Eastern Kauai is different. There’s a little bit of everything. Want to take a scenic hike with beautiful views of the ocean? Check. Want to take out an adorable pup on a day-adventure? Sure can. Need a Macadamia Nut Iced Cold Brew? Bet you didn’t know that was a thing, but you absolutely could (and should) get one. What I’m trying to say is, just because there aren’t as many epic hikes doesn’t mean you should pass up the Kauai East side.
Kauai Humane Society
The Kauai Humane Society is a great organization with a heartfelt mission, to save and find homes for stray and unwanted animals! After receiving or finding a dog or cat, they attempt to find a family willing to give them their forever homes. They achieve this in several ways: social media marketing, word-of-mouth, and, my favorite, day-long field trips! Picking a dog to take on an adventure is super easy. First, you walk through the kennels of eager (and loud) pups and pick a dog that you want to hike with! Then, you get to take your new friend to the yard to play for a few minutes and make sure you get along. Then, you sign a bit of paperwork, get your dog supplies (water, food, bowl, and Adopt Me vest) and you’re off! The Kauai Humane Society actually influenced our entire time on Kauai’s east side, because our buddy Zeus accompanied us the entire time.
Sleeping Giant Trail
Sleeping Giant Trail, a part of the Nounou Mountain Trail, is a moderately easy hike with some beautiful views. It’s a short drive from the Kauai Humane Society, which makes it the perfect spot to take your new doggo-friend for a walk! You’ll most likely see other doggie day-trippers on this hike too! You have to be wary of other dogs though, just in case the one you’re looking after isn’t super dog-friendly. We had to deal with our pup, Zeus, and his loud barking whenever other dogs came around.
Also, here’s some good news! Not only is Sleeping Giant a short hike, stretching only 2.6 miles total, but it’s also free! The trailhead is located within a neighborhood, and you’ll have to leave your vehicle at the end of the road near houses. Be sure to be respectful of other’s property and don’t block anyone’s driveway when you’re finding a parking spot. Dog poop bags and garbage cans are available right at the entrance of the trailhead, so be sure to utilize them!
Now, remember when I said the hike was easy? Don’t freak out, it is. But most of it is uphill, so do those calf stretches. The path is almost entirely loose dirt, so be ready for some muddy inclines if it’s been raining. There are several stops along the trail with scenic looks over the ocean. You can also stop at a section on the “chest” of the Sleeping Giant and relax at some picnic tables while enjoying the view.
Java Kai Coffee
Now, when I say I had the best iced coffee of my life at Java Kai, I’m not exaggerating. To give you context, I’ve been drinking coffee two times a day for several years now, with the addiction starting when I was a wee teenager. I’ve tasted some hefty cold brews, and Java Kai is the best so far (although another Kauai coffee shop gave it a run for its money). I personally got the Iced Mac Nut Latte at least three times throughout our trip there. Plus, the coffee shop is only ten minutes away from Sleeping Giant. It makes for the perfect post-hike treat!
We ended our day and our trip with Zeus at Kalapaki Beach. The beach is a part of the Marriot hotel, and is pretty close to the Lihue Harbor. Parking can get a little hectic here, as the main lot is narrow and spots are highly coveted. Kalapaki is the perfect way to end a long day of hiking and coffee, so be sure to soak up the sun and grab a bite at Kalapaki Beach Hut!
Bonus Food Suggestion: Hamura Saimin
If you’ve never had Saimin, you’re missing out. Saimin is a classic, Hawaiian noodle soup, is a mix of broth, noodles, Kamaboko, pork, green onions, and more. It’s absolutely delicious and, if you’re a fan of Ramen or Pho, you’ll be an instant fan. Hamura Saimin is a simple, no-frills noodle spot where a few grandmotherly women serve you some delicious soup. If you make the right choice and visit Hamura, be sure to get the Special Saimin and take yourself home a piece of the lilikoi chiffon pie. It’s worth it.
That’s the Kauai East side!
The East side is a bit more relaxed than the other parts of the island, but it’s a fantastic way to spend a day with a dog, great views, and some sun. What’d you think about these spots?
Will you take a dog from the Kauai Humane Society? Feed it Saimin? Wait, don’t do that. But do leave me a comment below and let me know!