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Why Kauai Should Be Your Next Destination

Waimea Canyon Valley

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
1-866-970-4169

– 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 SHOREGrand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
1571 Poipu Road, Koloa Hawaii 96758
1-866-742-1234

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 SHORESt. Regis Princeville

5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville, HI 96722
1-888-627-7124

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.

Napai Coast Waterfall, Hanakapai Falls

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

Lydate Park Beach, Hat/Cover: San Diego Hat Company

Poipu Beach Park

  • Beautiful spot to see the sunset
  • Great beach especially for kids due to the rocked in protected swim areas

Sunset over Poipu Beach

Shipwreck Beach

  • 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

Sunrise over Shipwreck Beach

4) Activities To Do

  • Kayak Wailua River & Hike to the Uluwehi Waterfalls aka Secret Falls
    • Per recommendation from our friend, Pear, we checked our a great tour with Kayak Adventures. You can read more about our experience here!
  • 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!

 

Please PIN this article if you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!

 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Kayak Adventures for taking us on the Kauai Kayak Tour. All opinions are ours as always!

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35 Comments

  • Reply Ivy

    You have me convinced! I like that it’s not as touristy as Oahu and Maui. It sounds like Maui on steroids with everything Mother Nature has to offer, without the crowds! (which is a good thing in my opinion haha)

    April 13, 2017 at 12:39 PM
  • Reply Jenn and Ed Coleman

    Kauai is absolutely my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands. It really is the garden island and so great to get out and explore in. Maybe this dates me but I remember seeing the waterfall from Fantasy Island there. Hey, I was 15 and it was a thing back then and still left an indelible impression on me now. Great post and everything looks super fun.

    April 13, 2017 at 7:03 PM
  • Reply Dave @ Travel Transmissions

    So there certainly is a reason why it’s Jurassic Park right? The views are mind-melting, and I didn’t know Kauai had such a diverse range of environments as well! You know you’ve got some serious problems when the temps are down in the 60’s F range. Haha that’s hilarious.

    April 14, 2017 at 8:49 AM
  • Reply Cat

    We just came back from Maui and loved it! However, there is one thing we didn’t like and that is the old town where tourists gather and parties happen. That made us realize how much we enjoy the quietness and unspoiled nature when we’re on vacation – and that’s what Kauai seems to be! It is a place where you can really relax, leave the city life behind and be close to nature. I’m going to make Kauai my next Hawaii destination!

    April 16, 2017 at 1:47 AM
  • Reply Allison Wong

    Hawaii is so much fun and definitely will take note of you tips! Hope to visit Kauai one day soon!

    April 16, 2017 at 5:51 AM
  • Reply Cassandra

    Ugh, the island looks absolutely gorgeous! I definitely need to make my way there. Thanks for this great guide on some recommendations for things to do and where to stay in Kauai!

    April 16, 2017 at 2:34 PM
  • Reply Lathiya

    Lovely post..

    April 17, 2017 at 8:55 AM
  • Reply Jessica Devlin Design

    you don’t have to tell me twice, that looks amazing! Can’t wait to go.

    April 17, 2017 at 4:04 PM
  • Reply Susan

    Kauai looks so amazing! That Napali coastal hike and the Waimea Canyon look super epic. I absolutely love lush jungle, so I’m anxious to get there soon. Love these tips!

    April 19, 2017 at 2:30 PM
  • Reply Bri

    This looks amazing!! Like something out of a dream (and Jurassic Park lol). Definitely adding Kauai to my bucket list 🙂

    April 22, 2017 at 1:24 AM
  • Reply Jen

    This looks amazing! I would love to go kayaking or take a helicopter tour here, Hawaii truly looks like paradise!

    April 22, 2017 at 3:11 PM
  • Reply Christina

    I must say, Kauai was not even on my RADAR until I read your blog! These photos are amazing, I’m definitely adding it to my list!

    April 22, 2017 at 6:02 PM
  • Reply Agness of Fit Travelling

    Hawaii is paradise on Earth, Julie! It is already on my bucket list!

    April 23, 2017 at 11:15 AM
  • Reply Mel

    I think you are right, Kauai should be my next destination! Between hiking, waterfalls, great views, and the beach, it’s easy to see why the word “paradise” gets thrown around. And a little kayaking adventure –perfect!

    April 25, 2017 at 4:12 AM
  • Reply Christine

    Yes!! It’s been on my list for so long and after reading this it makes me want to go even more asap! I hope to make plans for this Fall and do all the things on your list!

    April 25, 2017 at 5:03 AM
  • Reply Anisa

    Wow your pictures are really amazing. I have been to Maui and Oahu, but I think I need to go to Kauai. I love that there is nice hiking and beautiful beaches!

    April 26, 2017 at 10:51 PM
  • Reply Paroma

    Thanks for the tips, after having been to Maui and Big Island, this one is def on my list.

    April 27, 2017 at 12:23 AM
  • Reply Melai

    I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii because of the beaches. It’s good to know there are other activities to do as well. I would love to go hiking at Waimea Canyon. It looks so good!

    April 27, 2017 at 12:30 AM
  • Reply Megan

    Wow sounds really wonderful! That coastal trek sounds like something I would love to do. Thanks for writing such a good summary of the island.

    April 27, 2017 at 1:11 AM
  • Reply Danielle

    This is perfect! We want to go to Kauai soon too. Thanks for all the awesome recommendations! 🙂

    April 27, 2017 at 5:56 AM
  • Reply sherianne

    I will be here is September — beyond excited!

    April 27, 2017 at 9:14 AM
  • Reply Stephanie

    This has been on my bucket list for so long!! Your photos truly make me want to go so much more 🙂 I really want to do the hike and obviously hit the beach too! Thanks for sharing

    April 27, 2017 at 9:36 PM
  • Reply Bonita

    I am in awe! The Grand Isle is indeed the place to be. I love the detail in the pictures, the beaches are awesome, the scenery is magnificent. I would surely like to visit Kauai

    April 28, 2017 at 2:10 AM
  • Reply Lauren

    WOW kauai seems so beautiful, I didn’t realise there was so much potential for ‘doing’ rather than just lounging on the beach! How do you pronounce all the names though? They seem confusing!

    April 28, 2017 at 10:06 AM
  • Reply Shem

    I’ve been wanting to visit Kauai forever! The hikes and the helicopter tour are both up my alley! Your photos are beautiful and I cannot wait to see this beautiful island in person someday!

    April 29, 2017 at 1:19 AM
  • Reply Pamela Leon

    I am living so close to Hawaii, and your post is tempting me even more to visit this year! Amazing pictures, thank you for sharing tips about where to stay and what to do, will definitely take them into consideration!

    May 23, 2017 at 10:17 PM
  • Reply Pia

    oh yes, Kauai is on my list. Have been to Maui but hadn´t enough time for both islands. But I definitely go back to visit Kauai as well.

    May 28, 2017 at 8:02 AM
  • Reply Jas from My Suitcase Journeys

    These photos are absolutely beautiful!!! I visited Hawaii last year and I was originally thinking of checking out Kauai but ended up going to Honolulu instead. Major regrets right now!! Poipu Beach Park looks like the absolute most perfect spot to catch the sunset. Definitely adding it to my bucket list along with other suggestions in here. Great recommendations, thanks for sharing!

    June 8, 2017 at 12:24 AM
  • Reply Melissa

    I have some clients who just went to Kauai and stayed at Grand Hyatt. They loved it!

    June 26, 2017 at 6:09 PM
  • Reply Via B Design

    Wow, I didn’t realize how beautiful that island is. I love the photo of the canyon that you took. Maui is my favorite island, if you haven’t been there I highly recommend it.

    July 12, 2017 at 5:05 PM
  • Reply Fran Norero

    I always look for places not so crowded so this is great! Also love the islands vibe

    August 13, 2017 at 10:59 AM
  • Reply Jamie

    I’ve been to Oahu and Maui and have Kauai on my list to visit next. Thank you for the recommendations of things to do and see.

    August 13, 2017 at 11:32 AM
  • Reply Lena Ameri

    All of your photos are stunning! Those sunsets definitely took my breath away! We’ve been wanting to do a Hawaii trip for awhile now and it looks like Kauai is going to be a MUST!

    August 13, 2017 at 1:23 PM
  • Reply Megan

    I am obsessed with Hawaii and I would love to go Kauai next!!! Looks SO Amazing!!!

    August 14, 2017 at 10:50 AM
  • Reply Rhonda Swan

    Unstoppable pictures. What a trip!

    August 15, 2017 at 8:10 AM
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