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Going to Kauai

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Places to Go > Kauai



2010 - 2011 Recommendations


Hotel Suggestions for Kauai, HI

June 2011

We are going to Kauai in August and would like some suggestions for reasonably priced hotels in either Poipu or Kapaa/Lihue areas (at least three star). I really don't know much about Kapaa/Lihue but am only staying two days. Would like to be in a safe place and close to the beach. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks! Marjorie


I wish I was going....ahhhhh, I would split my stay between Kahili Mountain Park near Koloa / Poipu Beach...and the Koke'e Lodge above Waimea Valley. Both aare sort of waterfall / woodsy. I like the beach but burn easily so there is shade & flowers...get a car & go to the beaches, come back to shadey jacuzi in an orchid grotto.. YES!
[Your loyal moderator and his family went to Kauai last March and stayed in a place listed on vrbo.com. It was great and very reasonably priced.]

Where to stay in Kauai in October?

June 2010

We are looking for a great place to stay in Kauai (2 adults, one toddler) for 7-10 nights in October or November. A 1-bedroom condo would be ideal so that our son can sleep in his own room and we can cook meals. Close to a safe beach would be wonderful. (I'm assuming that the north shore is not safe around that time). Vacation rental by owner would be fine. Please share any positive (and negative!) experiences. Many thanks! Soo ready for a break


we stayed at the outrigger waipouli beach in october 2 yrs ago and it was one of the best condo/hotels ever - they have a stone bottom wading pool that is heated for the babies - and a meandering lazy river for older kids. its right on the beach - across the street from a grocery store and shopping plaza and top of the line condos! its not cheap but some owners are on vrbo and other places in addition to being able to book thru outrigger directly. aloha! debbie L.
I would pick Kahili Mountain Park or The Koke' Lodge because I like water falls and some shade and can only spend so much time in the sun.

Kahili Mountain Park has the prettiest jacuzzi cave ever. It is big and you look out at flowers and the mountains. Also, when you go to the beach, you drive down through the Koloa Tree Tunnel and it is magic. The beach by there is Poipu so, lots of soft white sand...just a bit further is Brennekees for body surfing. I like that area. Plus, at KMP, they have housekeeping cabins...it is really nice. Your kids can be there with you, can run around outside with out bothering anyone or being in any danger.

Koke' Lodge is above Waimea Canyon and the housekeeping cabins are rustic with fireplaces and they have food and music at night in the restaurant. Trails, flowers pretty! You have to drive to the coast but it's nice. !!Aloha Nui Loa!!


A few years ago, we spent a week in Kauai with our (then) 2 year-old, and *loved* our location. We rented a condo in the Kaha Lani resort/complex, and it was perfect - we could walk along a lovely paved path to Lydgate Park, which has a rocked-in beach with an additional smaller, shallower rock pool just for kids. So no matter the weather or surf, we could count on a safe beach for our daughter, and some snorkeling for ourselves. Plus since we were on the east coast, we could easily drive either north or south, depending on how rough or calm those shores were that day. The condo itself was nice; we rented #309 from Our Kauai Condos (http://www.ourkauaicondos.com/hs/index.htm) and had a smooth experience. Only drawback was that the bedroom faced the stairs and had no a/c, so any outside talking or other noise came right in the windows. But we'd go back in a heartbeat. Have a fabulous time!

2008 - 2009 Recommendations


Tot hiking/outdoors activities in Kauai?

Sept 2009

We are headed to Kauai in a few weeks. We'd appreciate any easy hikes we could do with our toddler (2 years/8months) + our 3 month old in the ergo + my active 70 y.o. mom. We'll be staying at Anini Beach and expect to hang out at that beach and others nearby mostly but would like to try some easier, precious hikes we could all do together. We'd also love any recs for hikes (difficulty doesn't matter) for myself and my husband not far from Anini. We'd love to slip away for half a day and be back to relieve my mom from babysitting. Thanks!


Look online for Waimea Canyon Hikes...they are from easy to hard....Go early as the fog comes in and you miss the views. Google in Easy Hikes on Kauai...you will find a wealth of info. If you're into Sushi...Check out Kintaro near Kapaa...AWESOME!

Poipu Beach..Brennekes for lunch and there's a great beach, shallow for kids, as well as Lydgate Beach...T

We went to some beautiful gardens...great easy walk and beautiful.....Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens North from Kapaa.

If you have not been to a Luau, do so...There is one in Kapaa at Gaylord's and Smith's as well....Smith has a plantation you can all tour...

Hope this helps... karen


Get a copy of the Ultimate Kauai Guide in its latest edition. It is just a treasure trove. Kilauea Lighthouse is nice to visit with little ones and is close to Anini. Not so far is Limahuli Gardens (National Tropical Botanical Garden) which is an easy and beautiful walk to do with little ones.

For an alternative to a hike (you'll find many in Ultimate Kauai Guide) by yourselves consider kayaking on the Hanalei river. Go to Kayak Kauai in Hanalei. They are right on the Hanalei river. susan


Looking for rental in Kauai -North Shore

May 2009

My husband and I would like to travel to Kauai this summer, our dates are flexible, preferably late July or early August. We would like to stay in a cottage on the north side of the island. Our daughter will be just over 2 years old. We are responsible, clean and don't need much but would like to stay out of the big hotels and somewhere where we can cook for ourselves. Can anyone recommend some places to stay? Thanks!


We've rented on Kauai North Shore several times through Hanalei North Shore Properties www.rentalsonkauai.com They have rentals in a range of sizes and prices and we've always had good experiences with them. The staff is very nice and helpful, the one time a repair was needed it was done promptly and the property was as advertised. We've also rented condos at Hanalei Colony Resort and found them to be nice, good sized, clean and quiet. I've checked into some places through VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) but have heard both good and disasterous reports of rentals so we have continued to rent through an agent. Of course if you want a resort scene and amenities check out Princeville. Have a great time. wish I was going too
Micco Godinez is the owner of the Rainbow House in Hanalei at the end of town. He has kids so the house is furnished with toys, a pack'n'play, videos, games, etc... We were pleasantly surprised by how well our kids loved this place. And it rained some so it was great to have a house where we wanted to spend time. Micco was so helpful via email setting us up. And I think his prices were a bit better than average. It was a really huge and really nice well-kept place. And it was about a 5min walk to the beach.----Hanalei: http://www.kayakkauai.com/hanalei.html Cell 808-346-4371 Gotta Love Rainbow

Kauai - looking for good vacation rental

April 2009

Aloha! We are planning a trip to Kaua'i in the spring/summer for 1-2 weeks and I was wondering if anyone has experience with good vacation rental they want to recommend. We need -space for 2 adults + 2 school aged kids -kitchenette to make at least breakfast & snacks -balcony, porch or similar -clean and reasonably priced We would also appreciate aesthetically pleasing surroundings (should be easy in beautiful Kaua'i). Thank you! Hula Girl


I have a great place for you - it is called River Estate. It is very private, spacious and pretty. We stayed in the ''guest house'' which was totally redone - a full kitchen, 2 beautiful bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a living room. It is close to the heart of Hanalei, and right near some great beaches. The owner was really nice - very accommodating. I wish I could get back there soon! You can check it out at www.riverestate.com. dreaming of Kauai...

Babysitter + activities Poipu, Kauai?

Feb 2009

We are fortunate enough to be traveling to Poipu Beach in Kauai (The Makahuena condos) for a week in April--our first time in Kauai! I wanted to know if anyone has experience with a trusted babysitter there? We are bringing our toddler and were hoping to hire a babysitter to watch him a few afternoons (maybe even when he's sleeping) so we can snorkel. We are reluctant (my husband especially) to hire just any sitter without a recommendation. What are our chances that a BPN'r has been to Poipu and hired a great sitter? We also are wondering if there are recommendations of things to do, special beaches, places to go, restaurants, etc. We will have a toddler, two teenagers and a rental car. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you


we went to kauai a year ago december with our two-year-old, and it was awesome. enjoy yourself! while we didn't get a babysitter, there are great guidebooks to be borrowed from berkeley main including one for families of young children that has good advice and numbers. last january, we wrote some of our recommendations out for another bpn parent (who hopefully will write in with ideas too) and then the contra costa times put us in the newspaper a few weeks later. the link to the article is below. if the link doesn't work, type in kauai with a toddler on google. there's too much text or i'd pour it in. if you go to the lighthouse up north, one of our favorite eats was the kilauea fish market, yum! skip tropical tacos in hanalei and most of the eats there, especially coming from the bay area. we stayed in anahola and loved the area, so a lot of our recommendations are a little to the north from where you're staying. general recommendations: i'd rent from enterprise; ! they were so good to us. use repellent with deet on hikes and in the canyon area, as my daughter got a tick bite there. take your baby to the baby beaches like lydgate where you can watch or swim with fish, and poipu has a lovely beach. we played 'toes in ocean' and ran from the waves. if you're there on a wednesday afternoon, it may be fun for your child to see the little girls' luau at coconut marketplace. details are in the article. feel free to email with any other questions, and have a great time! http://www.ibabuzz.com/aparentlyspeaking/2008/02/02/family-travel-kauai-with-a-toddler/ tabatha

Marriott in Hawaii with 2 kids

Jan 2009

We have points to use at a Marriott, one kid age 4, one 10 mths. I want warm air and a direct (not too long) flight. Any Marriott's stand out in particular? We love the beach and the pool but kid friendly a must. Arizona? Southern California? Mexico? Hawaii? Anyone been to Ko Olina on Hawaii? Feb or March travel. want to be warm!


We've gone twice to the Marriott on Kauai, most recently this past Christmas break, with a 6 yr old and 3 mo. old, and loved it. The hotel is very kid-friendly, with different activities scheduled daily such as lei-making or coconut bowling, in addition to a kid's camp with half and full day options. The location is on a large sheltered bay, so waves are never too big. Very nice pool area, too, just across a short lawn from the beach. Accommodations include regular hotel rooms as well as 1- and 2-bedroom Marriott timeshare units (rented out by the hotel for the owners), all which I believe can be used with Marriott points. The 1-bedroom unit worked great for us, it has a huge king-size bed in the bedroom and really comfy queen Murphy bed in the living room. Furnishings were excellent. There was a microwave, dishwasher, fridge, dish/glass/flatware, but no stove. We'll be going back... lena

Hawaii wedding in Kauai

June 2008

I am getting married next summer and we want to have a small wedding in Hawaii, since this is our secong marriage. Any suggestions? we want to rent a house next to the beach where we will stay for a week, have the ceremony and the reception there. thanks elena


Hi There, My hubby and I got married on Kauai. Kauai is a very lush and romantic island, not to mention there is a ton of stuff to do there (in case you haven't been yet). We used Iben Dwight with Weddings Hawaii to coordinate our ceremony (website: http://www.hawaii-wedding.com/). It was a very low stress affair (just us!). She is very easy to work with remotely. She can steer you in the right direction with acomodations, wedding locations and all that good stuff too. Best of luck and have fun! maria
Try Waimea Plantation Cottages in Kauai! They have a beautiful oceanside location and family members can rent out their own cottages on the property. There is a larger house on the property that can be used for the reception and there is a also a volleyball court, fire pits, pool for people to use. We didn't do a wedding there but just stayed there recently and thought that it would be a great location for a wedding if we were to do one. The only downside is that the beach is more for walking than swimming. http://www.waimeaplantation.com http://www.sunset.com/sunset/travel/article/0,20633,1578935,00.html sd

Going to Kauai -where to stay?

March 2008

We are going Kauai with our 14 month old and my in-laws. Looking for a high quality house/condo rental or a suite. We are leaning towards a house b/c of the convenience, etc. Any recommendations of a specific place to stay would be awesome! Also, we'd love recommendations for restaurants, spa treatments, local hang-outs, etc. We hear there is alot of construction in Kauai right now. Does anyone know anything about that and how to stay away from it? Thanks!! Looking forward to a vacation! Miki


We've gone to Kauai 3 summers in a row with kids ranging in age from 8 mos to 3.5 yrs. We've stayed at different condos, all in Poipu, all managed by Suites Paradise (you can look them up online). One place was Poipu Kai, I can't remember the rest, but they manage a few condo areas, all near each other. The first year we took the place they assigned us online and it wasn't great, but our friends who went with us got a great place that way. You pay slightly more to book thru via phone, but that way you can choose your place. I recommend getting a place that has been recently remodeled. All places are a short walk to Poipu beach

Poipu is great for small kids -- Poipu beach and Lydgate beach are both very protected, yet have rougher surf nearby if you want some wave action. That said, every year we have also ventured north for day trips and the beaches there, while not as kid friendly, are amazing. We can't go this summer but next time we may stay up north for a change. Luckily, wherever you stay, the island is small enough to get to both areas. We actually found the road-trips good for getting naps in.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any more questions, you can email directly. Beth


Kauai with 2 year olds?

Jan 2008

My husband and I have yet to fly with our twin boys but are working on getting over to Kauai in May when they will be about 23 months. We are hoping to find a 2 bdrm condo or a hotel suite in either Poipu Beach or Hanalei Bay (1 week stay). Does anyone have any recommendations as far as accommodations that are child friendly? In addition, any thoughts on airline seating arrangements for twins this age? Do you rent child seats once there with your rental car? What about pack'n'plays? Strollers? You must bring a double stroller along with you I assume? Any well earned advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much, erika


aaahhh, Kauai. Been there many times with my young children. For the plane I recommend you and your husband split up and each sit with a child. In Hanalei Bay I highly recommend the Hanalei Bay Resort. Don't bring a stroller, there are no long paved places in Kauai to use them. It's all road or beach. The sit-n-stroll carseats that also function as airline safety seats and strollers are great investments though for airline/rental car travel. You can probably get used ones on craigslist as they're expensive but worth it if you travel even a little. There are also companies that rent pack-n-plays, high chairs, etc. Just do a web search. We did this and they pick up and deliver to your condo, it's great. Aloha!
We just visited Kauai with our two-year-old at Christmastime, and I can give lots of recommendations. We rented a house in Anahola from craigslist, and I loved renting like that since it was more homey and an area where only native Hawaiians can own. We almost rented a condo, and there are more last minute specials and amenities that way. I've heard that the north is better weather in the summer months, and the south has better weather in the winter. But you know the south is nice year round and has more baby friendly beaches, compare Anini and Poipu beaches. We have a friend who has just purchased a condo in Poipu. (It was high for December, but in May it will be more the mainstream rate. I can email his info if you're interested).

As far as the airline goes, I would get the parents aisle seats across from each other, so that the twins can be separate but parallel lap babies and traded if necessary. Hopefully one of your rows can be clear! We checked our car seat (and United lost it!), but car rental places do have car seats to meet your needs. We had a wonderful experience with Thrifty. (I was bumped from my flight out, and since I had prepaid gas they gave me my car back cheaply. Please rent from them!! They were great!!) Incidentally, I would fly ATA next time.

There is a baby service in Lihu'e where you can rent just about anything for babies. You may call ahead to see what items for twins are available. (Berkeley Public Library has a great family book that you can check out in the travel section but it doesn't pop up when I do a catalog search). Kauai Trailblazer and Kauai Trails if you plan to hike (like anywhere check the babies for tiny ticks) and Kauai Underground Guide (www.explorekauai.com) are good too. People use the Ultimate Guide, but I wasn't that thrilled with it. Some of the restaurants in the North that they recommended like Tropical Tacos were bad!

Food: Our favorite restaurants were the Barbeque Inn in Lihu'e, a great deal for lunch or dinner with salad, soup, homemade bread and homemade pie included, the Hanamaulu Tea Garden buffet on Sunday nights (a great family restaurant with nice service and lots of locals in the back tea rooms) and Kilauea Fish Market on the way to the lighthouse. We liked Papaya's for healthy food in Kapa'a and Hanalei, and Longs had the cheapest Kona Coffee.

Baby: Highlights for us were the baby beaches with fish Poipu and Lydgate State Park, where there are natural reefs for children with calmer water. Our 2 1/2 year old enjoyed the little girls' hula dancing at Coconut Marketplace Wednesday at 5pm and joined them on stage! It's also free to take children that age to the luau at Smith's Garden Paradise, which is quite a show. One thing I did was get a library card there for $10, so that I could check out kids' books to help my little girl understand the culture a little bit and check out cds for us to listen to and to check the internet. (Of course it's nice to have a break from the internet too!) Cute kids' clothes at Sandpeople (Hanalei and Poipu), and there's a new shop called Maile's Closet in Kapa'a that has very cute handmade things and great boys' clothes too. (Adorably packaged gifts). The giftshop at Koke'e Lodge was great too.

Mommy too: We have a family member who moved to Kilauea 3 years ago and does massage that really helped my mommy back... He's so awesome!

10-14 days recommended to get your bearings and really relax. We didn't see Na Pali (ugh) and could have spent more time in the canyon hiking. We felt that our week flew by but was still worth it of course! Have fun, and if you have more questions, I can do my best to answer. Tabatha


2006 - 2007 Recommendations


Hanalei Bay Resort

Nov 2006

Hi there, My husband, myself (three months pregnant) and our two kids (4 and 2) want to go to hawaii after Christmas. We want somewhere kid friendly and easy-going, but with kitchens and dining choices. The Hanalei Bay Resort looks good on paper -- anyone know anything about it? Or have other suggestions? Thanks! Totally up for a week off


I have had dinner at the Hanalei Bay Resort and it seems nice. However, depending on what you are looking for, the north shore of Kauai can be a bit unpredictable. I have been there twice off season and found it difficult to enjoy the water. The North Shore is at it's best in the summer (June-September I think). Outside of those times it can be rainy and the surf can be rough. Because of this the snorkeling can be quite murky. I believe the Hanalei beach resort shares a beach with the Princeville Hotel. It is small and has some OK spots for kids. However, it also has a reef very close to shore that can be dicey to swim over in low tide. The hotel does have a nice pool if you decide that the beach isn't your thing. In general, I worry about Kauai with small kids. The surf tends to be higher and more rough than the other islands. Though, that doesn't seem to stop a lot of families from enjoying it as a vacation spot. Good Luck! Burned by the North Shore
We have had great luck on Kauai at the Kiahuna Plantation Resort. They rent condos with kitchens, and are located close to the beach, also close to shopping, so you can stock your kitchen. The prices have been reasonable (not dirt cheap, not ultra high end) and the accomodations lovely. They have extensive grounds with lots of grassy areas to play when you're not at the pool or beach. Have a great trip! Kim

KauaiVacation Rental for Grandparents & Toddlers

Nov 2006

Hello - My husband and I and our 2 year old twins, along with my parents, are planning a trip to Kauai in May of next year. We're looking to rent a house or large condo which will accomodate all of us (4 adults plus 2 kids) comfortably. Highest priorities are proximity to a sandy beach (preferably Poipu) and laundry facilities. We're looking at the main house at Hale Pohaku in Poipu - does anyone have a recommendation on this or any other options? We would appreciate any help! kelle


The Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu is excellent for a family vacation. They have condos of varying sizes and laundry rooms through out the complex. They also ahve the best beach in Poipu. You can book a room through Outrigger like you would any hotel, however condo owners can also rent out their rooms for less. It is worth doing a google search and see if you can find a good room on your own. It will be a lot cheaper. Then you just pay cleaning fees to Outrigger. Have Fun! Happy Kiahuna Kamper

Travel to kauai with 2 year old

Aug 2006

Hi- My husband and I will be bringing our 2 year old son to Kauai in January. We are looking for recommendations for things to do with a toddler, mainly hiking or other outdoors activities. We were planning on bringing a baby backpack and/or our Bob jogging stroller since our son is almost 30 pounds and getting too heavy to carry. Does anyone know of any good trails, not too steep and narrow that we could navigate with a jogging stroller? Thanks! C.L


I'm sure you'll get responses from others about hiking locations, but I would recommend taking a kayak or canoe trip on the river that runs through Hanalei (North Shore). I haven't done it w/ my kids yet, so you should prob call ahead to check on their policy w/ little kids. But the river is super calm & smooth. Easy to stop & eat lunch w/out even getting out of the boat. If you drive through the town of Hanalei, you can't miss the place where you rent the boats. And they're very helpful. p.c.
Just returned from Kauai with an almost 2-year old and it was great. The trails in Waimea Canyon would lend themselves nicely to a jogging stroller. We used an Ergobaby backpack but definitely could have used more support for our aching backs. The trails along the canyon are accesssible down a dirt road which you can either walk or drive a vehicle with 4 wheel drive. The rocky road is about one mile and this leads you to beautiful trail heads. We prefered the north side of the island, however. We didn't do Nepali coast this time but did it without a child years past. This is remarkable and you'd need a backpack. A stroller wouldn't cut it. Other advice: Bring some light rain gear. Have fun! anon

Condo rental on Kauai

June 2006

My husband and I are going to Kauai for 10 days in September, and are looking for a nice but reasonably priced condo rental. I will be 7 months pregnant, so something with a pool would be highly appreciated. We'd also like something near or on a beach, and we've heard the north shore is nicest that time of year. Any suggestions? Thanks!


Try: Hanalei North Shore Properties www.kauai-vacation-rentals.com 1-800-488-3336 We've always had good luck renting from them, even for a last minute vacation in July at the height of the busy season. I spent hours searching for places in Hanalei on the Web, only to find they were too expensive or not available. Have Fun!
check out www.kiahunabeachrentals.com for a great condo at the Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu on the South side. It is very close to the beach and there is a pool nearby. I was there when I was 7 months pregnant, too. amy
Hi, This is not exactly what you are looking for, but I just have to let you know about a wonderful gem of a B&B in Kauai. Inn Paradise (http://www.innparadisekauai.com/suites.htm) has just three rooms, all suites with balconies and wonderful garden views. Their prices are incredibly reasonable at only $70-95 a night. It is a very homey place and the innkeepers are a charming older couple. It is in Kapa'a, which is fairly central on the island (less than an hour's drive to either the North shore or the South shore). They do not have a pool, but they do have a hot tub, and there is a very nice public beach/state park nearby (Lydgate). You are going to need a car in Kauai anyway, so for me it didn't make a big difference that I had to drive 5- 10 minutes to swim. I would recommend that you go for the king or queen suite (not the prince suite) because the larger two both have full kitchens which will come in very handy in not going out for expensive meals three times a day. Have a great trip!! Monica

2004 - 2005 Recommendations


Hawaii - 2 moms and baby

August 2005

My partner and I would like to take a week-long vacation to Hawaii sometime this fall with our baby, who will be 1 in October. We've never been, but we hear lots of good things about Kauai. We'd like to stay somewhere that's family-friendly in both senses of the word -- a place that would be cool with lesbian moms, has a kitchen where we can cook some meals, a pool and other places to walk to, and even child care. I've never booked a whole trip through a travel agent but would be happy to do so this time. So, I'm looking for recommendations either of travel agents that specialize in GLBT family travel, or locations that are particularly friendly. We feel so comfortable being a lesbian couple in the Bay Area, but realize not everywhere is like this -- I want to avoid getting stuck with a bunch of homophobic red-staters on vacation. Thanks in advance for any advice! anon


I highly recommend the Kiahuna Plantation Resort on Kauai at Poipu Beach. Check out BPN for other reviews - there are several. It's on the southern end of the island, which is far less rainy, and they've got a great baby beach/pool. Kiahuna is a condominium complex and you can rent from two different agencies. Check out the Ultimate Guide Book for recommendations (who to rent from and which units are best). Though I was there with my husband and daughter, there were families/couples of every make up there and the atmosphere seemed very friendly and open. Kiahuna Fan
I can't help you with a travel agency that specializes in GLBT- friendly locations, but I can tell you our (2 moms now, but this was pre-baby) experience in Kauai was amazing. I found our beautiful, perfect Haena house online after days of searching (called Hale Pua Kai, you can see it online at the website for Incredible Journeys) and when I called the rental agency, they ended up planning our air and car for us. I thought the agency was great, they're called Incredible Journeys and their website is at www.incrediblejourney.net. They were recommended to us by another lesbian couple that used them, but it really was a non- issue during our planning. We went to Kauai in May and stayed on the North Shore, which we fell in love with. We cried when we left! I don't know what the North Shore is like in October, weather-wise. It may be too rainy by then. From what I hear, Poipu (South Shore) may be easier with a baby, although we did not think it was nearly as beautiful or interesting as Hanalei and north. I can tell you that we visited every part of the island and felt more comfortable anywhere in Kauai than we do in many parts of the Bay Area, for sure. We Love Kauai!

Hawaii condo/house rental good for toddler& baby

March 2005

We stayed in Princeville in the North Shore of Kauai, although it is kind of an upscale community, we stayed in a condo called ''The Cliffs'' which was very kid friendly. It had a small pool (no beach access) and the condo was very open and had everything in terms of kitchen, laundry within the unit, nice Lanais. Apparently The Cliffs gets good recommendations on ''value''. Within Princeville, there is a great playground and walking paths. The best part of the north shore of Kauai (you will need a car) is the town of Hanneali Bay (this is a 10 min drive from Princeville)- where you could rent a cottage and walk to the cute town. Excellent coffee and breakfast places and they have a yoga studio right there. The Hannelai Bay Beach was the best we found for our little guy (in the north)although if you go in the winter Poipou is sunnier and it has the kids beach.

There are some advantages of staying in the south (Poipou) since the resorts will have everything (beach access, pool, cleaning service- our condo did), however, I think the landscape and ''Kauai'' local experience is richer up north. Kauai is a ''driving island'' and it does not seem most people stay at their resort but having toddlers, it might make it difficult for naps, etc. Our guy just napped in the car, etc. Be sure to check out a Kauai Guide Book which also helps.


We had a great experience renting a two bedroom condo at Nihi Kai which is in Poipu when my kids were 6 mos. and 2 1/2. You can walk to Poipu Beach which has a great super shallow baby area as well as a play structure. Nihi Kai has a simple pool as well that we almost always had to ourselves. There is a very nice BBQ area and we grilled whenever we ate at home. It is across the street from Brennecke Beach which is one of the best boogie boarding beaches. There is some more tourist oriented shops in Poipu, but there is a nice town very close as well that has a normal grocery store, GREAT fish market (I can't remember the name of this town) Our condo was nicely furnished (I have heard some are nicer than others), very spacious with two levels and quiet bedrooms. I thought is was pretty reasonable at around $150/night. You really got a lot of bang for your buck. Have a great time, I would be happy to tell you about other things we did that worked for us, it can be hard to have a relaxing vacation with kids that age. ja
I highly recommend the Kiahuna Plantation Resort in Poipu, Kauai. We read about the condominium resort in The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, and it was recommended by a travel agent.

We rented a one bedroom unit for a week and enjoyed being on the ground floor so our toddler could run around on the lanai just out the back door. A nice, swimable beach is on one side of the resort, and the pool is on the other, grounds are very nice w/ BBQs, etc. The pool was a bit of a hike from the unit we rented, but it was well worth the walk or drive. One side of the pool has a water slide and plenty of room to splash around, and a GREAT toddler kiddy pool lined with sand on the other end. We spent most days at the pool. It was nice to stay in a condo with a full kitchen. We ate out a few nights but mostly stayed in and cooked great fresh fish from the market in Koaloa.

Units at Kiahuna Plantation are managed and rented by two companies, but we read that Outrigger tends to have the best rates. Outrigger phone is 800-688-7444. Happy Vacationer


Hanalei Bay Resort

March 2005

Has anyone stayed at the Hanalei Bay Resort? How was it? We have free airline tickets to Hawaii and are thinking of going back to Kauai. We usually stay in a vacation home, but now with a two year old, we would like to stay in a condo in order to have access to the pool and other amenities. We like the North Shore, so Hanalei Bay Resort (NOT Hanalei Colony Resort) is one option. I'm interested in finding out about particular condos within the resort as well. We'd like a two bedroom, and there seems to be no central agency or website where you can see what is available. Rather, each condo owner has their own rental arrangement and you just have to find them in a hit or miss fashion by searching the web and rental agencies. So, any help with finding a good condo would be greatly appreciated. Other suggestions also welcomed! Thanks.


Try: Hanalei North Shore Properties www.kauai-vacation-rentals.com 1-800-488-3336 I had great luck renting a house from them in Hanalei on a last minute vacation in July at the height of the busy season. I called them after spending hours searching for places in Hanalei on the Web, only to find they were too expensive or not available. We rented the Hanalei Dolphin 2, a 2bd/1 bath place that we really enjoyed: www.kauai-vacation-rentals.com/dolphin/dolphin2.html It's a great location and a reasonable price (~$1000/wk), overlooks the river and is very private with a nice backyard. No hot tub, but they had a great outdoor shower that we enjoyed immensely! Have Fun!

Kauai with Newborn

May 2004

We are heading to Kauai for a week with our daughter, who will be 3 months old, and looking for some recommendations specifically for things to do with an infant. We'd like to do a sunset cruise and also a few hikes - would these activities be OK with her in the Baby Bjorn or carrier? Any recommendations for restaurants - in addition to those on the website - for really little ones that are also somewhat nice for the parents? We're staying at the Princeville and I understand they have babysitters available. We were thinking about trying to sneak down for a private dinner one night - any experiences with their babysitting services? Any luaus good for kids? She is a pretty mellow baby but as you can tell I am a bit nervous about what we will do with her all week! Any recommendations are appreciated.


We took our 8 week old daughter to Hawaii in January and had a great time. We took her in the ocean and the hotel swimming pool and she loved both. We didn't stay in the water for very long - maybe 15-20 minutes. We purchased a diaper cover at a local shop and it was fine. When not swimming we dressed her in lightweight long cotton pants and a long-sleeved shirt and kept her in her car carrier under the canopy most of the time. We did put regular adult 30 SPF sunblock on her when she was swimming and there were no side effects. At the end of the day I washed her off with soap and her skin didn't break out or anything. And she didn't get anything even close to a sunburn.
I think 3 months old is a little young for a trip to Hawaii. Your baby will be too young to wear sunscreen, go swimming (maybe), and ride in a backpack. If at all possible you should wait a few more months for a vacation with your baby; youíll enjoy it much more.

We recently stayed at the Princeville Hotel for 9 nights with a 7 month old. The hotel is quite fantastic, especially the location overlooking Hanalei Bay. If youíre stuck in your room most of the day waiting for your baby to wake up from his nap, at least youíll have a world class view. They have a wonderful infinity pool and a small pool especially for babies. The beach right in front of the hotel is terrific; relatively calm (especially in the morning) and good for swimming and snorkeling. Dinners are a little difficult because if you donít want to eat at the hotel you need to get in your car and drive to a near-by town, which will most likely be Hanalei. Some of the restaurants we enjoyed in Hanalei were Neideís Salsa and Samba (quiet, with outdoor dining), Zeloís, and Postcards. For a quick bite to eat (lunch) Tropical Taco, Bubbaís Burgers, and Mixed Plate were all good. In the town of Kilauea thereís a bakery which has breakfast items, soup and salad, pizza, etc. and everything is REALLY good. Itís also a nice little area to walk around and browse in the shops. The lighthouse there is worth visiting. We ate in the hotel for buffet breakfasts, lunch at the pool, room service and had dinner at the piano bar a couple times. We didnít try any formal dining or get a sitter, we were always too tired. Thereís a luau at the hotel which seemed as good as any. We didnít go but you can see and hear it from most rooms in the hotel.

I donít know of any hikes you can do with an infant, most hiking in Kauai is pretty difficult (muddy, steep, dangerous). Youíll also have the heat and mosquitoes to cope with.

If you do go, just take it slow, relax and enjoy the scenery. Be prepared to spend lots of money, Kauai is not cheap. Anon


Get the Ultimate Kauai Guide. It is THE guide. It has restaurant reviews that they keep well updated. A good restaurant on the East side of the island is Coconuts. But check the newest Kauai Guide as things can change quickly.

You'll be able to visit Kilauea lighthouse and see the nesting frigate birds with a newborn.

And limahuli gardens will be a great hike for you. The gardens are gorgeous and the hike is very easy. We never had mosquito trouble there, but they have bottles of Avon Skin so Soft on hand if you want to use some. It is on the north shore not far from Princeville.

Hanalei is a great little town to hang out in with shops and cafes on the north side of the island.

If you go to Tunnels Beach (access was a little dicey last time we were there, but two of you should be able to get a baby safely down the incline to the beach) one of you can stake out a spot in the shade while the other enjoys fabulous snorkeling. Skip Hideaways beach!! it is far too dangerous a climb down the rickety staircase and slippery muddy trail.

If your baby doesn't mind a long drive you can go all the way around the island and up to Kokee park where you can have a very reasonable and tasty lunch at the nature station and drive to lookouts over Waimea Canyon. Make sure to get gas before you go.

On that side is the National Botanical Gardens, very pretty, very different from LImahuli and very expensive, but entirely possible with a newborn.

ON the south shore in Poipu you can visit Spouting Horn with a newborn. A dinner at Beach House at sunset time is fun, but the food is just ok for the price.

Helicopter tours leave Lihue (on the east side) regularly. THey are quite spectacular. I imagine they'd let you take a newborn on your lap, but I can't be sure.

The boat trips all leave from the Southwest side of the island, so it is a long drive. The power catamarans are nice, not too bumpy, and offer shaded areas to sit. On a good day you'll make it to Na Pali Cliffs. The trips are long, though, because they start from the least scenic shore of the island.

There is a movie van tour. You ride in a van and they show clips from movies and take you to places on the island where the scense were filmed. I have never done this, but it should be possible with a newborn.

Have a great time! susan


I'm sorry, but I didn't see the original post, but we took our 2 1/2 month old son to Kauai two Decembers ago and felt that it was great timing for a relaxing vacation. I'm not sure if I would go before that age, but our pediatrician had no problem with us going with our son that young. In fact I am pregnant again and we are planning to do the trip again when our new baby is 3 months old. It was so easy to travel (breastfeeding eliminated the need to tote along lots of bottles and formula) and our son took naps on the beach under the umbrella while we took turns snorkeling, etc. We weren't all that active, as far as activities - there was a whole lot of reading and lounging going on under the umbrellas and cabanas.

We stayed for a few days at the Hyatt Resort in Poipu, which has an AMAZING pool/ garden/waterslide set up with a warm lagoon that was perfect for swimming with the baby. After that, we stayed for a week at the Embassy Vacation Resort (also Poipu) which was a condo w/ full kitchen, bbq pits, pools, etc. That was great because we could shop for groceries and make our own meals. We went out to dinner a few times and the baby just slept in his infant seat next to our table.

The sunscreen could be a bit of a problem, but talk to your pediatrician. We used Waterbabies and it was OK, even though our son has sensitive skin. His eyes would sometimes get a little red (maybe some of it washed off into his eyes??) But we used a floppy hat and long-sleeved t-shirt every time he went into the water (only 10-15 minute stints at a time.)

Feel free to contact me if you would like any more specific info. paula


May 2004

Re: Trip to Hawaii with a 13 month old

My in laws have a large one bedroom condo on Poipu Beach in Kauai. The condo is nestled in a garden setting just minutes from Poipu Beach- which is the perfect beach for baby- it is a protected cove and so there are rarely any waves and it isn't deep at first. There's a concession stand for those moments when you just have to have some french fries. The condo has a beautiful pool area right next to the tennis court. Kauai is simply the most beautiful island with many good places to eat but not the nightlife scene like on Maui. The shelf is shallow so you can easily go snorkeling and see lots of good stuff. Poipu is conviently located to all the natural sights on the island including Waimea Canyon known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. There are so many good spots to go without the overcrowding of some of the other islands. Enjoy your trip. Juliette


We went to Kauai last summer and stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation resort with our (then) 9 month old son. We loved it! The condos are spacious, have nice lanais looking out onto green grassy areas, and they are all easy walking distance from the private beach. Although the ocean was too rough for our baby there (the calmer waters in the summer are on the north coast of Hawaii, the reverse in the winter), there is a ''baby beach'' not too far away. More importantly, however, the complex has a pool across the street that is wonderful for babies! It has waterfalls, a water slide, and a shallow beach-type area with a little gradated stone ''beach'' to sit, crawl or toddle in. There are shared barbeque areas outside and plenty of other friendly families there. We'd go back in a second! Kiahuna enthusiast
I highly recommend the Poipu Kapili on the south shore of Kawaii. The condos are very sizable and many have an ocean view. It is walking distant to Poipu beach (a gentle beach with a good wading distance and VERY gentle surf) and has a swimming pool on the grounds. We go to Hawaii for a month each year and we've taken a look at a number of places in Kawaii and liked this one best by far. We were there when our 1st was 8 mos. We now have a place on Oahu, and spend a great deal of time on the north shore (in Pupukea on Shark's Cove) as it is very gentle in the summer, Rough in the winter though. I don't recommend Waikiki at all though we frequent a ''locals'' beach called San Souci right outside of Waikiki. E-mail me if you want more info. Amy

Hanalei Bay rental

April 2004

Can anyone recommend a *specific* vacation rental in the Hanalei Bay area of Kauai? We'd like something in the moderate price range ($1000-$1500/week), 2 bedrooms minimum, and a hot tub would be great (although not essential). It is for my husband, my one year old son, and me :). Thank you!
[P.S. I have read the recent postings that recommend Waimea plantation cottages and rentals on other islands. We're specifically interested in Hanalei Bay on Kauai. Thanks!] --Mom needs a vacation


Try: Hanalei North Shore Properties www.kauai-vacation-rentals.com 1-800-488-3336 I had great luck renting a house from them in Hanalei on a last minute vacation last July at the height of the busy season. I called them after spending hours searching for places in Hanalei on the Web, only to find they were too expensive or not available. We rented the Hanalei Dolphin 2, a 2bd/1 bath place that we really enjoyed: www.kauai-vacation-rentals.com/dolphin/dolphin2.html It\222s a great location and a reasonable price (~$1000/wk), overlooks the river and is very private with a nice backyard. No hot tub, but they had a great outdoor shower that we enjoyed immensely! Have Fun! Shelley

Toy Rentals for Hotel Room Use?

March 2004

is anyone familiar with a company in kauai that rents children's toys while you visit the island? i'm not looking for water toys, but rather everyday toys to play with while staying in hotel rooms. pamela


Try the Keiki Cottage in Kapaa. It's a consignment store and Holly rents things like pack n plays, so she might do toys too. Have a great trip!! Rachel
How about www.babysaway.com Rebecca

2002 - 2003 Recommendations


Plantation accommodations, old fashioned and kid-friendly

August 2003

Greetings - We're planning ahead to a vacation on the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Hawaii, and would like recommendations for (what we've heard are) fairly simple, plantation like accommodations that are old fashioned and very kid-friendly. We've looked at the recent posts and the archives but these don't quite offer what we're after. We'd like to avoid fancy condos/apartments/hotels and go for something more rustic (although still clean and comfortable). We'd also like to know about great activities with the kids (ages 8 and 10) on either of these islands, especially swimming and hiking. Any ideas welcome and appreciated. Thanks. Deborah


For a plantation-style retreat on the island of Kauai I recommend the Waimea Plantation (http://www.waimea- plantation.com). Friends have stayed there and had a wonderful time. I have eaten there a couple of times and it is beautiful, and very much a plantation feel. margo
Waimea Plantation Cottages on Kauai may be what you are looking for. When we were there several years ago, the beach was nearly empty, the water was perfect for long swims, and there were no resorts anywhere nearby. On our last day, I read in the guidebook that the somewhat cloudy waters were favored by sharks, but we came home with all limbs intact. Milt
Try Waimea Planation Cottages in Waimea, (southwest side of the island.) http://www.waimeaplantationcottages.com/ There are several cottages on lovely, naturally landscaped grounds. This place is far removed from resorts, and anything you want to get to is a quick drive away (except shave ice, which you can walk to!) It's not on a swimmable beach but they have a pool and kid-friendly beaches are very close by. I think the cottages have grills as well as kitchens, and there is also a restaurant onsite, giving you lots of flexibilty with meals. WPC may have gotten a little fancier since we were there last -they now have a day spa and wireless internet access available- but it is simple, charming and a great antidote to the overbuilt resorts. Have fun! Carla
We just returned from Kaua'i. Went with our 10 year old daughter and our friends have a 6 year old son. @ Pouipu there is a shallow area with good tide pooling, people said a monk seal came right up and hung out there - also really good boogie boarding. The tunnels beach near KiKi beach had super snorkeling, it is up on the North end almost to the end of the road. We picked up boogie boards at the K-Mart in Lihui for around $15 and that was way cheaper than renting them for a day at the Marriott. We used them all week and then sold it to someone with kids who was just arriving! love the Island
We're going to Kuaui at the end of the month and found the book The Ultimate Kuaui Guidebook to be very helpful in booking a 10-day package. We got it at Barnes and Noble for about $14. Its easy and quick to read and has a web site (you need a password that is in the book) with current info and links. anon

Condos on the North Shore

April 2003

We are looking for some new recommendations for condos in Kauai, (I've already checked the archives) preferably on the North Shore. The condo we've rented before in Hanalei is no longer available, but we really enjoy that area of Kauai. We will be traveling with our toddler, so family friendly is a plus! bw


Our family has a condo in kauai though not on the north shore- if you would consider another location you might be interested in our condo in Poipu the sunny side of the island. We are close to lots of beaches and the famous blowhole. There is a swimming pool (recently re done) and a tennis court, BBQ pit and beautiful lush gardens to stroll through. It is a one bedroom (the bedroom is really big) and has a fold out couch. One bathroom with a washer and dryer- so helpful for kids plus a breakfast nook and full kitchen. Depending on when you are going it can be as low as $99 a night. Worth checking out. You can call Phyllis at 925-248-6223. Everytime I go I think I could so live here- in fact why don't I??? Juliette
Check out vacation rentals by owner: www.vrbo.com susan

Family Vacation with grandfather

January 2003

We are going to Kuaui for a week in February with three girls (ages 7 1/2, 9 1/2 and 12) and an 81-year old grandfather. Advice on activities, beaches, restaurants etc. would be welcome - especially regarding water sports and outings. Thanks. ellen


I highly recommend ''The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook.'' We've been there several times and found the book to be an excellent source for hikes and ''adventures.'' Kauai is a hikers paradise, and some of the hikes in the book are really easy and beautiful. Don't skip the shave ice -- you all will love it. We stayed near Poipu, because the weather tends to be a little less rainy there. Cecile
Get the Ultimate Guide to Kuaui- a fabulous book that will tell you all the secret places to go. Check out Queen's Bath and the Fantasy Island Falls. Snorkeling is good- reef shallow not great for diving. FYI Poipu is the ''sunny'' side whereas Princeville can be rainy (both are beautiful). Go to the Farmer's Market for great local produce. Juliette
We've had two vacations in Kauai. The first five years ago we stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation resort. I agree with the comments from the previous posts. We got a great rate at the time through the Entertainment Book and it's still listed in there. Poipu tends to have more sun, though the rain in the North part of the Island (Princeville/Hanalei/etc) tends to be very brief. This year, we stayed in Princeville and had another wonderful experience, this time at Pu'u Po'a condos. It's right above Hideaway Beach, which the 80 year old won't be able to access (steep, short hike down) but is magnificent! All in all, Poipu is probably easier access and Princeville and Hanalei are a bit extra special. Feel free to email me for more details. Alan
We always stay (and are soon to stay, again) at the Hyatt Regency on Poipu. My advice would be to try and sneak in to their pool area (bring your own towels) and use their facility. Great pool, grottoes, slides, jacuzzis. They also have a terrific spa Loves the Kauai Hyatt

Snorkeling Day Trip

December 2002

I'd like to get a gift certificate for a snorkeling day trip (out on a boat, with guide, etc.) on Kaui for my mother and stepfather. I believe they're staying near Poipu beach, but will have a car, so anywhere on the island is probably alright. Any good suggestions appreciated. Also looking for restaurant suggestions for gift certificate if snorkeling doesn't pan out. Thanks! Nina


The ultimate Kauai guide is a great resource. Best guidebook for Kauai and you can see some of it online: http://www.wizardpub.com/kauai/kaucontents.html

They give some restaurant reviews, and if they say it is ONO (tasty) you can be sure it is. For ambience a good choice near Poipu is Beach House at sunset. The view is stunning, but I cannot say that the food is great, but it is pretty good --- if you have ever been to Bigwater Grill in Incline Village at Lake TAhoe, Beach House is run by the same folks, and the fare is about the same, maybe a smidgen worse.

I have been to Kauai 3 times since 1998 (twice last year), and haven't heard of any GREAT snorkel tours. If your parents are going during Whale Watching season (DEC-MAR) a WHale Watching Tour may be a better bet. I think we went with Na Pali Eco Adventures 826-6804 (sorry, don't know the area code!) on a power catamaran and it was terrific. If you book a Na Pali Coast tour at least you get to see the spectacular Na Pali Cliffs even if you don't get to see any whales (we saw lots including two humbacks breaching together --- Wow!). Helicopter tours are also FANTASTI 246-4666 Air Kauai, Jack Harter 245 3774, leave from Lihue airport. Expect to pay $200/person for 90 minutes or so.

Your parents will have a great time, not matter what you choose! susan


There is a wonderful book called the Ultimate Guide to Kauai. They have lots of info on places to go, adventure companies and restaurants. We followed this book to some amazing locations that didn't have a lot of other people. You can get it at most bookstores. Juliette
Unless your mother and stepfather are VERY nervous about being in the water, I think there is plenty of awesome snorkeling to do in Kauai without paying a guide. Having said that, I know that there are charters that take folks out to view the NaPali coast (breathtaking!) and stop along the way so they can snorkel off the boat. My husband and I did this (via kayak, not charter). We were the only people around and we felt quite adventurous and had a lot of fun.

I don't know of a particular charter company, but I would just do a google search. There are plenty of companies out there.

For non-tour adventures, I love Tunnels and Ke'e beach (both on the north side). At Ke'e, swim out toward the left (as you're facing the water) and look for turtles!

One of the nicest places to eat on Kauai is the Pacific Cafe in Kapa'a. It's not much to look at from the outside (in a strip mall) but it has excellent seafood and is one of the most highly rated places on the island.

If you can't tell already, I LOVE Kauai. Email me if you want more input. I hope they have a wonderful time! Bora


I don't have advice on snorkling outfits - when we went in Sept, our first time, we just went in and were amazed. No lesson, guides, etc. just lots of fish and turtles and colors!! We did snorkle in deep water as part of a Napali coast boat trip out of hanalei bay, many of the Napali coast tours do this. If you go for a restaurant - I can recommend our favorite kauii resturant - Coconuts in Kapaa. http://www.twofrogshugging.com/coconuts.html It looked a little un-elegant from the exterior but the food was wonderful and all furniture is made from coconut wood, very beautiful. We went back twice for the great food. The daily specials menu is great, fish of the day is REALLY fresh. All food was well prepared. (I would NOT recommend Roy's in Poipu, looks elegant, long wait if no reservations, food is presented well but is very blah in flavor - salt is their favorite seasoning.) cynthia

North Shore with 21-month old

July 2002

We'll be traveling to Kauai next month with our 21-month old daughter. Neither of us has ever been, so we're kinda going blindly (except for travel books' recommendations). We'll be staying on the North Shore -- does anyone have any ''must-sees'' they'd be willing to share? We're young, energetic and up for hikes - but with our little one, we'd appreciate pointers on where to go to just kick back, relax and fill a pail with sand, as well. Thanks! Nora


We'll be in Kauai next month, too! We were there in November and this is what we'll definitely do again:

Limahuli gardens. You can take a lovely hike through this amazing garden on the North Shore. The circular route is perfect for a short hike with a 21-month-old in a backpack. Though your child is certain to want to get out and climb the little rock stairways that wind up through the woods! http://www.alohanui.com/limahuli.html

Best place to eat: A Pacific Cafe (shopping mall on the East Side of the Island --- in or near Kapaa). Pacific Rim Cuisine --- really WONDERFUL food. I have been there twice, and it was terrific. My husband went most recently without me and he was blown away by how good it was --- he said it was significantly better than an average dinner at Chez Panisse, Rivoli, or Lalimes. He did add, however that it may just be the novelty of Pacific Rim cuisine versus more continental California cuisine, but in any case, on par with those three.

Also in the eating department, in a completely different vein, is Hamura's Saiman in Lihue. This is a mostly-locals place with no ambiance whatsoever (unless you count kitsch --- low yellow formica countertops, red-cushioned stools) but the saiman is really good. OUr 3-year-old and 20-month-old gobbled up the noodles and egg, ham, etc. in the large, cheap, tasty bowls of soup.

We rented a boogie board with a little glass bottom and took our daughters floating to see the fish in the reef-protected waters of beaches like Anini. If your child likes to play at a playground Kamalani playground is fun, and Lydgate is a VERY protected and calm place to swim and play in the sand (also on the East side!). http://www.kamalani.coconutpalace.net/playground.htm Oh, and we found the Ultimate Kauai guide to be the best guide book. Have fun! susan


We just returned from Kauai with our 11 month old. First, check out the ''Ultimate Kauai Guidebook''. It's written by highly opinionated and active locals and is really great. We didn't do much hiking, since our baby dealt with his away-from- home stress by getting rigid about his nap schedule, but the famous Kalalau trail along the Napali coast starts from the end of the highway on the north shore. The beginning of the hike is pretty rough, but the views are amazing. One place we went every day was Ke'e beach, also at the end of the highway. It's sheltered by a reef, and so is a great place for the little ones (also has some decent snorkelling for the adults). The waves were too rough at other spots, but Ke'e was great. There are a lot of good places to eat in Hanalei, and everything is pretty kid-friendly. This was our third trip to Kauai, first with a baby, and we will be going back. Have fun! Catherine
poipu beach - south shore; hanalei town and beach north shore have fun! There's an outdoor mall in kapaa, moutainside of the main road. Inside we found a good fish place called 'the fish hut' or something like it. For a reasonable price $6-7, you got a nice filet, a scoop of rice and a salad. You can eat at picnic style tables in the center of the mall. Hiking boots are required on the Napili coast hike mentioned in a previous posting. I'd definitely wear them if I were backpacking my child. We made a game of trying to see as many waterfalls as possible. Any guide book will list them. It's a magical place. Jessica
April 2002

Re: Hawaii with Grandma & the kids
Every year for many many years we've taken our family to Kauai to Kiahuna Plantation on Poipu Beach. It's often the scene of family reunions. The beach is beautiful and it's far less rainy (especially in November) than the North Shore- although that's an easy day trip. If you book with Kiahuna Beachside http://www.kiahuna.com/ (there are different property managers for the resort) you can specify a unit on the ground floor and avoid stairs. I work as a travel agent and this would be my top choice. Another possibility on Maui is Napili Kai. Also very low key and pretty but a little more prone to rain at the time of year you're going. I've never had a client unhappy with either property. Kauai especially has wonderful old Hawaiian towns- it's the quintessential Hawaiian Island! Barbara


Earlier Recommendations


Poipu with Older Kids

2001

We will be travelling to Kauaii this summer for the first time in many years. We want a condo that has a nice pool, since we will be travelling with an extremely social 11-yr old and her much older sister (who does not want to be the sole "kid" entertainment for her sister)and the pool seems to be where she always hooks up with other kids. There is a place we are considering called Poipu Kai that is managed by an organization called Suite Paradise. We like the Poipu area for the weather (and no mosquitos). Has anyone had any experience with either the place or the organization? Anyone got any other ideas of places to stay that might have kids around to satisfy my young girl? Anyone know of an owner who rents out a Kauaii condo privately? Obviously, we need two bedrooms, four beds. Thanks. (2001)


We were in Kauai with our two young kids (2 and 5) last summer. We stayed at the EMBASSY RESORT in Poipu Beach and highly recommend it. They have a great pool with a sand "beach" surrounding it. There were LOTS of kids of all ages hanging out at the pool and it seemed easy for kids to meet and interact. I found the condo through a private owner on the Internet and paid much less than market value for the week. I used either Cyberrentals.com or VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner) to find the place. There are many listing on these sites for Hawaii vacation condos, but the good ones do go quickly. Have fun!!! Seth
My husband and I stayed at Kiahuna Plantation on Poipu Beach. When we go back to the island with our young son, that's where we will stay. The condos are very simple but so comfortable (we did most of our cooking there), there is a lovely pool, the beach at the resort is very kid-friendly (I remember lots of children), and the outdoor bar serves very affordable food such as pizzas that you could get to go or actually eat there since the place was so quiet. Everyone was very kind at the place, too. Wherever you stay, though, have a great time on your trip! Lynn
We went to Kauai on our honeymoon 6 years ago and stayed at Poipu Kapili. It's a gorgeous small group of condominiums that has a wonderful pool. Most of the units have ocean views, if I remember. The unit in which we stayed had 2 bathrooms, 1 bedroom and a sofa bed in the family room, a well-stocked kitchen, lovely decor, and ceiling fans. Here's a description from their website (poipukapili.com): "Experience ultimate oceanfront luxury at this private resort in Poipu Beach on the garden island of Kauai in Hawaii. "Poipu Kapili offers the perfect, peaceful retreat; this small, privately owned resort consists of sixty, plantation-style condominiums spread over five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. The one and two-bedroom condominiums offer spacious living with spectacular ocean views from every unit." I recall also considering Poipu Kai but Poipu Kapili was a lot nicer, at least 6 years ago. Not sure how they compare price-wise. One other thing--there is NOT a beach right in front of Poipu Kapili but a little ways down the road. If having the beach right there is important to you I would definitely ask before you make a reservation, regardless of where you decide to stay. P.S. NOT TRUE that there are no mosquitos in Poipu. I had to wear repellant to bed, when they seemed most voracious. My husband wasn't bothered but I'm one of those people who is a mosquito magnet. Christina
We went to Kauaii in January with our then 8-month old and stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation at Poipu. I would highly recommmend it -- they have a sandy, calm beach; safe, immaculate grounds; access to two pools; and outdoor yoga classes every morning. We booked directly with them, but I'm sure that they are also part of some packages. Elizabeth
Re: Hawaii with Grandma & the kids
We have been going to Kauai with our entire family (now it includes both myself, husband and infant, grandparents, my brother his wife and 2 kids ages 2.5 and 5.5) for years. I don't know what your limit on $$ is, but we have stayed at a large 2 bedroom condo in Princeville for $160/night. Also, we have stayed at a very nice, but low key, bed and bath in Kapaa for $50/night for 2 people called the K&K B&B - it just has one large room, a large bed (a cot is available too), refrig, microwave, bathroom with shower, but the rooms are also stocked with beach chairs and towels, coolers, snorkels and they also have bikes you can borrow. There are only two rooms available and they are right next to each other (website www.kkbedbath.com). It is a real find - we like it so much on our 3rd visit we got married there. Kappa is a very cute old town with shops and restaurants and the beach is just down the street. Many beautiful beaches and sites are quite accessible for seniors and fun for the rest of the family as well. If you want more info email me. Karyn
I have visited Kauai for a dozen years, just lived there for two with a 
9-11 yo. You don't say where you're staying, which might affect what you 
do. The North Shore will be beautiful in the summer, the south shore is 
central to the whole island; the West will be dry, but the undertow will be 
calmer than in winter and nights in Koke'e will be warmer. 
* local markets are on different days in different towns. Poipu is Monday 
at noon, I think Hanalei is Thursday at 3, Lihue Friday at 2. Some line 
everyone up and blow a whistle at which the crowd charges. Great place to 
buy flowers for cheap, local fruit & veg (don't think you find raw edamame 
in Berkeley, but you can on Kauai - boil in lots of salted water) - bring 
bags and dollar bills. The vendors near the entrance are often the most 
expensive and don't necessarily have the best stuff. 
* Poli'hale beach and state park at the west tip of the island. Keep 
driving after the road ends and follow the signs. You can swim there in 
summer, but use care until you know if there's much undertow. You can camp 
there. for state park permits contact the Division of State Parks at 3060 
Eiwa St., Room 306 in 
Lihu'e. Or call (808) 274-3444 (8 am to 4 pm weekdays). There is no fee for 
the permit. County sites which include Lucy Wright, Salt Pond, Niumalu, 
Hanama'ulu, Anini and Ha'ena Beach Parks also require permits. They are 
$3.00 per person, per night. Write to the Division of Parks and Recreation 
at 4193A Hardy 
St., Bldg. #5, Lihu'e, HI 96766. Or Call (808) 241-6670 for more details. 
* Can be combined with a night in a cabin in Koke'e state park. There's a 
charming museum there that has trail maps. The cafe food isn't much to 
speak of, so bring food if it's convenient. (There's a supermarket in 
Waimea.) Don't do the Pihea-Alakai swamp walk, it's not worth the work. The 
Nounou Mt. Trail (Sleeping Giant) isn't worth it either. 
* On the other hand, hike the Kalalau trail on the Na'Pali coast on the 
opposite end, it is worth the work. With a 10 yo, you can make Hanakapi'ai 
Beauch (2 mi), and the falls (5 mi) if you make it a very long day - which 
tells you how hard the trail is. Try to team up with another kid, it makes 
hiking much easier. Bring walking sticks if you can, and wear clothes that 
can get red-dirt wrecked. Bring lots of water - a couple of litres per 
person if you can carry it, because the streams sometimes carry 
leptospirosis from the wild pigs and goats at the top. There is fresh water 
at the beach and falls. We ate our lunch in a little cave at the beach that 
my kid enjoyed. 
* Anini Beach, which someone on the recommendations page mentioned, has a 
tree to climb on that my kid thought was swell at 10; there's also bit of 
a view of the lighthouse. There are other beaches on the North Shore that 
are a bit of a hike in - eg, Secret, Lumahai, with fabulous views of the 
Na'Pali coast. 
* For a splurge on the south shore, there is guided horseback riding in 
Poipu on the road past the Hyatt at CJM Country Stables. I gave this to my 
son for his 10th birthday. We had a great time. 
* Another splurge that we enjoyed was kayaking up the Wailua River. There 
was a rope swing at the end, great swimming, and a pass by Fern Grotto. 
Rent the kayak closer to the site, rather than at an activities place 
somewhere else on the island. We got from the place right at the river so 
we wouldn't have to deal with getting it on the car. 
Dana:=

We took our 16 month old to Kauai this summer and it is a great place for babies. We did have to take more than one plane but a few airlines have started offering direct flights. We rented a condo on the beach -- at the moderately priced Kiahuna. You can rent much cheaper by going directly to an owner. Ads are in the Sunday Examiner travel section. If we were to go again though, we'd stay on the north shore--the most beautiful part of the island and you can find cheaper accomodations.Have a great trip!
Stan
This past summer, we had a fantastic experience on the North Shore of Kauai, which is the greatest place in the world. We have two children, ages four and one. After a lot of research, we rented a house on Anini Beach, which is great for kids. It's sheltered by an extensive reef, so there is no surf, and it's quite shallow. For grown-ups, it offers decent snorkeling and is a good place to learn wind-surfing. It's quite uncrowded, but near Hanalei for grocery-shopping, restaurants for take-out, and the like. The house we rented was reasonable -- between $800 and $900 for a week in a 3-BR, with fully-equipped kitchen, oodles of beach toys, the works. Agencies offering home rentals are easy to find in guidebooks and on the web. The family in the home next to ours (2 young children and an infant) was staying there for their fourth year in a row, and we could sure see why. Have fun!
Karin

We stayed at Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu on Kauai in October with our 6 mo old. It was great for families! 40 acres of beautiful grounds with lovely lawns & shade (palm trees) right at the beach; gentle swimming in natural black lava pool at the beach (warm water & no surf); pleasant condos w/ kitchens; very little traffic (you just park your car near your condo & walk); *many* families. A 5 year old could run endlessly & without worry. Aso, United has a new Sat. flight direct from SFO to Kauai -- no plane change in Honolulu! Sandy Hayashi at Point of Departure in Berkeley booked us & is great -- very sensitive to what works for families. Have a wonderful time -- wish we were going back in Jan.!


From: Karen

We stayed at Glo Manor at Anini Beach with our 2 year old and really liked it. You can find it on the web at http://www.homexchange.com/vac/anini.html or e-mail dinky@aloha.net or phone 808/828-0328. It was quiet, pretty and had some good dirt road walking out to catch the baby chickens in the bushes or to the beach. This beach was best for sand and shallow water play...swimming here was so-so so we drove to snorkel and play in waves elsewhere. There aren't a lot of other kids around the way there are at the Poipu Beaches ( in case you want to find lots of families with kids) but that was OK with our daughter at that age. Have fun!!


From: Laura

We camped on Kawai in March of '98 with our two-year-old son. It was very easy to do and nice. Camping is not strictly prohibited per a previous post, its just that you have to have a permit. You can get a permit from only one place, an government office in the town where the airport is. They are not open on weekends. You need to know what beach you want to camp at and what nights you will be at what place. It costs $3/night. No one ever asked us to show our permits. We camped up in the mountains on the NE side of the park (Waimea Canyon?) which was beautiful, but a little cool at night because of the altitude. Also at two beach parks where you just pitch your tent on the sand. It was mostly locals at some places, others we had almost to ourselves. Most of the parks have an open building which usually has picnic tables inside (good in case of rain) and sinks and bathrooms. Some have showers. They also have electricity. We thought it was a great place to camp. You just have to pick the places you plan to be and then get your permits.


Hawaii Wedding/Honeymoon

My sister is getting married in May and is planning a honeymoon in Hawaii, 5 days in Maui and 5 in Kauai. Since they're travelling on a shoestring budget, my husband and I would like to give them a gift certificate for some activity to do there -- like a snorkeling/sailing package or biking down the volcano in Maui. Does anyone have any good suggestions for activities on either island that are fun, adventurous and memorable and cost under $200? They're both active, outdoorsy types who would be willing to try pretty much anything. We also thought of treating them to dinner at a romantic restaurant so if anyone has a recommendation for a nice place for honeymooners, I'd appreciate it. Thanks for your help. Claudia

Linda
A great romantic restaurant on Kauai with amazing food is The Beach House near Poipu. It has a wonderful view (go near sunset), and the food is wonderful (but not cheap). It is a sister restaurant to A Pacific Cafe on the east side of the island, which has great food too but no view. We really enjoyed the boat/snorkeling tours we took. We did one on Kauai around the Na Pali coast (only accessible by boat or foot). On Maui, we did a snorkeling tour to Molikini, a tiny island crater. There were boats packed in the little crater, but despite the crowds the snorkeling was great (tons of fish). We booked these trips through our hotels, and I don't remember the costs.
From: Christina

My husband and I honeymooned on Kauai and our favorite beach on the island was Polihale State Beach. It's the most south-westerly beach on the island that's accessible by car, and a great place to watch the sun set. It's a long stretch of beach, and at one end the Na Pali coastline begins with it's dramatic lush green steep cliffs. Also there aren't many people there, since it is a bit of a drive (5 minutes off the highway on a dirt road). Would be most convenient if you are staying in Poipu or west of Poipu. Congratulations!


Have a great time. We went to Kauai when our daughter was 2 and Maui when she was 4ish. One thing I discovered both times (for different reasons) is that our family does better when the place we sleep is delightful enough to spend a good portion of the day in. We really needed a place that was exotic, Hawaii, versitile enough to be satisfying without driving. When our daughter was 2, if we spent a moderate time driving to the beautiful beach or hike (and home again), there was lots of fussing, sleeping in the car and then not at naps or nights. When our daughter was 4ish, she loved being in charge of her environment - playing games in the cabin, drawing in the cabin, exploring outside the cabin etc. Our ideas of driving to the beach or the state park were met with much protest! (I was very surprised!) Luckily, we ended up in a couple of places that satisfied her age-related needs and our needs to feel like we really were away from home. On Kauaii we stayed at Glo Manor on the north coast. We found them on the internet. We also rented a cabin at Waimea Canyon State Park. I was less content here because the ocean was not walkable. But the hiking is great. It is that tropical forest surrounding. On Maui, in Hana, we rented a cabin at the Waianapanapa State Park. Cabin are very sparsely equipped. Cabins 1-7 have nice views. Our best choice for the 4 year old was the 1st floor condo a Maalea Bay in Maui. We had a relatively calm beach, great views, lots of grandparent aged people that would chat with my daughter, some families with kids. I can get phone #'s for you if you have trouble finding them. The next place we want to try is camping on Lanai. I haven't investigated it much. It could be hard if there were no other kids there Karen
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