Where to stay on Kauai
Where to stay on Kauai? Good question, and luckily compared to the other islands, it's a fairly simple answer. Kauai gives you four major geographic areas to select from. In order of popularity (by our account), they are as follows:
1.) The south shore including Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu. 2.) The north shore, including Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea. 3.) The east side, including Kapa`a, Wailua and the county seat of Lihue. 4.) The west side including the towns of Waimea and Hanapepe. It's worth noting that staying on the west side is much less popular than the other locations.
OK, that may not seem that simple, but it really isn't that bad because it's honestly hard to make a bad choice. Reviewing our Kauai weather article and knowing when to visit Kauai will also help you. But each area on Kauai has its own unique 'flavor' and atmosphere - including its own attractions and sights to be seen.
If beaches are your scene, then you'll be happy almost anywhere on Kauai, the entire island is full of them - more (arguably) than any other island in the state. If lush scenery is what you are looking for, again, it's hard to go wrong since the entire island is known as, "The Garden Isle." Though the north and east coasts are considerably more lush and verdant than the south or west coast. But beyond beaches and lush scenery you're probably wondering what the highlights () and detractions () are for each of the areas we noted above; so let's take a look.
Southern Coast (including Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu)
It's sunny and dry almost all year-round.
Good selection of beaches available.
Several good restaurant and dining options.
The beaches are more crowded than on North Shore.
North Shore (including Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea)
Abundance of amazing scenery with a backdrop of gorgeous mountains to visually soak in. Green valleys bursting with waterfalls and lots of greenery.
Luxury accommodations are available in Princeville for those who seek that type of accommodation.
Proximity to what may well be the best trio of beaches in the state. Kee Beach, Haena Beach Park (including Tunnels Beach) and, Hanalei Bay beach(es)
Rain! The north shore is considerably wetter than most other areas on the island. This isn't a big issue most of the year, but during the winter (late November - March) it can be much wetter as the tradewinds bring more moisture to the islands.
East "Coconut" Coast (including Kapa`a, Lihue, and Wailua)
Accommodations in this area are typically much cheaper, even during times of high demand on the island (i.e.; Christmas, major holidays)
The area is a convenient "base" by which to visit the entire island. It's not too far from any one thing on the island, giving you proximity to both the north and west coast.
There are not any good locations to view one of those beautiful Hawaiian sunsets on the island.
There seemingly is a lack of good accessible beaches along the east coast
West Coast (including Waimea, and Hanapepe)
Good proximity to Kokee and Waimea Canyon State Parks. Ideal for hikers and backpackers.
Geographically is far away from most of the rest of the island. The north shore is a two hour drive away.
It's fairly barren and dry on much of this part of the island, and it can actually take away from the verdant beauty that is Kauai.
Hopefully this article has helped narrow your choices down for where to stay on Kauai. For specific accommodation details we recommend consulting TripAdvisor.com for up to date reviews and details about each accommodation on the island. Best of luck as you continue to plan your Kauai vacation or trip.
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