How are you surviving this winter?? It’s been bitter cold winter here in ND (one of the coldest in recent years!), and Garrat and I were quite excited to escape this frozen land even just for a little bit.
Of course, with the outrageous flu everywhere, we were NOT excited to travel through airports though. Good thing that Hawaii was the only state where flu wasn’t spread. So we loaded ourselves with every kind of sanitizers (gel, wipes and spray!), we survived the travels without catching anything nasty and got to enjoy much needed SUN!!!
Hope you’re ready for some color, sun, beaches and beautiful scenic views! I’ve got 60+ pictures here for you. (I sifted through all the photos multiple times to choose only the best! And by the way, all the photos are taken with my new iPhone X, and I have to say, I’m in LOVE!)
A few months back, I asked my Facebook friends which Hawaiian island they would recommend, and pretty much everyone suggested Kauai. They said it’s very laid back, quite island, perfect for relaxing! Bingo, that’s exactly what we needed. And man, were they right! Kauai is absolutely gorgeous place on earth! It’s a true paradise!
So this was our family vacation, which means we traveled with our 2-year-old toddler, Grant. And I have to say it was simply a delight to explore this Garden Island with our little traveller.
Here I’ll share with you best activities with a toddler to explore as much as possible around this beautiful island.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Kauai Beach Resort on east side of the island. I chose this place for 2 reasons: 1. location; 2. price. It’s not a cheap resort by any means, but it wasn’t over the top pricey either. And I was able to get the best deal by booking their weekly rate!! And oh my, did we love it there! It’s such a perfect place for families. Lots of pools, sand for little ones to play, shave ice, and just look at this beautiful view from our lanai (balcony)!!!
Sunrise was different every day, changing up the view every single morning. Ah, I want to go back!
Kauai Ultimate Helicopter Tour
Now, this was the highlight of our entire trip, and I just want to share it right away. Grant may not look happy on this photo below, but he was in disbelief that we were actually IN a helicopter. He also refused to wear his headphones, hence the teary eyes!
Anyway, if you’re in Kauai, helicopter ride is a MUST. And here’s why. The Napali Coast is the #1 sight you need to see on Kauai. And the safest way to experience its magnificent views is by air or by sea. Now there’re some tempting boat rides are offered. But if you’re traveling with a little one, it’s not an option, because most boat companies have an age limit (I think it was at least 3 years old.)
Helicopter rides, on other hand, don’t have an age restriction, but if your child is over 2 years old, they require to purchase a seat. Since Grant had just turned 2, we were able to take him as a lap child.
Since it was our first ever helicopter ride, it was quite an experience. I’ve never flown so close into the mountains, hovering over Waimea Canyon, aka the Grand Canyon of Pacific, and seeing so many grand (and I mean, giant) waterfalls. Pictures worth 1000 words, so here you go.
(But truth be told, these photos don’t do justice just how beautiful these scenes are in real life!)
Driving & Beach Hopping
So yeah, besides the epic helicopter ride, we did a lot of driving along the coast line through beautiful scenic views. One day we devoted to driving/beach hopping along the north shore all the way up to Ke’e Beach, which is the farthest you can drive on North Shore.
And then another day for South Shore.
Oh and when I say a day devoted to driving, I really mean 3-4 hours a day at the very most. Kauai isn’t a big island, and that’s what makes it such a nice laid-back island to visit and explore.
Here’re photos of the scenic views and beaches along North Shore.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
We stopped by this beautiful botanical garden close by Ke’e Beach. It had a fun 1-mile hike around the garden.
Here’re photos of the beaches and must-see sights on South Shore.
So Poipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and we felt obligated to stop by. It was a beautiful beach with a nice service center to grab something to eat, shave ice, and rentals! However, it’s pretty crowded, and we didn’t wanted to stay there. Because we knew there’s a smaller beach, called Baby Beach, just a couple of miles away. And that beach was perfect for us to sit back and relax for couple of hours.
Here’s photos of Poipu Beach (left) vs Baby Beach (right).
2 little stops worth visiting on South Shore Kauai:
Glass Sand Beach – a TINY “beach” with unique colorful glass sand. I thought it was an interesting stop, but it’s a quick in-and-out kind of sight.
Spouting Horn Beach Park – it was quite fun to watch shooting ocean water. It’s like mini Old Faithful in Yellowstone, but with much more frequent shooting. 🙂 This one is also a quick stop.
Wailua River Boat Tour
Another fun activity with toddlers. Since we could’t go for kayaking or whatnot, this was a great alternative to experience “the only navigable river” in all Hawaii.
And some random photos…
Garrat and I love going to farmer’s markets. So right away, I researched for local farmer’s markets, and lucky for us, Kapaa Farmer’s Market was nearby. It was pretty well stocked farmer’s market with abundance of beautiful fruits and vegetables, and of course, fresh coconuts!
OMG, Hawaiian avocados are the BEST!!! So creamy and intensely nutty (like pine nuts)!! Drool…
Back at the resort, relaxing by the pool and cooling down with shave ice…
Oh, by the way, Kauai is full of wild chickens!!! Chickens with army of little chicks were everywhere!
Our Favorite Eats!
Most mornings, we ate at the resort. They offered a full buffet, which was fantastic for this preggo, who couldn’t make up her mind what she wants. I ate a little bit of everything every morning.
We also loved our breakfast at Kalapaki Beach Hut. Cute little place with gorgeous view from their upper level.
One night we accidentally stumbled upon this cozy restaurant, Lemongrass Grill. We were actually looking for Pho place, but instead we had arrived here. And so happy we did. They had delicious food. Garrat had drunked duck (OMG, delicious!), and I had lemongrass seafood stew.
And because I was craving Pho for a while, we did find a perfect Pho the next day at Pho Kauai. The Pho was great, and their fried rice was amazing.
Another place I highly recommend is Chicken in A Barrel BBQ. We loved it so much so we ate here twice! First time, we ordered their sampler platter, and we were hooked on their smoked bbq chicken! Gah, so good!!!!
Quick Tip: Here’s how I find good places to eat when I’m traveling. Google Maps app is my secret. I just type whatever we’re craving, or best breakfast/lunch/dinner in search. And it gives me a list of places with ratings, menu and all. After reviewing the menu and reviews, I have a pretty good idea where I want to eat.
Whew, did you make it here? Kuddos to you, and thank you!!!