Kauai Elopement and Travel Guide

Written by Cortlyn Adams


 

Kauai Elopement and Travel Guide

How to Elope on Kauai: A Complete Guide

The Kauai elopement and travel guide is here AND updated as of April, 2022!! Ever since my husband, Drew, and I went to Kauai on our honeymoon in 2016, we have continued to find our way back to this beautiful island. I fell in love with the diverse landscapes (from the beach, to the rainforest, to the bright-red-soiled canyon!)and of course all the sunshine. So, because I love this little corner of the earth, I’ve created the ultimate guide to help you plan your dream Kauai elopement or Hawaii vacation (for inspo on what your day could look like, click here). In this blog, you’ll find everything you need to know about travel logistics, where to stay on the island, the best hikes on Kauai, a list of restaurants you’ll definitely want on your Kauai travel itinerary, and more! So, imagine yourself on a Kauai beach, pull up this Spotify playlist and begin reading how you can plan your ultimate Kauai adventure (check out this blog to start dreaming up your day!)!


A Checklist for Planning Your Kauai Elopement

Number 1: Hire a photographer

Psst…I know of a pretty cool Kauai elopement photographer who would love to document your adventure…just saying . But, truly, this is a really important step in your planning process! Of course, you’ll want photos of your day to treasure for years to come. But, you also want to book an elopement photographer with experience in Kauai elopements. From island logistics, knowledge in Hawaiian culture, weather patterns and uniquely scouted locations, it’s so important to work with a photographer who is well-versed in adventure elopement photography.

Number 2: Pick a time of year

The best thing about Kauai is that the weather is consistent and amazing all year long! I personally recommend planning your Kauai trip or adventure elopement in November, February, or March because there are mild temperatures and you could escape the cold winter on the mainland. Keep reading because I’m sharing everything you need to know about weather patterns on Kauai. Scroll on!

Number 3: Choose a part of the island

There are three regions on Kauai for you to consider for your elopement. I’m breaking each of these down throughout the rest of this blog post, but here is a brief summary of what you could find in each region:

  • Northside: Hanalei and Princeville Area

    • Tends to be more overcast with rain

    • Hanalei Bay, Kauai’s most iconic beach, is located on the northside

  • Eastside: Kapaa, Wailua, and Lihue

    • More sunny, but still has cloud cover

    • Some of our favorite places to eat are all on the eastside of Kauai

    • You can find the lush rainforests in this area

  • Southside: Koloa, Kalaheo, Eleele, and Waimea

    • The sunniest and driest part of the island

    • Waimea Canyon is located on the southwest side of Kauai

Number 4: Buy your dress (and a new swimsuit!)

Finding your wedding dress is an obvious to-do in your Kauai elopement planning process. But, I’m here to tell you that your trip to Kauai is absolutely worth investing in a new swimsuit!

Number 5: Apply for a marriage license

You’ve got your incredible partner, the stunning dress, the dreamy flowers and the epic Kauai elopement backdrop. But, you cannot forget one of the most important witnesses to your adventure-packed vows: your marriage license! Read about all the information you need to know about getting a marriage license for your Kauai elopement by clicking here. Also, you’ll need to have someone ordained to officiate your elopement ceremony and two witnesses present (and yes, I’m happy to be a witness, if needed!).

Number 6: Apply for and secure permits

When planning your Kauai elopement, it is essential to understand the rules and regulations in order to honor the Natives and native island. Not to worry, I help each and every one of my couples secure the permits necessary to have the best Kauai elopement day! If you are a fellow photography or industry professional and need help applying for permits, feel free to reach out as well as I am happy to help you, too!







What You Need to Know About the Kauai Weather When Planning Your Hawaii Adventure Elopement

One of the most important things to remember for an adventure elopement is planning for a certain level of flexibility. We can work together to plan for the most epic Kauai adventure, but we’re working with Mother Nature in her natural habitat. So, remember that weather patterns can change. We can do the best we can to plan for sunny skies, but the island could have other plans! But, here is some helpful information to keep in mind about Kauai weather:

  • Temperatures average around 78 degrees in January and peak around 85 degrees in August. 

  • For rainfall, the driest months tend to be May through September and the wettest month is December.

  • Winter is a great time to visit, even with the increased rain chances, because it’s humpback whale season. 

  • For weather patterns based on region of the island, check out this map designed for Between the Pine:


Designed for Between the Pine by Mod Bird Design

Designed for Between the Pine by Mod Bird Design






Kauai Flights, Rental Cars, and Logistics for Your Adventure: Oh My!

An important detail to consider when planning your Kauai elopement is travel I’ve worked with a lot of different scenarios when it comes to travel logistics for elopements on Kauai. That’s why me and my team (shoutout to Sophie!) created this helpful little graphic to help you understand travel time and logistics for your Kauai adventure.


Designed for Between the Pine by Mod Bird Design

Designed for Between the Pine by Mod Bird Design

Welcome to the Lihue Airport

The Lihue Airport is the primary airport on Kauai. You can read more information about the airport by clicking here. It truly is one of the dreamiest airports (I mean, it’s on an island so of course it’s dreamy); the baggage claim and security areas are full of natural light and an open-air design!

Direct Flights to Kauai on Alaska Airlines

Y’all know I love Alaska Airlines, so it should be no surprise that their credit card is my go-to! The mileage plan and customer service is the best you can find, and has been the reason Drew and I get to return to Kauai so often! And, you get 20% off the cheese platter when you use the Alaska credit card in-flight, so really what more could you want? Alaska Airlines is also known for their famous Companion Fare, which basically allows you to buy a ticket for your favorite adventure pal for just $99 (plus taxes), no matter where the destination is! You can click here to find out more information about the Alaska Visa Signature card. There are direct flights traveling to Kauai all the time; see if there’s a direct flight from your location by clicking here.

Plan for a Rental Car to Explore Kauai

Drew and I always rent a Jeep when we travel to Kauai! Renting a Jeep (or even a camper van like this adventurous Kauai elopement) allows you to explore the rugged roads that lead to hidden beaches. Did you know that only 3% of the island is driveable? The Napali Coast is an entire area without roads. Pretty wild, huh? So, you’ll be thankful you have a more rugged vehicle as you explore the island roads! 

Where to Stay on Kauai

When I travel for Between the Pine, I love to book my hotel rooms through a third-party, like this one! I’ve found that I can get the best deals by searching for rooms through third-party hotel sites. If we aren’t staying in a hotel, Drew and I love staying at an Airbnb. Keep scrolling to find my list of the best places to stay for your Kauai elopement! And, pro tip! Some hotels, Like Kauai Shores, will give you a free rental car if you book your stay for a certain amount of days!


Where to Stay for Your Elopement: My Top Kauai Airbnb and Hotel Recommendations

You can’t plan a trip to Kauai without securing a place to stay! Whether that’s a high-end hotel or a cozy Airbnb, below are my top recommendations for where to stay for your Kauai elopement. If you’re planning an Airbnb elopement or adventure wedding, it’s important to read through all the details listed about the home. The last thing you’d want is to put a deposit down on an Airbnb that does not allow gatherings to take place on the property (if you’re including family at your elopement). If you have doubts on whether the hosts allows gatherings, you can always contact the host and read through the reviews on the listing.


Lihue:

Kappa:

Poipu:

Generally, Poipu is the side of the island that is the sunniest. So, keep that in mind because it tends to be pricier to stay in Poipu than other areas on Kauai. 

Princeville: 







My Favorite Kauai Hikes

Kauai is the ultimate destination to hike, with so many different terrains and sights like canyons, sea cliffs, waterfalls, tropical forests and more, there is no shortage of adventure to be had. Whether you choose to have a Kauai elopement or you are traveling to this gorgeous island for a getaway, these hikes are my all time favorite and I highly recommend any of these for the best adventure ever! It is important to note that some of these hikes do not allow professional photography, which is why it is so important to have an elopement photographer who is experienced in Kauai elopements.

Hanakapiai Falls

This 9 mile hike is located in a state park and is such a dream! You will need a reservation to do this hike and a shuttle will drop you right off at the trailhead. Drew and I did this hike at sunrise and we got to the waterfall before anyone else. It was truly magical having it all to ourselves. You can also swim in the water at the base of the waterfall while taking in the views of the Napali coast!

Makaleha Falls

This trail ends with three waterfalls through a lush green forest. The hike is only 2.8 miles round trip.

Pu’u O Kila Lookout

This hike is absolutely beautiful! With views of the Napali coast, wildflowers and the rich red dirt of Waimea Canyon, it’s a 2.3 mile must-do adventure! Plus, it’s dog friendly!

Kuilau Ridge Trail

If you want to explore through lush, green rainforest magic, this is the trail for you! It’s a 3.6 mile-trail, and is also dog-friendly!

Sleeping Giant

This hike features beautiful wild flowers and is accessible year-round! According to All Trails, “Local legend tells of a giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke, and when you see the mountain’s resemblance to a sleeping giant from the nearby town of Kapa’a you can see why the legend persists.”

Pihea Vista Trail

Located in Waimea Canyon, this 2.3 mile trail has gorgeous views of the Napali Coast. I highly recommend doing his hike because the views are incredible. You can also stop at Waimea Canyon overlook and red dirt falls while on this trail!

Okolehao Trail

This 2.6 mile trail can be a little muddy, but the hike is so worth it. I recommend wearing hiking boots for this one and not sandals. Drew and I did this hike and only saw a handful of people on it. There are two viewpoints at the start of the trail, I recommend making it to the second viewpoint which has incredible views overlooking Hanalei Bay! Plus, this trail is dog friendly!

I also have some favorite trials (especially within Waimea Canyon) that I’m able to take my couples to, but you’ll have to be one of my couples to find out where those spots are! Click here to start a conversation with me about becoming a Between the Pine couple.


KauaiElopementandTravelGuide| BetweenthePineAdventureWeddingandElopementPhotography










kauai elopement | between the pine elopement photographer


Best Beaches on Kauai for Your Elopement

If you envision having part of your Kauai elopement day on a beach then keep reading because this section is for you (plus, click here for dreamy beach elopement inspo to get you envisioning your best day ever!)! There are so many options to include a gorgeous Kauai beach on your best day ever, from having your ceremony here, to a luxury picnic to watching the sunrise or sunset, the possibilities are endless. Below are my top recommendations for the best beaches on Kauai.

Shipwreck Beach 

Located on the south end of Kauai, Shipwreck Beach is a local favorite for bodysurfing and surfing. There is an iconic cliff wall located here, which will create various backdrop opportunities for your Kauai elopement photos. 

Smaller, less known beaches near Poipu

During my time in Kauai, I have discovered a handful of smaller beaches that are less popular. These are amazing options for my couples who want a more intimate elopement setting. I only share these location details with my couples, so reach out to me if your curiosity has peaked!

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is located on the north end of Kauai, and is known as the iconic beach of Kauai. The historic Hanalei Pier is a landmark that used to be a working pier to load and off load sugar and other goods from ships. Want to see photos from an adventure-packed elopement at Hanalei Bay? Explore by clicking here.

Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach is located on the north side of the island, past Hanalei Bay. This beach is extremely lush, filled with so much greenery. On your drive there will be monsteras hanging from the trees that are so dreamy. This beach is the perfect location for sunrise or sunset!

Anini Beach

This beach is my all time favorite place to snorkel on all of Kauai! Anini beach tends to be a little more laid back, with less people on the beach making it the perfect location to relax and unwind.

Puu Poa Beach

Puu Poa Beach sits right in front of a hotel that is currently being renovated, so right now the beach is almost completely deserted. After walking down 150 steps, you’ll have your very own slice of paradise since no one is using the beach. It is SO WORTH IT, trust me! Plus a ton of sea turtles live here making it the perfect place to snorkel!

Want to know which beaches are my favorite for sunrise and sunset? Check out my Kauai honeymoon guide where I share more of my favorite beaches and other Kauai honeymoon activities!






A List of My Favorite Kauai Restaurants

If you know me, you know I’m all about a great meal! So, I’ve made a list of my top Kauai restaurants for you. Whether you’re sunbathing, hiking, eloping, surfing, or photographing Kauai elopements, I’ve made sure you won’t go hungry!

Northside: Hanalei and Princeville Area

  • Hanalei Farmers Market: This is an amazing farmers market! Throughout the year, there are farmers markets happening all over the island, and I truly think Hanalei is the best of the best!

  • Hanalei Bread Company: This place is so good! And, they carry Miir products, which is such a win!

  • Nourish Hanalei: This restaurant overlooks Hanalei Bay and uses locally sourced food to create all of their meals. I usually grab lunch here when I am on the north shore!

  • Ama: Looking for the best ramen on the island, then look no further because Ama is the best of the best! Not only is their ramen amazing, they have the absolute best Mai Thai’s on all of the island, too. They do require reservations and you are able to make them 60 days in advance. If you do forget to make a reservation they have a bar and first come first serve seating, just be prepared to wait or pro tip, show up right when they open! If you do have to wait, there is a fire pit that you can sit around and enjoy a drink. When Drew and I visited we didn’t have a reservation and we just grabbed our Mai Thai drinks from the bar and sat by the fire until a table was ready.

  • Bar Acuda: This is the sister restaurant to Ama! They have a ton of shareable plates and offer great variety on their menu and make incredible cocktails.

  • Kilauea Fish Market: Okay, their Ahi burrito and poke is by far some of the best on the island! This restaurant is truly a must when visiting Kauai. Plus Kilauea is one of our favorite little towns on the island.

  • Trilogy Coffee & Tea Bar: Arguably one of Drew and I’s favorite coffee shops on the island, Trilogy Coffee carries our absolute favorite brand of coffee, Onyx! Drew and I actually have a subscription to Onyx because we love it so much! There are also a ton of shops all around this area that are super cute!

  • Palate Wine Bar & Restaurant: Drew and I went here for a wine tasting on one of our last nights in Kauai. They have such a relaxed vibe and amazing food. You can enjoy shareables like flatbreads and cheese boards. Drew and I spent 3+ hours here, just sitting and having the best conversation ever so you know it holds a special place in my heart!

Eastside: Kapaa, Wailua, and Lihue

  • Java Kai: Can I get an amen? This place has the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had! It’s an amazing breakfast spot with great food and coffee.

  • Kauai Juice Co.: Right after you finish the incredible burrito at Java Kai, you can head to Kauai Juice Co. (which is right next door) for some fresh juice!

  • Fish Bar Deli: Fish Bar Deli is a little newer and is absolutely amazing. We went here for our anniversary and their handcrafted cocktails were awesome! They have a small creative menu, like handmade corn dogs, (I mean, can we ask for anything better?) that rotates.

  • Jo2: Drew and I haven’t eaten here yet, but it is a local favorite higher end restaurant! So many people have told us to go here and it is definitely on our list for our next trip!

  • Aina Kauai: Aina Kauai is on our bucket list, too! This is the perfect place to enjoy a nine course meal on your elopement day or a way to celebrate you and your partner the day after. Heads up you do need a reservation for this restaurant.

  • Mermaid’s Cafe: This little cafe is open when they’re open, and they are closed when they are closed. But, if you time it just right, you could enjoy some incredibly fresh, classic Hawaiian food.

  • Street Burger: This spot is Drew’s favorite restaurant on the island (are we surprised?). They have incredible french fries, and their meat is all locally sourced!

  • Wailua Shave Ice: They serve the best shave ice on Kauai! My go-to order is the “triple coconut,” and Drew loves the “lava flow.” 

  • Lava Lava Beach Club: This is the restaurant that is connected to the Hawaii Shores Resort. It’s a great spot for an evening night-cap on the beach, and the atmosphere is amazing! 

Southside: Koloa, Kalaheo, Eleele, and Waimea

  • Little Fish Coffee: Drew and I were able to walk here from an Airbnb we stayed at on the southside of the island. They have great acai bowls, breakfast options and coffee.

  • Anakes Juice Bar: Located in the back of a grocery store, Anakes Juice Bar has the best acai bowl I’ve ever had. My favorite bowl to order is “the Hulk.”

  • JoJo’s Shave Ice: This shave ice spot is located really close to Waimea Canyon, making it the perfect pit-stop either on your way to or from an adventure in the canyon. They put macadamia nut ice cream in the shaved ice. I mean, come on! What more could you want in life?

  • Kiawe Roots: This is a great sit-down restaurant that serves locally sourced food.

  • Da Crack: The local Chipotle and it’s dang good (and well priced). This restaurant is literally in
    the crack of two buildings. There is also an acai place right inside the grocery store to the right of it. The acai place is in the back of the grocery store and The Hulk bowl is my favorite! You can find Drew and I getting both a burrito and acai bowl on almost every trip we take to Kauai!

  • La Spezia: Enjoy handmade Italian food at La Spezia! Everything is made in-house and it is super yummy! The staff is super knowledgeable about the food and wines on the menu. This restaurant feels a little more fancy, and I recommend you get a reservation prior to eating here.

  • Puka Dog: Did someone say, “Hawaiian-styled hot dog?” Yes. Yes, they did! Puka Dogs are served in a house-made hot dog bun, and they are so good!


KauaiElopementandTravelGuide| BetweenthePineAdventureWeddingandElopementPhotography


KauaiElopementandTravelGuide| BetweenthePineAdventureWeddingandElopementPhotography


KauaiElopementandTravelGuide| BetweenthePineAdventureWeddingandElopementPhotography

Final Thoughts: A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Kauai Elopement 

As you begin planning your Kauai elopement or trip to Hawaii, I want to make sure you keep some things in mind! At the end of the day, one of the key components of a Kauai elopement is being willing to invest in your adventure. I highly recommend prioritizing the costs of your elopement photographer, where you will stay and your rental car.

No matter what your reason is for traveling to Kauai (either an adventurous trip for some TLC or an epic elopement!), the most important thing you can do is respect the locals and Hawaiian tradition during your visit. There is a rich history and tradition throughout the island. As a Kauai elopement photographer, I am very passionate about honoring the locals and land. If you’re ready to start dreaming up your Kauai adventure, I’d love to help! Reach out to me, and let’s plan the most amazing Kauai experience yet!


   


Ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? Wander away below!

Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.

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  1. Wow, this guide is FILLED with literally everything. Kauai is too on my bucket list! I will definitely be using this when I travel there!

  2. Wow, this guide is FILLED with literally everything. Kauai is too on my bucket list! I will definitely be using this when I travel there!

  3. WOW MOLLIE! This is so incredibly informative, thorough, and well done!!! Any couple wanting to elope in Kaui needs to read this! Also super helpful for anyone just wanting to visit for fun, SO good!

  4. WOW MOLLIE! This is so incredibly informative, thorough, and well done!!! Any couple wanting to elope in Kaui needs to read this! Also super helpful for anyone just wanting to visit for fun, SO good!

  5. Wow! These images are absolutely stunning! Thank you for all of the amazing reccomendations. Kauai is at the top of my bucket list, and I will keep all of this information tucked away for the day I get to visit here!

  6. Wow! These images are absolutely stunning! Thank you for all of the amazing reccomendations. Kauai is at the top of my bucket list, and I will keep all of this information tucked away for the day I get to visit here!

  7. Valerie says:

    What an incredible guide! So informative, and such beautiful images! And the graphics are so cute!

  8. This is SUCH a comprehensive guide, and so helpful! I will probably come back to it if we ever visit Kauai even just on vacay! The images are stunning, too – and your whole website is killer!

  9. This is SUCH a comprehensive guide, and so helpful! I will probably come back to it if we ever visit Kauai even just on vacay! The images are stunning, too – and your whole website is killer!

  10. Wow! This Kauai guide dives right into the wealth of information that you have about eloping, love it! I am in love with your little infographics too, they are really helpful and put an adorable spin on learning! Great article!

  11. Wow! This Kauai guide dives right into the wealth of information that you have about eloping, love it! I am in love with your little infographics too, they are really helpful and put an adorable spin on learning! Great article!

  12. So thorough and helpful, Mollie! I love all the custom artwork xx

  13. So thorough and helpful, Mollie! I love all the custom artwork xx

  14. atersaakov@gmail.com says:

    Mollie you’re killin it!! This guide is so so helpful for anyone who wants to elope in Kauai! And it makes me want to buy a plane ticket

  15. atersaakov@gmail.com says:

    Mollie you’re killin it!! This guide is so so helpful for anyone who wants to elope in Kauai! And it makes me want to buy a plane ticket

  16. justynaebutlerphotography@hotmail.com says:

    Such an informative piece! Love all he restaurant recommendations!

  17. justynaebutlerphotography@hotmail.com says:

    Such an informative piece! Love all he restaurant recommendations!

  18. UGH Kauai is a dreammmm, and this is such a thorough and informative elopement guide!! So much helpful helpful information! You rock!!!

  19. UGH Kauai is a dreammmm, and this is such a thorough and informative elopement guide!! So much helpful helpful information! You rock!!!

  20. twoodhullphotography@gmail.com says:

    OMG this is such an amazing resource! I am going to hawaii in june and I am so excited to check out some of these restaurants while in kauai!

  21. twoodhullphotography@gmail.com says:

    OMG this is such an amazing resource! I am going to hawaii in june and I am so excited to check out some of these restaurants while in kauai!

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