterprise for a new one. This was kind of a hassle, but in the end we got free tank of gas and refund for one day of the rental.
We then headed out to Hailewa Town, which is super cute. We had lunch at the Beach House, which looked out over the water. We had arugula salad and po boy sandwich, both of which were really good. We then visited Waimea Water Fall and Botanical Gardens again since we had time to explore. It was $16 per person. Exploring the botanical gardens was fun but the water fall was a little disappointing. You can get a life vest and swim if you want.
We then headed back to Hailewa and got a smoothie and acai bowl from Hailewa Bowls– absolutely delicious. We then walked around the town and bought some art at a local gallery.
Day 10: Heading Home
We had breakfast at the hotel and checked out of the hotel at noon. We drove around and explored more by just driving along the coastline. Had lunch again at the Kalapawai Café again because it was so yummy and fresh. We stopped by the Honolulu Polo Club to watch a match- this was very cool. Then we headed to the airport.
Traveled in August 2017