Kauai's South Shore is a popular place to visit when on the island of Kauai. It's the place to go to if you're looking for the sun. Easily one of the most desirable spots for vacationers, Poipu is more tourist focused. You can find great souvenir shops, beaches to explore, and fine restaurants. What's not to love? If you are looking to spend a fun-filled day on this side of the island, below are places we recommend you check out - some of them are places you'll want to experience before leaving Kauai.
Find great souvenir shops, beaches to explore, and fine restaurants on Kauai's South Shore
Recommended Places & Activities on the South Shore
1. Start with breakfast at Kalaheo Coffee Company. A great way to start the day is to stop by the Kalaheo Coffee Company to grab some breakfast and coffee. Now, as the name implies, this restaurant isn't in Poipu, but in Kalaheo - it's about a 10 minute drive past the Tunnel of Trees and is totally worth the trip. They open their doors nice and early at 6:30 am, so it's a good place to stop by before a day of surfing, sightseeing, or shopping. They are almost always busy, so arrive early before the crowd gets there. Locals frequent this spot as well as visitors. It's located right off of the highway, so you can't miss it.
2. Check out Poipu Shopping Village. Since it's still too early to really head to the beach, stopping by the Poipu Shopping Village is a great way to kill some time. They have 22 shops to look through, with unique island items, clothing, and jewelry. You will find some great treasures and souvenirs here.
3. Grab some lunch at Puka Dogs. Also located at Poipu Shopping Village is Puka Dogs. It's a convenient place to eat at if you're already at the Poipu Shopping Village, but it's worth visiting even if you decide to skip the shopping. The experience alone is worth the visit, but the taste of these Hawaiian-style hot dogs will have you coming back for more.
In Hawaii, a "puka" is a hole. Here the hole comes from an impaled bun on a heated rod. They toast the inside of a delicious Hawaiian sweet bread bun and use a slow-roasted Polish sausage (or veggie dog) for the meat. The real flavor comes from their choice of sauces and relishes. Oh my gosh, they are so good. They offer tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple relishes that all vary on heat levels - mild, spicy, hot, and lava.
We recommend going all out and buying a bag of chips and their fresh squeezed lemonade to go with your puka dog. Make sure everyone gets their own lemonade, because it goes quickly! If you like hot dogs, or want to experience something unique to Kauai, you will not be disappointed with this place.
4. Spend the afternoon at Poipu Beach Park. This beach is considered one of the safest beaches on Kauai. It's great for kids and people of all ages. This white sand beach offers a protected area for kids to swim and play, and also offers great beach space for sun-bathers. It's a popular place to snorkel and is also a common place to spot Hawaiian monk seals, which are always a treat to see. Poipu Beach Park is also a great place to bring a picnic lunch to and enjoy the beautiful Kauai sunshine (bring your puka dog lunch for an extra unique experience).
Enjoy the sun at Poipu Beach Park - consistently ranked among the nation's top beaches
5. Don't pass up Spouting Horn. I realize that after a fun, sun-drenched afternoon at the beach, all you'll probably be thinking about is where to go for dinner. Don't worry, that's next, but first you should make a quick stop by the Spouting Horn.
Spouting Horn is another great attraction on this side of the island. There is a natural lava tube in the reef that sprays ocean water as high as 50 feet into the air whenever a wave gets channeled into the area. Large swells in the wintertime (Dec-May) provide the best chance to see the biggest water spouts, which is also a great time to do some whale watching right from land.
Spouting Horn is one of the most photographed locations on Kauai
Another great thing about this location is that there are local vendors here that sell everything from shell jewelry to one-of-a-kind Kauai-made gifts. The whole family will enjoy this stop, so make sure you add it to your list of things to do on Kauai's South Shore.
6. Enjoy a nice dinner at The Beach House Restaurant. A great way to end a fun day on the South Shore is to enjoy a nice meal (and cocktails) at the award-winning Beach House Restaurant. They serve Pacific Rim Cuisine that is complemented by their stunning oceanfront setting. Recently honored with the Hale Aina Award for the Best Kauai Restaurant for the 16th year in a row, the Beach House is the local and visitor's choice of best place to dine at when in Poipu.
Don't forget to catch an amazing South Shore sunset!