This was my first visit to Kauai and I was charmed by the island. It has the feeling of being rural, especially outside of the main resort areas of Princeville and Poipu. The island has lush tropical feel. We stayed on the east side of island, near Kapaa. Kapaa is the largest city on the island but even so, only has population of less than 11,000 residents. Being near Kapaa gave us the option to dine in local restaurants.
Kauai is doesn't fit the mold of what people expect from Hawaii. It's green lushness is the result of a frequent rain. There are not endless palm tree lined beaches, though Poipu does have some of those. The most beautiful part of the island, the Na Pali coast is difficult to access. There's no roads through it and the only ways to see it that do not involve a long arduous trek are by helicopter or boat. Kauai is beautiful but not easy. The island makes you work to see the best of it, but it's worth it.