Travel Guide
Kapaa showing mountains, a cascade and forest scenes
Explore the scenic nature trails and busy shops of this pleasant town that lies in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant.

Kapaa is a small commune with an excellent shopping district and watersports offerings. Its nature trails meander through dense tropical forests and its pristine beaches decorate the island’s eastern coast. Explore the parks and waterfalls that make up the scenic, eclectic terrain around this town, whose name is Hawaiian for “Solid.”

Wander through the town center and explore the shops for souvenir items, such as aloha shirts, vintage maps and jewelry. Kinipopo Shopping Village and the Wailua Shopping Plaza are among the best malls. The latter holds an intriguing antique shop and several restaurants.

Get to know the surrounding countryside with a trek along the Sleeping Giant Trailhead, which runs through the forests of its namesake mountain. Enjoy the views of the ocean and the town of Kapaa from the summit. A little southwest is Wailua Falls, a double waterfall that flows over a mossy cliff. Swim in the pool and see a rainbow in the falls on a sunny day. Visit the nearby Opaekaa Falls, which tumbles into a secluded pool surrounded by dense vegetation.

Head east to take advantage of the year-round hot, sunny weather on the wonderful sandy bays. Join the surfers and body boarders on Kealia Beach, which is near the Spalding Monument that honors a former plantation owner and offers spectacular views and trails. Farther south is Lydgate Beach Park. Bring your family here for its calm water, picnic tables and shady areas

For a sense of local culture, spend an evening at the Smith Family Garden Luau. Enjoy a traditional meal and listen to live Hawaiian music on this scenic retreat. Admire the upside-down ferns in the Fern Grotto.

Find the town in eastern Kauai. Drive north for about 8 minutes from Wailua to get here. Arrive at Lihue Airport and travel north for 7 miles (11 kilometers).

With its malls, trails and waterfalls, Kapaa is an eclectic shopping hub and nature retreat.

Where to stay in Kapaa

Kamokila Hawaiian Village showing a park and signage

Wailua Homesteads

You'll enjoy the waterfalls and riverfront in Wailua Homesteads. You might want to make time for a stop at Kadavul Hindu Temple or Kaua'i's Hindu Monastery.

Wailua Homesteads
Sleeping Giant Trailhead which includes general coastal views

Wailua House Lots

4.5/5(3 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Wailua House Lots, Lae Nani Beach and Sleeping Giant Trailhead are top sights worth seeing.

Wailua House Lots
For a fine art print visit www.mattandersonphotography.com

Upper Ho’opi’i Falls is a small waterfall along Kapa’a Stream. It’s near the town of Kapa’a on the east side of Kauai. I’ve been to +16 islands, and this has to be the prettiest waterfall I have ever experienced. When I was crossing the top of the falls, I fell, gear and all. Luckily I was able to absorb most the impact of my gear