What do King Cake, beads & good times have in common? Mardis Gras in Lake Charles, Louisiana, next trip!

Exploring Kauai, Kapa’a and Hanalei

Share This Post
Pin It

Just get in your car and drive.

Kauai is an Island made up of distinct and unique areas, Poipu in the South, Waimea on the West, Kapa’a on the East and Hanalei in the North. It wouldn’t be much of a 30 Days In Hawaii if I only stayed in one place so I think it’s time I hope in my rental car and go exploring. Since I’ll be changing hotels later in the day I decide to head up the to the East and North sides of the Island to see what they are all about. Let’s go for a drive, it’ time to go exploring Kauai.

Valley off the east side of Kauai

Moolala Guide to Rockin' Your RRSP

About a 30 minute drive or so from Poipu is the Old Historic Town of Kapa’a. The highway runs right through the town so you can’t miss it. Lining both sides of the highway are shops and restaurants with a few Fresh Papaya stands thrown in to the mix as well. I parked the car and just went for a walk along the strip. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other if you don’t stop so I highly recommend you get out and explore it like I did. Of course the first place I visited was a coffee shop called Java Kai. I need a coffee fix in the biggest way!

Java Kai a coffee shop

Artwork on the walls at Java Kai

With a good cup of coffee in hand I’m really ready to explore now. The buildings are so colourful and they contain everything from Clothing, local Jewellers, restaurants like Bubba Burgers, and even a realty office Hawai’i Life that you might recognize from HGTV fame.

Island Hemp & Cotton

Bubba Burgers

The Eastside

Hawai'i Life Realty

Towards the end of the strip is an awesome little fresh Papaya and Pineapple stand. I already had a coffee in my hand otherwise I would have dove right in and ordered up some fresh slices. For those of you that travel with your dogs not to worry, Kapa’a has a dog house that your pooch might just want to be in Smile and a sign in a store window pretty much sums up the atmosphere here “I’m out at the moment, please check across the street at the liquor store” = AWESOME.

Papaya and Mango stand

Someone is in the Dog house

I'm out

Just north of Kapa’a is a beautiful ocean lookout point. Similar to us in Vancouver they have built a walkway/bike path that extends for many miles along the coast. A tad bit further north and I came across Kealia Beach.Officially the first time I have put my feet in the sands on Kauai. On this particular day the weather wasn’t spectacular, a wind warning advisory was out so the beach wasn’t too populated.

Scenic viewpoint

Walk way along the ocean north of Kapa'a

Memorial at the lookout

Kealia Beach

Back in my car I drive for about another 20 miles or so to Hanalei Bay. Now this is a cute little town. When I arrived School was letting out so it was traffic jam time. Not a single horn beeped though, it’s very “Don’t Worry Be Happy Man” attitude here. There are lots of surf shops and stand up paddle board rental places as well.

Hanalei Bay Surf Shop

Where to go and what to do in Hanalei Bay

My favourite shop though had to be The Flop Shop where you can get flip flops custom made right in front of your eyes. I had to get a couple of pair, one for my niece and one for my nephew back home. They aren’t cheap but they do come with a story.

The Flop Shop

making flip flops

Flip flops are all done

Of course there is more to do than make flip flops in Hanalei, there is Happy Hour at one of the local watering holes. I stopped in at Kalypso just in time to order one of my new favourite beers, Kona Brewing Co’s Longboard Lager.Of couse what goes good with a cold beer is fried pupus (Hawaiian for appies). I ordered the sampler platter of fried artichokes (exploding liquid be wary), fried calamari (oh so tender), fried Chicken wings, and Coconut Shrimp. Don’t worry I didn’t eat them all, just a sampler of each.


enjoying a Longboard Lager at Kalypso

Pupu sampler platter

It’s time to head back and check in to my new hotel. What a great way to spend a few hours though. The drive was also a blast, a two lane highway with tropical foliage all around you. Trees, unlike what we see in Vancouver and flowers everywhere, not to mention the occasional ocean vista. I could just drive the island of Kauai and be happy plus the best part is it’s not that big of an Island so no matter where you are staying every place is accessible for a fun day trip.

Thank you to my friends at the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau for helping make this adventure possible. If you want to have your own Hawaiian adventure there is no better place to start than Go Hawaii, after you read this blog series though first.


Under The Covers by Dawn Chubai

Pin It
Share This Post

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.


Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.