Where to stay in kauai?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 9, 2024

Introduction to Kauai

Kauai, known as the "Garden Isle," is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands and offers a blend of lush landscapes, stunning beaches, and rich cultural experiences. Whether you're an adventurer, a beach lover, or someone seeking tranquility, Kauai has something to offer everyone. Deciding where to stay can significantly impact your experience, so here’s a detailed guide to help you choose the best accommodations based on your preferences.

Popular Areas to Stay in Kauai

North Shore

The North Shore of Kauai is famous for its dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and pristine beaches. It's an ideal area for those who love nature and outdoor activities.


Princeville is a resort community located on the North Shore. It offers upscale accommodations, golf courses, and stunning ocean views. The area is perfect for those who prefer a luxurious stay.

  • St. Regis Princeville Resort: Known for its opulence, this resort offers breathtaking views of Hanalei Bay.
  • Hanalei Bay Resort: More budget-friendly but still offers spectacular views and amenities.


Hanalei is a quaint town with a bohemian vibe. It boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, Hanalei Bay.

  • Hanalei Colony Resort: Offers beachfront condos and a laid-back atmosphere.
  • Airbnb Options: Numerous vacation rentals provide a more personalized experience.

East Side (Royal Coconut Coast)

The East Side, also known as the Royal Coconut Coast, is centrally located, making it a convenient base for exploring the entire island.


Kapaa is a bustling town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities.

  • Waipouli Beach Resort: Features luxurious condo-style accommodations with a fantastic pool area.
  • Hotel Coral Reef: A more budget-friendly option with beachfront access.


Wailua is known for its cultural significance and natural beauty, including waterfalls and the Wailua River.

  • Kauai Shores Hotel: Offers vibrant, mid-range accommodations right on the beach.
  • Aston Islander on the Beach: A budget-friendly option with a tropical vibe.

South Shore

The South Shore is famous for its sunny weather, making it a popular destination for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Poipu is one of the most popular areas on the South Shore, known for its beautiful beaches and upscale resorts.

  • Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa: Offers luxurious accommodations with extensive amenities, including a golf course and spa.
  • Koa Kea Hotel & Resort: A boutique hotel offering a more intimate experience.


Koloa is a historic town near Poipu, offering a mix of history and modern amenities.

  • Koloa Landing Resort: Features spacious villas and a fantastic pool area.
  • The Point at Poipu: Offers condo-style accommodations with ocean views.

West Side

The West Side is less touristy but offers some of the most stunning natural landscapes on the island.


Waimea is the gateway to Waimea Canyon, often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific."

  • Waimea Plantation Cottages: Offers unique, historic cottages with modern amenities.
  • The West Inn Kauai: A budget-friendly option with comfortable accommodations.


Kekaha is known for its long, sandy beaches and proximity to the Na Pali Coast.

  • Kauai Beach House Hostel: Perfect for budget travelers looking for a social atmosphere.
  • Private Vacation Rentals: Numerous options are available for those seeking a more secluded stay.

Types of Accommodations

Luxury Resorts

For those looking for an upscale experience, Kauai offers several luxury resorts with extensive amenities. These resorts often provide beachfront access, fine dining, and spa services. Examples include the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and the St. Regis Princeville Resort.

Mid-Range HotelsMid-range hotels offer a comfortable stay with good amenities without the high price tag. Options like the Kauai Shores Hotel and Koloa Landing Resort provide excellent value for money.

Vacation Rentals and Condos

Vacation rentals and condos are ideal for families or groups looking for more space and privacy. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide range of options, from beachfront condos to secluded mountain retreats.

Budget Accommodations

Budget travelers can find several affordable options, including hostels, motels, and budget hotels. Places like Kauai Beach House Hostel and The West Inn Kauai offer basic amenities at a lower cost.

Special Considerations

Traveling with Family

Families might prefer accommodations with kitchen facilities, multiple bedrooms, and kid-friendly amenities. Resorts like the Waipouli Beach Resort and vacation rentals are excellent choices.

Romantic Getaways

Couples seeking a romantic escape might opt for boutique hotels or secluded vacation rentals. The Koa Kea Hotel & Resort and Hanalei Colony Resort offer intimate settings perfect for romance.

Adventure Seekers

Those looking to explore Kauai's natural beauty might prefer staying in areas close to hiking trails, waterfalls, and other outdoor activities. North Shore and West Side accommodations are ideal for adventurers.

Unique Stays


For a truly unique experience, consider staying in a treehouse. These accommodations offer a rustic yet luxurious experience, often surrounded by nature.

Eco-Friendly Lodges

Eco-conscious travelers might prefer eco-friendly lodges that focus on sustainability. These lodges often use renewable energy sources, offer organic food, and promote environmental conservation.

Historic Plantations

Staying in a historic plantation offers a glimpse into Kauai's past. These accommodations, like the Waimea Plantation Cottages, combine history with modern comforts.

Transportation and Accessibility

Car Rentals

While Kauai does have public transportation, renting a car is highly recommended for exploring the island at your own pace. Most major car rental companies operate out of Lihue Airport.

Public Transportation

The Kauai Bus system covers most of the island, but services can be infrequent, especially to remote areas. It's a viable option for budget travelers who plan to stay in more accessible locations.

Bike Rentals

For those staying in areas like Kapaa, bike rentals are a popular option for getting around. The Ke Ala Hele Makalae bike path offers a scenic route along the coast.

From the luxurious resorts of Princeville to the budget-friendly options in Kekaha, Kauai offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you seek adventure, romance, or family fun, the Garden Isle has the perfect spot for you to call home during your stay.

Related Questions

What to do in kauai?

The Na Pali Coast is one of Kauai’s most iconic landmarks. The dramatic cliffs rise up to 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, creating an awe-inspiring landscape. To truly appreciate its beauty, consider a boat tour, helicopter ride, or even a challenging hike along the Kalalau Trail. Each option provides a different perspective of the lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and sea caves.

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