We're going to Hawaii...
November 15, 2007 8:04 PM   Subscribe

I hope to attend a seminar in Kauai in April. I'll be taking my 14 year old daughter with me. What should we not miss?

I hope to attend a series of seminars on Kauai from the 10th - 20th of April. Most of the days will go from 9am - 1pm, leaving my afternoons free. 3 or 4 of the days are 9 - 5.
Tentative dates at the moment have us flying into Honolulu on the 7th, and departing on the 25th. We'll be staying at the hotel on Kauai where the seminars are being held.

Should we spend the entire time on Kauai?

Visiting a volcano sounds awesome, but having browsed through older questions, I don't think I fancy a 3 hour trek each way to do so.

I'm not looking for full on adventure activities, as I'm really looking forward to just unwinding and chilling out as much I can when not attending the seminars, however I don't want to go all that way and not actually see or do anything outside of the hotel!
Suggestions for things the 14yo can do to safely amuse herself while I'm not around would be great too. I imagine she will quite happily spend her time sleeping under a tree or taking photos. Oh, and she loves shopping.

P.S. Anyone for a meetup?
posted by goshling to Travel & Transportation around Kauai, HI (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: The Na Pali Coast on the north side of the island, by Hanalei.
Amazing.
posted by lilithim at 8:19 PM on November 15, 2007


Best answer: I just returned home from Kauai today. It was our second family vacation to Kauai.

We like to simply hang out and relax. Kauai is perfect for that. If you a Vacation Achiever, Kauai is the wrong isle for you.

A few things we enjoyed:

Beaches: Anahola Beach, Anini Beach - fantastic places to relax. Ke'e Beach - at the end of the northern most road, great beach with trails nearby.

Hanalei: Small little shopping area with a good beach nearby. Great shave ice stand.

Waimea Canyon: An impressive view into the canyon cut by the rivers leading from the mountain. You can see Niihau island from the trail up.

Kilauea Lighthouse: Nice views and many interesting birds. My daughters got to see NeNe ducklings.

Spouting Horn: An ocean powered geyser.

Kauai Coffee Company: If you are a coffee lover, go for free coffee. Otherwise pretty dull.

Shopping in Kapaa was nice, a very small town.

In Lihue are bigger stores, like a Borders that we stopped by to get new books, but I'm no fan of going to Walmart & Costco on vacation.

If you are into quilting, my wife swears by Vicky's Fabrics in Kapaa.

You'll have a great time!
posted by Argyle at 8:45 PM on November 15, 2007


Best answer: 2nd taking a boat trip along the Na Pali Coast, it is beautiful.

Waimea Canyon is stunning. Also keep in mind that the main road in Kauai only goes 3/4 of the way around the island so if you are at either extreme, it will take time to get to places.

As for other islands, I would say absolutely but then again I am the kind of person that likes to be on the go and Kauai is a laid back kind of place. Since it seems like you have some time at the front of your trip on Oahu, I encourage you to spend some time there. There is a lot of cultural and historic things to soak up there from Pearl Harbor to the reign of the Hawaiian kings and queens. Plus, you will be in a cosmopolitan city that attracts people from all sides of the Pacific and beyond. Fantastic people watching.

Enjoy the trip and let me state my jealously for the record.
posted by mmascolino at 8:51 PM on November 15, 2007


Under no circumstances should you miss taking a helicopter trip around the island to the world's wettest spot.

Do not miss Hamura's Saimin.
posted by charlesv at 9:16 PM on November 15, 2007


Best answer: I love Kauai!! Favorite place on earth. Honeymooned there and went back again last year.

I second the helicopter ride. If you can't afford it, at least take a boat ride around the Na Pali coast. If you are up for serious hiking, do some part (if not all) of Na Pali.

Do some snorkling!! The fish are like nothing I've ever seen before.

Waimea canyon.

Take a kayak up the river to see the grove.

Eat lots of fresh seafood. Drink lots of tropical drinks. Relax. Let time slow down. Let all the stress and tension of the rat race drain out of you.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:41 PM on November 15, 2007


Best answer: The entire north shore is just amazing. There's a small company in Hanalei, right on the river, you'll see them as you come into town. They'll take you on a kayak trip, either up the river or down to the bay and back. Cheap and good.

Go to the very end of the road - ke'e is a tourist beach but excellent snorkeling. take the right side turnoff and walk to tunnels as well, if you go in the morning and find a good spot inside one of the reefs where the current isn't bad, you'll probably be swimming with turtles (honu).

wishing well shave ice, in a truck by the kayak place, is much better imo than the place down at the south end. definitely stop here for a snack or two ... follow the rules on the board, though, or the shave ice lady will get pissy.

hanalei has decent food - dolphin is just OK, but if you have a place to stay up here you can buy fish from their market, in the back, and cook it yourself, which is what we do. good burger joint in town, too, and a few other decent spots.

i love the north shore. i think it's the most amazing spot in all of hawaii.
posted by luriete at 11:24 PM on November 15, 2007


Nthing Na pali: either kayak along the coast or take a helicopter ride.
posted by lalochezia at 12:41 AM on November 16, 2007


Best answer: I live on kauai part year so i have a pretty good list for ya. Of course Kauai is all about relaxing on the beach, so i wont mention that.

Things you MUST see:

Na Pali Coast:
-by kayak (all day of you paddling)
-catamaran (half-day relaxing), if you go by boat I highly suggest Kauai Sea Tours. In my opinion they have the best crew and a very nice boat, tell captain Joan, stephen says hi (and she WILL know who you mean).

Waimea Canyon (aka grand canyon of the pacific):
-Hike it!!!! I have done almost every trail on it, for a short and easy hike try the "Canyon Trail". You walk an amazing ridge and look down the Waimea Canyon, most people turn around at waipoo'o falls which is about half way. If interested in other trials, message me, at my apt i made a list of almost all the trails and their descriptions.
-Drive it! If you don't hike it, drive up to the top lookout and work your way down. It is important to stop on the way down instead of up so you don't burn up your brakes...seriously.
-After the canyon stop at Jo-Jo's shave ice (impossible to miss in the middle of Waimea on the highway). Go all out and get the ice cream or red beans on the bottom and the cream topping on top.

Snorkeling or Scuba-Diving:
-Snorkeling i suggest PK's on the south shore, Ke'e & Tunnels on north (see below about wave potential).
-Scuba-diving, you must go with Fathom Five Divers (based on south shore, but also dive Tunnels on the north shore). You can either get certified or go as an intro where they give you a lesson before the dive. Tell your dive master/capt (or george, the owner, as he is always around). RB#1 (Rinse-Boy#1) sent you.


Other possibilities to do/see:
-Learn to surf, both of you or just your daughter. Surf lessons are all over the island. No knowledge required to take the classes. If you know how to surf & are planning on it, message me for the secret & best spots.
-Spouting horn is one of the many blow holes on kauai, its a small tourist trap, but still cool to see for a few minutes.
-Tour the Allerton Gardens. One of the "garden rooms" has a fountain that mimics the beat of a heart.


Misc possible activities:
-Horse riding (try CJM stables)
-Tubing the flumes (ride inter tube down the old hand made irrigation ditch & go through Lots of tunnels)
-ATV tours are supposed to be fun
-Ride a bike from the top of the volcano down to the ocean (a couple of company's out there)
-Helicopter or ultralight rides.
-Tour Kauai Coffee
-Tour a sugar mill


Food:
-You must try poke (for newbs, stick with ahi) and some of the local plate lunch places.
-Hamura's Saimin
-Dukes
-Ara's Sushi (part of hanamaulu's cafe)
-Beach House (great place for dinner & sun-set)
-Hyatt sunday brunch followed by a long walk of the grounds
-Waimea Brewery is the farthest west brewery in the world
-seriously just find some local kine grinds, any random place you see people in around lunch time, go in and get a plate lunch


**
things to remember
**
-for water activities:
North shore = big waves in winter & small in summer
South shore = opposite

-if you or your spouse are current or retired military, stay at the PMRF guest houses for Extremely cheap, plus you basically get your own private huge beach.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:16 AM on November 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


If you were referring to active volcanoes in your question, then don't expect to find much on Kaua'i. It's one of the older islands and its flowing lava days are older. What's left behind is still very beautiful.

The big island (Hawai'i) is where to go for active lava flows, and even then it's an iffy proposition if you don't want to spend all day or weekend.
posted by speedo at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2007


Visiting a volcano sounds awesome, but having browsed through older questions, I don't think I fancy a 3 hour trek each way to do so.

You're confusing Kauaʻi with the Big Island, which has the only above-ground active volcano in the state.

As for activities for the 14 year-old, does she have any interest in conservation? I'm guessing if she was persistent and planned ahead, she could get involved with an ongoing project through the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, particularly their joint initiative with Americorps, the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps. She would need to start contacting people now if she wants something in place by the time she gets there, but I think her chances of getting involved with a very rewarding experience through conservation volunteerism are good.

Another other recommendation might be to arrange for her to take scuba diving lessons. With that much time, if she's already a decent swimmer and can study ahead, she could get a basic dive certificate, as well as dive some of the most beautiful coral reef in the world.

Unless she has significant farm experience already, I don't think volunteering at an organic farm would be appropriate given her age, but you could ask.

There's also snorkeling, surfing, bodyboarding lessons available, as well as day-long light hiking tours.

I've never been to Kauaʻi, but I grew up in Hawaiʻi and visit there regularly, so I can try and answer any other questions you might have either in-thread or via MeFi Mail.
posted by onalark at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2007


Best answer: We did the zipline tour here and had an absolute blast.

Also, be sure to have breakfast at Eggbert's in the Kapaa's Coconut Marketplace.
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:57 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


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