Mountains next to ocean

Escape the Cold: Warm Up in Waimea


On the west side of Kauai, far removed from any crowded resorts, lies the small and beautiful town of Waimea. Called "Kauai's most historic community," Waimea was discovered by English explorer Captain James Cook in 1778.

Today, Kauai still possesses the quaint, rural lifestyle of years past, but don't let that fool you. The Garden Island has plenty to offer visitors year-round; from pristine beaches and lush rainforests to miles of hiking trails, all kinds of ocean activities, and eclectic eateries and shops.

While many places across the northern hemisphere are dealing with freezing temperatures, Waimea's average temperatures hover right around 26° C (78° F) in February and March and rarely dip below 22° C (71° F). With the holiday season officially over and Spring Break a few weeks away, this is the perfect time to visit Waimea.

Snorkeling in bright blue water

Warm Waimea Weather

Weather on any one of the Hawaiian islands can vary greatly, and Kauai is no exception. The southwest part of the island where Waimea is located is consistently more sunny and much drier than other areas, but it's not uncommon to experience brief, light rain showers.

Keep in mind that rain is largely responsible for Kauai's abundance of lush rainforests and beautiful waterfalls, and if you're visiting other parts of the island it may be much wetter. For example, the Na Pali Coast is just to the north of Waimea and regularly gets significant amounts of rain. When planning on any outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, boating, snorkeling, please check the local weather in advance and adhere to the forecasts.

Things to do in Waimea

If you love the outdoors and being active, there is no shortage of activities in Waimea. Here's a detailed look at some of the area's best things to see and do, as well as other West Kauai activities.

Beaches and swimming

It's true that Kauai is covered with vibrant green rainforest and striking red canyons, but it also has over 50 miles of white and black sandy beaches. Just minutes from the Waimea Plantation Cottages are Salt Pond Beach Park and Kekaha Beach, both of which offer excellent surfing, swimming, and some of the best snorkeling in Kauai.

clear and sunny beach in kauai

Explore the Na Pali Coast via hike, boat, or helicopter

Many people visit Kauai solely to experience the incredible beauty of the Na Pali Coast. The majestic mountains are accented by dramatic sea cliffs, expansive valleys, sea caves and secluded beaches. This northwest area of Kauai is only accessible by booking a boat or helicopter tour, or by hiking the challenging eleven-mile long Kalalau Trail.

na pali coast in kauai

Explore Waimea Canyon

At ten miles long, one mile wide, and over 3,500 feet deep, it's no surprise that Waimea Canyon has been coined the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." It was formed by a combination of both river and lava flow, and the red gorges and peaks are stunning. Waimea Canyon Road offers a scenic drive and takes you to lookout points, but fuel up before hitting the road — there aren't many gas stations or amenities along the way. For one of the best things to do in Kauai, take one of the many hiking trails, with options ranging from beginner to advanced.

waimea canyon lookout

Stroll through the town of Waimea

Famed English explorer and British Royal Navy Captain James Cook and his crew anchored in Waimea Bay in 1778, becoming the first Europeans to visit the islands. The town has retained much of its quaint charm and the 100-year-old buildings will make you feel like you stepped into a time machine. Because Waimea is a small, quiet town on a smaller, quiet island, there isn't much of a nightlife scene, but that is part of its charm. Plus, there's still plenty to do and see.

  • The Pier - Built in 1865 as a major landing for boats, today the pier is primarily used for fishing and crabbing. Take a walk to the end of the pier during sunrise or sunset for unforgettable panoramic views of Waimea Bay and the black sand beach. There are also a number of restaurants within walking distance, serving dishes ranging from local favorites like ahi poke and shave ice and Kiawe grilled steaks and hamburgers.
  • Waimea Town Celebration - The biggest and longest-running festival on Kauai takes place every February. This nine-day event celebrates Waimea's close-knit community and the rich history of Kauai.

Where to Stay on Kauai

Offering visitors a Hawaiian vacation experience unlike any other, the Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Hotel, offers individual cottages that were originally built from the late 1800s through the 1930s, situated on stunning oceanfront property. They have been updated with top of the line modern amenities, but maintain an authentic old-world Hawaiian charm and no two cottage floor plans are the same.

All cottages feature a private lanai and full kitchen, and guests have access to an oceanfront pool and a two-mile stretch of secluded beach for leisurely strolls. The Waimea Plantation Cottages are also ideally situated right next to the entrance to Waimea Canyon. Plantation Gifts & Activities can help you book a tour to Waimea Canyon or the Na Pali coast, a luau, a sunset sail, or almost anything else you can think of on Kauai.

Waimea Plantation cottage tucked into the palm trees.

While there are several eateries to choose from nearby along Main Street in Waimea, Chicken in a Barrel BBQ & Bar is onsite as well. Aside from being the westernmost restaurant in the U.S. and serving excellent Hawaiian BBQ, Chicken in a Barrel donates its profits to Makanalani, a youth camp that enables children to connect with nature free of charge. Chicken in a Barrel is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Some of the guest amenities at Waimea Plantation Cottages include:

  • Fully-equipped kitchens
  • Separate living areas
  • Private lanais
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Flat-screen TVs with cable and free DVD rentals available

A stay at the Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Hotel is the best of both worlds: easy access to the incredible natural beauty of Kauai and all of the most sought-after activities, as well as a small-town charm that is increasingly hard to find.

Aerial view of the Waimea Plantation Cottages location and pool.

Now is an excellent time to visit, as the Waimea Plantation Cottages, a Coast Hotel is offering 20% off stays of three nights or more through June 18, 2020. Book your stay today and prepare for Hawaiian-style relaxation. Aloha!