Living Big Travel

Living Big Travel Blog

Travel tips, guides, and real life stories to inspire your next adventure. Go explore! 

My Kauai -- top 5 for a first-time visit

*PINCH ME* I live on the West Coast of the US, and therefore, Hawaii is just a short (and now direct) flight away.

If you haven’t been ADD IT TO YOUR TRAVEL WISH LIST NOW! You might be tempted to skip it, thinking it’s over-done and the go-to-spot for honeymoon’ers, but do not be mistaken! Kauai (my fav island) is a great spot if you’re looking for equal parts adventure, sunshine, relaxation, great food and all the sandy beaches, sunsets and more. Pinky-swear promise.

If I’ve successfully convinced you to add Kauai to your travel wish list, here are my top five tips for a first-time visit. AND — if you want to do all these things and more in 2018, join me on a Living Big adventure to Kauai in May 2018. Click here to learn all about this women’s adventure.


#1: obsess over where you stay
When most people think of a visit to Hawaii they imagine being footsteps from the beach with direct view of epic sunrises and sunsets. That sounds beautiful and all, but the reality is not every accommodation provides this opportunity. So ask a zillion questions to understand your proximity to the things that are most important to you, look at properties on Google Earth and Google Maps and scrutinize the listing photos and reviews to try and read between the lines.


#2: know the tide, surf and wind schedule
Depending on where you are, the time of day, and activity can dictate the best side of the island to be at for said activity. And it’s SUPER important to inquire with local experts who know the land and waters best. For example, you don’t want to be out snorkeling when a wind storm is coming around the bend — you won’t have any visibility! And this is a minor inconvenience compared to the risk you can take by misinterpreting the current, wake or wind. This is a good resource to bookmark.

#3: go for local (but do you research) on local street fairs, markets, food carts, etc.
All over the island of Kauai you can find farmers markets with wonderfullocal fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, homemade jams, etc. You can also find street fairs with local music, artisans and food trucks. Sometimes you have a magical travel day and stumble on these gems, but with a little advance planning you can be create the magic 

4: plan your route
The one challenging thing about Kauai (as well as other islands) is that there are few roads that can be used to get around the island. As a result, traffic can pile up around key intersections (i.e. coming in/out of the airport and shopping centers) when there are car accidents and during the school bus hours. But don’t fret — traffic is just a part of life these days, but take traffic into account as you’re planning your day trips or road trips around the island to minimize delays caused by traffic.

#5: get reservations in advance for prime tables at sunset
You know that photo you see of people toasting with an epic (and unobstructed) view of the sunset behind them? They’re lovely. But LET ME TELL YOU if you want to have great food AND that sunset, you better be getting those reservations in advance, because that table is in HIGH demand. You don’t want or necessarily need reservations every night, but pick a few nights, research a few restaurants, and call ahead to get that table with the million dollar view. The Beach House Restaurant is one of my favorites.

Enjoy Kauai! And remember, if you want to experience all of this and more, join me in Kauai next year!

Mary + the Living Big team!