There is no better place to take in sunrise than along Kauai’s eastern shore. From Lihue through to Kealia, each day begins with a warm glow peaking over the vast ocean horizon, and as the minutes tick by, the array and burst of color displays in vast, breathtaking proportion. Sit back anywhere along this coastline and gradually allow the sounds of the new day to fill in.
From here, daily life on Kaua‘i gets going. The first flights from O‘ahu arrive, County offices open, a golfer sends a drive down the first hole at the Wailua Golf Course, favorite breakfast eateries bring out plates of food and the adventurous make their first moves.
To really know the east side of Kaua‘i, one needs to comb it over a couple of weeks; yet from a perfect vantage point at sunrise, you can enjoy a remarkable day complete with the flavor, color and texture of the gorgeous stretch from Lihue to Kealia.
1st Stop: Ke Ala Hele Makalae is your “pathway that goes by the coast” and offers the ideal 7 mile stretch to warm up muscles through a walk, run or bike and to begin to begin to explore. The path serves Kauai by connecting the majestic scenery of the ocean environment at Kealia Kai to the charm of Old Kapa‘a Town and on to Kamalani playground at Lydgate Park.
2nd Stop: Entering Kapa‘a Town find Kountry Kitchen across from the Kapa’a Library. The menu emphasizes Kauai sourced options and portions are generous, enough to carry you well into the afternoon.
3rd Stop: By now, the town begins to open its doors, and the chaotic charm of Kapa‘a makes everyone go slow. Pop into the variety of shops along the main drag and remember to drop one lane back to drop into Kaua‘i Juice to stock up on fresh juice for the day. My kombucha favorite is Green Tonic, a blend of turmeric juice, meyer lemon, spirulina and chlorella.
4th Stop: Peruse a farmer’s market and connect with local farmers and vendors from across the island. These markets are social, frequented by locals and provide hot and cold options to enjoy.
Mondays: Kealia Farmers’ Market across the highway from Kealia Beach, 3pm – 6pm
Tuesdays: Coconut Market Place, Kapaa, 9am – 1 pm
Wednesdays: Kapaa Sunshine Market, New Town Ball Park Parking Lot, 3pm – 4 pm
Thursdays: Coconut Market Place, Kapaa, 9am to 1pm
Fridays: Kealia Farmers’ Market across the highway from Kealia Beach, 3pm – 7pm
Saturdays: Kauai Community Market at Kauai Community College, 9:30am to 1pm
5th Stop: The Kauai Museum. This treasure is the custodian of the island’s history dating back to ancient times. Located adjacent to the Historic Kauai County Building and Civic Center, the museum offers events and tours throughout the year.
6th Stop: By now a swim in the ocean beckons. Drive down Rice Street and locate the entrance to the Kauai Marriott. Drive past the hotel entrance looking for signage on the right that directs to public beach access and parking. The white sands and gentle surf at Kalapaki Bay bring comfortable year-round swimming and surfing conditions plus a beautiful spot to stick your toes in the sand and watch the sun go down.
The eastern shore is Kauai’s county seat, its main hub for transit, commerce and education. A 24 hour viewing unveils the inner working of Kauai’s unique community, but again, just a single day will not serve you well and leaves many options untouched. Come back for more and just like a local, find inspiration from something or someone at every turn along the way.