Kauai, Hawaii Day 3

Grand Hyatt

After a long day of sightseeing and hiking yesterday, we decided to take it easy today. We took our time getting ready, and then ventured down the street to check out the Grand Hyatt Kauai and have brunch at their buffet.

grand hyatt kauai hawaii
grand hyatt kauai hawaii
Indoor seating with a large open and outdoor patio area

Indoor seating with a large open and outdoor patio area

Stairs leading down to the restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Kauai

Stairs leading down to the restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Kauai

We did not have reservations, but we managed to luck out! Our incredible view of the pond and beach at Ilima Terrace.

We did not have reservations, but we managed to luck out! Our incredible view of the pond and beach at Ilima Terrace.

Not a bad seat in the house! Lots of options for sitting to admire the view or catch up on a good book.

Not a bad seat in the house! Lots of options for sitting to admire the view or catch up on a good book.

Trail leading down to the swimming areas

Trail leading down to the swimming areas

grand hyatt kauai hawaii
Tidepools is an award-winning restaurant with romantic bungalows and koi ponds

Tidepools is an award-winning restaurant with romantic bungalows and koi ponds

grand hyatt kauai hawaii

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is one that is easily accessible by car and has a nearby parking lot, no hiking necessary. It is located near Lihu'e off of Highway 56.

Wailua Falls is one that is easily accessible by car and has a nearby parking lot, no hiking necessary. It is located near Lihu'e off of Highway 56.

Opaeka'a Falls

Opaeka'a means "rolling shrimp." It is located on the eastern side of the island in Wailua. Opaeka'a Falls is easy to get to in terms of no hiking involved and there's a large parking lot with restrooms available.

Opaeka'a means "rolling shrimp." It is located on the eastern side of the island in Wailua. Opaeka'a Falls is easy to get to in terms of no hiking involved and there's a large parking lot with restrooms available.

Maunakapu and Wailua River

If you walk right across the street from Opaeka'a Falls, you'll stumble upon this fantastic view of the mountain ridges of Maunakapu and the Wailua River. If you arrive before dawn, you may come across a beautiful sunrise.

If you walk right across the street from Opaeka'a Falls, you'll stumble upon this fantastic view of the mountain ridges of Maunakapu and the Wailua River. If you arrive before dawn, you may come across a beautiful sunrise.

Kilauea Point Lighthouse

The Kilauea Lighthouse opened in 1913 and it is located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Make sure to check what day you visit since the Lighthouse is closed to visitors on Sundays and Mondays. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful sight to behold, even from afar.

The Kilauea Lighthouse opened in 1913 and it is located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Make sure to check what day you visit since the Lighthouse is closed to visitors on Sundays and Mondays. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful sight to behold, even from afar.

kilauea point lighthouse kauai hawaii
kilauea point lighthouse kauai hawaii
kauai hawaii

Wailua Shave Ice

Hawaii is known for it's shave ice and this place does not disappoint. Wailua Shave Ice uses fresh fruit. So, you won't find the overly sweet syrups or artificial flavors here. This place was a bit out of our way, but we managed to visit a couple of times and tried several flavors.

Hawaii is known for it's shave ice and this place does not disappoint. Wailua Shave Ice uses fresh fruit. So, you won't find the overly sweet syrups or artificial flavors here. This place was a bit out of our way, but we managed to visit a couple of times and tried several flavors.

Dragonfruit with pineapple topping

Dragonfruit with pineapple topping

We also tried the Lava Flow and Kauai Orange Dream. I'd recommend all of them, you can't go wrong.

We also tried the Lava Flow and Kauai Orange Dream. I'd recommend all of them, you can't go wrong.

Puka Dog

If you're in the Poipu area, you should definitely check out Puka Dog for their Hawaiian-style hot dogs. They were named by the Travel Channel as one of the Top Ten Hot Dog Stands in America.

If you're in the Poipu area, you should definitely check out Puka Dog for their Hawaiian-style hot dogs. They were named by the Travel Channel as one of the Top Ten Hot Dog Stands in America.

There are a lot of different options for relishes, but feel free to ask for a sample. The Lilikoi's Hawaiian Mustard is delicious and sold in local stores so you can take some back home with you.

There are a lot of different options for relishes, but feel free to ask for a sample. The Lilikoi's Hawaiian Mustard is delicious and sold in local stores so you can take some back home with you.

What makes these hot dogs so unique is that the inside of the bun is hollowed-out and toasted. Therefore, you don't have the problem of everything falling out of the sides.

What makes these hot dogs so unique is that the inside of the bun is hollowed-out and toasted. Therefore, you don't have the problem of everything falling out of the sides.

puka dog kauai hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii Day 2

Waimea Canyon Lookout

We got up early to hike the Waimea Canyon, which is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It was formed by erosion from the Waimea River and it boasts a scenic trail with breathtaking views.

waimea canyon lookout kauai hawaii
waimea canyon lookout kauai hawaii

Off of State Hwy 550, you'll find great overlooks with panoramic views of Waimea Canyon. A great option for those who are not physically able to complete the hike or if you are short on time.

waimea canyon kauai hawaii
Off in the distance, you can spot Waipoo Falls. This is where we hiked to (see below).

Off in the distance, you can spot Waipoo Falls. This is where we hiked to (see below).

A picture is worth a thousand words, except when it only captures part of the majestic atmosphere of this massive canyon.

A picture is worth a thousand words, except when it only captures part of the majestic atmosphere of this massive canyon.

You can spot this view by stopping at one of the lookout points along the road. Or, by taking a helicopter (some will even drop you off near the waterfall so you can walk around).

You can spot this view by stopping at one of the lookout points along the road. Or, by taking a helicopter (some will even drop you off near the waterfall so you can walk around).

waimea canyon waterfall kauai hawaii

Waimea Canyon Trail

We started on the Waimea Canyon Trail, which is a 3.2 mile hike with semi-steep climbs and many small rivers with only rocks or branches to hop across. The hike takes you through the forest, along the top of a ridge with great views of the Waimea Canyon, then to the top of the 800 ft tall Waipo'o Falls. 

waimea canyon trail kauai hawaii
Watch your step, the branches were not as steady as they appeared.

Watch your step, the branches were not as steady as they appeared.

The edge of Waimea Canyon. There were no guard rails, so be extra careful. We saw a few people lose their footing due to the smooth surface of the rock.

The edge of Waimea Canyon. There were no guard rails, so be extra careful. We saw a few people lose their footing due to the smooth surface of the rock.

Getting closer to the waterfall!

Getting closer to the waterfall!

We made it! The crashing waters of the Waimea River falling down the steep slope of Waipoo Falls was a sight like no other.

We made it! The crashing waters of the Waimea River falling down the steep slope of Waipoo Falls was a sight like no other.

The view from atop Waipoo Falls

The view from atop Waipoo Falls

waimea canyon kauai hawaii

Kokee State Park

We made a quick pit stop here and happened to come across a traditional Hawaiian Hula dance.

kokee state park kauai hawaii

Pu'u O Kila Lookout

Located at the very end of Highway 550 in Kokee State Park, we found one of the best views of our trip. 

Due to recent flooding, we were not able to hike the Na Pali Coast. However, this provided a spectacular view of the valley along the Na Pali Coast.

Due to recent flooding, we were not able to hike the Na Pali Coast. However, this provided a spectacular view of the valley along the Na Pali Coast.

pu'u o kila lookout kauai hawaii

Kauai Coffee Company

We made a quick stop at the Kauai Coffee Company on our way back from the Waimea Canyon. The Kauai Coffee Company has a self-guided walking tour, tons of coffee samples, and a cafe and gift shop.

kauai coffee company hawaii
Java chip ice cream at the Kauai Coffee Company

Java chip ice cream at the Kauai Coffee Company

Bubba's Burgers

There's nothing better after a long day of hiking than a good old-fashioned burger. Very affordable and fresh ingredients, Bubba's burgers are made from 100% grass fed Kauai beef

There's nothing better after a long day of hiking than a good old-fashioned burger. Very affordable and fresh ingredients, Bubba's burgers are made from 100% grass fed Kauai beef

Grilled and made to order: fish and chips, cheeseburger, and onion rings

Grilled and made to order: fish and chips, cheeseburger, and onion rings

Spouting Horn Park

Right down the street from our hotel was the Spouting Horn Park, where water from each wave is forced through an opening and creates a blowhole. The water can spray as high as 50 feet in the air, 

spouting horn park kauai hawaii
spouting horn park kauai hawaii

We ended the day by walking around the resort and grabbing a quick snack at Lava's on Poipu Beach, where they usually have nightly performances from local musicians. 

lava's on poipu beach sheraton kauai hawaii
lava's on poipu beach sheraton kauai hawaii
sheraton kauai hawaii
The resort has a different feel at night. The tiki torches and string lights, the sound of crashing waves and the ocean breeze, and couples walking leisurely along the beach. It almost makes you forget that time exists.

The resort has a different feel at night. The tiki torches and string lights, the sound of crashing waves and the ocean breeze, and couples walking leisurely along the beach. It almost makes you forget that time exists.

Kauai, Hawaii Day 1

Kauai is just a short flight (less than one hour) from Maui. Because everything is spread out, you'll most likely want to rent a car in order to make the most of your experience. Driving in to Poipu on State Highway 520, you'll be welcomed by the Tree Tunnel, which consists of 500 Eucalyptus trees. 

maluhia road tree tunnel kauai hawaii
We were able to walk to the Poipu Shopping Center from our hotel. We found this little place for lunch, which was quite tasty.

We were able to walk to the Poipu Shopping Center from our hotel. We found this little place for lunch, which was quite tasty.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

Wasabi Ahi Burrito (this is the half-portion)

Wasabi Ahi Burrito (this is the half-portion)

Sheraton Kauai Resort

We stayed at the Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu. It had a great view of the beach and lots of shopping nearby. Poipu is known to be sunnier compared to other parts of the island (unfortunately, the northern shore of Kauai had flooded prior to our arrival).

sheraton kauai resort hawaii
Lobby of the Sheraton Kauai

Lobby of the Sheraton Kauai

Courtyard of the Sheraton Kauai

Courtyard of the Sheraton Kauai

Another view of the courtyard at the Sheraton Kauai

Another view of the courtyard at the Sheraton Kauai

Poipu Beach, which is located right off of the Sheraton Kauai

Poipu Beach, which is located right off of the Sheraton Kauai

Lava's on Poipu Beach, which is connected to the Sheraton Kauai. A good place to relax and enjoy the view. You can order food and drinks in the cabana, by the pool, or even by the beach.

Lava's on Poipu Beach, which is connected to the Sheraton Kauai. A good place to relax and enjoy the view. You can order food and drinks in the cabana, by the pool, or even by the beach.

View of the pool from Lava's

View of the pool from Lava's

After settling in to our hotel, we decided to take a drive. We found this incredible view heading west from Poipu.

After settling in to our hotel, we decided to take a drive. We found this incredible view heading west from Poipu.

We stopped in a little town called Hanapepe. Here, they have a Swinging Bridge, which was originally built in the early 1900s. Appropriately named, this suspension bridge swings back and forth with each passerby. It is only recommended that 10-15 people at a time cross the bridge, and the walkway is really only large enough for one person.

We stopped in a little town called Hanapepe. Here, they have a Swinging Bridge, which was originally built in the early 1900s. Appropriately named, this suspension bridge swings back and forth with each passerby. It is only recommended that 10-15 people at a time cross the bridge, and the walkway is really only large enough for one person.

The "Swinging Bridge" in Hanapepe

The "Swinging Bridge" in Hanapepe

Every Friday evening, Hanapepe hosts an Art Market down it's main street. We figured this was the best way to relax on our first night in Kauai.

Every Friday evening, Hanapepe hosts an Art Market down it's main street. We figured this was the best way to relax on our first night in Kauai.

The town was alive with lots of local artists, live music, and unique shops.

The town was alive with lots of local artists, live music, and unique shops.

The pork nachos from a food truck called "Chip Wrecked"

The pork nachos from a food truck called "Chip Wrecked"

Mangosteens from a local vendor

Mangosteens from a local vendor

The inside of a mangosteen

The inside of a mangosteen

End of Art Night in Hanapepe

End of Art Night in Hanapepe

Another beautiful way to end the day. We were able to do a lot of sightseeing without completely wearing ourselves out. As for tomorrow, now that's a different story!

Another beautiful way to end the day. We were able to do a lot of sightseeing without completely wearing ourselves out. As for tomorrow, now that's a different story!

Top 8 things to do in Maui, Hawaii

1.  Relax on the beach

With so many great beaches around the island, pick a spot and hunker down for a relaxing afternoon. For more, see my post about the best beaches around Maui.

maui hawaii kihei beach
maui hawaii kaanapali beach
maui hawaii beach

2.  Go hiking

One of my favorite things to do, there are lots of trails and not enough time. I did the Waihee Ridge Trail, but there's so many other options around the island. The views alone will be worth the hike. Make sure to research the distance and difficulty level of the trail before going.

maui hawaii waihee ridge trail
maui hawaii waihee ridge trail

3.  Road to Hana

It's not the destination, it's the journey. Although it sounds very cliché, it definitely holds true for the Road to Hana. There are so many stops that it's impossible to do it all in one day. Check out this post for the highlights.

Road to hana maui hawaii

4.  Haleakala Crater

The Haleakala Crater is a popular spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. Make sure to check out this post for tips on what to pack, info on reservations, and admission.

haleakala crater maui hawaii
haleakala crater maui hawaii

5.  Eat the local Hawaiian food

From Hawaiian-style poke to banana pancakes, there's so much wonderful food around the island. You can find some of the best eats in Maui in anything from a food truck on the side of the road to a fancy sit down restaurant.

maui hawaii local fish

6.  Check out some waterfalls

Waterfalls are speckled all over the island. If you do the Road to Hana, you'll come across plenty along the way.  

road to hana maui hawaii waterfall

7.  Get shave ice

Uluani's Hawaiian Shave Ice is the most popular spot to get shave ice in Maui. With a few locations around the island, be sure to get the "POG" (passion fruit/orange/guava) to get the full Hawaiian experience!

hawaiian shave ice maui hawaii ululani

8.  See the Banyan Tree

On the west side of Maui is Lahaina, where the Banyan Court Park is. Here you'll find the oldest and largest banyan tree in Hawaii. 

banyan tree lahaina maui hawaii