The Best Things to Do in Kapaʻa
Kauai is a true Hawaiian paradise, with a relaxed way of living, incredible mountain backdrop and stunning tropical scenery. A town on the island that is worth a visit is the town of Kapaʻa, which is the most populous place in Kauai County.
Located on the east side of the island, Kapaʻa is a true bucket-list destination. It’s often referred to as the ‘coconut coast’ as there are a plethora of Hawaiian coconut trees situated along the shoreline and highway.
This stunning little town offers a variety of activities, as well as a great mix of shopping and dining opportunities. If you are visiting Kauai and want a trip to Kapaʻa, our recommendations below will help you to plan what you want to do during your visit.
Bike Along The Path that Goes by the Coast
If you are looking for a day in Kapaʻa full of adventure and fun, hopping on a bike and cycling along the coast is a great way to do just that. Take in the expansive views of the ocean, rugged coastline and outstanding mountains as the gentle breeze from the ocean follows you along the path.
The main cycle path that attracts both tourists and locals is the Ke Ala Hele Makalae, which is also known as ‘The Path that Goes by the Coast’. There are 8 miles of cycling or walking to be done along this trail, with every bit offering stunning views of the island and out to sea.
There are multiple ways to explore this trail in Kauai, as you can go as far as you like and turn back around once your legs get tired! If you want to make a full day of it, then we recommend that you start near Kapaʻa Beach Park and head north towards Kealia Beach.
Although cycling along this trail is the favored method of exploring the path, you can also walk, run or skate which is ideal if you don’t have access to a bike or would rather enjoy the scenery on foot. If you do choose to cycle, there are many local rental companies where you can get a bike for a full day.
Currently, Ke Ala Hele Makalae stretches from Lydgate Beach to Kuna Bay, but there are plans to eventually extend it to around 17 miles between Nawiliwili to Anahola.
If you are seeking an outdoor adventure for the whole family then the Kapaʻa’s bike path is the perfect way to do this.
Explore the Hiking Trails
Much like the rest of Kauai, Kapaʻa offers plenty of brilliant hiking trails, with unmatched scenery, great viewpoints and diverse terrains. A range of different hikes around the area are popular among tourists and locals, but when you’re exploring the east side of Kauai, the Sleeping Giant trail and Kuilau Ridge trail come highly recommended.
To make sure you are fully equipped to hike these trails with confidence, we’ve put together a little more information on each of the walks below.
The Sleeping Giant trail is a local landmark with an ancient tale associated with it. Legend claims that many years ago a giant attended a feast on Kauai, ate so much that he needed to take a nap, fell asleep and never woke up!
Expect around 2 hours of hiking while exploring the Sleeping Giant trail. When arriving at the lookout point at the mountain's peak, you will be greeted with incredible panoramic views across Kapaʻa, Waipouli, Kalepa Ridge and Wailua Bay. While on the trail, the diversity of the scenery is unmatched, offering both dense forest and a wide expanse of the coast.
The stroll along the Sleeping Giant comes to an end at the picnic shelter on the ‘chest’ of the giant at Nonou Forest Reserve. Rest up at the shelter, set up a picnic and refuel to reward all your hard work!
The Kuilau Ridge Trail offers a plethora of stunning flora and fauna as you hike through the green valleys that provide stunning views of Makaleha Mountain.
The hike is around 2 hours and about 2.25 miles in length, each way. There are also many other activities in this area such as horseback riding and mountain biking, so a full day of adventuring can be done here alongside your hike through the Hawaiian county.
As well as Mount Makaleha, views of Mount Waialeale and the Opaekaa Stream can also be seen while on this trail. This hike is perfect for the whole family and allows you to immerse yourself in the great outdoors around Kapaʻa.
Lounge on a Beach
Beaches in Kauai are known for their paradise-like scenery, with white sandy shores and crystal clear waters. They are also a surfer's heaven, as the swells here are particularly impressive.
Kapaʻa is no exception to this reputation, as its incredible beaches are great for romantic breaks as well as family holidays. We’ve rounded up some of the best beaches near Kapaʻa below so that you can choose the right stretch of sand to soak up the sun and the views from the coast.
Lydgate Beach Park
Surrounded by coconut trees, Lydgate Beach Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the water under the careful watch of lifeguards. The beach itself is situated on the shoreline near the mouth of the Wailua River and is one of the most popular beaches for swimming, picnics, camping, fishing, surfing and diving.
Other great amenities at Lydgate include; good parking, restrooms and showers. It’s a great spot for families to spend the day, with all essentials located nearby and various water sports activities on offer as well.
Wailua Beach is perfect if you are looking for an action-packed day full of surfing, fishing and beach strolls. Being one of the windier beaches, Wailua offers harsher waves and stronger currents, which are perfect for accustomed surfers, but not ideal for those visiting with kids or looking for a leisurely swim, as there is no lifeguard on duty.
Kealia Beach consists of a long stretch of white sand and is a relaxing place for whale watching during the winter months, alongside swimming and bodyboarding in the summer. There is a lifeguard present during the peak season for tourism as well as restrooms, showers and picnic tables, which makes this another great spot for those visiting Kapaʻa with children.
It is important to bear in mind that Kealia has strong wind swells and powerful currents, so be cautious when swimming here. If you happen to visit this beach when the breeze is at its most powerful, we recommend that you stick to walking along the shoreline and watching the waves from the safety of the sand.
Kapaʻa Beach Park
Kapaʻa Beach Park is favored by those looking to explore one of Kauai’s most picturesque beaches. Located at the heart of Kapaʻa Town, it’s the perfect spot to visit that lets you enjoy the amenities of the town alongside the beauty of the coastline.
With its strong winds created by the beach’s placement on the coast, Kapaʻa is often frequented by those who enjoy kite surfing. There’s a nice grassy area just above the sand, which makes for a great spot to set up a picnic as you watch Kapaʻa’s residents ride the waves.
Fuji Beach is also known as Baby Beach and is a great location for kids to explore tide pools and paddle in the sea. While the sand is soft and the sea is shallow, there isn’t much shade available along the shore, so it is important to bear this in mind and maybe pack a parasol if you and your family will be spending the whole day.
This is a great beach to stop off and enjoy lunch as you can watch kite surfers and divers alike as they bob in and out of the ocean. Towards the north end of the sands, you can find a paved Kauai bike and pedestrian path which leads to Ke Ala Hele Makalae coastal track, which makes for a lovely stroll along the coastline.
Admire the Waterfalls
The waterfalls in Kauai are famous for their sheer size and beauty, so they are absolutely worth a visit when on the island. Kapaʻa is home to some of Kauai’s best waterfalls, a few of which are listed below.
Opaekaa Falls is one of Kauai’s most accessible waterfalls and can be found around 2 miles up Route 580 in the Wailua River State Park. With scenic views of the mountainside, valleys and greenery, visiting Opaekaa is a great way to enjoy adventure when in Kauai.
This 151-foot waterfall cascades down into a secret pool, and there’s also a lookout point, picnic tables and restrooms that make it a really good place to stop for a picnic. When visiting this impressive waterfall, you can also walk uphill from the Opaekaa lookout and across the road to get even more stunning sights of the Wailua River valley.
You will find the dramatic waterfalls of Wailua to the north of Lihue right at the south end of the Wailua River. The falls tumble down into two streams, dropping from an impressive height of 80 feet.
Wailua Falls has been used as a filming location for many movies and tv shows, as the backdrop here is utterly breathtaking. You can catch a glimpse of the waterfalls from the roadside, but we recommend exploring by foot to properly experience them in all their glory.
There is much to do when visiting Kapaʻa, with only some of the top spots mentioned in this post. If you are looking for even more to do near the town we also recommend Wailua Golf Course and Kauai Hindu Monastery and Hindu Temple, which are both easy to reach from Kapaʻa.
If you want to visit Kapaʻa, you also have the option of staying on the north side of Kauai, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the whole island. Pure Kauai offers an impressive range of rental properties on the north shore to make your stay extra special. If you would like more information, please contact us here.