Nestled on the eastern shore of Kauai, the “Garden Isle,” Kapaa is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Known for its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and vibrant local culture, Kapaa offers a myriad of activities for every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature enthusiast, or someone seeking relaxation, Kapaa has something special for you. Here’s a guide to the must-try things to do in Kapaa, Hawaii.
Explore the Sleeping Giant Trail: Begin your Kapaa adventure with a hike up the Sleeping Giant Trail, also known as Nounou Mountain. This moderate trail rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and the lush interior of the island. The trail is surrounded by vibrant flora, providing a glimpse into Kauai’s diverse ecosystem.
Relax at Kealia Beach: For a day of sun and surf, head to Kealia Beach. This long, golden stretch of sand is perfect for beachcombing, sunbathing, and picnicking. Adventurous souls can try their hand at boogie boarding or take a leisurely stroll along the beach to witness the spectacular sunrise or sunset.
Visit the Wailua Falls: Just a short drive from Kapaa, Wailua Falls is a must-see natural wonder. Plunging 80 feet into a tropical pool below, the falls are easily accessible, making it an ideal spot for a quick photo op or a refreshing swim. Remember to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this iconic Kauai landmark.
Indulge in Local Cuisine at Kapaa’s Farmers Market: Immerse yourself in the flavors of Hawaii by visiting Kapaa’s Farmers Market. Held regularly, this market showcases an array of local produce, handmade crafts, and delectable treats. Taste the exotic fruits, sample fresh coconut water, and savor traditional Hawaiian dishes prepared by local vendors.
Kayak the Wailua River: Embark on a kayaking adventure along the Wailua River, one of Hawaii’s only navigable rivers. Paddle through lush landscapes and ancient Hawaiian cultural sites, including the iconic Fern Grotto. Guided tours are available for those seeking a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the area.
Discover the Kauai Path: For cycling enthusiasts, the Kauai Path offers a scenic route along the coastline. Rent a bike and explore the beauty of Kauai at your own pace. The path stretches for miles, providing glimpses of the ocean, mountains, and charming coastal towns, making it a refreshing way to experience the island’s natural beauty.
Take a Helicopter Tour: For a truly awe-inspiring experience, consider taking a helicopter tour over Kauai. Witness the breathtaking landscapes, towering cliffs, and hidden waterfalls from a unique perspective. Several tour operators in Kapaa offer these exhilarating aerial adventures.
Immerse Yourself in Art and Culture at Kela’s Glass Gallery: Art lovers will appreciate a visit to Kela’s Glass Gallery, showcasing a stunning collection of hand-blown glass art created by local artists. Marvel at the intricate designs and vibrant colors, and perhaps take home a unique piece of Hawaiian craftsmanship as a souvenir.
Snorkel at Lydgate Beach Park: Lydgate Beach Park is not only a great spot for picnics and family gatherings but also an excellent location for snorkeling. The park features a protected ocean pool where beginners and experienced snorkelers can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter colorful marine life. It’s an ideal place for an underwater adventure.
Attend a Luau at Smith’s Tropical Paradise: Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by attending a traditional luau at Smith’s Tropical Paradise. Enjoy a feast of authentic Hawaiian cuisine, witness captivating hula performances, and learn about the rich history of the islands. The lush surroundings and warm hospitality make it a cultural experience not to be missed.
Savor Shave Ice at Hee Fat General Store: Cool down with a local favorite – shave ice. Head to Hee Fat General Store in Kapaa for a refreshing treat. This delightful dessert consists of finely shaved ice topped with an array of flavored syrups, sweetened condensed milk, and sometimes even ice cream. It’s a delicious and iconic Hawaiian treat.
Take a Sunset Cruise: Experience the beauty of Kapaa’s coastline aboard a sunset cruise. Sail along the shores of Kauai as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the ocean. Some tours may even offer dinner options, creating a romantic and memorable evening on the water.
Learn Surfing at Fuji Beach: For those seeking a thrilling water adventure, Fuji Beach is an excellent spot to learn how to surf. Several local surf schools offer lessons for beginners. Feel the rush of catching your first wave and enjoy the feeling of gliding across the Pacific under the guidance of experienced instructors.
Hike to Ho’opi’i Falls: Embark on a scenic hike to Ho’opi’i Falls, a set of cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery. The trail takes you through tropical forests and across streams, offering a chance to connect with nature. Once you reach the falls, take a refreshing dip in the pool at the base—a perfect reward for your hiking efforts.
Shop at Coconut Marketplace: Indulge in some retail therapy at the Coconut Marketplace. This open-air shopping center features a variety of shops, boutiques, and local artisans. Browse through unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, and clothing, and support the local economy while enjoying the laid-back shopping experience.
Participate in a Yoga Class on the Beach: Find your inner peace amidst the stunning backdrop of Kapaa’s beaches. Many local yoga studios offer classes right on the sand, allowing you to practice yoga while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean. It’s a rejuvenating way to start or end your day in paradise.
Conclusion: Kapaa, Hawaii, beckons with its natural beauty, cultural richness, and a plethora of activities for every kind of traveler. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, this charming town on Kauai’s eastern shore promises an unforgettable journey. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the wonders of Kapaa – a true Hawaiian paradise.