Lifestyle

A profound connection to nature, community and local traditions

Experience The Magic of Kaua‘i

An idyllic haven for nature lovers, beach enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Poʻipū (or “crashing waves” in Hawaiian) is nestled along the sun-drenched coastline of Kauaʻi’s South Shore. Discover more about the Garden Isle.

Life here is both tranquil and exciting; a place where one experiences a deep sense of belonging through an unparalleled connection with nature and a vibrant local community. Well known for its breathtaking beaches, array of expansive resorts, serene snorkeling havens, and truly unforgettable sunsets, Poʻipū offers an endless array of activities, fabulous restaurants, small eateries and great shopping. With average temperatures on Kauaʻi in the mid-70s (check out Kauaʻi’s seasons here), Poʻipū gets more sun and less rain, especially in winter, than Princeville on the North Shore.

Here are some highlights to explore and enjoy year-round.

 

Beaches & Water Sports

Poʻipū Beach & Park

Poʻipū Beach earned the prestigious title of America’s Best Beach from The Travel Channel, securing the top spot among the nation’s 10 finest beaches. This pristine shoreline consists of a succession of golden sand crescents and offers beach enthusiasts a plethora of activities like snorkeling, swimming, exploring a natural ocean wading pool, as well as opportunities for boogie-boarding and surfing.

Considered one of the safest beaches in Kauaʻi because of the reef that protects swimmers from rip currents and high surfs, Poʻipū Beach also features a picturesque tree-lined park adorned with winding paths and inviting picnic spots that overlook the shimmering waters. This beloved beach destination draws both tourists and residents, occasionally graced by the presence of Hawaiian monk seals.

Shipwreck Beach

A beloved Poʻipū spot among locals for both surfing and body surfing, Keoneloa Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is situated adjacent to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, with convenient parking just beyond the hotel’s main entrance. Although the strong current and rough waves make swimming and snorkeling difficult and often dangerous for non-experts, the beautiful expanse of sand stretches wide and long, is adorned with lush palm trees and other tropical foliage and offers an ideal space to relax and enjoy the scenery. This area also serves as the starting point for the Māhā‘ulepū Heritage Trail, an exceptional hiking experience in Kauaʻi that traverses the secluded coastline.

Lāwa‘i Beach

Lāwa‘i Beach is a top spot in Poʻipū for snorkeling (and sunsets!). Despite the small swimmers sand, particularly during high tide, this lovely, calm beach is located next to Beach House restaurant and offers the experience an underwater paradise teeming with colorful tropical fish:  a treat for swimmer and snorkelers alike.

Brennecke’s Beach

Brennecke’s Beach is situated at the eastern edge of Poʻipū Beach Park, and is renowned for its inviting waves, perfect for bodyboarding and bodysurfing enthusiasts of all levels. A cherished destination among both Kauaʻi locals and tourists, this beach also boasts a sheltered section ideal for swimming and snorkeling, while experienced surfers can tackle the offshore surf breaks.

More on Kaua‘i’s underwater wonders, as well as the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots.

 

Sightseeing and Hiking

Māhā’ulepū Heritage Trail

The Māhā‘ulepū trail, located in Poʻipū on the Southern Shore of Kauaʻi, stretches approximately 2 miles, and stands out as an immensely gratifying and popular hike. It links Shipwreck Beach and the remote Māhā‘ulepū Beach, and with a gentle overall elevation gain of just 150 feet, it also ranks as one of the easiest hikes to tackle on the island. Its charm lies not only in its manageable difficulty but also in the ever-evolving scenery along the path, featuring breathtaking cliffs, serene Ironwood groves, and intriguing fossilized sand dunes.

Spouting Horn

Formed by the natural forces of a lava tube, Spouting Horn offers a mesmerizing display (propelling water up to 50 feet in the air) accompanied by a distinctive hissing sound. It stands as one of Kauaʻi’s most renowned photography spots, particularly enchanting during sunset.

Kōloa Town and Tree Tunnel

Located on the southern coast of Kauaʻi, Kōloa, Hawai‘i’s oldest plantation town, is a coastal community that exudes a nostalgic ambiance with its quaint storefronts, charming streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, local eateries, and historic sugar mill. Here, the spirit of aloha permeates every interaction. Discover more about Kōloa here.

Kauaʻi’s iconic Kōloa Tree Tunnel is a captivating natural wonder that beckons travelers from around the world. This breathtaking avenue, formed by majestic eucalyptus trees, creates a picturesque canopy along Maluhia Road, offering a scenic drive unlike any other. As sunlight filters through the lush foliage, casting dappled shadows on the winding path below, visitors are transported into a realm of serenity and tranquility.

Kōloa Town and Heritage Trail

The Kōloa Heritage Trail is a captivating pathway that traces the storied history of Kauaʻi’s vibrant past. This unique trail winds through the scenic landscapes of Kōloa, offering visitors a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage and significant landmarks, from ancient Hawaiian sites to the plantation era. The trail offers an opportunity to explore through lush forests, serene beaches, and charming towns. Discover the beauty and history of Kauaʻi on this unforgettable journey.

Allerton BotanicalGardens

Allerton Garden, also referred to as Lāwaʻi-kai, is a breathtaking botanical sanctuary on Kauaʻi, encompassing an expansive 80-acre area adjacent to Lāwaʻi Bay. This garden is nestled within a picturesque valley traversed by the Lāwaʻi Stream and stands as one of the five exquisite gardens maintained by the non-profit National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Daily tours are available, commencing with a scenic coastal journey from the Visitors Center in Poʻipū, then winding along the valley rim via a historic sugarcane train railbed. The garden was once a private estate, recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of the 50 must-see destinations in a lifetime. Here you’ll find the renowned ‘Jurassic trees’ adorned with their strikingly massive, twisting roots, as well as verdant foliage, outdoor rooms formed by lush plants, a towering canopy of trees that creates a natural ceiling, as well as water features and statues.

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Located on the mesmerizing island of Kauaʻi, the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a stunning showcase of nature’s breathtaking beauty. Spanning 17 acres, this reserve boasts Hawai‘i’s largest limestone cave, providing a fascinating glimpse into the island’s rich history and a thriving ecosystem teeming with diverse plant and animal life. Among its inhabitants are the revered Hawaiian tortoises, lending an ancient charm to this captivating destination. Read more about this special landmark.

McByrde Garden

McBryde Garden, located above Lāwaʻi Bay in Kōloa, and in the vicinity of Allerton Garden, fulfills a vital role as both a research and conservation sanctuary on Kauaʻi. Anchored by a prominent Conservation and Horticulture Center featuring a nursery and micropropagation laboratory, the garden stands adjacent to NTBG’s National Headquarters, which houses state-of-the-art research and education facilities. Both Allerton Garden and McByrde Garden serve as a hub for botanical study, preservation, and public engagement. Renowned for housing the world’s largest off-site collection of native Hawaiian flora, McByrde Garden boasts an impressive array of palms, flowering trees, heliconias, orchids, and various other plants sourced from tropical regions.

Alakoko Fishpond

Nestled beside the Hulē‘ia River near Līhu‘e, Alakoko Fishpond, also known as Menehune Fishpond, stands as an esteemed landmark and cherished cultural gem on Kaua‘i Island in Hawai‘i. Rich in legend, culture, and history, this ancient fishpond holds a special place in Hawaiian lore. More than just a historical site, the Alakoko Fishpond embodies the enduring spirit of the Hawaiian people and serves as a testament to their resilience, ingenuity, and harmonious relationship with nature. Its storied past speaks of ancient wisdom, while its present showcases a vibrant community spirit. As it moves forward, the fishpond holds the promise of cultural revitalization and sustainable living, serving as a beacon of hope for future generations. Discover more about this landmark.

 

Dining and Shopping

Whether savoring culinary delights (check out this guide) or perusing the charming boutiques and artisan shops lining the streets of Old Kōloa Town, the south shore of Kaua‘i offers an unforgettable blend of flavors and experiences sure to delight every palate and preference.

Luau at the Sheraton

For live music, mesmerizing Polynesian dances, and thrilling fire performances delivering an authentic luau experience unlike any other, definitely check out the ‘Auli’i Luau at the Sheraton Kauaʻi. From the breathtaking setting to the sensational entertainment and exquisite dining, ‘Auli’i Luau promises an unforgettable evening filled with aloha spirit and island charm.

Breakfast at Little Fish

For that perfect grab-and-go bite, Little Fish Coffee has your back with a variety of pastries, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches. Despite the bustling queues, this beloved Po‘ipū coffee shop, boasting both indoor and outdoor seating options, remains a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The wait is well worth it for the delightful treats and cozy ambiance. Discover more about the best breakfast spots in Po‘ipū.

For the best poke, check out the top spots on Kaua‘i. Seafood lovers will find a range of wonderful options in this guide.

Shave Ice

This delightful treat comes in an array of flavors and textures, from traditional favorites to innovative concoctions, be sure to check out each destination on this list for a genuine taste of aloha that embodies the vibrant essence of Kauaʻi’s culinary culture.

Food Trucks in Po‘ipū and Kōloa Town

Po‘ipū boasts a lineup of fantastic food trucks, including the renowned Kauaʻi Poke Co. Food Truck serving up delicious poke, Kauaʻi Coconuts offering tantalizing Vietnamese fare, and Waikomo Shave Ice for a refreshing treat. Beyond their affordability compared to traditional eateries, these trucks tantalize taste buds with locally inspired dishes crafted from premium ingredients. Just a stone’s throw away in Kōloa Town, two food truck parks await with even more culinary delights to discover.

Shops at Kukui’ula

Just a short five-minute stroll from Kōloa Landing, the Shops at Kukui‘ula beckon as an upscale open-air shopping haven, offering a diverse array of mainstream brands, boutique finds, and well-loved chains. You’ll find stylish swimsuits and beach wear at Poʻipu Surf and Cruise Kauaʻi, upscale island fashion at Blue Ginger, premium yoga and hiking fear at the Lululemon Pop-Up. Not to be missed is Lappert’s Ice Cream! Also note that very Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:00 pm, the Shops at Kukui‘ula host their Culinary Market, boasting a bounty of locally grown fruits and vegetables, handcrafted jams, cheeses, spices, and baked goods.

Shopping in Old Kōloa Town

Just a short 5-minute drive from Po‘ipū, Historic Kōloa Town stands out as a premier shopping destination on Kauaʻi’s southern coast. Set within charming plantation-style buildings, reminiscent of Hawai‘i’s inaugural sugar plantation in Kōloa, the shops exude an irresistible charm and distinctiveness. Amidst historic surroundings, here you’ll find surf wear shops, fine art studios, and everything from fine Italian cuisine to gourmet burgers at the array of restaurants dotting these blocks. Coffee lovers will delight at Aloha Roasters, renowned for serving the best cappuccino on the South Shore.

Po‘ipū Shopping Village

Also close to Kōloa Landing, the charming Po‘ipū Shopping Village is set amidst lush botanical surroundings. Here you’ll find everything from beautiful beach wear at Making Waves, to casual attire at Honolua Surf Co. and even exquisite fine jewelry at Na Hoku. For an unforgettable culinary delight unique to Kauaʻi, enjoy a Puka Dog, which is an island specialty featuring a polish sausage topped with lava habanero sauce, coconut relish, and lilikoi mustard.

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