Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > Kauai Family Vacation - 2nd Time is Just as Magical
Notices

Kauai Family Vacation - 2nd Time is Just as Magical

Reply

Jun 26th, 2012, 06:55 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Kauai Family Vacation - 2nd Time is Just as Magical

Fall 2010 my family and I(husband, two little kids) went to Kauai. We were so much in love with it, we returned the following year. Here's is the trip report from our Fall 2011 vacation:

We invited my father along for this trip, since the cottage we rented the previous year, and rented again for this trip, had a separate bungalow on the same property. He had been to Kauai and the other islands as a boy, but that was over 40-50 years ago, so it was like new to him.

He flew with his preferred carrier Alaska Airlines, and we flew United(ummm... note to self, Hawaiian is much better. Sometimes saving a few extra $$$ doesn't matter as much as comfort). Did everything same as the year before(packing new toys, lots of snacks, new downloaded movies, and carry-on only).

Day 1: Left Seattle at 9am. Our flight stopped in LA, whereas my dad's went directly to Kauai. My 2 ½ year old son was great on the 90 minute flight to LA, so great in fact, he napped. I was disappointed, thinking he'd save his nap for the longer flight. My daughter, 6 at the time, could be occupied for 10 straight hours with nothing but a pen and paper. She is the easiest person to travel with. Easier than my son OR even my husband by far. Hehehe

Grabbed an over-priced lunch at LAX in between flights, as there were no complimentary meals on United. The seating was all mixed up on United. Seriously, why give people the option of choosing seats when booking, if you don't plan on keeping any record of it? I ended up alone with the 3 kids, but my husband wasn't far away. This was also stupid since there were empty seats. Thankfully, sometime during the flight they let him move across the aisle from us. I think it made it worse though since my son started to demand to sit on daddy's lap. But nothing an episode of Little Einsteins couldn't fix.

My dad landed much sooner than the rest of us, since his flight left earlier, and had no stops. Unfortunately I booked the SUV in my name only, so he couldn't pick it up. He got on the Marriot free Shuttle(I'm pretty sure you shouldn't do this if you aren't a guest, but no one asked whether or not he was a guest) to the resort, then walked from there to the Harbor Mall center in Lihue. He had a burger and relaxed until we came and picked him up, which was probably 2 hours.

We landed. Our son was ecstatic to be off the plane. I swear our daughter could have gone twice as far and been just as happy/relaxed. But once she saw she was back in Kauai, she was thrilled.

Got our SUV at Alamo, picked up my dad, stopped by Safeway in Kapaa, then checked into out Cottage/Bungalow. My dad got to meet the hosts and we all took the grand-tour. After that we ate, then pretty much went right to bed.
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2012, 07:25 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Day 2: We all had coffee/breakfast together and talked about our first night. My dad's little bungalow was right next to a little waterfall. He said he slept great, and couldn't really hear the crazy roosters too much over the sound of the water. It was a little overcast, but still very warm, so we got dressed and went out exploring!

First stop: Our favorite place from the year before, Moloa'a Sunrise Fruit Stand. We all had smoothies, so delicious! Then on to the Hanalei Valley overlook. It was very overcast, but still beautiful. Drove through Hanalei, then went to the Cave, I think it was the Blue Room. Took and bunch of pictures then went to Tunnels for some snorkeling/swimming. The water was calm and the sun finally came out! We had a great time! After we were all completely exhausted we went back to out cottages in Kapaa. Our son napped and we all had some lunch.
Once everyone had recuperated, we headed to the Coconut Marketplace, to get a few things. Sad to see so many shops empty. After that we went to Lydgate Beach Park. What an incredible disappointment! It was a HUGE family favorite last year, but this was the first time we'd seen it since it was dredged. You could see nothing. We swam for a while, then went to Bubba's Burgers in Kapaa for dinner.
My dad liked to go back to his place super early and read and get some alone time. I'm glad he had his own space, since as much as he loves being around the grand-kids, it was nice that he could get a break! The rest of us watched a movie, then had some jacuzzi time. Everyone was asleep by 8/9pm and up by 5/6am.
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2012, 08:09 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Day 3: It was very sunny and warm, so we went back to the Hanalei Valley Overlook to get some better pictures. LOTS of people were there, even though we got there early. I'm sure everyone had the same idea we did! Lots of nice people offering to hold our cameras to get some group shots of our whole family. We happily returned the favor. Then onto Hanalei Bay. Such a picture-perfect day! Water calm and blue like a swimming pool. Sun shining. Sailboats out and about. We were there for hours.
After that we went to Hanalei town and wandered around. Everyone wanted a treat, but everyone wanted something different. My dad went to Java Kai, my daughter and I went to Shave Ice Paradise, and my husband and son went to Bubba Burger. After we had all satisfied our cravings, we went “home”.

Day 4: Time to go out West! On our visit the year before, we were unable to see the Kalalau Valley from the lookout. The weather was too poor. But so far this visit we were lucking out. We got up early, got ready, and went to Kountry Kitchen for breakfast. After that we topped off the gas tank and drove out west, stopping only briefly at the Starbucks in Lihue so my dad could get some mugs.
Finally got up the canyon and went to the Pu'u o Kila Lookout first, and got some fantastic pictures of the Kalalau Valley. Then onto the Kalalau Lookout, which was much more crowded, and the fog began coming in quickly. After some dramatic shots of the fast moving fog, we went back down the canyon to the Waimea Canyon Lookout. It was very HOT. So sunny, but no breeze. We tried to soak up the scenery as long as we could, but we got too hot. Grabbed some snacks at the little snack stand, and made our way back down. We made a couple stops on our way home to Kapaa. First to Spouting Horn in Poipu for some great family pictures, then onto Costco for some supplies and pizza for dinner.
Long day! Everyone was exhausted and slept great!

Day 5: Tunnels! Pretty much all we did was get up, have breakfast, pack lunches, and spend the day at Tunnels swimming and snorkeling.

Day 6: My dad and my husband got up early and left for the Kalalau Trail. They only did the KE'E BEACH TO HANAKAPI'AI hike. I stayed home with the kids. I was actually happy to have a day to just relax and enjoy the hot tub My dad ended up injuring (very minor) himself on the hike back, and wanted to just rest, so he volunteered to watch the kids while my husband and I went to Larsen's Beach. Not good weather to swim there. Cloudy and choppy water, but it was beautiful, and it was nice to get some alone time with my hunny It was still light when we got back, so we decided to take the kids swimming at Lydgate to wear them out a bit before dinner and bedtime, since they had been home all day. My dad then got some much needed alone time at the cottage with us all out of the house.
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2012, 08:39 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Day 7: I was feeling under-the-weather, so I decided to stay home and rest while the rest of the family went to church. The alone time in my tropical jungle house was wonderful, and they all enjoyed themselves getting out of the house! When they got back, we packed lunched and drove off the Poipu. The weather was not so great in Kapaa or north in Hanalei, so we went South to get some sunshine. We had a great time snorkeling and swimming, and even got a close-up of a Turtle! We finished the day going out to dinner in Poipu at Tropical Burgers. Fun day!

Day 8: Went to Kealia Beach that morning, and spent quite a long time swimming and boogie boarding. After that we went home so our son could take a decent nap. Most days he was just snoozing in the car before/after any beach trip, but he was acting a bit grumpy that day, so this was the necessary remedy! My dad volunteered to stay, and rest his ankle, while my husband and I went out to Kayak! We chose the Kalihiwai River, our kind hosts' suggestion. It was perfect! We had the whole river to ourselves! When we got back my dad was itching to get out, but didn't want to put weight on his leg too much, so we decided to take a drive to see the waterfalls. We saw both Wailua Falls and
Opaekaa Falls before it got dark. Then we called it a day, and had dinner at home.

Day 9: Went out West again, this time to Polihale. Beautiful. Just so majestic there. After that we did some swimming/snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach. After that we picked up some things at Kauai Coffee. Then we finished our big day in Poipu for the Hula Show and dinner at Keoki's Paradise. Not a great place to eat, but it's the atmosphere that you'll be enjoying/paying for. Another great day!
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:01 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Day 10: We were all sad that this was our last full day in Kauai. First stop that morning was Moloa'a Sunrise for smoothies. Then off to Moloa'a Bay for swimming/snorkeling. A lot of trashed had washed up onshore with the previous high tide, all mixed with seaweed. Wish there had been some sort of waste disposal on site, as we would have been happy to help clear some of it up. Beside that, the beach was gorgeous, the water clear and perfect, and we had it almost to ourselves. After spending hours there, we went to Hanalei for lunch and shave ice. We finished up the day at Ke'e Beach. The current was too strong to do any swimming/snorkeling, so we just stayed in the shallow ends and let the kids wade in the water, or play in the sand. We watched an amazing sunset, then said goodnight to Kauai and drove back to our Kapaa Cottages. On the drive back we saw a lovely Moonrise over Hanalei Bay. A perfect goodbye to Hawaii.

Day 11: Trip home. Woke up to our last fresh tropical fruit breakfast. Spent some time saying goodbye to our hosts, and took lots of pictures. The flight back was fine and uneventful. A quick stop in SFO on our way back to Seattle, where we could get some dinner, since we weren't too keen on paying $30+ for airline food. Kids were too tired to misbehave!

Just hoping we will be back in Paradise soon!
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:04 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Here's a link to our previous trip:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...perfection.cfm
The first trip was just me, my husband, and 2 kids, spending 10 days in Kauai in November. This second trip was 1 day longer, in October instead, and we also brought along my dad.
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2012, 03:58 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
Just read your great report and looking forward to reading your other/previous one.

Again, what a GREAT report - and admire your getting out and see/do things spirit, especially with two young ones - and an older one in tow.

While we love the North Shore - and usually stay there - your pretty much seeing it all on Kauai makes staying at Kapaa a good choice. We stayed there once and liked it - but again - we head to the North shore most of the time, but have stayed in Poipu for a week, and camped at our Waimea friends' Mauka cabin up at Kokee for a few days.

Too bad your dad turned his ankle on that great hike - perhaps my favorite hike in all of the islands. Have done it a # of times - and once - we even scampered inland from HANAKAPI'AI beach for several miles to the falls - and enjoyed a very pleasant dip there.
Tomsd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2012, 04:01 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
And you may have seen this but just in case - it's a fairly good webpage for that great hike. http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/hiking_...apiai_hike.php
Tomsd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2012, 04:46 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Thank you Tomsd!

The North Shore is by far the most exotic, lush, and appealing to me, so we sometimes flirt with the idea of just staying there since we are around there most often, but Kapaa is just so darn convenient, especially when you know you'll end up visiting the West or South at some point. Plus the cottage we've been renting is inland from Kapaa, it's country/jungle. I feel like we are staying in Jurassic Park when we are there - in a good way

LOVE LOVE KauaiExplorer, I checked it every day when we were there to find out which beach had the best conditions. I'll look more into their hiking page next time. Thanks again!
Mom0509 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2012, 05:46 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,431
Thanks for your report. It sounds like a wonderful trip.

So sorry your Dad got hurt. I got injured on that same portion of the Kalalau trail. I think it's a terrible idea for people who are not hard-core, seasoned hikers to attempt any portion of that trail--just because they're on vacation. There are spectacular trails in Kauai that are much safer and better maintained.
Songdoc is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:52 PM.