Where to stay in Kauai
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There is no one answer for where you should stay in Kauai. The best answer you could get would be- it depends! It will depend on your personal preference & travel style based on the type of accommodation you prefer, what activities you want to do while there and the overall vibe of the area you’d like to experience.
Overview of the areas/regions of Kauai island
There are four main regions to the island of Kauai:
East Coast &
Each area of the island has its own unique vibe, typical weather & sights to see.
Keep reading for details on each area to help you choose where to stay in Kauai.
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Where to stay in Kauai
✔ beautiful, lush greenery & mountain backdrops
– rainy from November through March
Most well known for Hanalei Bay, the north shore area of Kauai is the most verdant on the island. Upon entering this area you’ll see waterfalls and mountainscapes as your backdrop, and be well within the more popular beaches such as Kee & Haena.
*Keep in mind that ‘rainy’ weather in Hawaii can often mean rain for a few hours & then sunshine soon after.
✔ sunny & dry year round
✔ plenty of beaches to enjoy
✔ lots of dining available
– beaches are popular with visitors, so they can feel crowded compared to other parts of the island
The south shore of Kauai is home to the warmest & driest parts of Kauai. It’s definitely popular with travelers, but you can’t beat the stunning beaches here.
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✔ more affordable lodging compared to other areas of the island
✔ in between the North Shore & West Side, so is convenient to access most of the island
✔– many beaches here are local – some think they are less beautiful/accessible compared to the North & South parts of the island
The east coast of Kauai is the second most popular area of the island which means there are lots of accommodation options. It’s also close to many beautiful areas such as Wailua Falls & Wailua River and the Fern Grotto
✔ great home base for those looking to do lots of hiking
✔ – much more isolated than the other parts of Kauai
You could technically split the west side into northwest & southwest.
The northwest area, also known as the Napali coast, is essentially inaccessible save for boats, which makes it a beautiful place to experience as there is no infrastructure there. Whereas the southwest part of the west side is dryer and has beaches like the stunning Polihale beach.
This area isn’t built for tourists, so it still maintains that local Hawaiin vibe.
With so many beautiful options to choose from where would you choose to stay in Kauai?
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Omg what a hard decision to decide where to stay in Kauai! I think I’d be happy in just about any of these locations…but probably would opt for sunny year round!
I agree – all are amazing, but it’s hard to beat sunshine year round!
Ok I want to stay at ALL these locations in Kauai! This is such a helpful guide! 🙂
Haha I’m with ya! It’d be incredible to spend a few nights in each area, they’re all so beautiful.
Always wanted to visit Kauai! Didn’t know there are actually four parts. All of them look great!
Surprisingly all of the islands are thought of as areas – it makes it easier for travelers to know where to visit & to stay 🙂
I’m hoping to make my way finally to Hawaii this summer! Saving this for when I start planning, thanks for sharing!
How exciting! You will LOVE Kauai if you decide to go to this island (although, honestly, they’re all pretty incredible!)
I’m in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Hawaii so this was a great intro to Kauai! I would love to stay near Hanalei Bay and those lush mountains! That said, the local beaches on the West SIde also sound great to visit. Getting that local feel is what I love most about traveling.
How exciting! Hanalei Bay is definitely farthest from the rest of the island, but if you don’t plan on driving around much it might be the perfect spot for you!
I was debating between a few islands when choosing where to visit in Hawaii and ended up choosing Honolulu. I wished I have more time and would love to incorporate some of the places you recommended to visit! Lovely post. 🙂
Honestly, anywhere in Hawaii is absolutely stunning, especially Honolulu!!