I just got back from a little vaca in Hawaii, and it was AWESOME. Everyone who’s been to Hawaii already knows that, and if you haven’t been, everyone else has already told you that. I spent part of my time on the North Shore of Kauai and I’d highly recommend it. Below are some photos and quick suggestions of stuff to do.
Hiking — When driving west on the North Shore, past Hanalei Bay, you’ll eventually get to the end of the road. Literally. There is no road going through Napali Coast State Park, but there’s plenty to do right there at the dead end. The Kalalau trail begins there, and even if you just hike for a couple of miles, it will take you up to a couple of beautiful viewpoints of the beach behind you and the cliffs ahead. Keep going for waterfalls and adventure.
Beaches — All of the beaches in this area are good, too: Tunnels, Ke’e, and Ha’ena. There’s nice stretches of sand and some tree shade, with typically calm, crystal clear waters and some great snorkeling. Parking can get crowded but you should be able to find a spot in one of the lots, and there’s a dry cave across the street from Tunnels Beach.
Kayaking — The popular spot for kayaking in Kauai is Wailua, but if you want a far less crowded and more relaxed paddle, try the Hanalei River. It’s easy going, especially in the morning, and heading one way takes you into a nature reserve, while heading the other takes you to the ocean. No need to book ahead, and a rental is good for 24 hours, so come and go as you please.
This is only a snippet of fun stuff on the North Shore, let alone the rest of Kauai. Note that your chances of rain are higher in this region, but showers tend to be short and the landscape is ultra lush. Aloha!
I recently visited New Orleans for the first time (I know I know. What took so long?), and of course had a wonderful time. I ate and drank and saw lots of fantastic stuff. Mostly I ate.
Below are some restaurants I’d recommend trying out, along with a few places we went that are worth specifically mentioning. Above all, I’d recommend wandering. Wander the French Quarter, Bywater, the Garden District. Wander and take in the beautiful, colorful homes, the river, the parks, the sights and sounds.
- Oxalis — Chill bar/restaurant with a delicious burger and well-mixed cocktails in the Bywater.
- Satsuma Cafe — An earthy cafe with fresh juices, vegan and not-so-vegan breakfast and lunch, and coffee in the Bywater.
- Cafe Du Monde — You already know about this one. Totally worth a trip for beignets and coffee, especially at a random time on a weekday. Seat yourself in the cafe area or grab to-go at the window. Don’t wear black (see photo).
- Parkway — A classic po’ boy joint with every kind of sandwich. Go for the fried shrimp.
- Cane & Table — A good balance of high-class food in a jovial setting. Try the whole grilled fish and cocktails.
- Sylvain — A nice dinner in the French Quarter that won’t totally blow your budget. New spins on Southern and NOLA cuisine. Romantic.
- Elizabeth’s — A down-home restaurant in the Bywater where everyone will feel at home. Serves NOLA classics and has brunch.
- Cochon Butcher — Lots of people talk about Cochon, but the sandwich shop next door is pretty great. Delicious lunch fare and a meat and cheese counter to boot. Where the Warehouse/Lower Garden/Central Business District collide.
- Bacchanal — A homey wine and cheese store + restaurant and venue in Bywater. Pick out your wine (with the help of an expert) and cheese downstairs and they’ll deliver it to you with accompaniments on the patio or upstairs.
- Carousel Bar — Located in Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. It’s historic and fun. Go at an off time for a chance to sit at the rotating bar.
- Frenchman Street — Wander this street any night of the week and see live jazz of all kinds. Follow your ears.
- WWII Museum — A huge and engaging museum with lots to see and do. Don’t skip the 4D movie.
- Jean Laffite National Preserve — It’s a couple of hours drive from New Orleans, but if the weather’s right it’s worth it. Take a supremely peaceful walk through the swamp and see snakes, turtles, gators, and lots of hanging moss.
- Preservation Hall — Top-notch NOLA history and jazz. Go to an early show on a Sunday or weekday and line up at least 30 minutes beforehand. Be prepared to cram into the tiny, magical venue.
- Magazine Street/Lower Garden District — Wander in and out of shops and ogle at the beautiful homes.