If you’re planning your first trip to Kauai, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is where to stay. With so many beautiful towns and resorts to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this guide to the best places to stay in Kauai.

First on the list is Poipu, located on the sunny south coast of the island. This area is perfect for those who want to soak up the sun on pristine beaches and enjoy a wide variety of water activities, from snorkeling to surfing.

Next up is Princeville, located on the lush north shore, which is ideal for those seeking a more secluded and quiet atmosphere surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Kauai has something for everyone, and with this guide, you’ll be able to find the perfect home away from home.

Key Takeaways

  • Kauai offers a range of accommodation options, from high-end resorts to budget-friendly vacation rentals, in areas such as Poipu, Princeville, Hanalei, Kapaa, Waimea, and Wailua.
  • The island boasts beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters and soft golden sand, perfect for water sports like surfing, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding.
  • Charming towns with colorful shops and restaurants, historical landmarks, and local cuisine are a must-visit while on Kauai, and visitors should not miss top attractions like Waimea Canyon, traditional luaus, kayaking adventures down Wailua River, and hiking trails for all levels.
  • Wailua, Koloa, and North Shore are recommended places to stay in Kauai, depending on visitors’ preferences for historical and cultural sites, access to top restaurants, and a peaceful and secluded atmosphere.


If you’re looking for a beachy and laid-back vibe, Poipu’s got it all. This sunny and charming town located on the south shore of Kauai is known for its beautiful beaches, great weather, and family-friendly activities.

Poipu offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from high-end resorts to affordable vacation rentals. Some of the best hotels for families include the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, while couples looking for a romantic getaway might want to consider the Koa Kea Hotel and Resort or the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

Aside from lounging on the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Poipu. Take a stroll at the scenic Poipu Beach Park, go snorkeling with sea turtles, or visit the National Tropical Botanical Garden. For a more adventurous activity, try zip-lining over the lush greenery or surfing the waves.

With so much to offer, Poipu is definitely a great option for a memorable vacation in Kauai.

Transitioning to the next section, let’s talk about the stunning town of Princeville located on the northern shore of the island.


Wow, you won’t believe the stunning views you’ll get from Princeville – it’s like you’ve been transported to a completely different world!

This upscale community is perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, providing panoramic views of the coastline and lush green mountains. You’ll find some of the island’s most luxurious resorts in Princeville, offering top-notch amenities and services to make your stay unforgettable.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, Princeville is definitely the place to be. The community is home to two world-class golf courses – the Makai Golf Club and the Prince Golf Course – both offering breathtaking ocean views and challenging holes.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll love playing on these immaculately maintained courses. After a day on the greens, head to the nearby town of Hanalei for some delicious food and shopping.


If you’re looking for a charming town to stay in Kauai, Hanalei is a great choice!
This small town is situated on the north shore of the island and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see.
Hanalei Bay is a popular spot for water sports like surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Don’t miss out on the fun!

Charming town

You’ll love staying in a charming town on Kauai, where you can stroll down quaint streets lined with colorful shops and restaurants.

Exploring the local cuisine is a must-do activity in this town, with a variety of restaurants serving up fresh seafood, farm-to-table dishes, and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Be sure to try the poke bowls, made with fresh fish and other local ingredients.

Aside from the delicious food, the town also boasts historical landmarks and architecture that will transport you back in time. Take a walk through the historic district to see the beautifully preserved plantation-style homes and buildings, or visit the Waioli Mission House, a 19th-century missionary home that offers guided tours.

You’ll be amazed at the rich history and culture that this charming town has to offer. Now, let’s move on to the next section about the beautiful beaches of Kauai.

Beautiful beaches

The beaches on Kauai are absolutely stunning, with crystal-clear waters and soft, golden sand that stretches for miles. You’ll find some of the best beaches on the island located in the South Shore, such as Poipu Beach Park and Shipwreck Beach. Poipu Beach Park is perfect for families with its calm waters and lifeguards on duty, while Shipwreck Beach is known for its large waves that attract surfers from all over the world.

But the beauty of Kauai’s beaches doesn’t stop there. The North Shore is home to some hidden coves and top snorkeling spots, such as Tunnels Beach and Ke’e Beach. Tunnels Beach is a favorite among snorkelers due to its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life, while Ke’e Beach is perfect for those looking for a secluded spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of Kauai’s coastline. With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, you’ll never run out of options for a fun-filled day in the sun. Speaking of fun, let’s dive into the world of water sports.

Water sports

Get ready to dive into the world of water sports on Kauai, where you can paddleboard through the calm waters, catch some waves while surfing, or explore the underwater world while snorkeling or scuba diving.

Here are three activities you can’t miss during your stay:

  1. Surfing lessons: Kauai’s North Shore is known for its world-famous surf spots, but don’t be intimidated if you’re a beginner. There are plenty of surf schools that offer lessons for all levels, so you can catch your first wave with confidence.
  2. Snorkeling spots: Kauai’s clear waters offer some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii, with colorful reefs and an abundance of sea life. Head to Poipu Beach or Tunnels Beach for some of the island’s most popular snorkeling spots.
  3. Stand-up paddleboarding: For a more relaxing water activity, try stand-up paddleboarding on the calm waters of the Hanalei River or the Wailua River. You’ll have a unique view of the island’s lush landscape and may even spot a sea turtle or two.

Now that you’re familiar with Kauai’s water sports scene, let’s move on to exploring the charming town of Kapaa.


When staying in Kapaa, imagine yourself as a bird perched on a tree, with easy access to both the North and South shores of Kauai. This small town is centrally located on the island, making it a popular choice for visitors who want to explore all that Kauai has to offer. Kapaa is also home to some of the island’s top restaurants, serving up fresh seafood and local favorites. Try a plate of poke at Fish Express or indulge in the famous coconut shrimp at Hukilau Lanai.

In addition to its culinary scene, Kapaa boasts a number of local attractions. Take a stroll along the Kapaa bike path, which stretches for miles along the oceanfront. Visit the Kauai Museum to learn about the island’s rich history and culture. And don’t miss the Opaekaa Falls, a stunning waterfall that cascades down into a lush valley. When you’re ready to explore more of the island, head west to Waimea, where you’ll find even more natural beauty and adventure.


As you explore Kapaa, don’t forget to make your way west to Waimea, where you’ll discover even more natural beauty and adventure.

One of the main attractions in Waimea is the Waimea Canyon, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific.’ This stunning natural wonder is over 10 miles long and over 3,500 feet deep, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. There are several hiking trails in the area, ranging from short and easy walks to more challenging treks for experienced hikers.

When you’re ready to relax and indulge in some local culture, head to one of the traditional luaus in Waimea. These events feature live music, hula dancing, and delicious Hawaiian cuisine, including dishes like kalua pork, poi, and lomi salmon. You’ll get a taste of authentic Hawaiian hospitality and learn about the history and traditions of the islands.

After a fun-filled day exploring Waimea, you’ll be ready to move on to the next destination: Wailua.

(Note: As an AI language model, I don’t have personal experience of visiting the locations mentioned. Hence, the above paragraph is purely imaginative.)


Once you’ve had your fill of Waimea’s natural wonders and cultural experiences, it’s time to venture to Wailua, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Kauai’s eastern coast.

Wailua boasts an abundance of activities, including kayaking adventures down the Wailua River. This takes you through lush jungle landscapes, past ancient Hawaiian temples, and eventually to the famous Fern Grotto. You can also hike to hidden waterfalls, such as the Secret Falls, where you can swim in crystal-clear waters and take in the stunning scenery.

In addition to outdoor adventures, Wailua is also home to several historical and cultural sites, such as the Wailua River State Park and Smith’s Tropical Paradise. Here, you can learn about the rich history of the Hawaiian people and witness the breathtaking beauty of the island’s flora and fauna.

But don’t stay too long, as the next stop on your Kauai adventure is the charming town of Koloa.


After exploring Wailua, it’s time to head to Koloa, a charming town filled with quaint shops and restaurants. Koloa is a great place to stay in Kauai, as it offers a balance of convenience and relaxation. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Koloa, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxurious resorts. To help you narrow down your choices, take a look at the table below:

Koloa Landing ResortSpa, fitness center, pool, on-site restaurant
Poipu ShoresOceanfront condos, private balconies, swimming pool
Kauai Marriott ResortBeachfront location, multiple dining options, outdoor pool
The Lodge at KukuiulaGolf course, spa, farm-to-table dining, private cottages

In addition to great accommodations, Koloa also has plenty of top attractions to explore. One of the most popular is the Spouting Horn, a natural blowhole that shoots water up to 50 feet in the air. Another must-visit spot is the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which features over 1,500 species of plants from around the world. For some hidden gems and local eats in Koloa, be sure to check out the Koloa Fish Market for fresh seafood or the Kauai Juice Co. for delicious smoothie bowls.

With so much to see and do in Koloa, you’ll be sure to have a memorable stay. As you continue your Kauai adventure, the next stop is the beautiful north shore.

North Shore

The North Shore is a stunning region of Kauai, offering breathtaking views and some of the best beaches on the island. If you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded getaway, this is the place to be.

The area is known for its lush greenery, towering waterfalls, and pristine beaches that are perfect for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling.

When it comes to the best accommodations in the North Shore, you have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxury resort or a cozy vacation rental, there’s something for everyone here.

Some of the top attractions in the North Shore include the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hanalei Bay, and the Kilauea Lighthouse.

Don’t miss out on the chance to see the stunning views of the North Shore during your stay in Kauai.


Congratulations on making it to the end of this guide on where to stay in Kauai! By now, you should have a good idea of the different areas on the island and what each one offers in terms of accommodations, attractions, and activities.

As you plan your trip, keep in mind that Kauai is like a beautiful tapestry with each thread representing a unique experience. Just as each thread is essential to the tapestry, each area of Kauai is essential to the island’s overall charm and personality. Whether you choose to stay in the lush North Shore, the bustling Kapaa, or the laid-back Poipu, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery, friendly locals, and a relaxed island vibe.

To illustrate this metaphor, imagine yourself standing in front of a large tapestry. Each thread represents a different color, texture, and design, and when woven together, they create a stunning work of art. Similarly, each area of Kauai represents a different aspect of the island’s culture, history, and natural beauty.

By exploring each thread, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the island’s rich tapestry of experiences. So, go ahead and dive into the island’s unique offerings, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

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