I fell in love with Kauai in 1991. I graduated from high school and spent the summer with my best friend, her sister, and dad who lived on Kauai. We were immersed in the culture of the island immediately. It is truly a natural Island. There are no sky scrappers or high rise hotels, and no motor boats are allowed on the Island. The people of Kauai are very friendly and they have kept the Island pristine. I loved exploring beaches and finding hidden gems, we had friends that took us to beaches that only the locals knew about. It was fun relaxing on a deserted beach and the only footprints were ours. Since hurricane Iniki in 1992 the chickens have taken over the island, but not much else has changed.
For our 10 year wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday Mike and I celebrated in Kauai. We went in September while the kids were in school and were able to non-rev (fly on another airline and only pay the taxes). We stayed at the Barking Sands Military Base and enjoyed a week of relaxing with out the kids. Mike fell in love with the island and agreed we would be back one day with the boys.
I wanted to share my love for the island with my family.We tried to non-rev to Kauai 2 years ago and spent 2 days at the airport with no luck. I decided to buy tickets this time and travel in the off-season to save some money. The funny thing is, the Hawaii Islands don’t have an off-season! Fortunately my boys have a week off in October for “fall break” and I found airline tickets were much cheaper then June or July!
My boys were so excited, we have never bought them airline tickets before!
When we arrived in Kauai we went to the local Walmart and stocked up on food for breakfast and dinners. I knew we would be out to lunch most days but I really didn’t want to eat out for lunch and dinner. Fortunately I remembered to bring my own recycling bags. The grocery store in Kauai don’t use plastic or paper bags.
When we arrived at the Barking Sands Base we rented boogie boards, beach chairs, and a surf board. We were ready for our vacation to start.
After dinner at Shenanigans! Great place to eat and watch the sunset!
We spent a couple of days catching waves at several different beaches. Poipu beach was one of our favorites, on our way there we made a quick stop at the Blow hole! http://www.kauai.com/spouting-horn . Then we had to go to Puka Dog for lunch! I don’t usually eat hot dogs but these were AMAZING!! http://www.pukadog.com/
We took the boys on a sailboat tour of the Na Pali Coast with Captain Andy’s excursions https://www.napali.com/ . They loved the sailing and enjoyed riding on the trampoline net in the front of the boat. We all had a nice time snorkeling and the lunch was delicious. I think the best part was watching the dolphins swim and jump out of the water alongside our boat!
We tried to book a Kauai River tubing excursion, but they were booked 3 months in advance! For the whole week!!
Instead we went to Princeville Ranch Adventures https://princevilleranch.com/ . We hiked, paddled our canoes up a small river then went zip-lining through the forest. Then the boys jumped in the hidden swimming hole. We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch and then hiked and canoed back home. This was a really fun excursion. The guides were locals and had vast amounts of information about the plants and all of the Island!
Everyone wants to go to a Luau! Kauai has 2 large private Luau’s and I recommend both of them!
The first time we went with out kids we enjoyed the Luau Kalamaku https://www.luaukalamaku.com/. It was very nice, but really a Hollywood production. I didn’t like eating during the dancing, I couldn’t enjoy the show while eating.
This time we decided to take the boys to the Smith Family Garden Luau https://www.smithskauai.com/garden-luau/. We rode the train around the grounds and enjoyed listening to the guide talk about all of the different plants and birds. They have a beautiful estate to explore before the show. My kids liked chasing the chickens:( When we arrived at the dinner we were surprised with an open bar! This was a nice treat, the Mai tai’s were delicious!
The dinner was amazing and they entertained us with a few songs and some dance instructions. After dinner we went to watch the real show. This was a nice story about the islands and how the Luau and Hula came to become.
A trip to Kauai is not complete with out a drive up Waimea Canyon, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain. https://hawaiistateparks.org/parks/kauai/waimea-canyon-state-park/ . We drove up the canyon and stopped to take some great pictures of the red dirt. This dirt became famous after the 1992 Hurricane when all of the clothes at the t-shirt shops were covered in the red dirt. It wouldn’t wash out, but the store owners decided to make them as Dirt Shirts. Now you see the Dirt Shirts everywhere in the stores. By the way, the airport TSA will take your red dirt away from you. I hope it was returned to the same place!
We enjoyed a nice hike in the canyon and were blown away by the views. With the elevation change we noticed cactus, shrubs, eucalyptus trees and even pines. It was breathtaking!
We left Kauai with a tan, some t-shirts and endless memories. My boys fell in love with the Island. They now have an appreciation for Hawaiian culture, Kauai’s unique natural beauty, and how annoying free range chickens can be! I got tired of saying “shut the door or the chickens will come in!” We would all love to return one day, maybe when Southwest starts flying to Hawaii? Don’t ask, I have no idea when that will happen! A girl can dream!