Tuesday, April 8, 2014 / ... comments / Kauai , travel
Kauai Family Vacation
Spring Break has passed and it's time to think about summer vacations! We enjoyed a quiet Spring Break stay-cation, but I've been getting questions about our trip to Hawaii last year, so I thought I would put together a couple of posts from the trip. Hawaii is about five and a half hours from Los Angeles, making it a fairly easy trip for us (compared to 10-15 hours to Europe). Whether you're here actually planning a trip to Hawaii, or just dreaming, as I often do on travel blogs, come join me to one of my favorite destinations. Our 2013 trip was broken up into two parts: Kauai and Maui. Our first stop in the Hawaiian islands was the North Shore of Kauai.
Kauai is known as the Garden Isle and it's very easy to see why. It's the most lush, green, and tropical of any of the Hawaiian islands I've visited. Particularly the north shore - my favorite area. First thing's first. Where to stay on Kauai with kids. Traveling with little ones can be a little tricky. If you don't want to go to bed at the same time as your toddler who may go down at 6:30PM after a long day, you'll need separate rooms or a suite with a separate bedroom. If you're going to splurge on a resort, I recommend the St. Regis Princeville. The St. Regis was out of our budget, so we went with a vacation rental I found on VRBO right nextdoor to the St. Regis. We had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and sweeping ocean views from the patio all for a quarter of the resort cost. We also saved a lot by cooking at "home" instead of paying resort prices. The photo above is the view we woke up to every day! I can't recommend a vacation rental for families enough.
Our favorite beach was just below our condo. Hideaways Beach is so beautiful it's almost hard to believe. The water is just so clear, so warm, and the beach so unspoiled. Getting down to the beach, on the other hand, is not easy. It's a steep downhill trek, and we almost didn't attempt it at all. I would avoid this beach if you have bad knees, lots of small kids to help down, or you don't feel confident holding little ones up and down the steep path. This hidden gem of a beach is well worth the effort.
Hanalei. The town of Hanalei is not to be missed. This tiny town has that old Hawaiian charm. Get a shave ice or a juice drink and rent a kayak or stand up paddle board on the side of the river. At 3 and 5 our kids were much to little for these river adventures, but they looked like a lot of fun and we will definitely be back to experience it. Hanalei Beach is a great place to spend the day and is easy to get to.
What to do on Kauai... There is a lot to see and do, but the best thing is to find a beach and do nothing at all. Visiting the town of Hanalei is my top pick, but we had some other fun adventures as well. Clockwise from above, Opaekaa Falls were beautiful but the kids were more interested in the chickens. Kilauea Lighthouse is spectacular and sits on a bird sanctuary. Shave ice, with its sugar and artificial coloring goes against everything I believe in, but is a must when on Kauai.
One of the things that most stood out about Kauai versus the other Hawaiian Islands for me was the wildlife and flowers. This mama chicken and her chicks were just crossing the Princeville shopping center parking lot. We loved seeing chickens roaming all over the island.
The beach in front of the St. Regis Princeville was perfection.
Our girls loved stepping along the shallow reef looking at the fish through water that was like glass. It's a sheltered beach that's great for kids.
A few more Kauai tips:
- If you're headed to the north shore from the airport, stop by Monico's Taqueria for the best fish tacos.
- If you're into boating, cruising the Na Pali coast is a must.
- Kauai has it's own "Grand Canyon" - Waimea Canyon is stunning.
- If you're going to Poipu, several of our friends with kids have recommended the Kauai Grand Hyatt. It's great for kids and has a fun pool with a water slide. They sometimes also offer day use of the resort for a fee, so you can enjoy it even if you're not staying there.
- Check out the tunnel of trees on the south shore.
Check back tomorrow for part 2: Maui!