Day 2 is your first real, full day on Kauai.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Kauai Vacation Itinerary
Assuming you're coming to Kauai from a place located to the east (like anywhere on the U.S. mainland), then you have a great time zone advantage on this day.
Say you flew from California to Kauai on Day 1 and normally wake up around 7:00 AM in California. Your body will still be wanting to get up around that time, which will be more like 4:00-5:00 AM in Hawaii (since we're 2-3 hours behind California depending on Daylight Savings Time which we don't have in Hawaii, and lightyears ahead on everything else!). For more on time in Hawaii, see What Time Is It In Hawaii?.
Let's use this timezone change to your advantage on Day 2 to get an early start without much trouble. Do it now because by Day 3 you'll have lost all or most of that advantage. What can you do before the sun comes out to play? How about watching a sunrise! Come on, when was the last time you actually watched a sunrise? Now when was the last time you watch the sun come up over the ocean's horizon? Many would say never. It's worth doing at least once in your life and now is the time to do it.
So where is the best spot in all of Kauai to watch a sunrise? There isn't any one best spot, but pretty much anything along the east coast of the island will work. You're likely staying either in the southern areas of Kauai ( Poipu which is actually Koloa, Lihue) or along the northern area around Princeville. Regardless, the good news is that Kauai is pretty small and driving to an east coast beach won't take all that long (especially at an early hour). Still, drive slow and cautiously.
So where should you go? Kealia Beach Park is a good option since you can easily access it right off the main road. Just a bit further south begins the Kauai Path which is a walking path that follows the shoreline, giving great views of sunrises the entire way. That path will lead down into Kapa'a Beach Park and Waipouli Beach Park. Further south is Lydgate Beach Park which should work as well.
After you've taken in the splendor of a Hawaii sunrise, it's time to go eat! Fortunately, you're in or near the town of Kapaa and there are plenty of dining options around here, click to see.
All fueled up and ready to see more of Kauai? Great, then we need to head to the southwest side of the island to access Waimea Canyon. If you don't know that name, know that it is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Much like the real Grand Canyon, this one is both a hole in the ground and a site to see. In fact, this is one of the most popular attractions on the entire island!
Enjoy the scenic lookouts and make sure to bring that camera. When you're done with that you'll head further north up the road you came in on and enter Kokee State Park. Kokee covers an area of 4,345 acres at a height of 3,200 to 4,200 feet above sea level It's a forested area with a variety of hiking trails, flowers, and scenic views.
In fact, this is the easiest (but not best) way to see the Napali Coast without the work of the challenging Kalalau Trail as there will be scenic lookout points to give you a glimpse of what we have planned for tomorrow. While in the park, you'll want to stop at the Kokee Natural History Museum - Hui o Laka. Hikers will enjoy the many trails that the park has to offer as well.
On tip about Kokee State Park is to bring a jacket or sweater as it will be much cooler up here than at sea level. Temperatures here can range from 45 degrees fahrenheit (8 celsius) in January to 68 degrees fahrenheit (20 celsius) in July. With an average rainfall around 70 inches, it can also get a little wet up here.
It's time for a trip to the beach, and I'm not taking you to just any beach but Poipu Beach Park which is one of the best all around beaches around. It's a family friendly beach complete with bathrooms and lifeguards, and quite popular too. It's sort of Kauai's Waikiki Beach, only it's slightly less insane.
On your way there, take a slight detour to see Spouting Horn Park / Spouting Horn Blowhole which is home to the Spouting Horn Blowhole, one of Kauai's most photographed spots, and part of the Koloa Heritage Trail. Then head back towards Poipu Beach Park and be sure to stop somewhere along the way to grab some lunch. Or, wait until you're near the beach and then you can eat at one of the lunch options near Poipu Beach as well.
When you've enjoyed your day at the beach, let's go explore Poipu and Koloa. Note that Poipu is just a name for an area within the city limits of Koloa. Be sure to read up on our Koloa & Poipu Guide first as well. This is a nice area to explore and has a lot of history to it. Stop by Old Koloa Town and visit the Koloa History Center for a little of that history. You'll also be able to grab some dinner around here or drive just a little further south to Kukui'ula Village Shopping Center for more dining options. Either way, this is a great area to dine, shop, and explore before heading back to your hotel for a soak in the hot tub.
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