What to Wear
Very casual - T-shirts, shorts, light pants, dresses, a light cotton sweater, and a windbreaker. A coat and tie are not needed. There is a washer/dryer in the unit. Average hi/low is 85/74 in August and 78/66 in February.
Detailed temperature and rainfall information for Kauai is posted HERE. Scroll down to Kauai and look at the figures for Poipu.
Kukui Grove Center in Lihue is Kauai’s largest shopping mall and features restaurants, events, department stores and gift shops.
Things To See & Do:
Kauai Revealed Guidebook App
We started reading this guide in the 1970s. It is continually updated and is now available as as app (Apple, Android). GPS knows where you are; the app will give you info on everything nearby that is mentioned in the book. ($7.99),
Swimming and Snorkeling
The beach at the Kiahuna is one of the best on Kauai. Be careful swimming in certain areas (see the guidebook) as there can be dangerous currents. You can snorkel in the ocean at the Kiahuna, but it is better to the east in front of the Ko'a Kea Hotel (formerly the Poipu Beach Hotel) and at the Marriott Waiohai. For up to date beach and surf information go to www.kauaiexplorer.com. On the East Shore, a great place to snorkel is Lydgate Beach and State Park (map). The beach is protected from the surf by a couple of big rock reefs, which at one point provide approximately 100 yards of relatively calm, shallow (4-6 feet) water with excellent snorkeling. Good for families with small kids. However, recent comments in our guest book have complained about poor maintenance of the park. A fun snorkeling beach on North Shore (the other side of the island) is Ke'e Beach (map). Snorkeling here would be part of a bigger outing to Hanalei and possibly hiking along the Na Pali Coast. Usually Ke'e beach is sheltered by its big reef which is fun to snorkel around, but in the winter the waves are too strong for snorkeling.
Surfing & Boogie Boarding
Beginning surfing lessons are offered on Poipu Beach (the Kiahuna Beach). Here you can ride little waves for short distances. For beginning lessons that are a bit more challenging and waves that offer a longer ride, you can drive to Kalapaki Beach (map) and go to Kauai Beach Boys (also give lessons at Poipu). Last time I visited Kalapaki I saw a couple taking a lesson together. They must have caught 15 waves in under an hour! There is more aggressive surfing and boogie boarding at Kealia Beach (map) but be careful here due to the currents and the rocks. Also, very advanced surfers and boogie boarders ride the waves on Poipu Beach (the Kiahuna Beach) beyond the shore break out in front of the Marriott Waiohai and the Ko'a Kea Hotel. Locals also like to boogie board at Shipwreck Beach (map) in front of the Hyatt Hotel, but this is also for the very advanced only.
We highly recommend visiting Na Aina Kai (map). Children love it. My nephews (6,8, &10) love the playground. We had a difficult time getting them to leave! Built by the first wife of Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and her extremely talented 2nd husband at huge expense. Magnificent gardens and sculpture.
Kauai Mini Golf is the best mini-golf course we've seen (map). It's clean, friendly, and not tacky. Good food at relatively low cost. The grand kids love it. Its close to Na Aina Kai (the Botanical Garden above). Just North of the road to the Kilauea Lighthouse (Shell station). Next to the Banana Joe's Fruitstand.
It is always fun to take a trip to the North Shore of the island to see the picturesque little town of Hanalei (lots of fun places to eat and shop), to see Ke'e beach (map) (and the caves and streams near there), and to hike along the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. The hike along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coast is truly amazing and starts at Ke'e beach. The Ke'e Beach to Hanakapi'ai beach leg of the hike is 4 miles round trip. Don't swim at Hanakapi'ai though, it is extremely dangerous. Also try the "Awa'Awapuhi" hike, from the top of Waimea Canyon out to the Cliffs overlooking the Na Pali coast. Who needs a helicopter?
For more hiking ideas, check out "Kauai Trailblazer" by Jerry and Janine Sprout.
Kipu Falls is only 15 minutes away. It is a large pool with a waterfall and cliffs you can jump off. (Danger notice!!! Our family enjoyed this spot years ago, but recent articles like these would indicate perhaps it is best to stay away.) See this web site (map - gets you close, check web site for full directions). Some friends of mine really enjoyed doing the Zip Line tour to Kipu Falls offered by Outfitters Kauai back in 2008.
The Poipu Bay golf course (1 mile east, map, pic, pic - views of 18th fairway) is beautiful and outstanding. Puakea (in Lihue, map) is beautiful and very good. The Kiahuna golf course is decent and improving. The Kukuiolono Course (6 miles west, map) is funky and very inexpensive. The Wailua course (map) is inexpensive, crowded, and good. The Kiele course in Lihue (map) is outstanding . On the North end, the Princeville (map) courses are outstanding; The Prince is Hawaii's #1 rated course .
Poipu Bay is the best option. Call the pro shop for pricing. They frequently have special deals that are not advertised; ask about them. After 4pm play for $10 with a child (age 6 to 17) who plays free; you each must have your own clubs and walk.
After 3pm at the Hyatt, there is a deal called "Practice & Play": Hit at the range and play the first 3 holes (par 4, 5 & 3), $25 for adults, juniors free, club rentals $10/set, carts free.
Our favorite guidebook for Kauai is The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed (web site: www.wizardpub.com) by Andrew Doughty. There is a copy in the beach house, but you may wish to purchase a copy or the app (Apple, Android) before you arrive. Also check the guest book for things to do and places to eat, as our guests provide us with the most up-to-date information. Also see this link for some great tips on Travel Channel's top 7 things to do on Kauai.
In or Near Poipu (where Kiahuna #74 is located):
A number of excellent restaurants are within walking distance including Keoki's (American/Hawaiian, map, Yelp), the Plantation Gardens (high-end Hawaiian, Yelp), and the Red Salt Restaurant (contemporary Asian/Hawaiian, next door in the Ko'a Kea hotel, map, Yelp) which is excellent and you can share appetizers, salads and entrées. There are more restaurants in the Poipu Shopping Village where Keoki's is located. Our Dad’s favorite dinner is to order take out from Keoki’s bar menu and have dinner on our lanai. (Save each receipt for a free Hula Pie on any future order.) The Beach House is the most popular restaurant on the south shore. Outstanding ocean front property with beautiful sunset views in the winter. Very expensive; food average.
Outside Poipu (where Kiahuna #74 is located):
The most beautiful "dining" views on the island are from the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis in Princeville (eclectic Hawaiian fusion, map, Yelp). We always went here for lunch when this was the Princeville Hotel, but currently only open for breakfast and dinner. The Hamura Saiman Stand (map) is a famous locals spot in Lihue. All they sell are noodle bowls and teriyaki chicken and steak strips. This is a real taste of authentic local culture! On the East Shore in Kapa'a, two of our family's favorites are Hukilau Lanai (seafood/contemporary American, map, Yelp) and Kintaro (Japanese, map, Yelp). Great espresso! If you into pure espresso, Small Town Coffee Co, makes the real deal (think Italy, map). We are unaware of any other place on the island where you can find an espresso remotely close to this.
The Kiahuna (Castle Resorts only) has a nice gym with cardio equipment and weight machines. Free use of the gym is included with your stay.
Medium/small sized, but upscale with cardio equipment and weights. Has a nice spa area for showering and relaxing post work-out. Non-hotel guests may purchase a 5-workout spa/fitness pass (usable over 30 days) for $225 or a 10-workout spa/fitness pass (usable over 30 days) for $400 (map, Yelp). YMCA (22 min drv. 3-2087, Ste L, Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue. 808-246-9090) This new facility in Lihue has a nice pool and fitness center. No free weights. $10/day. $75/mo for a family (includes kids under 17) (map). Kauai Athletic Club (29 min drv. Kukui Grove Prof. Bldg., 4370 Kukui Grove St, Lihue. 808-245-5381) Free weights, machines, cardio, pool, racquetball, a deli, and more. Lihue’s real full-service gym. The problem for me is that it’s in a 70’s building which feels dark, stuffy, and cheap inside. That doesn’t seem to bother many people though (map, Yelp). Island Gym & Fitness (29 min drv. 4-1196 Route 50, Hanapepe . 808-335-2706) This medium-sized gym has free weights and machines. A good option for a full-service gym. $10/day, $30/wk, $80/mo (map gets you to Moi Rd. Turn right on Moi Rd. and immediately left into the parking lot for the Gym, Yelp).
* Note that pricing info could have changed since posted here.