The old plantation town of Hanapēpē on Kauai is usually pretty mellow. Tourists stroll quietly down the dusty road, weaving in and out of shops and galleries. Locals drop by for a quick bite to eat, and all the while, a subtle buzz slowly wakes up this sleepy town.

Hanapēpē town takes a break on Sundays.

But Sunday is a day of slumber for Hanapēpē. With mostly every shop closed, the town becomes ghost-like as the sense of abandonment takes over. We drove through one Sunday hoping to get lunch but were astonished at how empty it was. Darkened windows and gated doorways made it clear that Hanapēpē was closed for business – a day of rest and reprieve. And in true laid-back Kauai fashion, one shop had a “GONE TO THE BEACH” sign instead of the traditional “CLOSED” sign. One convenience store remained opened, however; other than that, the best bet for food would be the next town east.

Hanapēpē is the only Kauai town I know of that completely shuts down on Sundays. I’m guessing it’s because Hanapēpē is much smaller than most. In comparison to other towns dedicated to the booming tourism economy, this old plantation town is but a baby brother trying to keep up with its older siblings. The popular south side tourist destinations in Poipu and Koloa are opened on Sundays.

There are still plenty of places to check out if you’re on the south side of Kauai on a Sunday. As I mentioned, you can drive to the shopping center east of Hanapēpē for food and shopping. If you continue your drive west on Kaumualii Highway, then the nearest places to refuel would be Waimea or Kekaha.

HANAPĒPĒ TOWN • South side, Kauai • Closed Sundays


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