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Our Family Went to Kauai for the First Time!

We just got back from the best 10 days in Hawaii. Braun was gone a lot of the summer and so it was nice to be able to celebrate him moving back from North Carolina and get away with the family. I am going to break up this Hawaii trip into 2 parts just because they each deserve their own.. We are going to start with Kauai and next week we will do Oahu! 

Getting to Kauai: We actually booked a round trip ticket to Oahu because we found a killer deal ($300 roundtrip & nonstop from SLC!) and then booked a separate ticket to get to Kauai. It was a short 35 minute flight that we booked on Hawaiian Airlines. 

We had never been to Kauai and it just might be my new favorite island. It is so lush, green and just feels like what you always imagined Hawaii to be. We joked around that it felt like a dinosaur was going to pop out at any second. The first thing we noticed when we got there were the insane amount of chickens and roosters just wandering around! Of course my boys loved chasing them 24/7 but man, they’re everywhere. 

We flew into the south side of the island but stayed on the north side in Princeville. I decided to make it a new tradition that whenever we go somewhere with the kids, we google random facts about the place we are visiting. We learned so much and the kids brought up so many of the random things we learned throughout the trip. Here is what we read about Kauai! 

A few must do’s in while you are there:

Hike Ho’opi’i Falls. It was super kid friendly & so beautiful. The kids can play in the river, the bigger kids can cliff jump and there is a rope swing (that we never found but were told by a bunch of people that its there!) Be sure to buy some keen shoes for your family before the trip (they are on sale at that link!) Your feet will thank you! Oh and don’t forget the bug spray, I was eaten alive on this island.

They honestly could’ve played here all day.

Go see Wailua Falls. It was closed when we went so we couldn’t hike it but it was BEAUTIFUL to look at! I would have loved to hike it.

The boys honestly cared more about jumping over the water there than they did seeing the incredible waterfall!

Queen’s Bath – this is A MUST.. be careful if it is high tide though!! The hike is beautiful & fairly easy. Keep in mind we had Jett (who turned 3 on this trip) and he did great! I will let the pictures speak for themselves on this one. Again, everyone in your family should get water/hiking shoes for this trip! Your feet NEED them. Kauai is full of incredible hikes. Parking was a little tricky at Queens Bath. The parking lot is super small. Try to go a few hours before sunset. I would say you could spend 2-3 hours here & the sun sets early in Kauai! But check out how pretty the pictures are when the sun is setting. 

The trunks of these trees were so rad!

When you get to this sign at the bottom of the trail, go through the little river on the right. The cliffs over here are big BUT we saw SOOO many sea turtles over there. It was incredible and the views were beautiful. 

Then go back towards the sign and head back to Queens bath. Cliff jumping was SO much fun for the kids. You are swimming with fish in there which the kids thought was cool. Dash never got in but he had fun searching for crabs on the surrounding rocks! 

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SHOP MY KOPARI FAVORITES

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Now for the food places we loved.. most were gluten friendly unless noted:

Verde – Mexican. Great reviews & fresh ingredients! 

 Street Burger – Holy smokes. So fresh. Their fries weren’t gluten free but check them out.. the parmesan garlic fries we had to order two more batches of! 

The little Acai shack down in Hanalei bay was so cute & they had the best acai bowls and homemade granola. 

You will hear about my love affair with Tege Tege’s in a second but go to that area for lunch. It is a bunch of food trucks so there are a lot of options! No less than 1,000 of you told me we had to go to Porkys for lunch & our friends loved it so much he had to go get seconds. I assumed it wasn’t gluten friendly so I didn’t check it out.

My kids loved Fulfilling Crepes right there too. They used to be 100% gluten free but they aren’t anymore which is a bummer. 

We made it our mission to find the best shave ice on the island. I think we did pretty good at it! Our top favorites:

Jojo’s – the location of this place cannot be beat. Hanalei Bay was our favorite area so be sure and check it out. Lilikoi + Macadamia Nut Ice Cream?? Yummy. 

Wailua Shave Ice – we loved this place. They use fresh fruit juice + had coconut milk whipped cream on top. Anisten was in dairy free heaven! If you go there for lunch.

Our favorite of them all was Tege Tege’s. They are only there a few days a week and they close RIGHT AT 5:30. Don’t be late or they will not serve you! But look at how delicious they are! They layer shave ice, sweetened condensed milk, fruit juice and repeat that all the way throughout the cup. It was so fun watching them make them too! Our favorite was strawberry and passionfruit. We didn’t love the dragonfruit one! 

You’ve gotta get a picture by the ALOHA sign! There is a fun park getting built right there too but the sign is a must.. here is the address! Our boys hopped the fence and caught lizards on the little golf course right there too. 

The number one thing we were told to do in Kauai was to do the tour of the Napali coast by boats. I would have LOVED to do it but we had Jett with us and I guess the youngest they take is a 5 year old. So we did it by helicopter instead!! We did it through Jurassic Tours. Apparently they were the only place that lets you stop and get out at the massive Jurassic Falls. Guys, Kauai by helicopter is UNREAL. The island is so different than all the others and the island itself has so much variety to it that you can only see by helicopter too. 

The guys golfed twice while we were there and said it was one of the best courses they’ve played on. 

And lastly, our favorite beach…

Our favorite beach was Hanalei Bay! It was seriously so beautiful. Waves were small and perfect for boogie boarding.

 

A few things we were told to do but we didn’t get to this time: 

Poipu Beach

Kayaking & Paddle Boarding on the Rivers in Hanalei.. this looked so peaceful!

Eating at the Pizza Place by Wailua Shave Ice (their GF pizza is supposed to be amazing!)

Hiking (or at least going to the lookout point) at “Kauai’s Grand Canyon”

Let me know what I missed from this beautiful island! Our next Hawaii trip will no doubt be back to this place. We loved it so much. 

Now for some travel favorites… don’t forget to check that I have an entire Road Trip Travel Favorites blog post HERE,a beach essentials post HERE , and my Top 5 travel items post HERE where I go a little more in depth too!

 

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  1. I have been born and raised on Kauai, and I am so glad you enjoyed your time here…it is truly magical and soothes the soul! Another amazing shave ice place you have to try is called Fresh Shave near Poipu…all fresh ingredients and each flavor named after a mustache like the caterpillar, fu-man-chu, the handlebar, etc…find them on instagram.

    Poipu beach, baby beach(Poipu),& Salt Ponds are good south side beaches.

    Exploring Kokee (Waimea Canyon) area is a must….do the Waipoo falls trail, or if you are there during plum season…grab a permit & try the berry flats trail…if nothing else just drive up there and stop at the Waimea Canyon Lookout & then all the way up at the Kalalau valley lookout!

    On the east side I would suggest a place called Loop Road which is up on Mt Waialeale & the sleeping giant hike.

    Kauai Backcountry Adventures tubing is a fun adventure through the mountain tunnels on an inner tube!

    Any Napali coast boat tour (HoloHolo) is the best in my opinion…because seeing the island from the sea is so diff from seeing it in the air…though both are breathtaking! But if anyone gets seasick you might want to skip it.

    So much to see & do here…even though the island is so small!

    Also fun fact about the Roosters and chicken “epidemic”…we had a culture of people raising “fighting roosters” and when we were hit with Hurricane Iniki 9/11/92 they all got loose and began breeding which has created a chicken overload for the last 26 yrs! When you go up to kokee, if you stop at the lodge, go inside and ask to buy chicken food pkgs for like .50 a bag….when you go back outside and start throwing the feed in the parking lot, the chickens and roosters start running from everywhere in the park…little babies too!

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