my journal

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Kennidy Hassell

October 7, 2022

Kauai just might be my new favorite Hawaiian Island. Here’s a comprehensive list for Kauai of my personal recommendations (one’s with an *) and others I’ve received from friends and family.

Our Helicopter tour is definitely a must do to see everything on the island! We booked the doors off tour with Airborne Aviation. The helicopter holds up to 4 people, 3 people in front (including your pilot) and 2 people in back. Our tour was $325 and tours can range from $250-$400. Highly recommend a doors off tour for better views because you don’t have the glare from the glass. Most all tours will leave out of the Lihue airport. Photos by Jess Living Photo from our recent trip!

North Side Kauai Recommendations

  • Holey Grail Donuts Food Truck (weekends only)*
  • Fresh Bite*
  • The Spot*
  • Wishing Well shave ice*
  • Hanalei Poke*
  • Kilauea Pizza & Bakery
  • AMA ramen (get the bao buns)
  • Hanalei bread co.
  • JoJo’s Shave Ice
  • The Dolphin
  • Kalypso
  • Trilogy (coffee)
  • Kilauea fish market
  • Sushi girl 

Things to do: 

  • Hanalei Bay*
  • Queen’s Bath*
  • Hike down to Secret Beach*
  • Snorkel at Tunnels Beach*
  • Hike down/snorkel at Hideaways Beach*
  • Snorkel at Anini
  • Kayak or paddle Hanalei river 
  • Hanakapia Falls or Hanakapia Beach (need permit) 
  • Ke’e beach (at the very end of the road and it’s a cool drive you need a permit in advance to visit)
  • Kauapea beach
  • Kayak rentals by The Dolphin restaurant in hanalei (you can kayak to a cool little beach from there…if you’re interested I can find where it is exactly)

East Side Recommendations

  • Kalalea Juice Hale
  • Saimin
  • Beach House Restaurant
  • Kimchee #9
  • No. 1
  • Duke’s
  • Tip Top
  • Kalena’s
  • Kalapaki Joe’s
  • Garden Island BBQ✅
  • Fish Express 
  • Tiki tacos
  • Hukilau Lanai
  • Coconuts Fish Cafe
  • Scorpaccitos
  • Java Kai 
  • Kountry Kitchen*
  • Fillos Tacos
  • Aloha Aina Juice 
  • Kauai bakery (malasadas)
  • Anattas thai 
  • Rob’s Good Time
  • Hee Fat’s shaved ice with homemade macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom 

Things to do:

  • Bike on kapaa bike path*
  • Secret falls kayak/ hike
  • Sleeping giant hike 
  • Wailua falls
  • Kayak wailua river 
  • Walk around Hokuala Golf Course/timbers resort
  • Puhi farmers market – Saturday 9am  
  • Kapa’a waterfall hike

South Side Recommendations —


  • Puka Dogs*
  • Keoki’s
  • Eating House 1849
  • Stevenson’s Library 
  • Kickshaws 
  • Koloa Fish Co. 
  • Kauai Poke Truck
  • La Spezia 
  • Kauai Juice Co. *
  • Lapperts*
  • Red salt sushi
  • Kenji burger (ahi tuna sandwich trust)
  • Dukes

Things to do: 

  • Mahalapu hike
  • Allertons beach 
  • Sheraton beach *
  • Shops at Kukuiula – wednesday farmers market @ 3:30
  • Baby beach 
  • Warehouse 3540 shops
  • Shipwreck beach

West Side Kauai Recommendations —


  • Shrimp Station 
  • Island Taco
  • Gina’s
  • Porky’s (food truck)
  • Hoku’s (food truck) 
  • Wrangler’s
  • Booze Shop
  • Ishihara
  • Omoide (closed on Mondays)
  • Port Allen Sunset Grill and Bar
  • Brick Oven 
  • Japanese grandmas 
  • Midnight bear 

Things to do:

  • Waimea Canyon
  • Hike up kokee
  • Kalepa ridge hike 
  • Awawapuhi hike
  • Kalalau lookout 
  • Waipoo falls hike 
  • Kekaha beach 
  • Na Pali Coast raft Tour – blue ocean adventures

Looking for more help with planning your destination wedding? Check out my more in depth blog post about how to plan the ultimate destination wedding experience!

Kauai Recommendations