Kauai is a fabulous destination for a family getaway. With plenty of amazing beaches, hiking, fun on the water and a classic Aloha spirit – it’s always a favorite beach destination. We went with our extended family so it was busy busy and had a fantastic time. There really is something for everyone on this Hawaiian island.

Plan to Hike and Explore on Foot

Only 10% of the island of Kauai is accessible by road. The center of the island is teeming with amazing hiking trails, and perfect for active families who like to hike and explore.If you only do one big hike, opt for the Awa Awapuhi Trail. This is a 6.7 mile out and back, largely shaded trail that leads to the stunning Na’Pili coastline. You’ll be rewarded with this iconic view. And as the helicopters pass by overhead for one quick fleeting view, enjoy the sense of accomplishment knowing you earned your view by reaching it on foot. Pack a lunch, sit down and enjoy before returning to the trailhead. Be sure to pack hiking boots that can get muddy, water shoes (chacos/ keens work well), and a hiking pack with plenty of room for water and snacks.

Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii, is definitely worth a day trip. You’ll need a car to really see it. This canyon is ten miles long and 3000 feet deep. Hiking or driving and stopping at certain areas are both doable. We opted to drive and were rewarded with lush foliage, vibrant red canyon rock, HUGE waterfalls and several different seasons. It was warm when started and perfect for hiking, and by the time we got to the end, the fog had completely obscured the canyon. If hiking is more your style, two good beginner hikes are Cliff Trail and Canyon Trail. Awesome is the only way to describe this incredible scenery.

Check Out a New Beach Every Day

Kauai is all about the beaches. From long stretches of sand with crashing waves, to hidden coves perfect for snorkeling, there are TONS of beaches to explore on Kauai. In fact, Kauai has more beaches per mile of coastline than any other Hawaiian island. Be sure to rent a jeep for your time on the island so you can freely move around and explore. Pack a cooler and head out every day to explore a different beach. This is a great way to really see the island and keep things exciting for the kids as well. Consider investing in your own snorkel gear and carry that along with you in the jeep so you can hop in the water at any time. (Just be sure to always rinse with fresh water after each session!)

Our favorite beach was definitely Hanalei Beach, in Hanalei Bay. Clear, calm water and beautiful sand. The kids enjoyed snorkeling and it was quite peaceful.

Move Around to Fully Explore the Island

If you’re not opposed to packing up a few times, moving between properties is a really great way to most comfortably explore the island of Kauai. Start up north at Princeville Resort near Hanalei Bay. **Note: Princeville Resort is currently under renovation as of 10/22/2020. **  Here the mountains loom tall and lush overhead, and the beaches are rugged and wild. Spend the middle portion of your time on the island at the lovely new Timbers resort where you can spread out with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and laundry facilities. Here the pool scene is great and they offer a robust activities schedule. Plus, this property is centrally located making it more convenient to access some the island’s best hiking. In terms of the actual rooms and facilities, Timbers is the nicest property on the island. Finally, end with a few nights at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu. If your kids love a good pool, they won’t be disappointed by the several pools, waterslide and lazy river at the Grand Hyatt.

Another great property if families are looking for a condo type situation is Koloa Landing. Koloa Landing is part of the Autograph Collection, so Bonvoy members will get points. And booking through me will also get you some extra amenities. Koloa Landing is located in Poipu, on the south side of the island.

Tour the Na Pali Coast by Boat

Our favorite activity during our trip was definitely a Catamaran tour of Na Pali Coast. Spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe it. Towering green cliffs filled with lush foliage and waterfalls abound. The sailing takes about two hours to get to the cliffs and the scenery the entire time is outrageous! We saw tons of spinner dolphins and the food served by Cap’t Andys Tours was great! Upon arrival at the cliffs, the captain found a lovely cove for us to snorkel and play in the water.


Head Out for Some Cave Tubing – If You Dare

Full disclosure – I did not like cave tubing at all, but so many people seem to love it. These caves were hand dug for irrigation of sugar crops in 1870 and remain today. Now used for tubing! Hop on a tube and the adventure begins. The winding waterway is both inside and outside and headlamps are provided for the caves. Plenty of people in our group had tons of fun, but I felt claustrophobic when in the caves and the amount of spinning and bumping into people made me feel vaguely seasick. And the water was freezing. Backcountry Adventuresis the way to go for cave tubing.

Enjoy the Culinary Delights of Kauai

The Hawaiian island have some of the best food I have ever had. There is so much diversity of their dishes that there truly is something for everyone! There is so much more to Hawaiian food than just Poke Bowls. Some of our favorite restaurants for families are:

Keoki’s Paradise



Beach House Restaurant

Kalypso Bar and Grill

Thinking about traveling to Kauai with kids for your next warm weather getaway? Hawaii is one of my specialties and I’m a certified Hawaii Expert. Contact me at mdownham@departurelounge.com.

Kauai 2ith kids is one of the most fun family vacations a family can take! So much to do! This lush island has hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing and more.

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