The gift shop of the Kauai Museum, 4428 Rice St. (tel. 808/245-6931), is your best bet for made-on-Kauai arts and crafts, from Niihau-shell leis to woodwork, lauhala and coconut products, and more.
About a mile north of the Lihue Airport, on Hwy. 56 (Kuhio Hwy.), Kauai Fruit & Flower is a great stop for flowers, including the rare Kauai maile in season, coconut drums the owner makes himself, Hawaiian gourds (ipu), cut flowers for shipping, and Kauai fruit such as papayas and pineapples. Other products include lauhala gift items, teas, Kauai honey, Kauai salad dressings, jams and jellies, and custom-made gift baskets.
For a great selection in alohawear -- shirts, dresses, pareu -- and lots of souvenirs to take to the folks back home, stop by Hilo Hattie, 3252 Kuhio Hwy. (Hwy. 50) at Ahukini Road (tel. 808/245-3404). Their selection of Hawaii-related gift items is immense -- food, books, CDs, mugs, key chains, T-shirts, and more. They even offer free hotel pickup from Poipu and Kapaa. If you are on a budget, go to the Kauai Humane Society Thrift Shop, Lihue Center, 3-3100 Kuhio Hwy. (tel. 808/245-7387), where a great selection of "vintage" aloha shirts starts at $5. All the money raised goes to help the Kauai Humane Society continue their excellent work on the island. If you want wooden or coconut buttons for your vintage aloha shirt, stop by Kapaa Stitchery, 3-3551 Kuhio Hwy. (tel. 808/245-2281), and buy a few buttons; you can have an authentic aloha shirt for a quarter of what you would spend in retail stores. Quilters will be in heaven at the Kapaa Stitchery, where they will find a huge selection of Hawaiian quilts, quilting supplies, needlework designs, and lots of fabric.
Another good souvenir store is Paradise Sportswear's Red Dirt Shirt, 3-3229 Kuhio Hwy. (tel. 808/246-0224), with another outlet in Ele'ele. Here you'll find zillions of the famous "red dirt" T-shirts in a variety of styles and designs.
If you are looking for something more artsy, Two Frogs Hugging (tel. 808/246-8777), just down Kuhio Highway from Hilo Hattie and Paradise Sportswear, is a great place to wander about marveling at their collection of Indonesian arts, crafts, furniture, pottery, and accessories.
If you just need necessities like suntan lotion, film, or a cheap pair of slippers, head for Kmart, 4303 Nawiliwili, Lihue (tel. 808/245-7742). If you need laundry done (and don't want to waste a minute of your vacation doing it), drop it off at Plaza Laundry, in the Hanamaulu Plaza Shopping Center, Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) and Hanamaulu Road (tel. 808/246-9057), which offers a full wash, dry, and fold service for just $1.50 a pound.
Kilohana, the 35-acre Tudor-style estate on Hwy. 50 between Lihue and Poipu is an architectural marvel that houses a sprinkling of galleries and shops. The Artisans Room and the Hawaiian Collection Room offer a mix of crafts and two-dimensional art, from originals to affordable prints, at all levels of taste.
Up &"Rumming": Koloa Rum Company Tasting Room -- There's now another reason to visit the Kilohana Plantation -- the recently opened Koloa Rum Company Tasting Room, Retail Store & Gallery (next door to the Kilohana Plantation, at 3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy (Hwy. 50), btw. Lihue and Poipu, tel. 808/246-8900; www.koloarum.com). Kauai's first rum distillery makes white, gold, dark, and on occasion, specialty flavors of rum (like coconut and vanilla) using high-grade molasses and sugar from Hawaii's only remaining sugar company (Gay & Robinson) and pure water from Mount Waialeale (one of the wettest spots on Earth). The tasting room is separated from the retail store (where the rum and other Kauai-made products are sold) by a small distillery, where you can see how the rum is made. In addition to sampling this premium rum, you will learn the history of rum and sugar in the islands, ranging from 1778 when Captain Cook, whose ship carried barrels of rum for his sailor's daily ration of "grog," made a landing in Kauai to the 1830s when Kauai built its first sugar mill for sugar cane, which was to become the island's number one agricultural crop.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.