The first time we took our little family of 5 to Hawaii was last October! I didn’t blog about that particular trip, but I documented most of it on my instagram. My parents recently bought some property there so we stay on their property when we go. After our first trip to the island we knew we wanted to try and make this trip an annual thing for our family. Although having a place to stay is obviously a huge blessing, our reasoning for going every year has a long list of reasons! Kauai is easily one of the most magical places on this earth. Like magical enough to make us want to move our family there! One of the biggest reasons why we love this particular island so much is because of the landscape. It’s absolute rainforest magic. It rains a lot, but the rain is warm rain and it literally didn’t affect any of our activities. Even snorkeling. I’ve been to the island 3 times now and Jeff and I plan to go solo the next time we go! It’s great for families or couples though, and we share a lot of recommendations for both on this post.
We feel connected as a family when we go to Kauai. It’s a slow paced, quiet island with no “touristy” feels. It’s got some of the best food and the most chill people. The way the island operates simply makes you disconnect and just be! There is only a two lane highway circling the entire island. The speed limit is beyond slow but no one ever seems to care too much. It doesn’t take too long to drive around the entire island, maybe 3 hours. It’s worth it though because each part of the island has something magical to offer.
Although I don’t have recommendations for places to stay, I do have a handful of recommendations for things to do and places to eat!
LET’S GET STARTED:
Lihue: You fly into this town, no matter where you are staying.
You will want a rental car (purchased at the airport) because (like I said earlier) you will drive all over the island.
Before leaving the town of Lihue, make sure to stop at Walmart and Costco. Grab groceries and supplies (bug spray and sunscreen. We always bought a package of diapers and wipes there as well, since we usually stay for a week.) Whatever town you stay in, there are markets and stores you can purchase food at but I would hit up Walmart and Costco for bulk or snack items (you won’t find a better price anywhere else). Also, snag a cooler (disposable foam cooler) to keep in your rental car. You will want to always have fresh water with you! You can buy local fruit on the side of the road once you get into your town.
side note: Walmart does not provide shopping bags of any kind. We just stacked all the food inside our car.
TOWNS WE LOVE:
Kapa’a: This is the town we stay in. We love it! It has some of the best shops and places to eat. Our favorite beach in this town is called Lydgate Beach.
Lydgate Beach: Huge wooden playground (like huge, look it up), two bays to snorkel in but because of the massive rainstorm they had there last fall, there is a lot of debris in the two man-made bays so the snorkeling was bad. (we couldn’t see anything but last October it was a great snorkeling spot). We still hit up this spot twice because it was close to us and safe for our entire family.
Rental bikes: Coconut Crusiers (on the main road/highway) you can bike on a paved bike path that follows the coast line, easy bike ride, barely any hills, great for the entire family. They have bikes for the entire family. You can also rent snorkel gear from them.
Ho’opi’i Falls: THE WATERFALL you all see on my instagram and in my youtube video. There is a lower falls and an upper falls. It is a 2 mile public hike (to upper falls) you have to have life jackets and JUMP AT YOUR OWN RISK. Make sure to stay away from the white water below the falls, especially for your little kids. The lower falls is really gorgeous too! You can’t jump off them but there is a rope swing that is fun. Some of Jurassic Park was filmed there. It’s about a 1/2 mile extra than the upper falls and it gets muddy and steep, so be careful!
Poipu: Another town we love and will drive to at least one of the days we are there.
It is known for some popular beaches, a lot of resorts are there, and good food. But, it is more populated.
Baby Beach is also in Poipu, it is a separate small beach that is protected from the waves and currents and the water is really swallow. I thought it was too “babyish” for my older kids so I wouldn’t go there just for the beach (especially since there are other beaches closer to Kapa’a that are baby friendly. BUT, it does have POKA DOGS!! (learn more about those at the end of the post when I talk about food)
Anini Beach: the best beach in my opinion (for the entire family). You CAN SNORKEL WITH TURTLES!!! We loved it! And they have bathrooms and water stations to wash off your feet. AND the water is swallow enough that it was really safe for Henry and the kids could swim without a current. We came to this beach twice and we would probably go again!
Lighthouse: there is a lighthouse just south of Anini beach you might want to go see!
Hanalei: A popular place with good food but we didn’t come here this last trip because of everything we had available to us in Kapa’a.
Hike: There is a really amazing hike (NOT KID FRIENDLY) in Hanalei. Jeff did it with his brother in laws and loved it!
Grand Canyon of Kauai: It’s clear on the other side of the island (from Kapa’a) but worth the drive. (according to my sisters) Look into maybe for a rainy day.
Napali coast tour (north side of the island) these boat tours takes you around the north side of the island. There is no access to some of the north side of the island so if you are kid-free on your trip, definitely consider doing one of these tours or a helicopter tour!
NOW FOR THE FOOD!!!!!!
- PUKA DOG: (POIPU) SOOOO GOOD!!! Legit worth the drive. We hit up a yummy ice cream spot right by it too.
- OHANA JUICE BAR & CAFE: (KAPA’A) We love everything here. Bagels, acai bowls, sandwiches, wraps, and shaved ice.
- JAVA KAI:(KAPA’A) My favorite breakfast spot. THE BEST FOOD! It’s known for it’s coffee but they have a full menu and really delicious baked goods.
- KOUNTRY KITCHEN:(KAPA’A) If you want a filling hearty breakfast go here!
- ONO SHAVE ICE:(KAPA’A) The kids fav shave ice spot
- WAILUA SHAVE ICE:(KAPA’A) The adults fav shave ice spot! ALL NATURAL AND INCREDIBLE!
- MARIACHI’S:(KAPA’A) The best mexican food! We ate here 3 nights.
- THE LOCAL:(KAPA’A) Expensive but so so good.
- ONO CHAR BURGER: Off the road on the way to Princeville. Right next to Whaler’s. The best greasy food on the island.
- WHALER’S GENERAL STORE: THE BEST POKE EVER!!!!
- KALALEA JUICE HALE: The BEST green juices and smoothies!! A MUST!! On the way to Princeville
We aren’t Kauai pros…yet!! But, we do hope this list is helpful!