Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle” for its high rainfall and lush vegetation, but it is also home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii, with miles long stretches of gorgeous white sand. Running on Kauai is an unexpected treasure. The secret bikeways, coastal trails, and mountain roads of Hawaii’s oldest island offer stunning scenery and lots of variety in a small geography.

Tourists typically stay in Princeville in the north, or Poipu on the south coast. We’ve mapped the most popular routes in these areas, but have also included runs that are worth a trip. The best coastal views are the new bike path on the Coconut Coast; Anini Rd. near Princeville;  the Heritage Trail and run from Poipu Beach in Poipu. The best beaches for running are at Hanalei Bay, Kekaka Beach, and Secret Beach. There are also some excellent trail runs in Kilauea, and some good dirt roads for running by ranches and farms.

For getting around the island, a car is generally required, as there is little public transportation. Otherwise, you’ll have to explore on your own two feet — but with these running routes, that’s not so bad!

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Some of our favorite runs in Kauai, HI

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Hanalei Bay Beach Run — Hanalei

Kauai, HI

Kauai is known for its beaches, so don’t miss a chance for a fantastic beach run at Hanalei Bay — one of the flattest and firmest stretches of sand on the island. Starting from Hanalei Pier you can wrap around the half-moon shaped beach for about 1.6 miles.
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Secret Beach – Kilauea

Kauai, HI

One of the better beach runs on Kauai. It is 2.2 miles from one end to the other. The sand is generally firm during the right season and tides. Best done during summer. Can do in combination with Kilauea Rd. from the Lighthouse, up toward central Kilauea.
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Princeville Bike Path — Princeville

Kauai, HI

A great running option for those staying in the busy Princeville area. A pleasant 2.5 mile bike path runs along Ka Haku Road between the Shopping Center and the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Princeville. Slight downhill heading west.
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Kapaka Street — Princeville

Kauai, HI

A good street run on Kauai’s north shore. 5-mile out and back from the Princeville Shopping Center. Not too trafficked as you enjoy the sprawling estates and lush farms bordering the Wildlife Sanctuary. Can add on with Powerline Rd.
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Mahaulepu Beach Walk — Poipu

Kauai, HI

The Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, known locally as the “beach walk” runs about two and a half miles along the coast from Shipwreck Beach up to Punahoa Point, and is a good option for anyone wanting to avoid running on Poipu streets.
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Poipu Area Options

Kauai, HI

This area hugging the south coast is a good option for runners situated in the hotels in Poipu. A 3-mile route from Poipu Beach to Spouting Horn Park has good water views. The roads surrounding the gold courses are also good for running.
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Kekaha Beach — Kekaha

Kauai, HI

Kehaka Beach, on the west side of the island, is one of the longest stretches of white sand beach in the entire state of Hawaii. You can head west and enjoy a long beach run or run east along Kaumualii Highway.
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Hanalei Bay Beach Run — Hanalei

Kauai, HI

Kauai is known for its beaches, so don’t miss a chance for a fantastic beach run at Hanalei Bay — one of the flattest and firmest stretches of sand on the island. Starting from Hanalei Pier you can wrap around the half-moon shaped beach for about 1.6 miles.
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Kauai weather is similar to that of the other islands but tends to be wetter than parts of some other islands. There are differences from one section of Kauai to another. Temperatures are quite steady through the year, with average high temperatures in the ranging from near 80F (25C) in winter to 86F (29C) in summer. Nights are mild, bottoming out in the high 60s in winter to the mid 70s.

Rainfall is dependent on Kauai’s micro-climates. The popular Poipu area is driest, averaging some 20-30 inches of rain annually, while Princeville gets about double that. The interior of the island can average 200+ inches of rain in some years! Note that winter rainfall is 2x that of summer and more often falls at night than during the day.

We’ve tried to put together running routes in the areas that are the most popular for visitors — Poipu and Princeville. Other routes are in popular spots for tourists to visit, particularly scenic areas, or what we call ‘destination’ runs.

There are no dedicated running shops on Kauai, but OutBreak Kaua’i is a great resource on all things running on the island, including group opportunities and events.

 

OutBreak Kaua’i is a great resource for running events on Kauai. Some signature running events:o

Kauai Marathon. September. Both a half and a full.

Kokoa Plantation Days. 5k, 10k, and 10-mile races. See site for courses. All from Poipu Beach Park.

Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run. November. Poipu area. 5k, 10k, half-marathon.

Find races on all the Hawaiian islands here.