My bff and I are taking a trip to Kauai (our first visit) from July 25th to July 31st. We are staying in Princeville the first 5 nights and then our last night in Lihue. We are interested in mainly hiking, snorkeling, a kayaking trip, and possibly a surf lesson. We will have a rental car. We arrive late on the 25th so that day is shot and take the red-eye on the 31st.
First off, best hikes. I know this is very subjective. I would like to think we are in decent shape and can handle moderate hikes, but maybe not too strenuous/difficult. We want to see different kinds of terrain and hopefully some great photo ops (birds, waterfalls, etc). Which of the following are "must see/do?"
-Napali Coast Kalalau Trail
-Wai Koa Loop
-Pihea, Awaawapuhi, and Alakai Swamp Trails (These seem close together?)
We will most likely only be able to do one hike on the east on our last day.
-Nounou Mountain Trail (Sleeping Giant)
Next up, snorkeling. Again, I would like to think we are decent swimmers but don't have a ton of experience snorkeling. I snorkeled in the Caribbean a few times and in Maui but that's it. Are these the best snorkeling spots for decent swimmers with probably limited time given the other activities we want to fit in? Are they safe? Also what is the best way to get info on currents/conditions?
Now for kayaking. This is the only activity we may want a guide for other than surfing. My bff and I did a trip to Nova Scotia a couple years ago and did a sea kayak tour. It was her first kayak trip and my third. We have done a lot of canoeing, but not a bunch of kayaking. We both enjoy it though. That being said, any suggestions? I read a little about the 17 mile Napali trip but think it may be too long. What about the Fern Grotto? Basically we just want another way to explore the island.
Surfing. This will be a first for both of us and probably pretty hilarious. I can't help but think of the movie, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and the surf lesson between Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Any recommendations of an easy going surf lesson for total beginners?
Restaurants. We are both vegetarians. We would love to try any local specialties. We know it can be pretty pricey, so we will probably splurge here and there, but certainly not every meal. Just found out our hotel room doesn't have a fridge, bummer, so buying things at the grocery store may not be as convenient as I originally thought. I did find that most restaurants offer veg fare which is great!
Bars. We are past the club scene/college bar crowd, but don't exactly want a place that is dead either. We both enjoy wine and from what I can remember (just joking...sort of) the mai tais in Maui were awesome! One thing we are careful of is to not drive after drinking. If we are staying near the St. Regis in Princeville, are there any fun restaurants/bars in walking distance? Sounds like the St Regis bar is $$$.
Finally, any other must see/do activities? Queen's Bath, art, gardens, luaus (no piggies please),
sea glass beach, farmer's market...
I can't thank you enough for taking time to read through my crazy ramblings. Any advice is much appreciated!