What makes Kaua'i so different? More than 5,000,000 years old, it's a place of incredible geological diversity, just waiting to be explored. Microclimates abound and as you circle the island on its single ring road, the topography changes dramatically. Kukui'ula sits at the road's midpoint, placing it within easy striking distance of Kaua'i's most splendid diversions, experiences, sites, spectacles and attractions. That's why we call the resort your basecamp for Kaua'i. In either direction, to reach road's end is a journey of about an hour-and-a-half, and along the way, every destination is a marvel. Here are a handful of our favorite places. For more insight, check out our blog or drop by Huaka'i Guides at the Clubhouse.
Surf & Sand
South Shore beaches are sun-drenched and known for their summer swells. Near Koloa, Maha'ulepu is one of the most tranquil and isolated, located at the end of an old cane-hauling road. The island's West Side is the dry side, and where the towering dunes and fine white sands of Polihale beach stretch for 17 amazing, uninterrupted miles. Gusty Lydgate Park in Kapaa on the east side is so family friendly, you may leave with a few new Aunties, Uncles and Cousins. And on the North Shore, Makua, also known as Tunnels, has deep-water near-Shore caverns and some of Kaua'i's most impressive snorkeling thanks to its half-moon shaped reef.
Afoot & Afield
Two of Kaua'i's most breathtaking locales are like inverted versions of one other. The pleated and folded Na Pali Coast on the North Shore is a skyscraping monolith of dripping green spires, while Waimea Canyon on the West Side plunges deep into the blood-red earth. Both are bucket list hiking destinations, as is Koke'e State Park abridging the two. Paddling the Wailua River leads you into the island's lush East Side landscape. And on the South Shore, there are multiple ways to zipline over the forest canopy, gallop through grassy fields, or roar through the 3,000-acres of Kipu Ranch in an off-road 4x4.
Deep agricultural roots have positioned Kaua'i as the wellspring for Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, a style based on locally grown and sourced ingredients. Some of the most renowned practitioners have restaurants on the south side at The Shops at Kukui'ula, including Roy Yamaguchi (Eating House 1849) and Peter Merriman (Merriman's Fish House). Then there are the classic island grinds—manapua and celebrated noodle bowls from Hamura's Saimin Stand in Lihue, laulau from Koloa Fish Market, gravy-drenched loco moco from the Anahola Café, poke from Ishihara Market in Waimea, musubi from everywhere. The food truck scene is at its most vibrant in Kapaa just off the bike path, and the best place to sip distinctive Kaua'i coffee is
upcountry at Kalaheo Café & Coffee Co.
Craft, Music & Events
Lay a foundation for Hawaiian art appreciation by perusing the permanent collection of the Kaua'i Museum in Lihue, then graduate to attending Art Night, particularly the iteration held in tiny Hanapepe on the West Side on Friday evenings. The Grove Farm Sugar Plantation and Museum in Lihue opens an insightful window on bygone agricultural traditions and plantation heritage, which are celebrated each July with a parade and events in Koloa Town during Plantation Days. June through August is the time of the Bon Dances, held at Japanese Buddhist temples around the island. Each October, three days of hula competition anchor the Eo E Emalani I Alakai Festival at Kokee State Park on the West Side. And on the North Shore, the Hanalei Family Community Center regularly hosts slack key guitar and ukulele events and performers.
Keep On Going
Learn more about Kukui'ula.