I recently had a friend visit Kauai and had the opportunity to be a temporary tourist. While I planned things I knew she would enjoy, I really had an enjoyable time visiting places and doing things that I don't normally get to do.
'Anini Beach Park - this picturesque stretch of beach and lagoon inside a fringing reef has a variety of activities to offer including camping (see County of Kauai website for permits), snorkeling, windsurfing rentals and lessons, a great place to lean paddleboard, beach combing for Ni'ihau and sunrise shells, picnicking, and kayaking. We also caught sunrises, sunsets and a full moon! It is an ideal place to stay if you are planning a Na Pali coast kayak trip (that starts at 6:30 AM), and is close to Hanalei Bay, Limahuli Gardens and Ke'e Beach -- the beginning of the Kalalau Trail.
Wings Over Kauai Air Tours - there is no other more personable business owners and employees than this family-run light airplane sight-seeing operation. Excellent narration of Kauai's cultural, historic and scenic highlights is authentic and accurate, not to mention appreciated while gliding along the coastline and over the emerald peaks. Customers get a beautiful kukui nut lei, a photo of themselves and a video of their tour all for one low price. Don't miss Wings -- it is a fraction of the cost of a helicopter!
Pakala's, PK's and the Waiohai surf spots were highlights of my surf buddy's visit to Kauai. I had never been to Pakala's before, even though I've lived here for 20 years. In addition to some of the nicest waves on the island, Pakala's has a beautiful bay, palm-lined shore, monk seals and turtles. Just watch out for the kiawe!
Four-wheeling on Koke'e's fire break roads, and along the newly opened Hanapepe to Makaweli dirt road for fishing access on G&R property. Incredible views of Ni'ihau and Lehua, and pristine, rocky fishing spots describe the former and latter.
Biking on the Bike Path from Kapa'a to Anahola. Cooling trade winds pushed our pedals along as we checked out the waves at Kealia Beach and the fools playing in the surf at Donkey Beach. Donkey is not a safe swimming spot. The Path is a very gentle grade and pleasant at anytime during the day, however, sunset is my favorite time.
Captain Na Pali Adventures boat tour of the Na Pali coast. Exhilarating coastal ride from Kikiaola Harbor -- between Waimea and Kekaha -- along the 3,000 - 4,000 foot spires and cliff sculptures of Na Pali with a few detours for waterfalls, snorkeling, dark sea caves and the "Eye of the Shark" roofless cave. Hang on with your feet and hands as Joe Clark chases dolphins between the white caps.
Maha'ulepu Beach, Maka'uwahi Cave and Lida's Garden - Sundays from 9am - 2pm, the famous Makauwahi Sinkhole is open for tours with guides providing info about the 10,000 year history of Kauai. Hike the trail above which has been replanted with native and endemic trees and shrubs, making the area appear as it might have before human habitation. Be sure to check out the giant tortoises!
CJM Stables Rodeo just happened to be in session when we left Mahau'lepu after our coastal hike. Some really talented cowboys showed us how to rope calfs and cattle. Also heard that CJM does some awesome trail rides along the beach!
Friday Night Art Night in Hanapepe - The mango pie stole the show. Passed dinner and went straight to the "Pie Lady". Great music, snacks and delicacies in the galleries, awesome art and great artists like Giorgio and Robin McCoy -- don't miss their galleries! Also, Talk Story Bookstore has the best selection of books in the islands!