1 week in Kauai: what to do, where to eat, & how to stay healthy

1 week in Kauai: what to do, where to eat, & how to stay healthy

what to do

hiking

Na Pali Coast

na pali coast hike

the most beautiful hike in Kauai, in my opinion. there’s a variety of trails: 2 miles one way, 4 miles one way, or 11 miles one way.

get there early to find parking, bring an extra pair of shoes, change of clothing, and lots of bug spray, as it’s very muddy and there are a lot of mosquitos. you can relax at the beach at the beginning of the trail, but you can’t swim in there in the winter. 

Sleeping Giant

sleeping giant trail

this trail is 2 miles each way and gives you great views of Kapaa. there’s a picnic table at the top but no bathroom facilities. 

Waimea Canyon

waimea canyon hikes

there's a waterfall you can hike to (about 4 miles RT), as well as another longer trail you can hike that's 6 miles RT with stunning cliff views.

beachin'

Salt Pond Beach Park

salt pond state park

a very family-friendly beach, it has golden sand and calm waters.

Lyndsgate Beach

lyndsgate beach

there's a protected wave pool here that's great for snorkeling, but the actual beach is also beautiful.

Glass Beach

glass beach

this is one of the "must-see's" according to everyone I talked to, but honestly you can't see the sea glass until you're up close. it's a good place to stop by, but not much to do at the actual beach.

Shipwrecks Beach

shipwrecks beach

this beach has a couple of "hiking" trails nearby - I use the term "hiking" loosely because it's all sandy and would be great for pictures, but isn't an actual hike. there's a lot of bodyboarders and surfers here, since the waves are decently large.

other attractions

Swinging Bridge

where to eat

Porky’s

porkys

Location: Waimea

What to get: Whatever they have on the menu

Porky's is famous for their hot dogs topped with kalua pork. say heck yeah to the double meat and stuff your face. if you're paleo or GF, just don't eat the bun.

seafood

Sushigirl Kauai

sushigirl kauai

Location: Lihue

Gluten free, paleo

What to get: The special of the day poke bowl

this is one of the "must try" sushi places in Kauai, but I honestly found it to just be OK. very cute but overall pretty bland fish.

Pono Market

pono market

Location: Kapaa

Gluten free, paleo

What to get: Salmon poke or a Hawaiian plate

most of their poke is actually previously frozen, so I wouldn’t recommend that. their salmon poke is fresh, however, and fantastic. the Hawaiian plates come with 2 scoops of rice and your choice of hot entrees like Kalua pig, but these run out quickly.

Makai Sushi & Koala Fish Market are 2 places that I heard were great but didn't get the chance to try - the Gorilla poke bowl at Makai sounded amazing though, so let me know if you happen to go (so I can live vicariously through you ;) ).

Juice Bars

G’s Juice Bar

g's juice bar

Location: Waimea

Vegan, gluten free, paleo

What to get: The Ghandi bowl or the Avatar bowl

it’s a good healthy stop on the way back from Waimea Canyon. you can choose from a variety of bowls, smoothies, and juices; they also have probiotic kefir water. for more info, check out my Yelp review here.

Anake’s Juice Bar

anake's juice bar

Location: Koala

Vegan, gluten free, paleo

What to get: Smoothie bowls, healthy snacks

located inside Kukuiula Market, Anake’s is the best juice bar I tried in Kauai. they have an expansive, unique menu and aren’t skimpy on the portions. for more details, check out my Yelp review here. they also have chia puddings, overnight oats, superfood dark chocolate, energy bars, and other goodies that you can buy.

grocery stores

Safeway

homemade poke

Locations: Lihue, Kapaa

What to get: Poke, groceries

although most of the poke here is frozen, the fresh ahi poke is local and fantastic. honestly, it was better than the previously frozen ahi poke I had at Pono Market. at $15.99/lb, it’s not too pricey either. take it back, add some salad or rice (I added kale and purple sweet potatoes here!), and you have a cheap meal. 

Safeway also has a variety of normal grocery and health food products, like fresh produce, meat, to-go items, etc. if you’re living in a condo, this is a good place to pick up fresh veggies and meat. be on the lookout for Kauai-rasied beef and Japanese sweet potatoes!

Costco

costco breakfast

Location: Lihue

What to get: Snacks, bulk groceries, fish and meat

we stopped by Costco (AKA one of my favorite places) as one of our first stops from the airport. we got organic eggs, frozen kale, frozen peas, frozen edaname, frozen berries, organic carrots, fresh local opah (moonfish), super cheap red wine from Hawaii, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, FAGE yogurt, pineapples, clementines, Essential Living Organics superfood mix, Amazing Grass powder, and dry roasted salted almonds. 

Costco is a great place to buy hiking snacks and breakfast foods (here's my go-to breakfast yogurt!) - we finished everything we’d bought by the end of a week (minus the Amazing Grass powder, which I happily brought home). the almonds were especially good for hiking and come in a resealable bag, so you can bring it home with you if you aren’t nut-happy like my fam and go through 40 servings of almonds in a week.

Healthy Hut

teaonic

Location: Kilauea

What to get: Organic local goodies, smoothies

we got bags of organic kale here for $3.99 a bag, which isn’t terrible. everything else is pretty pricey, but as it’s basically a more hippie Whole Foods, it’s to be expected. I also picked up Teaonic here for $4.99 a bottle since I didn’t see it anywhere else on the island. they have GTS kombucha as well, but I’d go to Safeway to buy that since it’s over a $1 cheaper there.

Foodland

avocados

Locations: Kapaa, other locations

What to get: Cheap non-organic produce and meat

we bought local Thai apple bananas, local avocados, and non-organic produce here. not as great of a selection as the other grocery stores, but if you’re shopping on a budget, it’s a good place to go.

how to stay healthy

my family hiked almost every day we were here, which was a nice change from my normal high-intensity boxing, heated yoga, and spin classes. apart from hiking, if you’re looking for ways to stay active during your vacation, try these out:

gyms

Crossfit

Kauai seems to have the more Crossfit gyms than any other type of exercise. I didn’t get the chance to try any of them, but here they are in case you’re interested.

Running

there’s a lack of consistent sidewalks in Kauai, so be careful when running. luckily, the cars are pretty accommodating. you can run on the beach or on certain hiking trails (well, technically on all of them, but some are better than others) as well. Hawaii is hot and humid, which is an extra layer of discomfort AKA an upped level of training.

Water Activities: Surfing, Snorkeling, Stand Up Paddle-boarding

if you go in the summer, it’s far safer for these water activities. if you go in the winter, you still can, but be careful of which beaches you go to - the North Shore beaches tend to have larger swells. rule of thumb: only go in the water if you see others (preferably locals) in there already.

Lyndsgate Beach, with its protected pool, is good for snorkeling. Shipwrecks Beach is good for body boarding / surfing. Waimea River is popular for stand up paddle-boarding. 

HIIT Exercises

I thought I was going to run every day in Kauai, but I honestly didn’t feel up to it, especially with 4-6 mile hikes later on in the day. instead, I preferred short HIIT workouts that were 1) more effective and 2) saved a lot of time (because honestly, you’re on vacation). here's a workout under 20 min that I did:

hiit workout

NOTE: the Porky's and G's Juice Bar pictures were taken by my sister, Danielle Chen

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