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.