10 Pictures Why You Should Travel to Kauai || Guest Post by Deanna of Lucky Love Life

Guest Post | Hawaii | United States

Surf’s up! Hang loose!  Ohana! HAWAII!


The island state is the tropical adventure that is a must to your travel bucket list.


The last time I traveled to Hawaii was when I was around 10 years old.  So it doesn’t really count.  Well it does, but you know what a mean.  Traveling as an adult is VERY different than when you were a kid.  It’s on my list to go back to but not in the near future.


So before I can put a Hawaii guide on the blog, I invited the wonderful Deanna of Lucky Love Life to write a post about her adventure to Kauai..  Kauai is one of the islands of Hawaii, covered in lush rainforest it’s nickname is the “Garden Isle.”


Introducing Deanna of Lucky Love Life

Justine, thank you so much for letting me share one of my adventures on your beautifully redesigned site. I love reading about your adventures and mini-vacations. Your food and travel reviews are so real and down to earth for the “real” traveler who wants to see more than just the well-known tourist packed sites.



Why travel to Kauai?


So when I was seeking a vacation for myself and my four children, I knew I was looking for something safe, affordable, and laid-back. When most people think of Hawaii, affordable doesn’t exactly come to mind. While Mexico might seem the more viable option, it truly wasn’t on my radar. The cost of passports would have added an extra $700+ to the budget. Then there are the safety issues, of which there have been plenty in the last decade. And lastly, the more safe places in Mexico, are also among the more crowded or completely isolated. Neither of which is ideal for a woman traveling solo with children.


I had visited Kauai once before in 2011 and fell in love with the people. Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. The population is manageable and the amount of free activities is absurd. So after some discussion with my kids, Kauai it was. They had to save for their own plane tickets (teaching some responsibility here).



How to get the cheap flights to Kauai?


I quickly figured out that nearly every island had the same deals or lack thereof when it came to flights. If you want a deal you need to stay from a Tue-Tue or Wed-Wed. Coming and going on every other day of the week will cost you roughly $100 more a ticket minimum. Of course, I knew to avoid the popular holidays and long weekends. Booking three months prior to flight was the best decision I made. I had been watching the price for nearly a year and that week, the prices had gone down from $670 to $595 (Keep in mind I live inland. West Coast flights average $350-500). I made the purchase quick and glad I did. Less than a week later they sprung back up over $700. And after this point, if you need more than two tickets, you’ll likely not be seated together.



Should you rent a car in Kauai?


In Kauai, you’ll definitely need a rental car. My nearly brand new Nissan Altima was about $210 for seven days. It came with a half tank of gas and I fully gassed it up once.



When’s the best time to visit Kauai?


Kauai has one of the wettest climates on earth, but don’t let that deter you. Both times I have been there was in the month of February (Hey I want to see the whales and this is a good time). Most of the rainfall happens inland on the mountains and on the North Shore.


Short rainstorms are normal on the North and upper east side but the temperatures are still warm enough to barely need a light jacket. Here’s the really cool part. If you happen to be staying or just hanging out on the North Shore and the weather turns yuck, you can hop in your rental car and drive to the South Shore, where it rarely rains.


Yep, from Poipu to Waimea it’s relatively dry and sunny almost year round. Did I mention this drive only takes about 45 minutes on a good traffic day? It’s a two lane most of the way and the speed limit is slow through all the small towns but the drive is gorgeous. And you must stop in Kapaa at the Pono Market (little hole in the wall market) for a vanilla milkshake. BEST IN THE WORLD!





Spouting Horn


A natural blowhole with a Hawaiian legend. This thing can spit water nearly 50 feet on a good day. This free attraction sits just off Lawai Rd on the South Shore. There are nearly always vendor booths set up to buy local trinkets (some of which are made in China) so if you are looking for authentic, ask and inspect before you buy. A related stop nearby is the Botanical Gardens. Last I was there tickets were $12. Some of those giant root trees from Jurassic Park are located in these gardens. The flowers are an Instagram jackpot.





Poipu Beach


This is the swimming beach to beat on the Island. The weather is great, the sand is soft, and in the early morning hours (7-10) you can practically have the place to yourself. I do recommend water shoes as the lava rocks in some places are pretty rough on your feet. While on this beach you will likely see a seal or turtle at some point during your stay. Use your zoom and don’t get too close. There are almost always active groups taping off the areas to help protect these cuties but in case you didn’t know, seals can weigh half as much as a cow and move very quickly. You really don’t want to be between them and the water when they decide they’re headed back in.





Tree Tunnel


Over a mile of Eucalyptus trees that have withstood two hurricanes and are flourishing better than ever. This tunnel is rumored to be 120-150 years old. If you forget to turn off of Hwy 50, you’ll miss this little gem. During the day it’s kind of hard to miss because you can see the beginning of the tunnel as you are headed south on Hwy 50, just remember to turn left onto 520. There is a huge turnout right at the beginning for pulling over to get a photo. Waiting for a traffic-free shot might take you 5-10 mins on average.





The beginning of the Napali Coast


I took this photo from the back of my charter boat. Captain Andy’s was worth every cent. Just before this shot, we had stopped to snorkel at the edge of a wonderful underwater bank. The fish were so colorful. We also saw dolphins, whales, and one turtle. FYI: If the water is too choppy or murky, they will cancel and try to reschedule you or fully refund you. They will not go if the conditions are not safe.





Kalapaki Beach Hut


YUM! Hands down the best and most affordable breakfast on the Island. Hawaiian sweet bread french toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, and pineapple for $7.50!!!!  Yes they have other breakfasts too and you can find a sample menu here (http://www.kauai.com/kalapakibeachhut). I will say there is usually a bit of a wait, as this is a popular spot for locals but so worth it. The hamburger line in the evenings is just as long. Within a five-minute walk of here, you will also find Mariachi’s, Duke’s, and JJ’s Broiler. All of these are a little more expensive but the food is good.





Waimea Canyon


The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. This drive is steep and winding. There are more than a dozen places to pull over and take a photo so please don’t stop on the skinny roadway. They put the pullouts in great viewing places. If you make it all the way to the top there is an amazing view to the West overlooking Napali cliffs. You can hear the waves crashing even from the top of the Mountain. Strongly recommend you take a rain jacket or umbrella. Even on the nicest of days, it’s common for a “surprise dump” of rain and then right back to sunny again. I’d also pack snacks. The one restaurant and gift shop up top is pretty spendy and crowded.





The Lithified Cliffs


If you are looking for some quiet time, this is your walk. We parked at Shipwreck beach and started our walk there, picnic backpack in tow. We chose to go about two miles in. We saw tons of fossils, crabs, and dry blow holes that make an eerie whistling sound. This is sacred land to the locals- DO NOT remove fossils as keepsakes. While the trail is well marked I do not recommend taking children that tend to wander. There are drop-offs and the water is not safe for swimming, EVER. There is a very neat circular tribute to someone local when you get in a way. I cannot remember what it is called. The circle spans at least 100 feet in diameter. On the way back we diverted to another trail to check out a “wet cave”.




Hibiscus flowers


These are common among many of the hotels and condos. Plumeria is also so beautiful. Because of increasing tourism, real flower leis are getting a little pricey. You can sign up for classes to make one, buy them pre-made in a few places. Getting one home preserved, another story entirely.





South Shore Sunset


So remember when I said the beach is pretty desolate between 7-10am. Well not so much in the wee or later hours. Kids here get up to surf before school and come back before sunset. Hanalei bay seems to be more popular for surfers and Poipu for body boards, paddleboards, etc. The sunsets on the South Shore on a clear day are breathtaking and usually unobstructed. We also saw several dolphins playing just to the left of all these kids catching the waves.





You’ll notice in my first pic of the Napali Coast the clear skies, well as we went on toward the towering cliffs we hit a little sprinkle and lots of fog. Even so the vast, plunging, and rugged terrain was something to see. There were some goats on the hillside, though it’s so steep I’m not even sure how they got there. Helicopters would fly over but because of the surf crashing the shore, we couldn’t even hear them. We saw a group of whales less than 150 feet from our boat. The water here was a little rough (because of the short storm) and my son didn’t look like he was feeling quite himself, but all of my girls were having a blast. If ocean motion gets you, or you’re not sure, get some tabs or the bracelet just in case. Both are sold at the gift shop where you dock but can be sold out. Come prepared!

End notes: Kauai is strikingly beautiful. With that said, please use respect and caution. Hiking on trails right after a good rainstorm is NOT a good idea. Don’t be afraid to ask locals about rip currents and swimming conditions. Some beaches are just for lounging, not good for swimming.


There are many free luaus put on by children and locals in the community that are far more authentic than the paid productions. I have been to both. I recommend both but if you are on a budget the free ones are good. And please don’t drive past gates or closed roads and pack out all you pack in. Kauai strives to keep a light footprint from heavy tourism. Help keep it that way 😊



Tags: Kawaii | Traveling with family | Traveling with kids

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Deanna is the creator and author of LuckyLoveLife.Com. She's a financial success/mindset coach who strives to help ppl make a living they love while working less hours. She believes in family, fun, and creating a life that allows freedom and choices. Less regrets, more rewards.
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