With its spectacular island scenery and weather that’s always warm, but rarely hot, Kauai makes a perfect vacation destination. Everywhere you go on the island, friendly locals and safe communities create a welcoming vibe for kids of all ages. Spend your trip hiking the dramatic Hawaiian hills, or pack a beach bag for long days on the sand. Most major attractions lie within a short drive of each other and Kauai vacation rentals, so you can spend less time in the car and more time having fun.
1. Take a Movie Tour
Kauai is a popular filming location for Hollywood movies and TV shows. Explore the island with an entertaining movie tour aboard an air-conditioned bus. Many tours stop by sites including Wailua Falls, Kapaa Town, and Tahiti Nui. If you prefer a self-guided tour, head straight for the Na Pali Coast, which featured heavily in movies such as “Jurassic Park,” “King Kong” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
2. Hit the Sand
Make the most of Kauai’s perfect weather on one of the island’s many beaches. If you want to surf, try Hanalei Bay, which features gentle waves for the little ones and a larger break for adults and experienced surfers. The calm water of Tunnels Beach is a great option for families with small kids, and Poipu Beach offers a variety of pools and waves for swimmers of all levels.
3. Bike the Kauai Coastal Path
Get your whole family moving with a bike trip along the Kauai Coastal Path. This long, paved path runs along the east side of the island, providing safe walking, running and biking opportunities. Rent bikes from an outfitter in Kapaa; most carry a variety of sizes, including tandem and children’s models. Bathrooms along the path keep everyone comfortable, and the beautiful views of the ocean are well worth the effort.
4. Go Snorkeling
Explore the underwater world with a family snorkeling trip. Bring your own gear, or purchase it from a shop on the island. Start with a visit to Kee Beach, where a lagoon creates calm, kid-friendly water. At Queens Pond, the spectacular clear water allows excellent visibility, and at Poipu, you have a high chance of spotting fish and sea turtles. For safety, be sure to obey lifeguard warnings at all beaches.
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5. Sail the Na Pali Coast
Experience the grandeur of the Na Pali Coast with a sailing trip. A range of companies in Kauai offers family friendly tours that range from short cruises to full-day excursions. Book a catamaran trip for a high-speed adventure, or opt for a yacht trip to sail in luxury. Many tours include meals and stops for swimming, while others take you to snorkeling spots accessible only by boat.
6. Check Out Kamalani Playground
Surprise your little ones with a trip to the enormous Kamalani Playground in Kapaa. This huge wooden structure is a treasure trove for active children. Your kids can go for a ride on the many swings, practice balancing on the beams, or learn how to play songs on the bells. When you’re ready to cool off, head across the street to Lydgate Park, where two protected swimming areas offer wave-free, kid-friendly water.
7. Wander Through Allerton Garden
Spend an afternoon wandering the grounds of the Allerton Garden, which is located on Kauai’s South Shore. Here, the rainforest grows around spectacular mermaid statues, and hidden fountains create a magical atmosphere. Kids can run through the golden bamboo grove, hunt for statues, and marvel at the beautiful tropical plants that line each walkway.
8. Kayak Down a River
Get up close and personal with the Kauai countryside with a kayak trip down one of the island’s rivers. At the Hanalei River, you can rent kayaks or book a tour of the river and Hanalei Bay, where turtles swim right by your boat. For an exciting afternoon, book a paddling tour of the Wailua River, which ends in a thrilling waterfall. Many companies offer multi-person boats that allow little ones to ride safely.
9. Watch a Luau
Get into the Hawaiian mood with a visit to a traditional luau, where your family can eat traditional foods, watch hula dancers, and enjoy live music. A variety of companies host luaus on Kauai, so it’s easy to find one near your vacation rental. Most luaus extend into the evening, so you can watch a stunning sunset from your table.
10. Take a Shave Ice Break
Take a break from your adventures to enjoy shave ice, one of Hawaii’s favorite treats. Stands pop up all over the island, creating convenient stopping points on a bike or car trip. Try different flavors at each stand, enjoy excellent people watching, and blend into the relaxed Kauai lifestyle.
11. Hike in Waimea Canyon
Check out Kauai’s dramatic topography with a hike in Waimea Canyon. A large trail system runs along the canyon rim and sides, and it’s easy to find an option to suit your kids. If your children are older, take one of the trails down into the canyon to hunt for waterfalls and unexpected swimming holes. Little ones love keeping an eye out for the chickens that roam the landscape.
12. Go Tubing
Hundreds of years ago, Kauai’s residents dug flumes to irrigate the sugarcane crops. Today, you can rent an inner tube and float down these wide waterways. The route passes through tunnels and down gentle rapids, creating a fun and exhilarating experience. Tubing is ideal for everyone aged 5 and up.
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