South Shore
We arrived at Kaua'a's main city, Lihue, via the Kaua'i airport with the entire day available for exploration. Since we already had hotel reservations on the East shore for three nights, we were ready to head out for some fun. We drove south on 'the' highway of the island. Our guide indicated a number of nice beaches and small towns along the South shore.
Our first stop was a somewhat remote beach called Maha'ulepu. The rough gravel road leading to the beach seems to have scared off most of the sun worshipers from this area. We spent some time enjoying the surf and examining the tide pools.
Larry at Maha'ulepu
Spouting Horn
Our next destination turned out to be a little disappointing. At Spouting Horn Beach Park, tourist buses were lined up to see the blowhole. Although it was a blowhole, it was viewed from behind a fence up on a hill. The larger blowhole had been destroyed by area farmers years ago because it blew salt into their fields. We saw more impressive surf and blowholes near Hana on Maui, so we were underwhelmed by this one. The tourist buses and souvenir stands didn't help matters.
The highlight of this area was something that most people miss. We enjoy Mexican food and found a great little place for lunch. Called Taqueria Nortenos, it served huge pork, bean, and rice burritos. They also had big, fresh avocados that we split and ate with chips. Yummy!
For dessert we stopped at Jo-Jo's for some shaved ice. Annette got berry-berry and Larry selected the tropical mix. Each included macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom of the cup. Yummy, again!
We next stopped to visit the ruin of Fort Elizabeth, a Russian fort built in 1816.
As we headed for the end of the road, we were in for an adventure. Past the Pacific Missile Range Facility, we found ourselves on a gravel road among corn and sugar cane fields. The road got worse as we neared the ocean. At one point we almost got stuck in the sand as we headed for the Polihale State Park, the end of the road, and the start (or end) of the Na Pali hiking trail (11 miles, accessible only via the coastal trail) which connects back with the highway on the other side. Our guidebook indicated that AAA is unavailable here, and that some people find it cheaper to abandon their car rather than get it towed. No wonder the Hawaii state parks seem to be filled with junked cars!
Anyway, we found our way fine and discovered a beautiful beach with huge sand dunes. With showers and toilets available, we may camp here someday and spend some time hiking the coastal trail. We met some interesting people walking, fishing, and camping on the beach. Although the beach is great, we took care near the ocean. Huge waves rolled in from various directions causing fun crashes and water surges.
Annette at Polihale State Park
Sunrise from our hotel room
At sunset we worked our way back to the East shore and our hotel room at the Kaua'i Coconut Beach Hotel. We got a good rate off the Internet on an ocean view room on the fourth floor. Each evening we were serenaded with traditional Hawaiian music by a two-piece band with a hula dancer. They played in the courtyard below our room. The view on the left shows the sunrise from our room.
More Information?

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/00
Return to Trip Page