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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Albright Meschi

Ultimate Guide to Hanalei Bay, Kauai

(Especially if you're someone who cares about food)

Kauai is one of my favorite spots to travel to. And my heart is in the North Shore of Hanalei. After visiting multiple times and trying(I think) every restaurant, I've put together my favorite things to do and places to visit while you're in Hanalei Bay.


Hanalei Bread Company is a fantastic spot for coffee, breakfast and lunch. Expect a long wait, but you're on island time so just relax into it. They have great baked goods and my favorite thing on the menu is their olive toast. They have fruit bowls, acai bowls, egg dishes, sandwiches and some great gluten free options!

Wishing Well is one part of a community of businesses and it a really special place. It's a great coffee spot and has my favorite acai bowl. But, what is our favorite thing there is their mango, chia overnight oats and fresh coconut water. The Daize Latte is sooo good. Another cool think is they are really focused on organic items and sustainability so their oats and drinks are served in glass containers that you get to keep or return for $1 off.

Holey Grail donuts are made from Taro and are more of a cake donut style but they have really fun, seasonal flavors. On top of that, they have one of the best iced Chai's I've ever had. It's made with their homemade coconut-cashew milk and is so delicious. I got one almost every day.

At least once, get the churro french toast from Trucking Delicious.

The Spot is in Princeville but they have excellent breakfast bowls and Acai bowls.

On the weekends, Hanalei Market has really good, homemade tasting breakfast burritos. Grab one because they are great.


Newer to Hanalei is Hanalei Market and we go there every day for something. They are an excellent natural foods store with a lot of great local items, but they also make excellent pre-prepared food. Some of our favorite grab and go items are the tuna salad, chicken salad, sandwiches, chickpea salad and some vegan desserts. I didn't have one thing here that I didn't like.

Our favorite spot for lunch are the Food Trucks. The ones I notice are opened regularly are Holey Grail Donuts and Fresh Bite. Fresh Bite has a lot of excellent salads, wraps and bowls and it's a g-to lunch spot for us.

I know I mentioned Wishing Well for breakfast but if you want a smoothie or acai bowl, it's my favorite spot for that.

Hanalei Gourmet has excellent fish tacos!

And as far as Shave Ice, I didn't really get it on our previous trips. Then we went to Wishing Well which has excellent organic and nautrual flavors and I got the Tropical Bliss and it is magical!! Just get it!


Undoubtedly, the best dinner in Hanalei is Bar Acuda. Seasonal, interesting, flavorful and diverse tapas in a great location. Believe them when they tell you reservations fill up within hours of them opening them a month in advance. What to get? Everything.

It's sister restaurant, Ama, makes a great ramen bowl and I love their location in this covered courtyard overlooking the mountains.

Postcards is another great spot to eat that features local foods and The Terrace Sushi is also a good sushi spot.


Get local produce but also local made crafts and foods at Farmers Market.

I went to Black Coral Yoga every day and had the best yoga of my life. I can't even begin to express how special these classes were. Most of the ones I went to were heated, which is my personal favorite. Book in advance! The morning classes fill up fast!

We did the Tahiti Nui Luau and it is a family-owned luau. It's much smaller and more low-key butt here was something I liked about it even more than a large production luau. For that larger production style, The Lua Kalamaku is excellent.

We've done a variety of activities while we're there. With having 3 teen girls, we tended to bounce between a beach day of snorkeling and surfing then an activity day. Kauai is famous for their hikes. We wanted to stay close to Hanalei so we chose the 4 mile round trip portion on the Kalalua Trailhead. You need a permit(book 30 days in advance) to either park or take the shuttle. You will get MUDDY! It was a strenuous hike- uphill, narrow, rocky- but such gorgeous views!

We surfed and snorkeled almost every day which is always a blast.

Tubing with Kauai Backpack Adventures was a really cool experience and the staff really added to the experience. It was a fun activity to add where you get to"do" something fun, but don't actually have to "do" much.

We did the kayak on Wailua River to the Sacred Falls. The kayak was a long ride, about 2 miles. And by the time we got to the falls, our kids were already tired then had to hike to get there. Then there's the 2 mile kayak back. I would have loved to do this again if we could take the ferry in and do the hike.


Here's a list of my favorite stores to shop at:

Final Tip!

We found Pineapple Express and used their car rental services this time and it was amazing! The price was great, they pick you up form the airport so no waiting in long lines then meet you and drop you off. And they are SUCH nice people and family owned.



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