Things to do in Princeville, Kauai from a local’s point of view.

Things to do in Princeville, Kauai from a local’s point of view.

Are you staying in Princeville and are wondering what you can do?  Well I have listed my five favorite things to do in Princeville that you can walk to (well you can walk to 4 of them – you will have to drive to the Stone Dam hike) but 4 out of 5 isn’t bad :).  I hope you enjoy some or all of these walks, snorkels or swims.  I know I have enjoyed them all many times.

Club Med loop

My favorite hike around Princeville is the Club Med loop (I named it this so don’t ask other people where that is 😉 club med walkJust so you have your bearings let’s begin the hike from the St. Regis – you will walk up Ka Haku road (towards Princeville Center) and turn right by the golf course, walk to the end of the golf course road (Lei O Papa Road) and at the end turn right (Hanalei Plantation Road).

Now I realize the signs say ‘private road’ and no trespassing – however this is not actually the case and there is even a public park (albeit tiny) at the end of the road.  When you get to the end of this road and pass the park take the upper road (not the driveway downhill – that is private!) continue walking until you get to an iron gate and you will see a pedestrian passage to the left.

You are now on the old Club Med property (here are some photos of what it used to look like) it is now an overgrown jungle ruin and it is magnificent! Walk all the way to the end and you will have amazing views of Hanalei bay and the Hanalei pier.  Once you are done exploring the property – make your way down the path to the beach – you will turn right at the bottom, cross a little stream and head into the trees.  I am not sure who does it (trail angel) but someone sweeps the leaves out of the way so you can see a path through the trees – if you can’t find it just walk along the beach.

You will end up at the St. Regis/Hanalei Bay resort beach and from here you can either a) have a drink at the St. Regis Pool bar b) walk to the right of the pool on the cement path and you will find stairs that will bring you back up to in front of the St. Regis or you can walk up the other path that will take you up through the HBR property and at the top you can have a drink at their bar Happy Talk.  Loop complete – it is about a 3 mile hike with some up and down.  I usually wear my suit so I can go for a swim at the beach.  Happy trails 🙂

Anini Beach

This is a great hike and not too difficult.  There is a hill heading down to the beach so keep this in mind and as always bring water.  Walk down Wylie Road towards the Westin Princeville – just before you get to the entrance to the Westin you will see some parking spots to the right and a dirt path leading off from there.  Take this path and head down to Anini Beach (about 15 minute walk from the parking area).  There are some stunning views as you head down so bring your camera and take your time!

You will end up at the south end of Anini Beach area – this is a great beach for kids (very sheltered) there is also nice snorkeling or it’s just peaceful to go for a swim and enjoy the scenery.  You can walk up the beach for quite a ways (about 1 mile up) you will get to a grassy area where you can camp, you will find restrooms, showers and water fountains.  This is actually the best place to snorkel from.  When you are done just turn around and head back up the hill and walk back to your house.  This beach is safe at all times of years the only danger is when the current is strong it could pull you out past the reef so remember ‘when in doubt don’t go out’.

Stone Dam Hike

The Wai Koa Loop Trail (aka Stone Dam hike) starts right behind the Stone Dam hikemini-golf by Kilauea.  This hike will take you through a Mahogany forest (the biggest in North America) and through the Wai Koa farm community until you end up at the historic Stone Dam which was built in the 1880’s.  This is a flat 5 mile hike so be sure to wear sunscreen, bring snacks and water.  If you prefer you can also rent bikes near the mini golf and mountain bike around.  On a side note, the mini golf is really cool so if you have a chance check it out – they also make really good coffee there… just sayin’.

Queen’s Bath

This one is more of a hike/swim and is pretty famous.  Queen’s Bath directions can be found here.  I would recommend that if you are staying close by you should walk as parking always gets really crowded and let’s be real – nothing is very far in Princeville.  The trail heads down to the right of the parking area – it can get muddy so be careful (about 10 minutes).  Once at the bottom you will see King’s bath – look down there are often turtles swimming around.  Head left over the rock for about 5 minutes and you will come across Queen’s Bath.  Please heed the warning signs – if there are big waves don’t get in Queen’s Bath (this is especially true in winter when the waves are big!)  I live close by Queens Bath and I assure you that every year people die here!  Never turn your back on the waves either!  If it’s calm – it is glorious and you will enjoy a bath in one of the most amazing locations!

Turtle Cave

This is a hike/snorkel option with a great chance of seeing turtles!  Your adventure will start at the Ali’i Kai resort Looking out of Turtle cavebetween buildings 3 and 4.  You will probably see a lot of dirty red footprints on the asphalt – this is pointing the way to the path! Head down the path – as always it can be slippery and muddy … keep in mind this is not a beach! Once at the bottom you will have to scramble across some rocks and you can put anything down that you want to keep dry – (if it’s high tide you will have water up to your shoulders if it’s low tide you can walk into the cave) or leave it at the other end of the turtle cave.

You will see the cave entrance at the bottom and to the right – ideally bring a flashlight or phone as there are rocks inside (and it’s dark) and sometimes turtles are snoozing inside too – it would be awkward to fall over one of them… Once at the end of the tunnel – deposit your things on the rocks, don your mask and snorkel and go check out the turtles!

Remember do not touch, bother or aggravate the turtles while you are down there!  When you snorkel out to the right you can see a rope swing – fun but make sure it’s not too old .. it was looking a little bit worn last time I was there.  Again – this should be a calm weather/summer activity due to high waves – if the waves are crashing through the tunnel do NOT go in.

Please be safe, take water with you and never turn your back on the ocean!

I would love to hear from you if you do any of these walks or even if you have any questions.  Just leave me a comment below.

This post is not meant to be an official trail guide or map.  It is a starting point for your explorations.  Please always check local weather forecasts and trail conditions before starting.  Know your limits and be safe!


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