Our first time to Kauai and were wondering if the south shore area is a good place to be based out of? Would the North Shore be better?
Aloha Ross! Kauai has been my second home since 1998, and my actual home is in Princeville, the North Shore! There are many that will try and tell you that Poipu is the "sunny" part of the island! To that I... well I just laugh! There's been plenty of times I have left my home in the morning for an appointment in Poipu... and it was raining by the time I got there! Kauai is not that big, and if it's a rainy day, then it's a rainy day! My question to you to help you get the right answer- for you- is... what do you want to see and do, and what time of the year are you going to be on island? This island is the oldest of them all, and has the most story to tell! Staying in the right area for you~ will make a huge difference in the experience you have there!
I think it would depend on your activities and your pocketbook. The island is less than 600 sq. miles in size, so if you were based on the south shore it would only take an hour to drive the North Shore. (not including traffic). If you have an unlimited budget, by all means stay on the North Shore at the The St. Regis Princeville Resort. The views, the food, the beaches are to die for. You'll also be close to some of the most scenic vistas--Puff the Magic Dragon's stomping grounds, the beach where South Pacific was filmed, & Haena State Park where the trail head begins for Kalalau Trail & Hanakapi 'ai Falls. On the other hand, the south shore boasts more than half of Island's hotels and rental condos, is less expensive and drier, and as was noted in an earlier post, is close to Waimea Canyon State Park and Polihale State Park where you can have a mile of undeveloped beach all to yourself. Plan on bringing some food a bottle of wine to watch the sunset there. <SIGH> Such a beautiful place.
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The south shore tends to have better weather and lots to do. We loved Poipu.
Hello Ross! Some of this depends on what your intentions and plans are for your stay and what time of year you plan to go. In the Poipu you have good access to Waimea Canyon State Park, but will be a little further removed from the Princeville area and the North Shore. Same thing applies for being in the North Shore area. Since I think that Waimea Canyon is a must, you would need to decide if you want the easy access from Poipu, or are OK spending a full day coming from the North Shore. There is also some fantastic natural beauty north that deserves a day or two. Again, I would consider your intentions. If you want a few side trips and good beach time, Poipu may be your best choice. More solitude and, to me, a less commercial feel, then the North Shore. I would also consider staying where Jacey and I stayed in Kapaa. We didn't have to spend a full day getting, and enjoying Waimea, had short drives to Wailua falls and the river, as well as Opaeka'a Falls, easy drives to Poipu and the North Shore, and enjoyed the small town feel. Hope that helps and have a great time!
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I have been to Kauai 6 times and going again this coming April. There is not a bad place to stay on the island. Being closer to Lihue allows you some access to "city" services. Poipu is nice but outside of the hotels and a smattering of restaurants and shops it is pretty quiet. If quiet is what you seek then by all means head there. Lot of Legacy name hotels in the area. The Waimea Canyon State Park (spelling?) and boat trips to the Na'Pali Coast State Park are plentiful from the Poipu area. I like the other side of the island.....very beautiful, lots of small villages along the coast and a beautiful park at the end that has a famous trail that you can hike into the Napali coast area. Strenuous hike so make sure you are up to it.
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Generally, Yes, but like others say, it does depend on what you want to do. Its a great location in that it is about the halfway point between the West and North shores. I would suggest that you make a list of everything that you to do, then look at a map to see where those activities are in relation to where you want to stay.
Don't be afraid to split your stay, unless you're getting a really great deal. On my trips to Kauai, I've stayed 3 nights on the west side of the island so I could conveniently explore the beaches, canyon and trails. Then I spent 10-12 days on the north shore, in Princeville. This way, I only had a couple of days where I was driving long distances. Have fun!
The North Shore is the best side to stay on and I'll tell you why. My husband I have been vacationing in Kauai every summer for the past 8 years and the North Shore is just magical.
There are many places to hike to just outside your door: Queen Emma's bath, Hideaways, Sea Lodge Beach, Ke'e-- I could go on and on.
In Hanalei theres shopping, dining -- Lapert's Ice Cream, Kalypso Restaurant; it's just endless.
I would recommend day trips to the other parts of the island. The north shore is where it's at!!