Wanderlust: Kaua’i Hawaii 2

J&A Wanderlust

May 29, 2018

Exploring Kaua’i Hawaii // Joel and Amber Photography // Travel Tips

This beautiful island. The Garden Isle of Hawaii. Kaua’i is our favorite Hawaiian island, and we did not have to think twice when we had an opportunity to spend 3 weeks there earlier this year.

We shared some of our favorite Kaua’i spots and travel tips on the original Wanderlust: Kaua’i blog post – and part 2 is back by popular demand! {You can explore O’ahu and Maui here} I promised stunning sunsets, picture proof that Joel fits on a horse, and wild dolphins. It’s all here! :)

This trip also involved a lot of work for us both. Joel was working an afternoon/late evening shift – so that became my work schedule, too. We explored in the morning, went to work in the afternoon, and crashed late every night. So worth it, though! {For those in our creative entrepreneurs community who remember all the sunset-related Happy Mondays…I bet you can guess where I was sitting as I wrote them!}

We had a chance to visit some new places and explore new aspects of some of our favorites! One of the first spots we explored was Polihale State Park. It’s the last beach before the NaPali Coast starts – and it is beautiful.

We drove 5 miles of super bumpy gravel road to get there, questioning the entire time if the end result was going to be worth the bumps.

It was. Promise! Even the drive itself was really pretty, once you got used to the jolts from enormous pot holes. It’s a secluded beach with some huge waves. I heard they had absolutely amazing sunsets here, but we didn’t get a chance to find out. If you hang out here for the sunset, send me a picture!

We wanted to stop at as many local fruit stands as possible! Last time we were out, dragonfruit was in season and we took advantage of that!

We’re dragonfruit fans, especially that sweet dark purple variety. I found out that you can’t get dragonfruit in January, so we had a little more motivation to try out some other unique local fruits.

Like soursop. The fruit stand lady told us it was very healthy and tasted like sweet tarts. I don’t think I’ve had sweet tarts since I was in middle school, but we decided to check it out. It’s really strange. You can see Joel holding some in the bottom left picture. It had a weird texture and was hard to eat because there were lots of seeds. So we weren’t fans, but we’re glad we tried it!

Now here was a place we DID love! Warehouse 3540. It’s a creative community marketplace with artisan shops, some of THE yummiest food trucks, AND a coffee shop housed inside a mini air stream!

But seriously – if you go by and the food trucks are open, try them all. Chipwrecked, Roots In Culture, Kickshaws, and Dark Roost Coffee. This was one of our favorite little spots for lunch.

Joel had his own sunsets where he was working the mission, but this was my view! I went out to watch the sunset every single night. These pictures don’t even need words! This is one of the grand splendors of God’s creation.

After the sunset, I usually settled into a fireside chair in the tiki-torch lit courtyard of our hotel to finish out my work night while I waited for Joel’s mission to finish. I got such a kick over the way other entrepreneurs (or at least the bookworms) gravitated toward “my” fire. While most fires had groups of middle aged friends laughing together, we were all flying solo with our nose stuck behind laptops.

New day! I never get tired of palm trees against an azure blue sky!

Little Fish was just down the road from our hotel, so it was a go-to breakfast spot. That acai bowl was stellar! The coffee didn’t quite hit our #jacoffeefavorites list, but their food was 100% there.

Side story: this is where we were during the infamous incoming ballistic missile scare. Everybody’s phones started going off in harmony. The funny thing? Nobody really reacted. People just kept doing their thing.

Our story is sadly disappointing because we didn’t even know about it until after we got back to our hotel! We turned off our phone alerts, so we didn’t know what the alert was for until later. I think I’m thankful for that in the end! It would have been a very surreal moment.

But back to the food. If you go, get that acai bowl and a breakfast bagel!

Off to the north side of the island. It was January, so we had high hopes for big waves! We found some huge waves during our time there, but only in certain places.

This place was so beautiful.


Off to find some waterfalls! We spent one of our afternoons just driving around and exploring. No Shaka Guide this time (which is one of our top recommendations if you’re visiting Hawaii and recommended to us by our friend Erin Lindsey)!

We found some amazing little gems!

We’re all about the local banana bread! And macadamia nuts. Speaking of macadamia nuts, you must stop by Anuenue Cafe if you want to try out one of the most delicious breakfast spots we’ve ever been to!

We love trying new places, so we rarely go back to the same place more than once or twice. But Anuenue? We went back almost every other morning and ordered pretty much the same 3 things! Macadamia nut pancakes, the steak and egg burrito, and their french toast. If we had to choose just one food recommendation for Kaua’i, this would be it.

I don’t even know how we didn’t get a picture of Anuenue (maybe there are a few buried on our phones), but it deserved its own shout out in this blog post. But back to the mac nut bread from Hanalei Bread Co…

We were on our way back to the hotel when we took a last minute detour to check out Lydgate Beach Park. Such an amazing little spot! Sandy beaches, a magic forest, a rock enclosed seawater swimming pool, and a mysterious wooden maze….all with a handy-dandy sidewalk!

That little rocky cove on the left side of this picture was the rock-made swimming pool! As a girl who is always slightly terrified of sharks (and anything else that might be lurking in the water), it was pretty much a dream come true.

The one sunset we got to watch together! We serve a mighty God.

We didn’t get a chance to visit Kaua’i Coffee Company while we were on the island the first time, but we made up for it this trip! It was really cool getting to taste test different coffee blends and frolic among the coffee trees.

And then…we went horseback riding!!

Silver Falls Ranch was absolutely beautiful. It’s one of our favorite memories from the trip! We just did the morning ride, and it was perfect for us. We rode all the way back to the mountains (which are often used as movie backdrops!) and through acres and acres of peaceful Hawaiian land.

They found a horse big enough for Joel!! He rode on a Clydesdale. You can see how big his horse is next to mine!

After our amazing horse riding experience, we went on another adventure! We took a sunset dinner cruise to the NaPali Coast. I loved seeing Hawaii from the water.


And then we saw wild dolphins!! They were so playful and were definitely showing off for us.

Introducing our favorite coffee shop on Kaua’i! We would have gone to Aloha Roastery every single morning if we could. They were closed for remodeling several days while we were there, but they opened again before we left! The owners are twin brothers – and Joel got to nerd out about coffee with them more than once… :)

One of our random little explorations brought us to the Lilo & Stitch bridge! Hanapepe Town was the village that inspired the setting of Lilo & Stitch. The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge was built in 1911, and the whole town was really cute. We loved the small village feel of it!

Remember this view? We couldn’t wait to do this NaPali Coast hike again! Every time we hike to this point, the view looks a little different.

This view from a taro field is so peaceful. One of my many favorite out of the way places!

The Kilauea Lighthouse.

This was one of the most beautiful beaches! Secret Beach is definitely not easy to get to – the 10 minute hike is pretty steep and slippery! So worth it, though.

We had an amazing trip with work and exploring mixed together, and we’re so thankful for this! We can’t wait to get back again!



Top Kaua’i Recommendations (Round 2)

Aloha Coffee Roastery

Breakfast at Anuenue

Horseback riding at Silver Falls Ranch

Lydgate Beach Park

Shaka Guide driving tours ($5 each and well worth it!)

Acai bowl and breakfast bagel at Little Fish Coffee Kauai

Food trucks: Roots in Culture, Chipwrecked

Warehouse 3540 for above food trucks and a neat place to hang out for lunch

Secret Beach for exploring, not swimming


  1. Autumn Nelson says:

    I cannot believe how beautiful these pictures are! I just spent way to much time at work browsing, but it was so worth it. Can’t wait for the day I finally get to visit this place!

    • Joel and Amber says:

      It’s such a gorgeous place! I’m really glad you loved browsing through them. :) I hope you get to experience it yourself someday soon!

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