For your next destination, definitely consider KAUAI, also known as the “Garden Isle” — so luscious and green filled with rainforests, waterfalls, canyons, mountains and deep green alleys. It is the oldest and the rainiest of the main islands. Kauai’s Mount Waialeale is known as the wettest spot in the world! Don’t let the rain deter you though because that’s what makes Kauai so green! Kauai is also the place where much of Jurassic Park was filmed.
We visited Kauai in February. There were rain clouds in our forecast, but luckily it did not rain when we were there. The rainfall will depend on which part of the island you are staying in, as the North Shore gets more rainfall vs. the South Shore. Kauai is considered most rainy from December to March, but the weather can vary and showers can be short. While typical temperatures in Kauai range from 75 (winter) to 85 (summer) degrees Fahrenheit, it was only mid 60’s when we were there unfortunately. We still went to the beach, but it would have probably been a little nicer if it was just little hotter. On the other hand, it made hiking more bearable versus if it was extremely hot!
Kauai is less developed than Oahu and Maui, so if you are looking for an island that is less touristy, I would definitely recommend visiting Kauai. If you are looking for some adventure, this is the perfect island for you as there are great hikes to do, helicopter rides, kayak tours, snorkeling, boat and raft tours.
Kauai can be a family friendly place, but I definitely think it depends on how old your children are and what your goals for the trip are. Cooper was almost 2, which limited the amount of activities he could do, but older kids would be able to participate in a lot more. You could also lounge at a nice resort, enjoy the beaches and the beauty of Kauai without having to hike miles!
WHERE TO STAY:
EAST COAST – Kauai Shores, an Aqua Resort [KAPAA]
Kauai Shores, an Aqua Hotel
420 Papaloa Road, Kappa, HI 96746
– Centrally located, not far from the airport, close to shops, restaurants, and tours
– Reasonably priced hotel
– Comfortable clean rooms & hotel lobby [island style modern decor]
– Beach front property, great view from the on site restaurant
– Small pool, but nice lawn area for kids to run around
– Complimentary yoga and happy hour
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Kauai Shores and would definitely recommend a stay there if you want to be walkable to shops and restaurants.
SOUTH SHORE – Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
1571 Poipu Road, Koloa Hawaii 96758
This beach front hotel has a great pool and the hotel grounds are also very nice. A bonus for the kids is they have a slide!
NORTH SHORE – St. Regis Princeville
5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville, HI 96722
St. Regis equates to luxury, so what more could you ask for? Amazing pool and views. My friend who stayed there with her toddler had butler service too. Even if you don’t stay here, you can always get a drink at the St. Regis bar and enjoy the view from there!
WHAT TO DO:
1) HIKE THE NAPALI COAST TRAIL [Kalalau Trail]
The trailhead starts at Ke’e beach, where you hike about 2 smiles to Hanakapa’ai Beach and then another 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike to the falls was more strenuous as there were more stream crossings and slippery rocks. I’ll write another post about the trail in details, but definitely worth the hike! I would say this hike is more of a moderate level hike. You can also get a permit ahead of time and backpack and camp the whole trail if you have time and plan ahead.
2) CHECK OUT THE BEAUTY OF WAIMEA CANYON
There are a bunch of viewpoints you can stop at and enjoy the breathtaking views of all the rolling green hills and valleys of Waimea Canyon. The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is definitely a MUST see when visiting Kauai. We stopped at the Waimea Canyon Lookout and also the Kalalau Lookout. You can also check out the Canyon Trail to hike to Waipoo Falls.
3) HIT THE BEACH!
Can’t go to Hawaii without hitting all the gorgeous beaches. There are plenty to choose from in Kauai! If you are an early riser, definitely check out the sunrise, and if not, the sunset is equally as impressive!
Lydgate Beach Park
- You can snorkel here and see schools of fish! [Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear]
- Nice beach with lots of picnic tables
- Great place for kids as they have rocked in protected swim areas
Poipu Beach Park
- Beautiful spot to see the sunset
- Great beach especially for kids due to the rocked in protected swim areas
- Great place to check out the coastal cliffs (watch for cliff divers!)
- Rougher waves (not great for kids to swim, better for strong swimmers or boarders)
- Keep an eye for a whale spouts if you go during whale season! We happened to catch a glimpse as pointed out by a local when we were enjoying the sunrise
4) Activities To Do
- Kayak Wailua River & Hike to the Uluwehi Waterfalls aka Secret Falls
- Helicopter Tour
- Majority of Kauai is not accessible by road so definitely the best way to check out the island!
- Napali Coast Raft & Snorkel Tour
- Whale Watching Tour (late Nov – March)
Unfortunately, there was too little time to do everything we wanted to do! We will definitely have to come back with Cooper once he’s older to experience everything. Kauai is the perfect adventurous island! Please let me know if you have been and if you have any other suggestions regarding Kauai!
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Disclaimer: Thank you to Kayak Adventures for taking us on the Kauai Kayak Tour. All opinions are ours as always!