Without a Car
Traveling Without A Car?
Whether you chose to forego a rental car or were not able to reserve one, it is still possible to get around Kauai without a personal vehicle. In addition to the sustainable transportation options like shuttles and ride shares, you can also get around Kauai on foot and by bike.
Local Area Shuttles
Aloha Spirit Kauai Shuttle
This shuttle will take passengers around the Koloa/Poipu area.
Kauai North Shore Shuttle
The North Shore Shuttle provides transportation to Hā‘ena State Park, which includes Kē‘ē Beach and the Kalalau Trail. For reservations and more information visit gohaena.com
Some hotels also provide area shuttle options for their guests. Please check with your accommodations for details.
Be sure to do your research about Kauai’s roads and highways before considering this transportation option as a means to move around the island. Bicyclists are encouraged to ride within towns and use bike lanes when available.
Be sure to do your research about Kauai’s roads and highways before considering this transportation option as a means to move around the island. Motor vehicle operators must be able to keep up with traffic on our two-lane highway.
Walking Guides Around Kauai’s Shores
Regional Walking Guides:
The half-mile stretch of road in Old Koloa Town where Koloa Road and Poʻipū Road intersect is a walkable shopping and food destination. The many food trucks in this area add to the variety of town’s restaurant scene, while among Old Koloa’s stores, boutiques, and coffee shops is a post office, bank, as well as two supermarkets. Travelers can also find tour operators offering a variety of adventure-activities. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to Old Koloa Town. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
Between the western end of the Sheraton Kauai Resort on Hoone Road and Poʻipū Beach Park, a network of walking paths connects almost a mile of coastline that includes Kiahuna Beach and Poʻipū. A similar network of paths connects Brennecke’s Beach to Shipwreck Beach, which are almost a mile apart, along with the Māhāʻulepū Heritage Trail. On the streetside on Poʻipū Road, visitors can view the Kāneiolouma Heiau, which is a historic Hawaiian village turned restoration project led by local native Hawaiian cultural practitioners. Please do not go beyond the rock wall without permission from the cultural practitioners. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Poʻipū. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
This in-and-out 3.7-mile coastal trail rewards walkers with a variety of ocean views that feature cliffs, coves, tide pools, sand dunes, and lava formations. During the winter, northern pacific whales can be seen along the coast completing their annual migrations to Hawaii. Depending on the ocean and tide levels, walkers can view ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs carved into rocks at Māhāʻulepū Beach near the mouth of the Waiopili Stream. At the end of the trail, walkers are able to continue and visit the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. The Makauwahi Cave is the largest limestone cave found in Hawaii, and is a uniquely preserved archaeological site, while also home to many restored native plants. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Poʻipū. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
Walkers can take advantage of this 1.6 mile side-walk stretch in Poʻipū and make their way from the Kukui‘ula Shopping Center to the Kukui‘ula Harbor. The shopping center features boutiques, restaurants, a food market, and surf shops. On the way to the Harbor, you’ll pass Baby Beach, the famous surf break, PK’s, and a beach-side restaurant and snack shop. At the Harbor, you’ll find many local families enjoying the typically calm waters and fishing. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Poʻipū. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
On the walk between the Kukui‘ula Shopping Center and the Kukui‘ula Harbor, people can visit Prince Kūhiō Park. The park is a monument to Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole who was raised in Koloa. The foundation of his home and fishpond are protected in the park, which also holds the Ho’ai Heiau, having specialized stone construction created by Native Hawaiians. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Poʻipū. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden manages the Allerton Garden, located on Kauai’s south shore between the ocean and the McBryde Garden. Garden visitors have a multitude of guided tour options to choose from, including visiting Queen Emma’s summer home, and while Allerton was designed primarily as a display garden, some areas focus on distinct plant collections. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Poʻipū. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
Kukuiolono Loop Trail is a 1.4 mile trail located in Kalāheo. Park visitors can access the golf course, a Japanese Garden, view Hawaiian lava rock artifacts, and go to a local Mexican restaurant.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden manages the McBryde Garden, located on Kauai’s south shore in the Lawaʻi Valley. The garden holds a collection of tropical flora and the largest collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Many of these plants have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive. Visitors can book a tour and explore 50 acres of diverse plants.
Rice Street and the surrounding area is pedestrian-friendly, and is also home to bus stops, an electric bike shop, and even a small skate park located at the County building fronting Eiwa Street. The Kauai Bus and Lihue Shuttle can get you to Rice Street and down to the Nawiliwili Harbor, and the Aloha Shuttle can drop you off at the Anchor Cove Shopping Center by the Nawiliwili Harbor.
There are multiple businesses, hotels, and even beach access and harbor access on this 1.7 mile street. You can find restaurants, a brewery, boutiques, hair salons, banks, and the County Civic Center. Often, community events and parades are hosted here. Further down the street on the Nawiliwili side, there are hotels near the bus stops, two shopping centers, a gym, and the Nawiliwili Harbor, which is the island’s main harbor, and the landing spot for cruise ships.
(Tip: If you are staying in a hotel, call your hotel to see if they have bikes or other transportation amenities available for guests.)
The County’s recently completed Lihue Town Core Mobility and Revitalization Project, funded by the Department of Transportation Tiger Grant, has transformed Rice Street’s lanes, parking, and sidewalks by adding bike lanes, more curbside parking, and widened and shaded sidewalks. Enjoy a walk or bike ride down this historic street. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
This self-guided audio tour begins at Kalena Park in the center of downtown Lihue. The tour is 1.3 miles long and takes pedestrians and bikers around Hardy Street, Eiwa Street, and Rice Street. There are 19 points of interest, with each point being significant to the history and culture of Lihue. http://www.lihueloop.com/
Open since 1924, the Kauai Museum is on the national register of historic places and has been listed as a state historic site since 1979. The Kauai Museum features artifacts as well as collections from artists of Kauai and Niihau. Visitors can learn about native Hawaiian life, Captain James Cook’s arrival on Kauai, the local Hawaiian monarchy, the contributions of Kauai’s many immigrant groups, and noted locals. Guided tours are also available upon request. https://www.kauaimuseum.org/
Located on the grounds of the Kauai Timbers Resort, these paths are open to members of the public from sunrise to sunset. The easily accessible walking trails are made up of joined loops that provide ocean and mountain views in a setting without traffic. You can visit the Hokuala farms while you’re there, and if you’re a guest at the Timbers Resort, you have access to different transportation activity amenities.
Visitors to ʻEleʻele can journey down Waialo Rd between the ʻEleʻele Shopping Center to Port Allen, where you’ll pass a grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, restaurants, a brewery, and a hub for many Nā Pali Coast tour companies in a .5 mile stretch. If you walk a little further, you’ll get to Glass Beach, as well as the McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery. ʻEleʻele and it’s neighbor, Hanapēpē Town, are reachable by the Kaua‘i Bus.
The wide, pedestrian-friendly quarter-mile section of Hanapēpē Road, between the intersection of Hana Road and Ko Road, is a hub for art galleries, and also features an auto shop, restaurants, a café, and boutiques. Walkers can make their way to the Storybook Theater or cross the Hanapēpē Swinging Bridge and walk a little way down the river. During non-COVID times, people attended Hanapēpē Art Night on Friday evenings. Hanapēpē Town is only a three-minute walk from the nearest Kaua‘i Bus stop, and close to the Saltpond Beach Park.
Waimea Town is a historic seaport town with major Western influence and agricultural history. Starting from the Waimea River mouth, most of Waimea’s shops, grocery stores, hotels, and restaurants are within a 10-minute walk of each other on a half-mile stretch of Kaumaualiʻi Highway and its adjacent roads. Visitors to Waimea can walk around and visit the West Kauaʻi Technology and Visitor Center, which features exhibits and activities that reflect Kauaʻi’s agricultural community, as well as the historic Waimea Theater. Transportation to and from Waimea is available through the Kaua‘i Bus with multiple stops throughout the town. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
During the early 19th century, as European trade companies sought to expand their economic and political influence throughout the Western hemisphere, the Russian-American Company commissioned a series of defensive forts throughout Kaua‘i with permission from Kaua‘i’s last king, Kaumaualiʻi. A national historic landmark and the best-preserved of these forts, Pāʻulaʻula, or Fort Elizabeth, incorporates a Russian design with native-Hawaiian building materials and construction techniques. The fort is emblematic of King Kaumaualiʻi’s trade of local economic resources in exchange for foreign political and military protection from King Kamehameha I who successfully united the Hawaiian Islands through force and diplomacy. The 17-acre fort site is located on the on the opposite side of the Waimea River from Waimea Town. Considered the area of King Kaumaualiʻi’s birth, an eight-foot bronze statue honoring the king was placed there in 2021.
East Side (Kapaa)
Hawaiian for, “The Path that Goes by the Coast,” and named as one of America’s 10 Best Recreational Trails by USA Today, this multi-use path hugs Kauai’s eastern coast along Kapaa’s beach-facing commercial edge. Walkers, joggers, roller skaters, and bikers can enjoy a sunny, open space along the ocean and away from traffic. The path holds various educational signage, providing historic and cultural information about Kapaa, as well as the marine animals that inhabit our coastline. Work to expand Ke Ala Hele Makalae with sections going south to Lihue as well as north to Anahola is ongoing, but today, the path provides a great option to experience Wailua, Kapaa, and Kealia.
This pedestrian-friendly portion of Kuhio Highway serves as Kapaa’s main road and commercial center. It features an array of hotels, convenience stores, hardware stores, grocery shops, fitness facilities, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and food trucks spread out along over 3 miles of coastline. Weaved in through the shops are many historic churches and gravesites. The Kauai Bus and the Aloha Shuttle provide transportation options to get to and around Kapaa, with multiple stops on the Aloha Shuttle Koloa-Kapaa line, the Kapaa-Princeville line, and on their Island Hopper shuttle. Skip the Kapaa Crawl traffic by walking through town or renting a bike and riding along the Kauai Path. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
(Tip: If you are staying in a hotel, call your hotel to see if they have bikes or other transportation amenities available for guests.)
Princeville’s roads feature some sidewalks and have a wide design that can accommodate pedestrians and bikes, particularly on the streets with lower speed limits that pass in front of homes and condominiums. Ka Haku Road, Princeville’s main street, connects to Kūhiō Highway and is heavily trafficked by cars. However, walkers, joggers, and bikers can use the pedestrian path along Ka Haku Road that runs from Prince Albert Park located behind the Princeville Shopping Center and Kūhiō Highway. The path extends to Liholiho Road and is especially wide where it borders the Princeville Makai Golf Course. Streetlamps are not widespread throughout Princeville, so pedestrians and bikers traveling here at night should do so with a flashlight or headlamp while exercising additional caution. The Kaua‘i Bus stops in front of the Princeville Shopping Center while the Aloha Shuttle provides service to area hotels including The Cliffs at Princeville, Bali Hai Villas, Hanalei Bay Resort, Westin Princeville Resort, and Ka ‘Eo Kai Resort. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
Surf shops, restaurants, boutiques, a music shop, and food trucks dot this stretch of road through the center of Hanalei town. Events such as water-sport gear swaps and live music can be found here, while further down the highway, a weekend farmer’s market showcases local produce, value-added goods, and crafts. Continuous sidewalk access on Kūhiō Highway exists from the Ching Young Village to Aku Road going eastward. Beyond the intersection of Kūhiō Highway and Aku Road towards the Hanalei River, sidewalk access becomes more intermittent, so exercise additional caution if walking along this area. In March of 2021 a major landslide blocked the road to Hanalei. While the road is being cleared, access for that road is limited and is operating on a schedule. For more information and to get to the Hawai’i Department of Transportation’s daily schedule for road access to and from Hanalei, please click here. The Kaua‘i Bus provides transportation options to get to and from Hanalei with a modified service schedule. Click here for more information on other transportation options.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden manages the Limahuli Garden & Preserve, located in a valley on Kaua‘i’s north shore toward the end of Kūhiō Highway before the entrance to Ke’e Beach. Comprised of over 1,000 acres, 17 of which are publicly accessible, the garden and preserve is home to a myriad of endangered native Hawaiian plants and birds. Among the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s various branches, Limahuli Garden & Preserve is especially noted for its level of biological diversity and density. Within its natural landscape, the garden and preserve utilizes native Hawaiian cultivation methods and contains examples of archaeological sites in a valley considered to be the location of one of the earliest settlements in the Hawaiian Islands. For more information on hours and ticket pricing, please click here. Limahuli Garden & Preserve can be reached using the North Shore Shuttle. It can be boarded at the Waipā Park and Ride which is a 12-minute walk from the last Kaua’i bus stop in Hanalei. After your visit, walk five minutes to Hā’ena State Park to board a shuttle back to the Waipā Park and Ride.