Where to stay, what to see and how to get there

There is something magical about Kauai.

It’s not the trip – New York to Kauai isn’t an easy trip since there’s no direct flight (flying through Honolulu is your best bet). It’s not the billionaires – Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have more than 1,500 acres on the island (much to the dismay of the locals). Neither are the chickens – as the story goes, in 1982 Hurricane Iva destroyed the chicken coops and now hundreds of thousands of chickens roam the island freely.

It’s that once you get to the lush, waterfall-covered island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… all your woes disappear.

Where to stay

View from the resort’s Napali maisonette.

Courtesy of 1 Hanalei Bay Hotel

The conscious choice is 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, a sustainable wellness resort. When you arrive at the resort, located on Kauai’s North Shore, you immediately feel at ease. The property overlooks the expansive Pacific Ocean, Hanalei Bay and Kauai’s Mount Makana and was designed to be in harmony with its surroundings – and have as little environmental impact as possible.

The sunset views are especially extraordinary. I even woke up to this double rainbow one morning during my stay there in late November:

body of water with beach and hills in background

Double rainbow.

Emily Burak

What to drive

audi 1 hotel hanalei bay

Audi and 1 Hotel are in partnership.

Courtesy of Audi/1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

If you are staying at Hotel 1 (you must), the Audi e-tron is the hotel’s official vehicle. “Our guests are adventure seekers,” says Alexis Eaton, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Programming at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. City and Province. “They choose to come to Kauai and stay here on the North Shore, they want to see and do a little more.” If you’re a guest, definitely see and do more—go for a drive in the e-tron. I had never driven a fully electric car before and it was a smooth and easy ride. Note: Watch out for the chickens that roam the island. They are everywhere, and because these cars are so quiet, they won’t hear you approaching.

What to see

Hanalei Pier and sunset, Hawaii

View of Hanalei Pier at sunset.

at 1216//Getty Images

A few places you can’t miss:

Kay Hanalei: Head into town to shop for souvenirs and stroll the pier. (If you’re driving into Hanaeli, note that the one-lane bridge, built in 1912, is still the only way into town, and if there’s heavy rain, it closes. So check the forecast!)

Lydgate Farms, where you can take a tour of the chocolate farm and do a chocolate tasting. Take the tour – it’s worth the three hours, I promise.

Wailua Falls: a really simple sightseeing spot just off the main road. It is a bit overgrown, but you can still see the roaring waterfalls.

Limahuli Garden: the botanical gardens on the north coast of the island are beautiful. (Make a reservation in advance!)

If you’re a movie buff, tons of movies (including South Pacific, Jurassic Park franchise and others) were filmed on the island. Here’s a location guide to where they filmed.

Where to eat

Feed Hanaeli is a small food truck on a cul-de-sac, but it’s the best place for breakfast or lunch, especially if you get the classic Acai bowl.

Welina Terrace is a delicious Japanese place – get there before sunset and sit on the terrace.

Bar Akuda is in the town of Hanalei and uses fresh produce from local fishermen and farms, so the menu changes regularly.

Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant is a casual favorite of locals and tourists alike, featuring seafood and sushi.

Holey Grail Donuts: I mean, it’s in the name!

Main photo by Emily Burak

Emily Burack (she/her) is a news writer for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, royalty and a variety of other topics. Before joining T&C, she was deputy editor-in-chief at Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack Twitter and Instagram.

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