Best of Kauai’s East Side

Top Pick – New Year’s Eve Party

A Roaring Good Time At Oasis On the Beach — Celebrate New Year’s Eve at a beautiful oceanfront setting.  Starting at 10 p.m., show up for dancing and good music, featuring entertainment by DJ Kana and Evan Daniels plus a champagne toast — all in the Roaring 20’s theme. Costumes reflecting the 1920s are encouraged. Want to experience a very special dinner before-hand? Oasis On the Beach is offering a pris-fixe dinner largely made from locally grown and raised foods, including  choice of two appetizers, salad, three different entrées (fresh catch fish, locally raised rib-eye or pork), four sides, and two desserts. A wine flight is available for an additional charge. Oasis On the Beach is located at Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort and situated right on the ocean. For reservations, go to or call 808-822-9332.

Holiday Craft Fairs & Festivals

Looking for that perfect gift with tropical flair? Here are some great holiday craft fairs on the Royal Coconut Coast.

craft fairs kauai,December 28 — First Annual Makaiwa Craft Fair: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Enjoy live music, see local artists and craft makers, find jewelry and accessories, check out local carvings all on the grounds of the Sheraton Kauai at Coconut Beach at its first annual Makaiwa Craft Fair. Head to the left of the hotel to find the Makaiwa tent at the hotel’s luau grounds. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.808-822-3455






December 21 — Craft Fair In Paradise: See Kauai’s vast array of hand crafted products from more than 30 different vendors. Offerings include: clothing, jewelry, heritage Crafts, paintings, photos, and more.  Enjoy local foods and a mini farmer’s market. And with live entertainment this event has something for everyone! Located at Kapaa Beach Park, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.



December 21 —Kapaa Gift Fair: Crafters, makers, and artists from around the island present their wares for the Kapaa Gift Fair on every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at The Kapaa First Hawaiian Church, across from Paniolo Santa Maria Style BBQ Restaurant in downtown Kapaa.  Family friendly.  Kapaa First Hawaiian Church is located at 4-1325 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, 96746.



December 14 — Kauai Made Holly Jolly Holiday Fair in front of the former K-Mart store next to Kukui Grove Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kauai Made is the official organization for Kauai made products and sponsored by Kauai County. This event includes apparel, accessories, art, food, gifts, floral products, jewelry, health and beauty and floral;  food booths and trucks;  Santa from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m.; and entertainment by several groups, and free Kauai Made tags and bags to early birds.


December 7th — National Tropical Botanical Gardens Holiday Craft Fair, at the garden’s south shore visitor center from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a day of holiday shopping and entertainment featuring Kauai-made products, jewelry, clothing and more. This craft fair will have a variety of food trucks and live entertainment. Plus, take time to enjoy the gardens with tours happening throughout the day.



November 30th — Holiday craft fair: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  at All Saint’s Episcopal Church and Preschool in Kapaa. This is the first of the season’s holiday craft fairs with craft booths, food booths and a silent auction.

Kauai Travel Tips — Kuleana Videos Unveiled

Four outstanding one-minute videos are now available through YouTube  or via download through the Hawaii Tourism Authority.  Billed as Kauai Travel Tips the videos are designed to educate visitors of their kuleana (responsibilities) when visiting Kauai and to communicate the significant role visitors play in the health of Hawaii’s communities.  Based on community input and the Kauai Visitors Bureau, these videos are intended to provide ways our visitors can respect the ‘Aina (land), the ocean and the culture. Bringing in well-known Kauai residents who live and work around each of their own specialties, titles are Hula with Leinaala Jardin, Land Safety with Kawika Smith, Ocean Safety with Kalani Vierra, and Travel Pono with Sabra Kauka.

Best Hikes on East Side Kauai

Gazing at the view on top of Nounou (Sleeping Giant) Mountain Kauai

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) Trails: In the heart of Kauai’s east side, popularly called the Royal Coconut Coast, is the Nounou Forest Reserve where easy, moderate and more difficult routes ascend to the top. From there hikers see a 20-mile stretch of coastline between the Hoary Head mountain range west of Lihue to Anahola on Kauai’s north shore. The view extends 15 miles inland to Mt. Waialeale, at 5,148 feet, a dominant feature of Kauai. The trails vary in length from three to four miles round trip and are called Kuamoo Trail (easy), Nounou East Trail (moderate), and Nounou West Trail (difficult). The State of Hawaii provides a central source of Kauai trail information called the Na Hele Trail System. Nounou Mountain trail information is found by clicking on the trail numbers 32, 33 and 34. Driving time to each trailhead is about 10 to 15 minutes from the Royal Coconut Coast (Kauai’s Wailua to Kapa‘a corridor).

A small stream at the Kuilau Ridge area, Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve on Kauai, Hawaii, after a rainstorm.

Kuilau Ridge Trail: This 2.1 mile old road, turned trail, gently guides you up to 640 feet to a glorious view of the Makaleha Mountains. At the beginning of the path you’ll catch glimpses of Kawaikini and Mt. Waialeale, the wettest place on earth, to the west. The Makaleha Mountains are to the north. Even though your view for the first part of the trail is blocked by the ridge, you are treated to a smorgasbord of native and non-native plants from guava to the hala tree. This is a great trail for families and many local families bring their young children up here for a picnic on the weekends.  Originally constructed as a road to combat a fire in the area, the Kuilau Ridge Trail is wide and well maintained (although it can be quite muddy if it has been raining). After your hike, you can go for a swim at the Keahua Arboretum which is a short walk from the trail head.  Make sure to use the brush near the sign at the beginning of the trail to remove debris from your boots before and after your hike to help prevent the spread of invasive plants. The Keahua Arboretum is in the Lihue Forest ReserveSource:

Rainbow Eucalyptus at the Kehua Arboretum Kauai

Keahua Arboretum: Hiking around this delightfully cool and magical place is easy, gentle and fun for all ages. Enjoy picnic tables, cooling off in the arboretum’s stream, and the quarter mile hike around the grounds. Rainbow Eucalyptus and Mango trees provide cooling shade. Located at the end of Kuamo’o Road (Hwy 580) past Opaeka’a Falls.





Couple at end of Secret Falls Trail Hike, Wailua River. Credit, Kicka Witte

Secret Falls Hike (and kayak): Take a kayak trip up the Wailua River, turn north on a tributary just before the Fern Grotto and on the north river bank, paddle up a short way and park your kayak (tie it off well) on the left. Follow the stream-side trail, until just before it crosses another small stream, turn up the trail and hike to Secret Falls. Organized kayak and hike excursions are provided by Kayak Kauai or Kayak Adventures, based in Wailua.

Top Water-Sports on the Royal Coconut Coast

Kayaking the Wailua River

Kayaking the Wailua River ©Gelston Dwight

1. Kayak the Wailua River — considered Hawaii’s longest navigable river, Wailua presents extraordinary back-drops of steep mountains, lush vegetation, and a glimpse of river-life along its shores and waterways. Paddle from the nearby Wailua River Park or the Wailua Marina traveling inland almost 3 miles until the depth becomes shallow. Take an excursion with local Kauai kayak companies, Kayak Kauai or Kayak Adventures, or rent your own kayak. This serene river provides a sense of peace, adventure and wonder along the way, including views of significant cultural and historical sites. Excursions include a hike up to an amazing waterfall.

Photo credit: T. Johnston, Kayak Kauai

2. SUP (stand up paddle boarding) — rent a paddle board from Kayak Kauai on the Wailua River, with relatively calm waters and exceptional scenery. Recommended for good swimmers. Take all water-safety precautions.



Photo Credit:

3. Wind or kite surfing. If you’re an avid kite or wind surfer head to the beach just south of Lydgate Park. You’ll find a number of local kite surfers there on a trade-wind day. Turn right off of Kuhio Hwy onto Leho Rd, bear right. Drive just past the entrance to Kaha Lani Resort and turn right, just after the golf course into the park and campground that is the same location as Kamalani Kai. Continue on the dirt road at the end of the park to the beach area where windsurfers and kite surfers park their cars. Wind or kite surfers are also found at Wailua Beach Park and Kealia Beach Park. If you are new to Kauai ocean conditions, arm yourself with knowledge about wind, tide, and current information before you go. Be sure to talk to locals who are akamai (knowledgeable) about ocean conditions.

Photo Credit: The Garden Island

4. Swim laps at the ocean-front Kapaa Public swimming pool and relax afterwards on the lawn areas surrounding this facility.




5. Snorkel Lydgate Park protected ocean swimming area. Staying close to the inside rock wall formation will turn up views of reef fish, urchins, and some coral. Check with the lifeguard about snorkeling conditions before going out. Wear a flotation devices, and stay within the rock wall protected area.

6. Kealia Beach Kapaa KauaiSurfing or Boogie Boarding at Kealia Beach Park is a favorite for local experienced surfers, with wave breaks off and on the beach. Lifeguards are on duty seven days a week. A restroom and some picnic tables are nearby.  Always check on ocean conditions with the lifeguard before going out. Be smart and aware. Not advised for surfing or boogie boarding novices, or the in-experienced.