A Day on the North Shore of Kauai

Feb 22nd, 2010, 05:46 PM
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A Day on the North Shore of Kauai

We are an older couple who will be staying in the Poipu area of Kauai in April but want to visit the north short for as much of a day as we can without returning in the dark. We would like to visit the well-known beaches there, but aren't sure how to do this. Do we wear swim suits under our clothes, swim, and then change back into our clothes behind a tree somewhere? This may sound like a silly or odd question, but we really are wondering how to approach this, particularly since we want to have lunch at the St. Regis. Suggestions about the swimming question and "must see's"? Thanks in advance.
james_lee is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:34 PM
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The north shore is a pretty small area. The beaches are fantastic - and personally when I am in Hawaii I wear my bathing suit everywhere. Kauai is pretty relaxed so I wouldn't be too concerned about looking fancy to lunch at St. Regis. I would drive into Hanalei and walk around there are a lot of dive shops run by locals who can give you advice which beaches are safe for the time of year you will be there.

If you aren't strong swimmers I would go to beaches that have life guards. Sometimes rip currents can be dangerous if you aren't familiar with the area.
nanabee is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:42 PM
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There are public restrooms at Haena Beach Park (next to Tunnels) As nanabee suggested, we wear our swimwear everwhere...mine double as shorts and my wife wears a cover up or a pareo. You are wise not to make the long drive south in the dark...especially if you don't know the road. If you have time you might want to visit Limahuli Garden when you are in that area. Have Fun
gr8yt is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 07:28 PM
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I am lucky to be on island next month. I would bet there is still a nice bathroom off the pool bar that one can freshen up at the StRgis. If not, I am sure the concierge could offer you a place to clean up and make yourself comfortable. You really should feel comfortable walking into this hotel and asking for a place to freshen up.
gyppielulu is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 07:34 PM
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There are also public restrooms at the Hanalei Beach Pavillion as well.

Agree with gr8yt on a visit to Limahuli Garden.
iamq is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 09:04 AM
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The public bathrooms at Hanalei and Haena are a little scroungy - no marble floors or folded handtowels. They are however very safe during the day and a good place to change. Use the mirror in your car for a makeup refresher. No worries.
AnnaHola is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 10:19 AM
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Also public bathrooms at Anini Beach Park, my favorite on the North Shore. Very little wave action, so usually don't get as tossed around. (No sand in suit nor salt-water soaked hair.)
Barbara5353 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:41 PM
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When you go in the St. Regis resort there is a restroom on the left off the lobby (near the stairs) to the Makena Terrance restaurant. Right next to the restrooms, is an elevator that you can take to go to the pool area. You can access the small public beach from the pool area. There is a long public path around the resort to the beach but since you are planning to have lunch there it will be easier to take the elevator. There is also a cafe that serves lunch and drinks next to the pool. The resort has some spaces for the public beach but since you are having lunch there you can park in the much larger guest lot next to it. Have fun!
portobelloB is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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Thanks to all for the very helpful advice.
james_lee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 07:47 AM
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I changed in the bathrooms at the Princeville golf course. Very nice bathrooms
LindainOhio is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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The St. Regis is hospitable to their guests...not so for non-registered folks who wish to use their facilities, however. So plan to wash off your beach sand at the public showers at Black Pot Beach (next to Hanalei Pier) before heading to the hotel for lunch. There is no dress code at the hotel.

FYI, St. Regis lunch prices are scandalously high (even for Princeville, my own neighborhood). Three of us lunched there -- 3 small salads, one lemonade, one iced tea -- and the total bill was $65 plus tip. Yikes!
auntiemaria is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:50 AM
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Hi, Auntiemaria,

Thanks for the heads-up! We'll certainly avoid the St. Regis for lunch - or any other meal!
I'll check out Black Pot Beach.
james_lee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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We visit the North Shore often and Hanalei is our favorite place.

Everyone has their favorite beach for different reasons but we like Kee Beach at the farthest you can go on the road north. There is a large parking lot with an overflow lot but I would suggest getting there as early as you can as it fills up. They also have outdoor showers and a nice new bathroom. Great place to snorkle and the beach is very pretty.

We were there at the end of April last year during a high tide. When we arrived at the beach, the lifeguards were not allowing anyone in the water as the waves were breaking over the reef. Still a beautiful place with shade to sit and have a picnic. Not that far to carry gear. A few days later we were there during a low tide and the water was so low the reef was sticking out of the water. So, as someone suggested, check the tide tables and the weather conditions before you go.

Here is a link to my trip report with a link to our pictures:
Ronda is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Thanks, Ronda, for the advice and the wonderful pix!
james_lee is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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PIE TIP: I had the most wonderful banana cream pie at the Polynesia Cafe in the Ching Young shopping center in Hanalei. In our dreams it has a coconut flavor and we are told it has mac nuts in the crust but not sure. I have been unable to find a recipe. So, if you choose, please go there and have a piece, analyze it for me, and let me know what you think it has in it. lol It is at the Ching Young Village:
Polynesian Cafe:

As you can see I am obsessed so if you can help put me out of my misery by eating a piece and determining what is in it so I can make it, I would greatly appreciate it!

COFFEE TIP: If you are there early enough, stop in for a coffee at Java Kai: http://www.javakai.com/ They roast their own coffee and it is delicious. Buy a pound of their peaberry coffee - expensive but wonderful. So get a piece of pie to go, and pick up a coffee across the street.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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We also very much enjoyed a Slack Key Concert at the Hanalei Community Center:


If you are there on a Friday or Sunday, really gets you into the relaxed spirit of Kauai.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Ronda, I thought both the Kapa'a and Hanalei locations of Polynesia Cafe are closed. Hope not. What say auntiemaria?
iamq is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:42 AM
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Ronda, if the Cafe is open, I'll certainly try that banana cream pie. Sounds great! But it may take my wife to figure out what's in it; she's good at that. We'll aim for Hanalei but are wondering when we have to leave the north shore in order to get back to the Poipu area before dark. Sounds like it may be a 1.5 hour drive, so that may mean leaving by 4:30. Anyway, that's a minor issue. Thanks again for your help.
james_lee is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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If closed, hit the Village Snack & Bakery in Ching Young Village (#8 on the map link above). They have masaladas if you haven't tried them but they also have the best cinnamon rolls as well. There are many other places to eat in the area and I'm sure others have their own tips.

Hanalei has a very different flavor than Poipu. No big hotels. More of a hometown feel which is what my family enjoys.

The drive from Hanalei to Poipu is not very difficult although takes some time especially if you stop along the way. After you drive up, and see the road, you may decide you don't really need to get back before dark.

Our friends who own a timeshare in Poipu tell us they spend most of their time on the North Shore Go early in your trip in case you decide you like to go North again.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 10:34 AM
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We considered staying up north but were concerned about the weather in April. Have been told that there would be a much greater chance of cooler, rainier weather in the north and therefore probably more beach time and sunshine in the south. Will make note of the Village Snack and Bakery alternative. Masaladas??? Again, many thanks.
james_lee is offline  

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