We’re excited to announce that Kauai is once again among Island Air’s flight destinations. Book an affordable and direct flight to the “Garden Isle,” known for its lush tropical rainforest and stunning hiking trails. Kauai is also home to Hanapepe, a thriving arts community well worth checking out.

Located on the south shore of Kauai, Hanapepe has a rich history. The town was one of the busiest parts of the islands between World War I and the 1950s. Many of its original buildings are still intact, and the town has been used as a film location on several occasions. Today Hanapepe retains its charm as a small town with a big heart—and a big art scene. Here are 5 things to do while you’re in town:

1. Friday Night Arts Night

8104738406_4e2544ae6b_k

Every Friday night in Hanapepe, the town comes alive with art, music, food and fun for the whole family. Come out between 6:00 and 9:00 pm for a stroll amongst more than 15 galleries, where you’ll meet artists, gallery owners, and other art enthusiasts. You can also expect to hear some great live music while sampling some delicious local food.

2. Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

9251850718_4cb26f6e15_k

Stroll over to this town’s famous swinging bridge for a walk through history. Originally built in the 1900s as a way for residents to cross the river, the bridge had to be rebuilt following Hurricane Iniki in 1992. While the bridge is now sturdy, its swaying and rocking makes it fun for some and scary for others.

3. Taro Ko Chips Factory

3800503126_c97429465d_b

The Taro Ko Chips Factory is one of the best kept secrets in Kauai. Started by local taro farmers in 1985, Taro Ko is still a family run business that makes some of the best taro and sweet potato chips in Hawaii. While the unassuming green cottage along Hanapepe Road might not look like much, you’ll be sure to smell the delicious scent of frying taro in soybean oil and know you’ve come to the right spot.

4. Salt Pond Beach Park

21399083265_abdcc30f96_k

Named for its salt collecting pools featured in the header photo, this beach is usually a great place to swim and snorkel, as it’s protected by an outer reef. When the trade winds are blowing, Salt Pond is a great place to observe monk seals hanging out on the rocks offshore. You can also view the salt pools—located about 200 yards back from the beach on a stretch of red dirt—where Hawaiian sea salt is processed the old school way.

5. Kauai Island Brewery & Grill

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.40.40 AM

Be sure to visit Kauai Island Brewery & Grill in nearby Eleele. At the island’s only microbrewery you’ll find a hidden gem of craft beers in Kauai, with a rotating cast of 10 craft beers on tap. They’ve also got a great pub food menu with kid friendly options as well.

6. Kauai Kookie Kompany

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.07.02 PM

Satisfy your sweet tooth and stock up on fun gifts at this family operated bakery just outside of Hanapepe. Known for their island style cookies and other baked goods, Kauai Kookies has been open since 1965, and the thriving business now churns out 50,000 cookies and baked goodies a day! One bite and you’ll see why.

 

Photo credits: Kuulei Santos; Tom Bridge; Ben Ward; Eyebex; Gary Eyring; Kauai Island Brewery & Grill; Kauai Kookie