Are you planning a family vacation to Kauai soon? Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on earth and a popular destination for families. Your family will have a wonderful time and leave with a relaxed Hawaiian glow!
Planning a family vacation to Kauai can be a little more involved than for other places. Below are some frequently asked questions before your trip to Kauai.
For more information about Kauai, check out Things I wish I knew before going to Kauai and 7-day Kauai itinerary.
When is the best time to go to Kauai?
Three factors should be considered when planning a family vacation to Kauai – weather, prices, and crowds. Based on all these factors, the best time to go to Kauai is from August through October. April to June is the next best time to go.
WEATHER. Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, which contributes to its vibrant beauty with its lush and green environment. However, rain isn’t so welcome when your family wants to spend time on the beach or do other outdoor activities on vacation.
The rainiest months are November and December. This is also high season, when travelers come in droves during the winter months or over the holidays. Although this is not the best time to go, it doesn’t stop travelers, making winter the peak season and raising prices on hotel rooms and flights.
During shoulder season (spring and fall), the weather is still pleasant and airfare and hotel rates drop. It’s also a bit less busy in terms of crowds and securing reservations for some of the big-ticket activities. We went in the middle of October when we had some rain and got lucky with the Na Pali coast boat tour and kayak/hike tour to Secret Falls.
How many days do I need in Kauai?
A minimum of 7 days is recommended to experience the main sights and get a good feel of the island of Kauai. The perfect amount of time for a family vacation is 10 days to allow for relaxation and back-up days for weather cancellations of activities.
Even though Kauai is a small island, there is so much beauty to take in and fun activities to do. You can pack a lot into a 7-day Kauai itinerary, but I wish we had a few more days to relax without feeling rushed to squeeze everything in.
Do I need to rent a car in Kauai?
Absolutely, especially if it’s your first time to Kauai and want to see different parts of the island. There is no public transportation that can get you easily around Princeville to Waimea Canyon and the rest of the island. Relying on ride shares could get expensive and will not give you the freedom to go where you want when you want during your family vacation.
Unless you want to stick to your resort the entire time (which I do not recommend), make sure you reserve a car as soon as you book a flight.
Where to stay in Kauai with family?
There are three main areas of Kauai where most tourists stay:
North shore – Less touristy, more lush and green with mountains and forests. There is hiking here, but also is more prone to rain. Beahces are not as developed which can be good and bad (not as crowded here). Waves are a bit rough so snorkeling and swimming in the ocean is not as good here. More of a Hawaiian village feel here.
Accommodations – condos, hotels, and motels are available here.
Best for: hiking, markets, off the beaten path, nature lovers
Kapa’a – east side where many budget hotels, food trucks, etc. are. More dense in terms of businesses, restaurants, and hotels. The beaches are strips of sand along the ocean. You’ll get a surfer and budget travel vibe here. Traffic can get congested as many cars pass through this area. Shopping is available here, with shopping plazas, grocery stores (Safeway), and strip malls.
Accommodations: condos, mainstream hotels such as the Sheraton, cheap budget motels
Best for: budget travelers, kayak tour, luaus, shopping
South shore – more of the luxury hotels here. Beaches and snorkeling are better here, as is the weather.
Best for: Upscale/luxury feel, family vacations, beach time
Accommodations: Grand Hyatt, Hilton
Hotels vs. Airbnb
Deciding between hotels and Airbnb can depend on the family and style of travel, but in Kauai the cost is about the same. We stayed in Airbnb condos that had kitchens to prepare breakfast, more space to spread out, and a washer/dryer and other amenities. We did not plan to stay on the grounds of the accommodation much so we opted for basic condos.
For most condos, there aren’t many amenities so bring packets of sweetener for your coffee and salt for eggs. Some other things you may need include Ice packs, hand wipes, biodegradable soap, water bottles, collapsible cooler.
Do I need reservations for activities in Kauai?
Sometimes. Since Kauai is a popular destination year round, then you may be competing with other tourists for some of the most in-demand activities. These may include:
- Hiking along Kalalau Trail
- Helicopter tour along Na Pali Coast
- Boat tour along Na Pali Coast
- Kayak/Hike tour to Secret Falls
What should I pack for a trip to Kauai?
Hawaii is environmentally conscious so bring a water bottle, reusable shopping bags, and biodegradable soap. Make sure your sunscreen is reef-safe.
Due to the inclement weather and humidity, it would be wise to pack a hat, umbrella, rain jacket or poncho, and slippers to walk around your Airbnb more comfortably (the floors will feel sticky).
If the roosters are going to bother you, then pack ear plugs
Dramamine non-drowsy for kids if you’re planning on going on a boat or helicopter ride and your kids are prone to motion-sickness.
What should you not miss while in Kauai?
Top Things to Do in Kauai
- Boat tour along the Napali Coast
- Grand Canyon of the Pacific
- Cliff hike along the Haena State Beach
- Eat Hawaiian goodies – poke bowls, shaved ice
What should I eat while in Kauai?
- native Hawaiian dishes
- Fish! Especially poke, poke nachos, and sushi
- Taro, poi
- Tropical fruits
- Shave ice
Why are there so many chickens in Hawaii?
One of the first things you’ll notice is that there are lots of chickens everywhere. They’ll be hanging out in parking lots, outside of restaurants, and anywhere that people are.
The chickens originally were brought to the island by Polynesian navigators. Over time, domesticated chickens escaped their coop and bred with wild chickens. Add a couple of hurricanes to the mix, and suddenly most of the chickens are out in the wild.
Since they do not have predators on the island and humans are not allowed to kill them (also known to be a tough bird not worth cooking and eating), you’ll be seeing plenty of chickens during your vacation.
What kinds of wildlife will I see in Kauai?
Sea turtles, monk seals, fish, chickens, and roosters.
How expensive is it in Kauai?
Kauai can get pretty expensive. Plan on paying at least $300 per night for accommodations. Excursions such as the kayak tour can run about $100 per person, with the boat tour being more. Meals can get pricy as well, with breakfast costing $50 for a family of 4, lunch about $75, and dinner can set you back at least $100 depending on where you dine.
How can I save money while staying in Kauai?
Definitely go during the shoulder season for some of the lower costs. Ask for discounts and book ahead as much as possible.
We at at least one meal at our Airbnb. Get some cheap meals such as spam musubi and poke bowls from the grocery store rather than dining at restaurants. Spend time doing activities that don’t cost you anything, such as hiking and going to the beach.
Leave a Reply