Hawaii: Kauai

Hawaii: Kauai

The Garden Isle

Fly in/out: Kauai, Lihue International Airport (LIH)

Recommended ages: 5 and up (10 for zipline)

Ball Park Price: $1600/person (airfare not included)

Pace: Moderate

Time Zone: EST minus 5 hours


DAY ONE: Fly to Kauai, Lihue International Airport (LIH) with a connecting in Los Angeles. Rent a car and drive to Kapaa Beach Shop along the way, rent snorkel gear and boogie boards for the family. Drive the remaining 30 minutes and check in at the St. Regis Princeville Resort, on the Northern part of the island.


DAY TWO: Take a one-hour helicopter “Princeville Adventure Tour” from the small Princeville Airport for a spectacular overview of this pristine island and only way to see the entire Napali Coast through Sunshine Tours.

DAY THREE: Drive to Haena State Park and access the hidden coastline and hike up to eleven miles on a small foot trail from Ke’e Beach to Kalalua Valley. (no entrance fee)

Golfing in Princeville
Golfing in Princeville

DAY FOUR: Enjoy the family-friendly St Regis Princeville beach resort and paddle, kayak and swim on the beach for the day. In the early evening, take in an afternoon of mini golf set in a beautiful polynesian botanical gardens.

DAY FIVE: Zipline on the “Zip Express” enjoying nine ziplines through the private property of Princeville Ranch. Enjoy twilight golf on the golf course at St. Regis Princeville Resort.

DAY SIX: Learn to surf through Kauai’s North Shore Surfing School situated on the Northern side with waves and sandy ocean floor great for learning how to surf. Spend the afternoon snorkeling and exploring beaches of Kauai.

DAY SEVEN: Relax at resort, drop off snorkel gear and head back to Lihue International Airport.

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Vacation Highlights

  • We stayed in the Northern Region of Kauai that offers tropical weather, nearby adventures and many swimmable beaches so we had plenty of time to relax in between activities.
  • This island has breathtaking panoramic views and natural wonders with jagged cliffs, emerald valleys and golden beaches providing endless opportunities for adventurous activities for all ages. Maybe because of some of the unpredictable climate with periodic rain near the rainforests, this island typically does not seem as touristy or crowded as the other islands.
  • We loved our own hikes and snorkel adventures that are easy to find and explore on your own. The hike on the Napali coast has steep drop offs so would only be recommended for the sturdier hikers.
  • The “things to do” options in Kauai are endless for kids. Learning to surf, ziplining, mini-golf, and the helicopter tour all in the majestic setting of Kauai were all great experiences. We are not a boat/water family so we avoided some of the longer boat tours that are great family options as well. For the boater families, Captain Andy Snorkel Tours come highly recommended.

Kauai Beauty

Great Excursions

  • We heard the best way to see Kauai was by helicopter and it was. It was overwhelming to see the magnitude of this island’s natural beauty that you can’t see any other way. We darted in and out of the deep chasms of Waimea Canyon and were able to view closely the Manawaiopuna Falls. (featured in Jurassic Park).
  • The 3.5 hour “Zip Express” tour flying over tree tops and waterfalls on the private property of Princeville Ranch was a thrill! The zipline course included nine ziplines, suspension bridges and the side-by-side 1200 foot King Kong. (Age 10 & up)

Explore Kauai

Places to stay

  • St. Regis in Princeville was a luxury hotel with beautiful infinity pools, a good swimming beach and options to rent kayaks and paddles right on the beach. In the evenings, there were fabulous sunsets in an outdoor patio featuring “sunset champagne.”
  • Another recommended place to stay in the Princeville area for families with the convenience of a full kitchen and two bedrooms is the Westin Princeville Ocean Villas.
St. Regis Princeville ResortWestin Princeville


    BarAcuda Restaurant
    BarAcuda Restaurant

  • We enjoyed BarAcuda Restaurant in the charming town of Hanalei just a few minutes from Princeville. The restaurant features tapas good for taste testing for kids and had a beautiful outdoor dining area.
  • Lighthouse Bistro – a family-friendly restaurant serving moderately priced meal in an open air garden setting.


  • Rent snorkel gear as your first quick stop arriving in Kauai and rent snorkel gear, boogie boards and beach gear for the week. Although the hotel and tour operators have them, it’s nice to have the right size for a little bit of a cost saving for whenever you need them.
  • Before your helicopter tour, take Dramamine. Swerving in and out of the canyons gave several in our party motion sickness and in hindsight, we wish we had averted that feeling.
  • Keen Water ShoesPack water shoes like Keen for the variety of water activities, hiking and climbing on the trip.
  • Adjusting to the timezone going to Kauai isn’t too difficult as you just need to keep the kids up a little later each night and allow to sleep in. Plan a simple and early meal the first night at the hotel so you don’t get grumpy kids during dinner time. On the way home getting ready for school is a different story, but not in the summer.
  • Kauai like the other Hawaiian islands is expensive. Although many families still feel it’s worth it, you can save some money by booking all excursions online and in advance. If you’re booking for your family, try to negotiate with the outfitter. Book hotels way in advance or use points if possible. Some families find it efficient to rent two bedroom villas and eat in when possible.

Before You Go

After you spend time on Kauai, you’ll see why so many blockbuster movies have been filmed here. For a complete list to watch before you go see this list.

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