Destinations / North America

Where to Stay on Kauai: The Best Surfing Sites

Kauai is one of Hawaii’s most laid-back holiday destinations, boasting more sandy beaches than most other Hawaiian Islands. Formed by an extinct volcano, almost half of Kauai’s coastline is unpopulated and the island lays claim to more than 300 surf spots. These coveted surfing hotspots cater to a range of boarders, from beginners to the pros.

With more than 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve tracked down the best surfing sites around Kauai that also offers enticing sightseeing and high-quality hotels. The latter are typically luxurious coastal havens with panoramic beach views, gourmet on-site dining and ample leisure activities for when the waves aren’t breaking.

Princeville Bay, Kaua'i

Why You Should Stay in Princeville

Located at the northernmost tip of Kauai, Princeville is an exclusive and luxe community with an idyllic oceanfront setting. Hanalei Bay is one of Kauai’s premier surfing spots, offering a wide range of waves, including right-hand breaks just below Princeville. The Impossible, Flat Rock and Bowl sections are the most popular, while the nearby Anini Beach is great for windsurfing.

Must-Do Princeville Experiences

  • Ride the curvaceous barrels at Flat Rock.
  • See the small fish in the tide pools at Queen’s Bath.
  • Snorkel among colourful marine life at Hideaways Bay.

Top Hotels in Princeville

St Regis Princeville Resort

St Regis Princeville Resort pool

The 5-star St Regis Princeville Resort is the perfect complement to Princeville’s coastal spoils, offering a sprawling infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Unwind with body scrubs, couple’s massages and facials at Halele’a Spa or practise your swing at the Princeville Makai Golf Club. You also have access to various on-site restaurants, including private dining cabanas at Nalu Kai and sunset cocktails at St Regis Bar.

Choose from a range of suites and rooms, all of which have modern furnishings and large windows. You can upgrade your room to include ocean views and a private balcony or seek out extra luxurious touches in a suite, such as a whirlpool bath, separate living room and fireplace. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Hideaways Beach (300 metres)
  • Fort Alexander (45 metres)
  • Hideaways Pizza Pub (800 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 576 – USD 1,114
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 5520 Kahaku Road, Princeville, Hawaii, United States

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas pool

Nestled on a lush clifftop on the coastline, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas features panoramic ocean views and cooling sea breezes. The spacious accommodations range from the Larger Studio with sitting area, balcony and kitchenette to the Two Bedroom Island View villa with a fully-equipped kitchen, in-room spa bath and separate living room.

Active travellers will appreciate the well-equipped WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, while those looking to unwind can kick back by the main swimming pool or separate plunge pool. On-site dining includes fresh local ingredients and Pacific Ocean views at Nanea Restaurant & Bar and all-day cocktails at Wailele Bar.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Hanalei Valley Lookout (1.7 kilometres)
  • Wyllie’s Beach (350 metres)
  • Makai Golf Club (2.1 kilometres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 319 – USD 661
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 3838 Wyllie Road, Princeville, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

Coconut Palm tree on the sandy Poipu beach in Hawaii, Kauai

Why You Should Stay in Poipu

Poipu has been nicknamed “The Sunny South Side”, thanks to its perpetually beautiful weather, which complements one of Kauai’s best coastal hangouts. You can bank on excellent southerly swells most days at Poipu Beach, which has glassy overhead waves and several surf schools and hire shacks. The beach is also a hotspot for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and snorkelling.

Must-Do Poipu Experiences

  • Witness the natural spectacle of the Spouting Horn geyser.
  • Check out the 1920s plantation-style house at Mahaulepu Beach.
  • Learn how to surf with one of the schools along Poipu Beach.

Top Hotels in Poipu

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa living room

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa offers a luxurious accommodation on Kauai’s pristine coastline, nestled next to the cocktail-blue water and soft sand of Keoniloa Bay. The rooms here are spacious and contemporary, with heavenly king-size beds, timber finishes and private patios or balconies. Alternatively, stay in a suite for opulent extras, such as the private lanai in the Presidential Suite or Pool Suite.

Tuck into contemporary Hawaiian cuisine at Tidepools, where you can sit in thatched-roof bungalows overlooking a koi-filled lagoon. If you’re chilling by the outdoor pool, grab a burger or smoothie from Hale Nalu. The kids will love the waterslide, while Anara Spa is ideal for rest and rejuvenation. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Shipwreck’s Beach (500 metres)
  • Poipu Bay Golf Course (500 metres)
  • Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail (1.3 kilometres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 454 – USD 1,126
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 1571 Poipu Road, Poipu, Hawaii, United States

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort bedroom

Nestled on the Poipu beachfront, Koa Kea Hotel & Resort is one of the highest-rated hotels in Hawaii, and for good reason. The resort features a range of enticing facilities, from a tropical-style pool and lava rock hot tub to natural treatments at The Spa at Ko’a Kea and a fully-equipped fitness centre. You can also rent snorkelling gear and stand-up paddleboards from the on-site Hoku Watersports hut.

The 121 boutique rooms all feature private balconies or patios with views of either the beach, ocean or gardens. These rooms, along with the spacious suites, also feature comfortable king-size beds, marble bathrooms, mini fridges and custom robes. Don’t miss dining on fresh Hawaiian seafood at Red Salt or sipping on cocktails from the Pool Bar.

Nearby Attractions

  • Poipu Beach Park (600 metres)
  • Shooting Star Tree (190 metres)
  • Kauai Surf School (900 metres)

Star Rating: 4.5*
Price: USD 341 – USD 697
Guest Rating: 9.4
Address: 2251 Poipu Road, Poipu, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

Coconut Palm tree on the sandy beach in Hawaii, Kauai

Why You Should Stay in Kapa’a

Old meets new in Kapa’a, where a historic centre reveals a bustling local market, beloved ukulele shop and one-of-a-kind boutiques. The small beach park near town offers excellent swimming and snorkelling, while nearby Kealia Beach has sought-after waves perfect for surfing and bodyboarding. Kapa’a also has numerous land-based adventures, including waterfall treks and nature reserves.

Must-Do Kapa’a Experiences

  • Spend a day or two riding the waves at Kealia Beach.
  • Hike to the scenic Ho’opi’i Falls for swimming and picnics.
  • Take a free ukulele lesson while browsing the goods at the Kamoa Ukulele Company.

Top Hotels in Kapa’a

Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa Kauai by Outrigger

Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa Kauai by Outrigger bedroom

Looking for self-contained accommodation in Hawaii? The extravagant Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa Kauai by Outrigger offers comfortable and modern apartments with garden, mountain or ocean views. The one and two-bedroom apartments have full kitchens, while all apartments feature private balconies and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Dine oceanside at Oasis on the Beach, which serves locally-sourced seafood and produce, before chilling out at the heated swimming pool with a water slide and three Jacuzzis. There are outdoor barbecue grills and a fitness centre, while Spa by the Sea features signature packages and body treatments. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Kauai Village Shopping Center (110 metres)
  • Baby Beach (950 metres)
  • Lae Nani Beach (1.6 kilometres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 203 – USD 502
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: 4-820 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Hawaii, United States

Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy

Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy pool

HotelsCombined visitors love the quality on-site dining and heavenly pool at Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy. The former includes open-air dining at Hukilau Lanai and on-site picnic areas and barbecue facilities. The pool, meanwhile, has a barbecue area, sun deck, oceanfront hot tub and nearby children’s pool. You can also get pampered with a massage or facial at the beachfront Spa Makaiwa.

The Standard Room has garden views, a king-size bed and mini fridge, while the One Bedroom Oceanfront Villa puts you a few metres from the sand. You can also splurge on the Ohana Suite Oceanfront, which has a full kitchen, separate dining room, washer and dryer and uninterrupted ocean views.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Coconut Marketplace (160 metres)
  • Lae Nani Beach (100 metres)
  • Kayak Wailua (950 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 199 – USD 427
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 520 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

View of Wailua River, Kauai, Hawaii

Why You Should Stay in Wailua

Wailua Beach provides waves almost every day of the year, mixing it up between rights and lefts. The strong waves are better suited to more experienced boarders, while venturing slightly south to Lydgate Beach reveals swimming and snorkelling spots. Mountain ridges, waterfall hikes, atmospheric grottoes and the only navigable river in Hawaii also make Wailua a hotspot for nature lovers.

Must-Do Wailua Experiences

  • Hike along the Sleeping Giant ridge trail.
  • See fruit orchards, bamboo forests and peacocks in the Smith Family Garden Luau.
  • Kayak down the North Fork Wailua River on a guided tour to see waterfalls.

Top Hotels in Wailua

Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay

Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay bedroom

Boasting a prime oceanfront position by Lydgate State Park, Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay is a great option for travellers wanting to make the most of the region’s beach, waves and seemingly endless sunshine. Along with an ocean-facing swimming pool and playground, the hotel has a jogging track, fitness centre and snorkelling and bicycle rentals. Indulge in a gourmet breakfast at The Garden Grille or grab a cocktail from the bar.

The cosy rooms either have one king-size bed or two queen-size beds, along with LCD TVs, mini fridges, Keurig coffee makers and, in some, ocean views. Upgrade to a suite for the extra luxury of a separate living area, private lanai and more floor space. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Lydgate Beach Park (50 metres)
  • Wailua Beach (600 metres)
  • Smith’s Fern Grotto Tour (700 metres)

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 164 – USD 434
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: 3-5920 Kuhio Highway, Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Lae Nani Kauai by Outrigger

Lae Nani Kauai by Outrigger bedroom

Enjoy the space, comfort and convenience of having your own Hawaiian condo at Lae Nani Kauai by Outrigger. The one and two-bedroom apartments can accommodate between four and six guests and feature private balconies, fully-equipped kitchens, LCD TVs and comfortable bedding. You can book an apartment with ocean views or pay a little extra to stay near the water.

You’ve got an array of dining options, from the live music and island-style appetisers at Trees Lounge to the waterfront Lava Lava Beach Club. You can also hang out around the on-site swimming pool, play tennis on the resort’s court or take advantage of the barbecue grills and picnic areas. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Wailua Beach (500 metres)
  • Kayak Wailua (500 metres)
  • Kauai Bicycle Rentals (350 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 289 – USD 408
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: 410 Papaloa Road, Wailua, Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

Waimea

Why You Should Stay in Waimea

A historic seaport, Waimea lures you in with its paniolo (cowboy) history, charming boutiques and secluded coastal enclaves. Most locals and visitors looking for waves head to the Waimea River Mouth, which has consistent waves year-round breaking both left and right. You can also explore Waimea’s rich history at the Captain Cook Landing Site and Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park. 

Must-Do Waimea Experiences 

  • Ride one of the rolling right-hand breaks at Waimea River Mouth.
  • Marvel at the magnificent “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” in Waimea Canyon State Park.
  • Visit the West Kauai Technology & Visitor Center to learn about Kauai’s agriculture.

Top Hotels in Waimea

Waimea Plantation Cottages a Coast Resort

Waimea Plantation Cottages a Coast Resort

Located on Kauai’s western side, Waimea Plantation Cottages a Coast Resort boasts 61 restored plantation cottages, which are spread out across almost 11 hectares of waterfront lawns and tropical trees. Ranging from one bedroom to five bedrooms, the cottages feature Hawaiian-style furnishings, full kitchens and private lanais.

If you don’t feel like cooking, visit the on-site Plantations BBQ & Bar for local produce and tasty cocktails. You also have access to a range of resort-organised activities, including ATV tours, zip-lining, sunset sailing and snorkelling. Don’t forget to visit the on-site gift shop for snacks and souvenirs.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Waimea Higashi Hongwanji (450 metres)
  • West Kauai Tech & Visitors Center (450 metres)
  • Waimea River Mouth (1.5 kilometres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 185 – USD 691
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 9400 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, United States

The West Inn Kauai

The West Inn Kauai bedroom

One of the best hotels for travellers on a budget, The West Inn Kauai offers comfortable and affordable rooms with either one king-size bed or two double beds. They also come with kitchenettes, cable TV, air conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi and parking. Alternatively, upgrade to a two-bedroom suite for a full kitchen and separate living area.

Want to cook up lunch or dinner? You can use your private kitchen or the hotel’s barbecue pavilion, which has two Weber charcoal grills and picnic tables. The hotel is also surrounded by quality dining options, such as JoJo’s Shave Ice and The Shrimp Station. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Waimea State Recreation Pier (150 metres)
  • Ishihara Market (400 metres)
  • Captain Cook Landing Site (700 metres)

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 227 – USD 300
Guest Rating: 7.5
Address: 9690 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

Exotic beach in Haena, Kauai Island, Hawaii

Why You Should Stay in Haena

Haena is one of Hawaii’s most isolated communities, surrounded by a tapestry of cobalt water, white-sand beaches and verdant tropical jungles. All of these combine at Haena Beach, a picturesque spot for swimming, snorkelling and surfing. The popular Haena State Park fosters outdoor adventuring with its secluded beaches, sea caves and ancient remains. 

Must-Do Haena Experiences

  • Brave the giant waves at Haena Beach Park.
  • Take a day trip to Maniniholo Dry Cave and Limahuli Garden and Preserve.
  • Snorkel or scuba dive at Hauwa Reef or Makua Reef.

Top Hotels in Haena

Hanalei Colony Resort

Hanalei Colony Resort

The all-suite accommodation at Hanalei Colony Resort has won over HotelsCombined visitors. These charming condos are set in traditional plantation-style buildings and boast full kitchens, private balconies and large windows. The Premium Oceanfront suite places you a few metres from the beach, while the Garden View suite surrounds you with lush tropical foliage.

Indulge in a couple’s massage, beachside massage or bridal spa service at the on-site Hanalei Day Spa. You can also feast on Hawaiian delicacies at the beachfront Opakapaka Grill and Bar, swim in the outdoor pool or work out in the on-site fitness centre.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Kepuhi Point (450 metres)
  • Wainiha Beach Park (950 metres)
  • Haena Beach Park (2.4 kilometres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 345 – USD 415
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 5-7130 Kuhio Highway, Haena, Hawaii, United States

Hale Ho’o Maha Bed and Breakfast

Hale Ho'o Maha Bed and Breakfast bedroom

Nestled just over 100 metres from the white-sand Wainiha Bay, the 4-star Hale Ho’o Maha Bed and Breakfast offers relaxed accommodation near some of the island’s best snorkelling and surfing areas. Along with a tour desk and barbecue area, the bed and breakfast also has an on-site laundry and terrace.

There are only four villas at Hale Ho’o Maha Bed and Breakfast, which accentuates the overarching feeling of privacy and exclusivity. The Pineapple Suite has massage shower heads and partial ocean views from its balcony, while the Papaya Suite has mountain vistas and a hand-knitted bedspread.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Wainiha Bay Park (280 metres)
  • Hanalei Day Spa (400 metres)
  • Wainiha Beach Park (750 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 245 – USD 280
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 7083 Alamihi Road, Haena, Hawaii, United States

Hotel Location

Surf Meets Style on Kauai

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to excellent surfing spots around Kauai, with many of these areas also offering excellent shopping opportunities, fascinating historic landmarks and rich cultural attractions. The most popular hotels and resorts in Kauai’s best surfing areas also typically provide self-catering amenities, on-site restaurants and outdoor activities while keeping you close to the breaks.

Where is your favourite place to stay or surf on Kauai? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Ben Stower

I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.

Ben Stower
I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.
Posted on Categories Destinations, North AmericaTags ,

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