Hello! I am glad you are here. This is my first ever travel post and I am super excited that you found me. Hawaii is my favorite state in the United States and Kauai has to be my favorite island of all Hawaiian islands. If you are planning a trip there and don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Kauai is small, quiet, very remote and full of untouched nature and beauty. But don’t worry, it does have all the modern conveniences one needs to have a hassle free yet memorable trip. You’ll find a big Safeway near the airport and many fast food chains including Dominos, Panda Express, Chipotle and plenty of Subway(s) (There’s one in every part of Kauai, I know right!!?).


  • Best time to visit Kauai is April through September. These are the driest months in Kauai. The weather pretty much remains the same throughout the year.
  • Different parts of the island experience different weather.
  • South Shore (Poipu and Waimea) is the driest and North shore can be quite wet because of mountains and trade winds. Even though it rains frequently, the weather clears out pretty quickly, hence not ruining your trip. Unless of course there is a storm passing by. Always check whether conditions before planning a trip!
  • We went on the labor day weekend (first week of September) and experienced both rain and dry weather. Temperatures ranged from a high of 85 to a low of 70.
  • I carried a light jacket but did not feel the need to use it.


We took a direct flight from Seattle (5.5 hours) and there are other direct flights to Kauai (LIH) from Mainland West Coast including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Portland, San Diego and Phoenix. If you are flying in from the east coast or mid west, you can take a layover at one of these cities or fly directly to Honolulu (HNL) and take an inter-island flight to LIH.

Once you get there, a rental car is an absolute must. The entire island is mostly a one-lane road and although it may seem like you can drive around in one loop, it’s not the case! The north-west part of Kauai aka the Na Pali Coast is completely inaccessible via cars/bikes.

Rentals in Kauai are expensive, because they are very limited (tiny island reminder). Make sure to book your rental car at least ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE, specially if you are planning to go on a holiday weekend. With the recent surge in travel because of COVID, Kauai often runs out of rental cars. I remember checking a month ahead of time and everything was already sold out. Luckily there were a few cancellations with Thrifty so I was able to snag the last car.


  • [As of 10/5/2021] To enter Kauai or any other Hawaiian island requires everyone to complete the Hawaii Safe Travels Program .
  • Upload your vaccination proof or a negative PCR test taken within 72-hours of departure.
  • If you can not do either, you will have to do a mandatory 10 day quarantine (ouch).
  • Once you deplane at LIH, you walk towards the exit and airport officials will have you present the confirmation email containing the QR code to your health forms. This process was very quick and barely took 5 mins.

Day 1: Arriving into LIH and checking in hotel

After we picked up our bags, we hopped on to the rental car shuttle, picked up our rental and drove off to our resort. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu (South Shore) which is about a 25 min drive from the airport. After checking in we went to their Seaview Terrace for a drink and live Hawaiian entertainment for the night.


View from our room at Grand Hyatt

Day 2: Helicopter Tour and North Shore

We ordered in breakfast then head out for a helicopter tour of the entire Kauai island, with Jack Harter helicopters at 10:00 am. The tour was scheduled for 11:00 am (departing from Lihue) but it’s a 25 min drive from Poipu.

  • We booked a DOORS OFF tour to experience the entire island the best way possible. This was also our first time in a helicopter and as much as we were excited, we were equally anxious lol.
  • If you are into taking a lot of photos and videos, then doors off is a must. A closed doors copter would be a hindrance to those perfect shots of the island. It can also cause a lot of glare!
  • Another thing to keep in mind is the weather changes constantly so ALWAYS schedule a helicopter tour for your FIRST DAY in Kauai. This is because in the event the tour gets cancelled because of weather, you still have other days to do it.
  • There are many other tour companies operating out of Kauai but make sure to check their reviews and decide which one is the best for you. We chose Jack Harter after reading countless online reviews and some from other travel bloggers as well.

The tour lasted for an hour. After that we drove up further North to Kappa for lunch. After that we drove to Hanalei and stopped at Hanalei Valley lookout. Next was Hanalei Bay and beach. Stay for sunset or drive back to the resort for a beautiful sunset.

Hanalei Valley Lookout
Hanalei Valley Lookout

The farthest point in North Shore is 1.5 hour drive from South Shore where Grand Hyatt is so we went back to our resort to catch the sunset and have dinner and drinks.

Day 3: North Shore Again

On Day 3 , we grabbed buffet breakfast at our hotel with stunning views. We wanted to hike the Queen’s Bath trail (in North Shore) but again parking was so limited that we waited for 20 mins but there were 3 cars ahead of us waiting to grab a spot. We would be standing there for more than an hour. So we decided to skip and head to explore the town of Hanalei before heading out to the beaches

Hanalei is a small, cute town, famous for food trucks. If you are into Indian food, then you have to stop by the Cafe Turmeric food truck. It’s a must. We also ordered a Pad Thai dish from Thai Elephant truck.

Soccer field with a view in Hanalei

There are so many beautiful beaches in North Shore from where you can see the beautiful cliffs of the Na Pali Coast up close.

  • I can’t stress enough about how limited parking is everywhere in Kauai, so make sure to plan accordingly and have backup plans.
  • We waited for around 20 mins to get a parking spot at Ha’ena beach. Some other beaches to explore nearby are Ke’e Beach and Tunnels beach
  • Advanced reservations are required to even park at Ke’e beach.

Day 4: Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks

This was our last day. We head straight to the Waimea Canyon State Park which is about 40 mins west from Grand Hyatt. Waimea Canyon is huge with multiple trails to explore but we were short on time so we only drove to look out points.

First stop was this cute little waterfall called Red Dirt Waterfall. Next up, Waimea Canyon lookout. There is a parking fee of $10 for your vehicle and $5 per person to park at most of these spots. We paid this at Waimea Canyon Lookout.

If you keep driving north in the Waimea Canyon State Park highway 550 you’ll enter Koke’e state park where the famous 21 mile Kalalau trail starts. We drove to the highest point in Kauai called the Kalalau lookout to soak in views of my favorite (if you haven’t guessed already) Na Pali Cliffs.

Top 10 Things to Do and See in Kauai

And that’s it! I really wish we had more days to explore this green island. I would love to come back and just hike the many waterfalls and cliffs to soak in the picturesque island from up close. Until then, here are my favorite top 10 things to do and see in Kauai, specially if you are strapped on time:

  1. A doors off helicopter tour of the entire island
  2. A boat tour of the Na Pali Coast
  3. Drive the scenic road to Princeville and North Shore
  4. Drive up to Waimea Canyon State Park
  5. Drive further up to Koke’e State park and Kalalau Lookout point
  6. Hike the Pihea Vista trail to witness the Na Pali cliffs from up close
  7. Spend a day at one of many stunning beaches including Tunnels, Ke’e & Hanalei Beach
  8. Eat at the local food trucks in Hanalei. My favorite was obviously Cafe Turmeric.
  9. Grab a drink or snack at Grand Hyatt’s Seaside Terrace, Tidepools or the Captains Bar
  10. Catch a live performance of local Hawaiian dancers or watch a traditional Lau
  11. Don’t forget to enjoy and take a lot of photos because you are gonna wanna show off this amazing island to everyone you know!

Dreamy Resort - Grand Hyatt at Poipu

Out of the many reasons that we chose to stay here, one of the major ones was a wide selection of dining options. Grand Hyatt has 4 main restaurants and serves a variety of cuisines. The best part being the incredible views from literally every restaurant. Check out some of my favorite views of the hotel below.

Tidepools Restaurant at Grand Hyatt
Main pool at Grand Hyatt

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and I inspired you to consider, or better yet, book your tickets to Kauai, Hawaii! If you have any questions, leave a comment below. I respond pretty quickly 🙂