Best towns to stay in Kauai
Poipu is a quiet, romantic spot where couples can enjoy long lazy days at the beach before taking full advantage of the amazing sunsets over dinner. The beaches of Poipu are postcard pretty and tend not to get too overcrowded, making it an ideal spot to relax and unwind. Being Hawaii, there will always be thrill seekers searching for the perfect surf but Poipu never gets too rowdy.
There are a few bars and clubs dotted about but the overall pace of Poipu is more much slower paced than other parts of the island. Hotels in the area cater for those wanting to splash out and are mostly 4 and 5 star, with fine dining restaurants and luxury spas attached. There are also family friendly hotels that welcome children and put on a range of activities and have purpose built pools to keep the little ones fully entertained. Do not let children put you off, if you are looking for peace and quiet, as there are plenty of hotels to choose from, with some advertising as adult only.
Lihue is Kauai's capital city and is home to the island’s airport, so it acts as the gateway for the rest of the island. Kauai has a great bus service that runs across the whole of the island, meaning you get about and explore no matter where you choose as a base. Despite the rapid development of the town it has not lost any of its old charm and its beaches are relatively unspoilt.
You will see crowds on the beach at weekends, as locals like to hang out and relax in the sunshine, and why wouldn’t they? Nevertheless, even on a slightly crowded beach you will be able to lie back and forget about the stresses back home. Kalapaki Beach is a great spot for swimming, with warm waters that do not experience as much wind as some of the other beaches on Kauai. Local food is a particular highlight in Lihue, with many small street food outlets dotted about town selling traditional Hawaiian cuisine and more upmarket restaurants, cafés and juice bars catering for the international crowds.
Kapa is a small town at the base of Nounou Mountain, on the eastern side of the island. Although small, Kapa is the largest town by population and is packed full of hotels, shops, restaurants and businesses. The popular Kinipopo Shopping Village is popular with both locals and holiday makers, as it is conveniently near to the main hotels and tourist attractions.
Like many resorts on the island, Kapa is a popular surfing and water-sports hotspot but the area is also popular with lovers of land sports too. Cycling and hiking are popular activities on the island, with trails like the Kauai Path and Ke Ala Hele Makalae East Shore Beach Path proving popular with those wanting to keep fit whilst they are on holiday. Swimming and windsurfing is a staple of island life on Kauai, particularly in winter time when expert surfers can catch the best breaks. It is not all about keeping fit, though, a walk along the paths lead to stunning views of the picturesque coastline and beautiful beaches. The hotels in Kapa are not as fancy as in some other parts of the island but they do cater for all budgets, so you can enjoy luxury as well as hostel standard guesthouses. As there is plenty going on in the centre of town, those who enjoy getting out and about on their holiday, rather than sitting on a beach all day, will enjoy Kapa.
The region of Princeville has a royal name and has a rich landscape to match. Originally built for Prince Albert Kamehameha, the resort offers a high class service to all of its tourists. Luxurious hotels and fine restaurants line the streets of Princeville and there are dozens of spas and massage centres, where you can relax and let somebody else do all the work in helping you to relax. Holiday homes and villas are popular in Princeville, for those wanting a long term stay on the island and there are serviced apartments for those who want the best of both worlds.
The views to be taken on in Princeville are spectacular, particularly over Hanalei Bay and down near The Queen’s Bath, a natural tidal pool surrounded by igneous rock. Hideaways Beach is great for snorkelling, with the chance to see sea turtles as well as a wide variety of fish and shellfish. The resort is also home to two championship golf courses offering challenging holes and fantastic ocean views. Everything that you will need for your holiday can be found on foot but if you do want to head further afield, it is safe to hire a car and explore the rest of the island.