Shopping and Eating Seaside in Kapaa Town

By Coco Zickos

kapaa town kauai

Photo: Tony Cyphert.

No need to worry about the traffic snarl you’ll likely encounter journeying to Kapa‘a town, it never lasts long and the wait is well worth it. This east side destination, where the majority of Kaua‘i’s population resides, is almost always bustling with activity. It is a shopping hub and foodie’s delight, while at the same time, home to enchanting shoreline vistas.

The Ethnically Diverse History of Kapaa Town

kapaa town kauai

Photo: Wendy Nelson.

Steeped in history, ancient Hawaiians once lived throughout this historic community and cherished reef fishing along its coast. In fact, you’ll likely find residents carrying on the tradition of their ancestors as you explore the area.

By the late 1800s, however, Kapa‘a was dominated by Makee Sugar Company, a business venture initiated by a group of individuals, which included King David Kalākaua. The sugar operation drove many people of various ethnicities to the island including Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and Filipino.

Discovering Eateries and Treasures in Kapaa Town

You’ll find remnants of this cultural influx as you stroll through town, like the sprawling Hee Fat Building, which served as a former rice processing plant. Along the main highway where several buildings from this era still stand, you’ll discover many eateries, as well as stores that sell lovely Kaua‘i-made treasures.

The town really lights up, however, during its Art Walk every first Saturday of the month from 5-9 p.m. All stores stay open late, and even more food is offered along with plenty of entertainment.

Soaking in Mother Nature Along Kapaa’s Royal Coconut Coast

kapaa town kauai

Photo: Ed Hunsinger.

Soaking in Mother Nature is also a must in Kapa‘a town. The Royal Coconut Coast, graced with trees of the same name, spans the entire east side. It is home to Ke Ala Hele Makalae or “the path that goes by the coast.” Stroll or ride a rented bicycle along this passageway that stretches about nine miles from Wailua to Ahihi Point. You’ll encounter panoramic ocean scenery, as well as witness native wildlife including monk seals and, during winter months, humpback whales.

Seaside Indulgences in Kapaa Town

Before leaving town, grab some shave ice or other local snack at one of the many food trucks that have proliferated here in recent years. Or, swing by the farmer’s market held every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and pick up some locally grown tropical goodies. Whatever you do, make sure to take advantage of the many seaside indulgences that abound in this quaint beachside town.

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