Kauai Itinerary Day : Kauapea Beach
On the fourth day of your Kauai itinerary, take things a little slower after a busy day yesterday. Head to the Kilauea Lighthouse and take in the views from the cliffs. The area is also a wildlife refuge for Hawaiian seabirds.
After the lighthouse, grab a quick lunch at Kilauea Fish Market and then plan to spend the afternoon at Kauapea Beach, otherwise known as Secret Beach. Itll take some navigation and a downhill hike to find it but youll be rewarded by very few crowds, black lava rocks and crystal-blue waters. Its worth it!
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Hanalei Bay Resort Princeville Review
Accommodation at Hanalei Bay Resort is in studio, one or two bedroom self-catering condos, but it feels more like a typical resort with a large pool and many activities, and it was fun to have that experience for part of our stay.
The mountain views are stunning and you pay much less than at the famous resort next door.
Our biggest disappointment at Hanalei Bay Resort was on arrival. Despite requesting an early check-in twice in advance, our room not only wasnt available before the 4 pm check-in time , it was not fully ready until 5 pm.
We also found the decor of our one bedroom condo dated, and more like a hotel room than a home. This depends on which unit you get as some have been updated. We had no choice when we booked, so you might want to check out individual units on Vrbo instead.
Despite not getting off to the best start, we ended up really enjoying our stay.
While our condo was nothing fancy, it was spacious, comfortable enough, and fairly well equipped. It must have been a hotel previously as we had two connecting roomson one side was a large bedroom and bathroom and on the other was a living room, kitchen, and bathroom.
Unusually for Hawaii, we had air conditioning, although in January we never needed it and rarely used the ceiling fan either. The screened doors onto the lanai let in a breeze. There was a table and chairs outside both the bedroom and living room but no sun loungers.
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Best Things To Do In Kauai
Here are the best things to do in Kauai. At the end of this section, you can see them all on a map .
1. Take a Helicopter Tour of Kauai
Location: Entire Island
On a helicopter tour of Kauai, you will fly over countless waterfalls, peer down at beaches and small towns on the island, soar over Waimea Canyon, and the best part, fly along the stunning Na Pali Coast.
In Kauai, you have the option to take a doors-on or a doors-off helicopter tour. We have done both and a doors-off tour is the winner. As for photography, a doors-off tour is unbeatable. The more expansive views and the lack of glass is perfect if you want to walk away with better photos. Plus, a doors-off helicopter ride is simply more thrilling.
2. Visit Waimea Canyon State Park
Location: West Kauai
Waimea Canyon, a 10-mile long canyon that is located on the west side of Kauai, is also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Its not nearly as awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but it is still quite impressive to see.
State Highway 550 runs through the heart of Waimea Canyon State Park. This is a very scenic drive, as you head up into the mountains with the chance to stop at overlooks along the way.
Here are the best things to do along the drive through Waimea Canyon:
Waimea Canyon Lookout
From this lookout, you get one of the best views of Waimea Canyon.
Waimea Canyon Lookout
Waipoo Falls Lookout
Puu Hinahina Lookout
Puu Hinahina Lookout
Hike the Canyon Trail
View from the Cliff Trail
Best Kauai Resorts For Families
Kauai is probably the most laid back Hawaiian Island. While there may not be as much to do on Kauai theres no shortage of beaches, hiking, and other outdoor activities that appeal to kids. There also arent a ton of beach resorts on Kauai but there are a few truly fabulous family friendly resorts on Kauai.
Also, I feel like this list needs a bit of a disclaimer: pretty much anywhere you go in Hawaii is going to be kid friendly. Hawaii is not a stuffy destination. The most posh and expensive hotels on the island cater to children quite amazingly and unless youre at the adults only pool , youll always find kids boogie boarding in the waves, bobbing around in the pool, and having dinner with their families. That being said, this list includes resorts that may appeal to children especially due to their pools or kids clubs, and parents due to their locations and convenience factors.
: The Kauai Marriott Resort is probably my #1 pick for families visiting Kauai. Its PACKED with amenities that are perfect for kids. This place has one of the largest pools in Hawaii and also has a separate kids pool with a waterslide. There is plenty of dining on property and nearby and the resorts location in Lihue makes it super convenient to the airport but also exploring the north and south sides of the island. Pricing starts at $300/night. Book a room directly with Marriott here and read hundreds of reviews here.
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Best Hotel In Kauai: Makai Club Resort
Located close to everything, this hotel is a great choice when youre deciding where to stay in Kauai for nightlife. It offers lots of facilities like a Jacuzzi, outdoor pool, free parking, a kids pool, golf course, and a beauty center. And theres also a terrace and BBQ area on site so you can enjoy a meal outside in the gorgeous weather!
Which Are The Best Resorts In Kauai Hawaii For Families
No Kauai hotel list would be complete without the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. This hotel is located on the south side of Kauai and its perfect for your Kauai family vacation. Check latest rates and more information.
This resort tops our list of places to stay in Kauai and features the best pools in Kauai, beautiful gardens, as well as eleven restaurants.
Some of the dining areas offer ocean views, and the resort hosts the relaxing Anara Spa as well as golfing options.
The on-site golfing area is named Poipu Bay Golf and is a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed course featuring daily lessons, golf carts, and unique merchandise.
Keeping it more traditional, the hotels lobby is populated by artisans and craftsmen celebrating Hawaiian culture daily. The resort also offers hula, ukulele, and lei making lessons each week!
They also have a kids club available, which is fun for kids and gives grown ups a bit of a break.
Finally, the resort offers a Blue Hawaiian Activities Concierge service, that can help you plan anything from restaurant reservations to surfing lessons and helicopter tours.
You can reach out to the concierge service after you arrive, or even while youre planning your trip! Sometimes, what you really need is an expert to help you out instead of hours of falling down internet pathways.
This is definitely one of the top kid friendly resorts in Kauai worth checking out. You can read my full Grand Hyatt Kauai review HERE.
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Should You Split Your Time Between Two Locations In Kauai
Kauai isnt a huge island and you can drive from one side to another in about two hours, so you could choose to stay in one place and visit all the main attractions on day trips.
We wanted to avoid long drives, though, so we chose to divide our 11 days on Kauai between Poipu on the south shore and Princeville on the north shore .
This plan worked out really well for us. We got to experience the best of both worlds and all our day trips were a manageable distance .
It is a bit inconvenient changing hotels, especially when there can be a six-hour gap between check-out and check-in times.
I recommend requesting late check-out and early check-in times when possible, buying a cheap cool bag from Longs to store any food, and exploring the east coast on the way. You might also be able to use the hotel pool and facilities before or after checking in/out.
Despite the inconvenience, we felt we made the right decision and it would be hard to choose which coast we preferred.
If wed stayed on the South Shore, wed probably only have made one day trip to the North Shore, and it was worth having much longer to explore.
If the North Shore had been our one base, wed have had to make multiple long day trips to some of our favourite activities.
If you have a week or more on Kauai, I recommend splitting your time between two locations, unless you are planning to spend most of your time relaxing at your resort rather than exploring the island.
Stay On The Sunny Side: Why Kauais South Shore Rocks
You dont like to take sides but . . . your family had debated which side of Kauai is the best to stay on the North Shore or the South Shore. You love the North because it manages to be both laid back and spectacular with dramatic green cliffs, world-class surf, and predictably unpredictable rains. But this time you were all in for a luxurious beach villa on Kauais South Shore, and it does not disappoint.
The moment you steer your rented Jeep into that unmistakable tunnel of trees on Maluhia Road you feel the magic. Theyre just trees . . . right? So then why do they make you so happy? A gift to Kauai from a pineapple baron more than a century ago, these Eucalyptus form a fluttering green entryway that welcomes every visitor to the South Shore an aloha to one of the most stunning natural wonderlands on earth.
To say the South Shore is loved for being the sunny side is like saying a double mai tai is loved for being cold. There is that, of course but there is so much more. Here are a few reasons why you think the South Shore rocks:
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Lihue Where To Stay In Kauai On A Budget
Lihue is the second largest town on the island and the best neighborhood in Kauai to stay in if youre on a tighter budget. Therefore, this is the part of the island we recommend all of the Hawaii backpackers to stay at. It sees fewer tourists than other areas but still contains enough amenities like shops and restaurants to be a convenient place to stay. Lihue is a more local area. It was founded by sugar planters and remains a fairly small, simple place where the residents go about their daily lives.
Its also the county seat of Kauai and contains several government establishments. What this means is that Lihue isnt as picturesque or romantic as other towns, but it is convenient to other areas and offers cheaper accommodation.
Thats not to say that Lihue is completely boring or devoid of charm. You can pick up some amazing, bargain souvenirs in this town as well as cheap but delicious places to have a meal. And one of the islands most beautiful beaches, Kalapaki Beach, is close by as well.
Maui Best Place To Enjoy The Beaches In Hawaii
Maui is one of the most popular islands in Hawaii and also home to stunning beaches with amazing aquatic life. If youre picturing yourself in powdery white sand beaches surrounded by palm trees, my answer to you for where to stay in Hawaii is definitely Maui!
Maui is offering all the water sports activities you can ask for such as diving, surfing, and sailing. It is heaven for seeing coral reefs and I am not even mentioning the incredible color of the water! Im sure you will instantly realize this when you step into Maui. Make sure not to forget your camera for this one!
This island has a more laid-back vibe compared to other islands but still has enough restaurants, bars, and shops that can satisfy you. Also in Maui, you will be able to find glamorous beachfront hotels, gorgeous Airbnbs, and nice budget hotels.
I found out all the best ones for you beach bums but if you are looking for more, check out these unique Airbnbs in Maui. Lastly, I know you wouldnt want to miss your perfect place to stay so dont forget to make a reservation in advance!
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Staying On The South Side
Including Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu
The Southern Shore of Kauai is where youll find the best weather, as its both drier and has more sun along this part of the island. This makes this part of the island especially popular with visitors, so youll also discover an abundance of great shopping and dining options here in addition to the many resorts. Just also expect there to be more crowds here too.
The South Shore makes for a great location to explore all of the sights and attractions on the western part of the island or to explore along the eastern coconut coast, but the drive can be a bit far to visit the attractions along the north shore.
The beaches along this part of the island are certainly bustling more than other beaches on Kauai, but theres a nice variety of beaches to select from – one of our personal favorites is Shipwreck Beach.
A few of the more popular properties in South Kauai are the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Sheraton Kauai Resort, the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, the Koloa Landing at Poipu Beach, and the .
- Sunny and dry almost year round
- Good selection of beaches available
- Many good restaurant and dining options
- Beaches are more crowded than on the North Shore
Kauai is home to many beautiful places to stay.
Queen’s Bath, North Kauai
Beaches On Kauai And Maui
For many travelers, a Hawaiian vacation without some beach time is unthinkable. You can loll away on Maui or Kauai, but the experience will play out a bit differently on each. Whichever swath of sand you land on, know this: It may remind you of a beach in the Caribbean, but the water here is noticeably cooler.
Maui: The waters are less rough around Maui than they are around Kauai, especially in the winter. Maui has a bounty of spectacular albeit sometimes narrow golden beaches, plus black and red sand options. Among them is Makena Beach from which you can see the Molokini crater. The surf here also tends to be gentle enough for timid swimmers. Wailea Beach is home to some of Mauis poshest resorts, such as the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the Andaz Maui at Wailea, and the Grand Wailea A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Accordingly, A-listers, like John Stamos, Adam Sandler, and Jessica Alba, have been spied here. Kapalua Bay Beach, near the Montage Kapalua Bay and The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, is a popular spot for boarding and kayaking, as well as swimming and snorkeling among parrot fish and turtles.
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Eastern Shore Activity Highlights
Fall in Love with Opaekaa Falls
That 90s girl-band who sang, Dont go chasing waterfalls must have never visited Kauai. With a little adventurous spirit you can find yourself face-to-face with some of gods loveliest handiwork: Opaekaa Falls is an easy-to-access major Kauai waterfall. Found just off Route 580, this 40-foot wide spectacle thunders down 150 feet into a hidden pool. Have a picnic with just about the best views of your life. Opaekaa means rolling shrimp but there is nothing shrimpy about this baby. You, too, will be gushing.
Wailua River Kauai
Kauais largest navigable river offers an embarrassment of riches to adventures of all skill levels, meandering past waterfalls and dense tropical foliage along the East Side of the island. The 20-mile river flows from massive Mount Waialeale at the islands the center and feeds both Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls. Cruise it by kayak, paddle board or outrigger canoe. Boats also tour the Fern Grotto, a lava rock cave completely enshrouded by fern. Check out the beloved Nounou Mountains which create a formation between Wailua and Kapaa resembling an enormous native taking a nap and snap a few photos of this Sleeping Giant.
Smith Family Garden Luau
Kauai Beach Resort In East Kauai
Another laid-back Kauai kid friendly hotel is the Kauai Beach Resort. Its located in Lihue, not too far from the airport. Check latest rates and more information.
This resort is the perfect jumping off point for families who want to get out and explore the island. Kauai is full of gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails, snorkeling beaches, ziplining, boat tours, mountain tubing, and so many more adventures.
Plus, its just steps from the beach, where you can take a family walk and enjoy a gorgeous Kauai sunrise.
The Kauai Beach Resort was named the Best Value Hotel on Kauai so its perfect for families looking to do Hawaii on a budget!
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are located a bit farther from Kauais beaches on the north side of the island. Check latest rates and more information.
The resort offers a more homey experience with full kitchenettes and laundry facilities. The location is still nearby Anini Beach, and a short way away from Hanalei Lookout.
One of the best features of this resort is the Princeville Ranch Adventure that allows you to zipline through a rainforest. Refresh with a dip in one of the resorts outdoor pools that overlook the Pacific Ocean, and relax in its 1,000-acre Limahuli Garden.
Many recent reviews of the resort praise its proximity to many shops and markets but note that you still might have to travel farther out to reach beachy areas with soft sand instead of a shoreline.
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