There’s definitely a reason people call Hawaii paradise. Where else are you greeted upon arrival with a lei of fresh flowers? Or where you can sip cocktails out of coconuts and see clear blue water for days? We can see why this tropical getaway is beloved by both honeymooners and those seeking a little R&R. It’s also a sanctuary for The Path actress Michelle Monaghan, who’s been on the Hawaii bandwagon for quite some time. She jets off to visit the breathtaking island of Kauai whenever she gets a free moment. In fact, she just got back from her latest trip a few days ago.
From enjoying the sun and surf to drinking Mai Tais and dancing at the island’s oldest bar, the actress knows how to do Hawaii right. Along with Monaghan’s help, we’ve put together an awesome locals-only guide to Kauai complete with where to eat, shop, and go out on the town. Scroll through to see Monaghan’s top picks—and add them to Google Maps for your next trip to the Aloha State.
“[This is] easily my favorite shop on the island. Owner Petra Frankenreiter selects perfect treasures from all around the world and sells them here. Think the dreamiest dreamcatchers from Montreal, swings from Brazil, hats from L.A.'s Nick Fouquet, and surf gear from Malibu's Kassia Surf. It's your one-stop shop for all things beachy and boho chic.”
EAT AND DRINK
Aloha Juice Bar
“Aloha Juice Bar is my go-to stop every morning in Hanalei. It has the yummiest acai bowls, fresh organic fruit, and packaged dried fruit and macadamia nuts that I snack on all day at the beach.”
The Hanalei Bread Co and Coffee House
“It not only has the most delectable fresh bread on the island (just add salted butter!), but can you say local Hawaiian coffee and fresh pastries?! It's also the best meet-and-greet spot to say hi to anyone and everyone.”
“I find myself here a few nights every trip, and it's not just for their insane ginger margarita! Since it's a very relaxed, intimate farm-to-table restaurant offering tapas. I get to sample multiple things, which is right up my alley. The menu is always changing, but a few staples include broccoli with chili oil, lamb riblets, spare ribs, and Humboldt Fog cheese with apple and honeycomb. And another ginger margarita, of course.”
“I go for a perfect little romantic dinner with some of the best local seafood I've ever had. There are lots of little nooks and crannies to dine in this restaurant that was formerly someone's home. The terrace is lovely; just bring mosquito spray.”
Local Food Trucks
“The oldest bar in Kauai is a local favorite. It’s family-friendly and has music every night starting at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy traditional tunes, dancing, and lest I forget, Mai Tais!”
Want more Hawaii recs? Be sure to check out our all-access guide to Kona, Hawaii, and tell us your favorite Hawaiian spots in the comments!