THE FULLEST Guide to Kaua’i
An island full of unparalleled natural beauty and a thriving and passionate community — Kaua’i is truly a place that once visited stays with you for life. Chelsea McCarthy, a Kaua’i transplant and founder of ON&ON, enlists the help of friend and local, Mahina Alexander, to curate a thoughtful guide to the island’s most special places.
In return for their offering, and/or if you love Kaua’i, please consider learning about its communities and its needs. If you feel inclined to repay the island for its hospitality, Chelsea and Mahina suggest donating to either Malama Kauai or Aina Ho’okupu O Kilauea, two farming and food-based organizations doing admirable work for the community.
The Palmwood Guesthouse
This bed-and-breakfast is a true hidden gem. A hilltop retreat, inspired by the mountain ryokans (country inns) of Japan, is nestled amongst the rolling green hills of Moloa’a — a lesser known enclave on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. It’s full of rustic charm and promotes a simpler way of being without forgoing small luxuries that make life special.
Malia's Princeville Airbnb
This super clean and thoughtful space is an ideal spot for North Shore adventures. Less than 10 minutes from the beautiful Hanalei Bay, you can bike or run to Princeville Park. We love its organic garden and shaded private patio. Great for lovers or best friends.
The Nene Nest Kaua'i
Possibly the cutest rental on the always sunny West Side. This classic, sugar plantation-style cottage is less than 200 steps to the beach, plus there is a gorgeous lanai (a Hawai’ian-style porch) to sip tea slowly and read a book.
Poipu Beach House
If you’ve got a bigger group, this sweet beach home is ideal for a family or trip with friends. It’s private and spacious boasting a pool, fire pit, and hot tub because outdoor living is the way in Kaua’i.
Whether you’re after an Americano, matcha or an adaptogenic tonic — Trilogy has you covered. Their extensive list of coffees, teas, and delectable raw vegan treats is everything. Also, if you’re in need of your Saffron Latte fix, you can find it on their menu and available for retail purchase if you wanna take it back to make at your vacay rental.
Family owned and operated by sisters, this little spot has sweet and savory lunch options. Organic, local food with a truly epic view of Hanalei Bay, it’s a must-do.
Kalalea Juice Hale
We love this little orange road-side stop. Without a doubt, this is the place for the best matcha and acai on the North Shore — the smoothies and other treats are super good too. Heads up, it’s closed on Mondays.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, this tapas style restaurant is the go. Ingredients are sourced from good relationships with local island fishermen and organic farmers and the large round tables and outdoor patio make for a buzzy atmosphere.
Kauai Juice Co
Outside of Kalalea Juice Hale, we love Kauai Juice Co. It has locations in Kilauea, Kapaa, Poipu so no matter what side of the island you’re on, Kaua’i Juice Co is accessible to everyone. Also check out their Hawaiian Hot Sauce!
Photo by Kate Ogata.
Situated across from its sister cafe, Trilogy Coffee, Hunter Gatherer has a little bit of everything from local art to Japanese glassware, collectible surfboards, and more. Handpicked and carefully considered, you can lose yourself for hours in this treasure trove.
The Barn 808
A place to discover incredible local artisans like Sueno Made, a creative who makes the most beautiful hand-dyed silk pillowcases and dresses. While you’re there, check out the other boutiques in the building that are also worthy of a look.
This converted warehouse acts as an indoor artisan market. Our picks are Refill for sustainable goods, and the falafel wrap + fries from Lawai Market are delicious.
Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
Privately owned and operated, these gardens require a reservation and a small entrance fee. A retired couple built the gardens and have collected bronze sculptures along the way. Pay a visit to the tea house and enjoy time by the pond and pool.
Waipo'o Falls Hike
Round trip, this hike is about 3.5 miles and moderately difficult. Yet, once you hike to the top of the waterfall, it is incredibly special to be in Waimea Canyon. Remember to NOT geotag your photos when traveling in Hawai’i. Keep the special spots special.
Anini Beach Park
Sweet for kiddos and families because the lagoons are shallow and protected from waves by the surrounding reef. Anini is a long beach, take the time to cruise around and discover your spot.
Hanalei Surf School
We love this family-owned business because their instructors are pro surfers who will get you to your feet. Surfing in Hanalei Bay with this crew is the way to go!