On Kauai you basically have three main geographic areas to stay:
- North Shore including Princeville and Hanalei
- East Shore including Kapaa and Lihue
- South Shore including Koloa and Poipu
View Larger Map
The good news is that you can’t make a bad choice. Each area has it’s special features and benefits. Of course, you’ll find beautiful beaches all over Kauai, so don’t worry a bit about finding the best beaches.
Though not drenched in rain, Kauai does get a bit more rain than the other islands. One interesting point to note is that most of Hawaii’s rain falls at night. To help you maximize your sun chances, see our article: Where to stay on Kauai for the Best Weather.
I’ll summarize the vacation benefits and downsides as pluses and minuses of each major Kauai area:
+ Stunning scenery with a backdrop of tall, verdant cliffs with pencil thin waterfalls. You’ll really know you’re on the Garden Isle when you stay here.
+ If luxury is what you are looking for, you’ll find it in Princeville as St. Regis has a property in Princeville
- The North Shore tends to get a bit more rain compared to the other areas of the island. This usually isn’t a big deal, but it can (not always) be a bit more of a problem in the rainier months of November – February. That being said, this area is so gorgeous, I wouldn’t hesitate to return there any time of the year.
+ Hotel rates tend to cost a bit less here.
+ Several hotels in the Lihue area offer free shuttle service from the airport, so you can reduce or eliminate your need for a rental car. (See my article, Will You Need a Rental Car in Kauai.)
+ The East Shore is a convenient, central base for touring the island.
+ Many restaurants are within driving distance.
- There aren’t any great sunset viewing spots from the East Shore, but you can enjoy sunrises.
+ The South shore tends to be sunnier and drier.
+ Good selection of restaurants within easy driving distance for fine dining.
Go back to the main page of the Kauai Vacation Guide.