Get to know this idyllic community on Kauai’s South Shore, and one of the 20 Best Places to Live 2017. Get the inside scoop on Kukui’ula, including where to eat, drink, play, and stay. 

By Bob Curley and Tracey Minkin
April 13, 2017

One word: Hawaii. One more word: golf. This stunning community on Kauai’s spectacular South Shore overlooks the Pacific Ocean and embraces a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course considered one of the best in Hawaii. Which means the challenges of life here are outlined by keeping your eye on the ball while spinner dolphins and humpbacks play offshore. The architecturally diverse homes make assured aesthetic piece with the hillsides, creating a sense of space and privacy (which may be why professional athletes are your neighbors), and a gorgeous farm on the property is both a center for community gardening and farm dinners under the trees. Finally, a world-class spa and high-end shopping and restaurant village layer in the requisite—and exquisite—indulgences.

Kukui’ula by the Numbers

Population: 100
Average July high: 84
Average January low: 65
Median home price: $2 million
Average commute time: 35 minutes
Number of sunny days: 241

Best Beaches and Other Attractions

The sand-bottom, saltwater pools at Kukui’ula are a sweet escape right in the community; for a glorious beach excursion, take a 10-minute drive to the beautiful shorelines of Poipu Beach.

You’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible on Hawaii’s breathtaking Garden Isle. Start with the gentle hike to 83-foot Wailua Falls before tackling the breathtaking, 11-mile cliffside Kalalau Trail at Na Pali Coast State Park, which has a rewarding end at Kalalau Beach (you can camp here overnight before making the return journey). Overlooks and trails peer into the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” at Waimea Canyon State Park; the 3.4-mile Canyon Trail passes Waipo’o Falls before reaching the Kumuwela Lookout; the Kukui Trail is a challenging 5-mile trek to the canyon floor and back up again.

For a more easeful excursion, the Kauai Culinary Market that pops up in The Shops at Kukui’ula every Wednesday is a charming farmers market with live music, chef demos, and local products for sale.

Where to Eat and Drink

Micro-roasted brews and an espresso bar get the morning going right at Lappert’s Hawaii in The Shops at Kukui’ula. Handmade ice cream will definitely get you back by the afternoon.

Shave ice is the quintessential Hawaiian hot-day refresher, and nobody serves up an icy cone full of rainbow-flavored goodness better than Uncle’s Shave Ice (also at The Shops at Kukui’ula). Go ahead, eat dessert first, but save room for the fresh catch and poke bowls at Eating House 1849, Roy Yamaguchi’s fantastic plantation-style restaurant in the shopping village as well.

Where to Stay

Not a Kukui’ula owner? You can still soak in the Kauai resort community experience by booking one of the beach or golf cottages and bungalows at the Lodge at Kukui’ula. As a Lodge guest you’ll get access to the Tom Weiskopf designed golf course, an organic farm and bass-stocked pond for fishing, swimming pools and farm-to-table dining at The Plantation House, the Spa at Kukui’ula and an oceanview sports and fitness center, and beach toys and cruiser bikes.