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Help! Can't Decide North or South Shore in Kauai

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Help! Can't Decide North or South Shore in Kauai

Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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Help! Can't Decide North or South Shore in Kauai

Dear Fodorites,

We will be travelling to Waikiki and then on to Kauai with our family of 5 (includes 3 teens ages 16 - 19). They have been to Waikiki before and loved it. In waikiki, we'll be at the Outrigger waikiki and we were planning to stay in Poipu (marriott property) for 5 nights. BUT, after reading makai1's trip report and looking at her beautiful pics of Hanelei and all the rainbows, flowers, etc.

I'm beginning to rethink our decision to stay in Poipu. We were going to stay in Poipu because of the great, sunny weather, but North Shore looks fabulous, too. We'll be there at the end of July and early August. We don't need a lot of night life but enjoy hiking, going to the beach etc, surfing, etc. Please help me pick with side of the island to stay on! Thanks.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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We split Kauai's accomodations and stayed on both sides of the island. You'll see opinions for and against that idea. We did 5 nights at the Marriott Lahaina and 3 nights at the Princeville. Both sides of the island are equally as beautiful, so which ever you choose you will not be losing out.

(I would not recommend the Marriott Lahaina unless great price - but would recommend the Marriott Poipu. The beach in Lahaina is not what I would be wanting to sit at in Hawaii when there are so many others.)

The Marriott Poipu has fabulous snorkeling at their beach. Princeville area also has great snorkeling and the reason why we stayed on that side of the island too - so we would not have to make the hour plus (?) drive.

Dining on the North Shore will be more limited as I recall and will have to go into Hanalei.

If you are going to do a boat trip/snorkel of the NaPali coast, then do it from the north shore so you don't have to be in the boat so long from the south shore.

Figure out what activities on the island you want to do and if more of them are on one side versus the other, then stay on that side.

T.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:12 AM
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That time of year I personally would definitely go for the north shore (then again, I would choose the north shore any time of year simply because it's so much more lush, tropical and scenic). But seriously, if you are considering the north shore, the summer is the ideal time weather-wise to go there.

Ken
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:20 AM
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I think the previous poster means Lihue, not Lahaina, which is on Maui.

I wouldn' worry too much about the weather on the north shore. It is a bit rainier than the south, but in the summer months most of that extra rain will fall at night and in the early morning hours. There will be passing showers on some days. I love the north shore, but the Marriott in Poipu is a grea place for families. Nice pool and good beach frontage. If being directly on a sandy beach is important, then I'd stay with your original choice, but if the idea of walking to or driving a short distance to get to even more gorgeous beaches sounds good, you might be okay on the north shore. Even though Hanalei is a small town, your teens would probably like the "hippy surfer" vibe to it. Google around and see if you see something in Princeville or Hanalei that floats your boat, then decide.

-Bill
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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We also split the time because we could not decide. We did 5 nights on the North Shore and 3 nights on the South Shore. I liked both equally!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Titus Kinimakas floats my boat! hahahaha

(he's one of the big wave riders that runs a surf school out of hanalei, chasing waves all over the island.}
 
Old Jan 30th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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sistah,

I'm imagining someone lean, slim, with good, strong shoulders, nice tan, of course topped with a mane of long dark hair. Maybe a simple tatoo? Am I close?

-Bill
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Thank you, all!

Still can't decide - but I'm leaning towards 2 nights in Marriott Poipu (where we currently have a reservation for 5 nights)and then 3 nights in Hanalei. Although, not thrilled about having to relocate twice in Kauai -- but it sounds like it may be worth it. What about surfing beaches during this time of year -- can we surf at the Poipu beach? Doesn't sound like we can in Hanalei?

Thanks so much fodorites!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:27 AM
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Since you are into the beach and surfing, I would stay in Poipu for 5 nights, rather than splitting the time.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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I meant to add, it's an easy day trip to the North Shore from Poipu.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Since we'll be in Waikiki for 7 nights -- I'm thinking we may just get enough of beach/surfing there. Then, head to Kauai's Hanalei area for more active type stuff...kayaking, hiking, etc., kite surfing-- maybe even stay in a condo instead. How does that sound?

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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Good point Netzie. In that case, yes maybe the Northshore would give you a better "balanced" trip. It is beautiful up there.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Be aware that many of the rentals you will come across in the Hanalei area will have a 5 night minimum stay. Some have fewer and sometimes you can negotiate that with the owner or property manager.

-Bill
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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It would be ideal to find a cottage in Hanalei or Haena. Gives the kids freedom in a great safe community. If you can't find anything there are tons of condos and houses available up at Princeville, but that would be my third choice area. Try vrbo.com and also google for the various real estate agents that represent vacation rentals. Good luck!
 
Old Jan 31st, 2007, 06:08 PM
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As someone who spends a lot of time in Kauai, I would definitely vote for the North Shore. The scenery is outstanding. There are great hikes at the "end of the road" Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. Even if you only go a little way on the trail the views are incredible.

Last time there we swam with turtles at Ha'ena State
Park beach at the end of the road. The snorkeling is terrific there and at Tunnels. You can take a short hike at Queens Bath to see turtles again.

The kayking is great on the Hanelei River or go in the ocean and pull up on the sand at the Princeville Resort. Get a Mai Tai or somethings for the kids, then off you go .

On Sunday afternoon there are Polo matches at Anini Beach. Kalihiwai River has good kayking and a nice family beach. There is also windsurfing at Anini.

Besides VRBO a lot of time shares rent apartments
such as the Cliffs Club , Hanalei Resort, Pahio etc.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 08:50 PM
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We also stayed a few days on both the north and south shores on our trip, although we could spend 3 nights in one place and 4 in the other. This worked out well for us because we wanted to see sights on both ends of the island, and the limited roads (NOT high speed highways, but I'm not complaining) make driving from one end of the island to the other a slow process. By staying in teh two areas, we could spend more time enjoying, not just driving or in traffic. For example, it was nice to pick up the helicopter ride in Lihue when we stayed on the south side, tour Waimea Canyon, etc.

We stayed at the Hanelei Bay Hotel on the north shore -- nice condos, pool, a beach down a steep hill, view of Bali Hai. The town of Hanelei is fun and laid-back. The north side is also good for some snorkeling, waterfalls if it rains (probably not as much in summer months,) seeing taro fields, etc. FYI: the "Happy Talk" cocktail lounge at the Hanelei Bay is a nice open-air spot with a nice view of Bali Hai. It's a cocktail lounge with an infomral menu, but it can have a family feel. The nearby Princeville Resort is also a nice property, but more formal feeling. I'm not trying to change your mind about where to stay, but if you're out and around and need a view...

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on the south side (cashed in frequent flyer points.) This si also a good upscale property, but spread out. The hotel's beach wasn't great in this area (a little rough,) but there are other beaches around.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 09:17 PM
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I've been to Kauai 20 plus times. I'd pick NOrth Shore and stay close to Hanalei.
My favorite, is Pahio at Keo Kai or Pali Ke Kua in Princeville. Great views, but not beach accessible, beach is a short drive. Princeville sits on a 27 hole golf course and is beautiful for walking and viewing the Bali Hai Sunsets.
Check Marc Resorts with an entertainment card for discounts on Pali Ke Kua or try a private owner for a rental there. If you know a timeshare owner who uses RCI for trading, they sell extra space at their Pahio and other resorts for about $1100 week for 2 bedroom condo.
Choose only gold crown. I'd skip staying at Poipu, you should have nice weather on the North Shore. Poipu is great for a day trip and a stop for dinner at Keoki's Paradise. But otherwise, honestly, the prettiest beaches will be on the North Shore. If you don't visit the NOrth Shore during your stay, you'll have missed the best part of Kauai!! Check out Lumahai Beach, Tunnels Beach, Kee' beach and Anini. They are all great!! Stop at the Hanalei Gourmet in Hanalei for burgers, shrimp boil and the best maitai on the island. Enjoy!
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 09:22 PM
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Forgot to mention, Tunnels Beach and Kee' beach are great for snorkeling on calm days and I believe you can surf in Hanalei Bay. You can also Kayak on the Hanalei River which is great fun and hike the trail at the end of the road (Kilalau) which was already mentioned in the thread. It's two miles to the first beach (hard hiking, but fun) and two miles back out. Don't swim on the beach at the 1/2 way point-there are rough seas on the Napali Coast. Bring lots of water for the hike! If your kids want to boogie board, safest place for a day trip is probably Poipu beach. Also, if you take a day trip to the South Side, salt ponds is a safe place to swim.
Skip Kalapaki beach and the Marriott over in Lihue or Kapaa beaches, they don't compare to those in Hanalei, just my two cents.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 04:28 AM
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Thanks so much everyone! There's so much to see and do -- I'm regretting only spending 5 nights in Kauai! I can see that I'll need to plan an itineray in advance. You guys have given me so much advice -- I really appreciate it.

I think we're going to stick with the North Shore -- I'm thinking one day on the South side - Waimea Canyon and Poipu beach in the afternoon. I'm hoping we get lucky and see the monk seals on the beach!! That would be a real treat. Are they ever seen on the North side?

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 06:19 AM
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I've been to Kauai 3 times in the past 12 months, and I agree with everything KrissyKris said above. But I thought I'd also recommend a few restaurants. (I wouldn't recommend eating at the hotels in Princeville; there are too many other good places that are less expensive.) In Hanalei, The Dolphin is the best place for a nice dinner--excellent food, service, and atmosphere. Also in Hanalei, Sushi Blues has very good sushi, along with live entertainment; the Hanalei Gourmet has the friendliest service and is great for a casual (but delicious) lunch or dinner, and they have entertainment several nights a week; Zelos has good food and atmosphere but inconsistent service. And you have to try a Bubba Burger at some point. I would avoid Tropical Taco, the sushi at the Princeville Resort, and Sabella's (Italian). CJ's in Princeville is mediocre, but they have great mai tais. Be sure to watch the sun set from The Library Bar in the Princeville Resort. And you'll also want to have a drink at the Bali Hai at the Hanalei Resort because the view is incredible--but beware! They have the worst service on the island--we had an extremely obnoxious cocktail waitress. (But maybe she has been fired by now!) Have fun!
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