There is no “wrong choice” when planning which Hawaiian Island to explore. Each has its own distinction, its own sense of adventure and its own standard of relaxation. Over the years, we’ve been to Hawaii three times, experiencing four different islands along the way. We’ve traveled sans kids, with toddlers, and with tweens. And now, we are contemplating our fourth Hawaiian Islands vacation, this time with teenagers.
Though our next Hawaiian Islands trip has yet come to fruition, one detail is set in stone, and one island is clearly on our list. Kauai! This lush tropical paradise has all the makings for a wonderful family vacation destination, no matter the kids’ ages! So what’s a family to do in Kauai? There’s so much more to the Garden Island than beaches!
Why Kauai? Kauai Is For Kids!
Planning a family vacation can present its own set of challenges dependent upon kids’ ages. Vacation destinations and activity choices are vastly different when toddlers are in tow as compared to when teenagers are along for the adventure. Kauai’s broad range of activities and varying degrees of challenge make it an ideal tropical destination that families of all ages, whether toddlers or teenagers, grandparents too, can thoroughly engage and enjoy.
There is so much family fun just waiting to be experienced in Kauai! Here are snapshots of five popular child-friendly activities a Kauai vacation offers families, no matter the kids’ ages.
What’s A Family To Do In Kauai, Hawaii?
Our previous Hawaiian Islands travels included two Kauai experiences, one sans kids, and one with a rambunctious toddler in tow. Our third experience will include – yikes – teenagers! Though our vacation ideals and expectations have changed, Kauai still has what it takes to keep our active teenagers as happy this next time as when they were toddlers.
Here are five active adventures we plan to experience on our next trip to Kauai. Each stands the demanding test of different age ranges. Each can be as active and challenging, or as laid back and easy-going, as your own family demands.
1. Unwind on Incredible Beaches
Kauai beaches are perfect for all ages! Kauai has arguably some of the best beaches the world over. From the South Shore’s Poipu Beach, to the North Shore’s Hanalei Bay, you are sure to find just the right beach to match the watery action your family craves.
Whether it’s an adventurous afternoon of windsurfing or kayaking, snorkeling or fishing, or a laid back afternoon of swimming, sand castles and sunbathing, Kauai beaches are the place to unwind! With so many choices, it’s easy to mix it up each day with a different beach.
2. Experience Surfing For All Skill Levels
Practically all ages and skill levels can partake in a Kauai surf experience. The island’s skilled surf schools are perfect for beginners, and there are plenty of challenging waves for the advanced surfers in your family. As long as one can swim, one can take on a surf board!
Whether one seeks a low-keyed surfing experience, or the challenges of surfing large waves breaking on a grand scale, Kauai has it. Not so sure about taking on the big boards? Take it down a notch and try boogie boarding instead!
3. Tackle Easy – or Challenging – Hiking Opportunities
Hiking in Kauai is, well, spectacular! Best of all, Kauai offers a hiking trail suitable for all ages and skill levels. From easy peasy trails past seemingly secret waterfalls, to spectacular views in Waimea Canyon, to the ultimate challenge of an overnight hike along the Na Pali Coast, Kaui is definitely a hiker’s paradise.
Got younger kids in tow? Check out Kolee State Park or the Keahua Arboretum Trail for a more low-keyed hiking experience. Older teens in the mix? Consider hiking a section of the challenging coastal Kalalau Trail or tackle the inland Nualolo and Awaawapuhi Trails.
4. Kayak Inland Waterways and Ocean Waves
Show the kids another side of Kauai with a kayak experience. Whether a family friendly kayak adventure along the Wailua River or the challenges of ocean kayaking past Na Pali, one thing is for sure. Dramatic scenery, plunging waterfalls, caves, and secluded beaches are included!
Kauai’s Huleia National Wildlife Refuge and the Wailua River offer easy going kayaking the entire family can enjoy. Got older kids with kayaking experience and a sense of adventure? Consider the challenges of ocean kayaking along one of Kauai’s dramatic shorelines.
5. Snorkel For Tropical Sightings
No trip to Kauai is complete without at least one afternoon snorkeling these pristine, warm waters. Snorkeling is also an activity the entire family can enjoy together! And it’s easy to find a snorkel spot here. Nearly every snorkel spot in Kauai offers free access. All you need is a mask and snorkel, and off you go!
Didn’t bring your snorkel gear? No problem! there’s plenty of rental shops on the island. So grab your gear and head over to Lydgate Park or Poipu Beach for some beginner level snorkeling. Need more action? Check out Ke’e Beach, Hideaways Beach or Tunnels Beach!
Infographic – Why Kauai With Kids?
That’s not all there is to do in Kauai! Here are more activities to consider on a family vacation to the Garden Island. There’s just so much to do in this lush tropical paradise! It’s pretty certain your kids shouldn’t get bored no matter their ages when on vacation in Kauai.
Have You Been To Kauai, Hawaii?
We can’t wait for our next adventure to the Hawaiian Island’s lush and lovely Kauai. Though a lazy afternoon sitting on a beach making sand castles will no longer suffice for two teenage boys, that’s ok! Kauai has what it takes to keep toddlers – and teenagers – happy!
How about you? Have you been to Kauai with kids? Would you agree that Kauai is a wonderful vacation destination for families of all ages? Do share!
Infographic by MakanaCharters. Photo credits: Secret Beach by BryceEdwards. Surf Board by SaraBrowning. Kalalau Trail by HeathCajundig. Kayak by ToddWiggins. Turtle by SnorkelingDives. All photos via Flickr Creative Commons.