Best (And Easiest) Bike Trail On Kauai

There are many ways to experience the beauty of Kauai, the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii. One low-key option for taking in the scenery is bike riding. Two wheels allow you to enjoy views at your own pace, and when it comes to traveling with kids, setting the pace is important.

Kapaa Bike Path in Kauai, Hawaii -  Guide to Ke Ala Hele Makalae Trail, a flat, beginner-friendly bike path along the coast. Tips on what to bring for the bike ride, what you'll see on the easy route, and where to eat after you're finished. Great route for biking with kids! #Kauai #Hawaii #biking #trail #familytravel

Where to rent bikes on Kauai

We rented our adult and kid-sized bikes in Kapaa. There is no shortage of places to rent, and you don’t have to reserve them ahead of time. We biked during the busy holiday season and had no problem walking up to rent bikes for a group of eight.

Helmet on and ready to bike the Kapaa Bike Path on Kauai

You’ll find bikes will be a little less expensive if you rent them in town versus on the outskirts of town near the trail. Bike rentals should come with a helmet, though, they say it’s optional for adults.

(Get the helmet)

We opted for seven-speed bikes with hand brakes. We didn’t get heavy duty mountain bikes or sleek road bikes, so I can’t vouch for the ease of renting those.

Be sure to thoroughly look over each bike before starting your ride. We discovered one of our kids’ bikes didn’t shift gears properly.

Beginner bike trail on Kauai

If you haven’t been to Kauai, it’s important to know that this island is traversed by few roads, which are almost always filled with cars.

I’m talking legit traffic jams (but at least the views nice, right?).

Kids posing next to their bikes on the Kapaa Bike Trail in Kauai, Hawaii

So, when I talk about bike riding on this island, I’m not talking about commuting by bikes. I saw some brave souls do this, even a few with kids in tow, but for my kiddos, we stuck to a paved trail.

If you’re a beginner when it comes to biking, it’s just as important to find an easy trail when exploring an unfamiliar place.

We were very happy with the terrain found along the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Trail, more commonly known as the Kapaa Bike Path. This stunning 7.3-mile trail is incredibly kid-friendly, with wide paths and postcard vistas.

Where to start on the Kapaa Bike Trail

As it turns out, the Kapaa Trail will eventually be even longer.

I’ll first tell you about the section we biked. Leaving from the eastern edge of Kapaa, we biked north on the trail. The views were gorgeous! We biked past beaches (way too rough to consider dipping our feet into the water).

Boy on bike in Kauai, Hawaii

We also biked past a former banana plantation where we took in the awe-inspiring view of the rough surf.

It’s the stop known as “Pineapple Dump.”

It’s a very short route, but we were biking with kids as young as 7 and it was starting to warm up a bit too much. (The route is not shaded)

You will pass by beaches on this trail, including Fuji Beach and Kealia Beach. We were riding in the heart of winter, so the waves were a bit too high for us. The north end of the trail, you’ll encounter Donkey Beach.

Had we gone the opposite direction, we would have written past a busier area, past the bustling town of Kaapa. The good thing about that southern route is that there are places to stop along the way that might involve, say, getting shave ice to cool off.

This trail will eventually connect to a trail that passes by Lydgate Park.

I wish we had time to visit that part of the trail – there is a great playground there for kids. It’s also known for the keiki beach.

Tips for biking this Kauai trail

These tips are good for those biking with and without kids.

The ocean view just off the Kaapa Bike Trail in Kauai, Hawaii
  • There are a few restrooms along the trail with running water and water fountains. They are found at:
    • Kealia Kai
    • Kealia Beach
    • Kapaa Park
    • Lihi Park & Wai’Kaea Boat Harbor
  • Speaking of water, bring a lot of it. We only brought two refillable water bottles for the four of us and that was a terrible idea. Water fountains on the route can be found at Kealia Kai, Kealia Beach, and Lihi Park.
  • The trail is not shaded, and there aren’t many covered rest stops, so put on sunscreen.
  • Kauai is buggy, so if you plan on stopping to check out the views, put on bug spray. Or, you may be like me, and get bit whether you’re moving or not, so just put on bug spray to be safe.
  • You’ll notice signs at some parts along the trail indicating where falling rocks may be encountered. Just keep biking and you’ll be fine. Don’t stop to test out the durability of the fragile cliffs.
  • The trail is not hilly nor do you cross many busy streets (though you do ride past beach parking lot entrances). Still, it’s good to practice safe biking, so wear a helmet. 
  • More good trail practices to note: 
    • Bike on the right-hand side of the trail.
    • Announce your presence when you’re coming up behind a walker or runner.
    • Pass pedestrian and slower bikers by passing them on the left-hand side.  I always say “Biker on your left.”

Treats after your Kauai bike ride

Kapaa is a vibrant little town for food options, especially along Kuhio Highway. Right by the trail, near where we rented bikes, we encountered a collection of food trucks. If you’re hungry, you can get your lunch there.

Shave ice from the Shave Ice Tege Tege food truck in Kapa'a.

Or if you just want a cold treat, there was a shave ice truck. If you aren’t familiar with this Hawaii treat, it’s pretty popular (and definitely not called shaved ice…or a snow cone).

We got our shave ice at the Shave Ice Tege Tege food truck.

Restaurant-wise, I have a few suggestions, and like I said, they’re going to be located on Kuhio Highway.

Interior of Nom Kauai - A great brunch spot in Kapaa

If you’re biking early in the morning, snag breakfast/brunch at Nom Kauai, 4-1101 Kuhio Highway a4. It was, hands-down, our favorite meal on Kauai. But, they’re only open until 2:30 p.m., so plan accordingly.

The exterior of Nom is pretty unassuming and located in a small strip mall near a grocery store. Inside, though, is a fun and hip little restaurant. It is kid-friendly, though it’s definitely more appealing to the kid-free crowd.

Beer at Olympic Cafe in Kapaa

On the day of our bike ride, we got started late and, thus, had a late lunch (too late for Nom). We went to Olympic Cafe located at 1354 Kuhio Highway. This open-air restaurant is good for big groups, and it’s pretty kid-friendly.

Looking for a scenic and easy bike path on Kauai, Hawaii? Check out the Kapaa Bike Path, an easy biking trail along the coast. Here are tips for biking the trail with kids, including where the restroom stops are, what beaches are along the route, and where to eat after your ride. #biking #biketrail #Hawaii #Kauai #Kapaa

More Kauai Adventures

Stay tuned for future blog posts about Kauai, Hawaii! In the next few weeks, I share details about hidden gems you’ll love to discover for yourself if you visit the island.

While you wait, go ahead and get some travel inspiration with the Kauai Bucket List.

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My Kauai Bucket List

I’m planning a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, with my family and have been brainstorming all the things I’d like to do if time and money were no barrier. Since winter can get pretty dreary in Nebraska, I’m more than willing to daydream about Hawaiian adventures. Aren’t you? Here’s my Kauai bucket list to inspire wanderlust in you, too!

Kauai Bucket List | Adventurous things to do in Kauai | Wish list of places to see in Kauai as well as food and drinks to try #Kauai #Hawaii #BucketList

Kayak to a waterfall

There are adventurous excursions combining two things I enjoy – kayaking and chasing waterfalls. (Now I got that song in your head, didn’t I?) Kauai has the only navigable rivers in all of Hawaii (Wailua, Hanalei and Huleia rivers), so why not explore one?

There’s even one that takes you to the Hidden Waterfalls, which sounds lovely (I also read about one called Secret Falls, which may or may not be the same). But, frankly, I’m eyeing the one that lets you kayak to the waterfall and then boats you back in a motorized canoe.

The last time I kayaked was a moonlight float in Decorah, Iowa. I think I’d prefer daytime kayaking. In Hawaii. For sure.

Kayaks on Wailua River in Kauai, Hawaii
Kayakers on Wailua River. Kauai is the only island in Hawaii with navigable rivers. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau, Kicka Witte

Learn ukulele with friends

I came across this one-hour class through the AirBnB Experiences search. For $25, it sounds like a fun and unusual way to spend the evening in Kauai. But, for even less, your hotel may offer casual lessons. I know the resort where we’re staying offers lessons!

Hike all the hikes

I’m having a hard time narrowing down which trails I most want to hike in Kauai (this post has 15 Kauai hikes to choose from, for instance).

Some of the trails that are always popping up on “must do” lists include Kalalu Trail, which has spectacular views of the Na Pali Coast; Canyon Trail through Koke’e State Park, which offers views of Waimea Canyon State Park (AKA, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific); and a coastal hike to the  Makawehi Lithified Cliffs.

Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii
The Na Pali Coast is a popular area to hike in Kauai, which includes the Kalalu Trail. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau, Kicka Witte

Take a dog on a field trip

This is the most novel, fabulous idea from a humane society ever: The Kauai Humane Society has a program for travelers missing their fur babies (or just wants to have a fur baby for a day). They can take a dog on a field trip, that is to say, borrow a dog for the day!

While the dogs wear a vest that says “Adopt me,” they get a valuable chance to exercise and socialize. Win win.

Red Dirt Falls

I saw pictures of the brightly colored dirt in an area of Waimea Canyon State Park, and it looks like a place straight out of a Mars movie. Wouldn’t that be something to see in real life?

Word is, you find it on your drive back down the mountain, turning left at the Y in the road.

View of Waimea Canyon on Kauai, Hawaii
Couple enjoying the Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau, Tor Johnson

Eat all the foods

It wouldn’t be a bucket list of mine if I didn’t mention restaurants I want to go to. I’d like to try breakfast at Kalaheo Coffee Co. It sounds like the baked goods are the way to go there, but on the menu, there’s a pineapple french toast with coconut dressing that sounds like the thing I’ll order.

And to help me achieve the goal of “all the foods,” I’d like to try a pupu platter while there. A pupu platter is like a cross between tapas and bar food.

Friday night = Art Night

I stumbled across a blog post about Hanapepe’s Art Night, which is a weekly thing on Fridays. Think live music, art, and according to the aforementioned post, twinkling fairy lights. Too bad my flight schedule isn’t going to make attending possible this time around.

Mountain tubing

For a unique float trip to top all float trips, there’s mountain tubing in Kauai. Imagine floating down waterways through lush terrain and tunnels. I read these were waterways originally carved out for agricultural purposes, but now work well for recreation.

Rum tasting

When in the tropics, right? You can enjoy free rum tastings at Koloa Rum Co., and that sounds like an item I’ve got to check off this list.

Rum from the Koloa Rum Company in Hawaii
Koloa Rum Co. is found on Kauai, Hawaii. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau

Spelunk in wet and dry caves

Makauwahi Cave Reserve on the South shore was used to film a scene in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” so right away, you gotta imagine how cool it must look. It sounds a little more accessible (especially if traveling with kids) than the smaller wet cave there that you’d have to swim to.

For dry caves, I heard Maniniholo Dry Cave looks like a scene out of an Indiana Jones movie, complete with vines running down the rock walls. I heard it’s a good one to take kids to, and that you should bring a flashlight. Some of the island’s caves are closed due to flooding in 2018, like Waikapalae Wet Cave, so double-check it’s open before setting out.

Pretend I’m in a movie

Speaking of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” scenes from that movie, as well as “Jurassic Park,” were filmed at Allerton Garden.

It sounds beautiful, a tropical paradise of flowers and water features nearly 200 acres. I really want to see the Moreton Bay fig trees up close.

Best shaved ice on Kauai

So, every travel blogger who goes to Kauai pretty much says you’ve got to try the shaved ice. I dunno. I figure I should, though, in case someone asks.

For good, off-the-beaten-path ice cream, I read Loco Coco Shave Ice in Poipu is good, and even serves all-organic ingredients.

All the beaches

I’ve got a lot of plans to just sit and stare at the waves. Which beach should I go to? A bit out of the way is a beach known as Barking Sands Beach (it’s really called Polihale State Beach, but there’s some odd wind-passing-through-the-sands thing there that sounds like barks).

I’m told the snorkeling is good at Moloa’a Beach, and on the north side of it, is a great spot to spy aquatic life like turtles in the reef-protected area. Then there’s Poipu Beach, which looks as kid-friendly as it comes for ocean beaches, don’t you think?

Families playing at Poipu Beach
Poipu Beach is a family-friendly beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau, Kicka Witte

See the Spouting Horn

Speaking of Poipu Beach, it’s also the home to Spouting Horn. It’d be great to be there when the tide is high to see just how loud things can get (from a safe distance). The water can shoot up to 50 feet into the air.

Spouting Horn at Poipu Beach in Hawaii
Spouting Horn is at Poipu Beach on the island of Kauai. The water can shoot up to 50 feet into the air. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau, Dallas Nagata

Take the kids on an adventure

We’ve biked, sure, but what about biking an island like Kauai? And I’ve snorkeled, but my kids haven’t. So I’m putting both on this Kauai bucket list. I read that Lydgate Beach Park is a great place for beginner snorkelers, so maybe we go there (it’s a man-made protected swimming area). And for bikes? The Kauai Coastal Path looks like a dream.

Of course, there are a ton more options for the family: ATV tours, zip lining, horseback riding.

Kauai Coastal Bike Path
Biking along the coast in Kauai, Hawaii. Photo courtesy Kauai Visitors Bureau

Find the best beach for a sunset

Not all beaches are created equal for good sunset viewing. Obviously, the west side of the island is going to get that orb dipping into the water effect. I heard Polihale State Park has a good beach for sunsets.

Want more Hawaii vacation inspiration?

Check out my Hawaii Pinterest board, which includes pins to other islands beside Kauai. There, you’ll find itinerary ideas, packing lists, reviews and more!

Wish list of things to do in Kauai, Hawaii - From mountain tubing to rum tastings and scenic hikes #Hawaii #USA

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