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Photos and stories of Kauai’s beautiful beaches

Explore Kauai – The Garden Island

Kauai Hawaii Kalalau Valley

Imagine a place where worries vanish in the trade winds, warm saltwater laps the shores of golden sand, and rain-forests are home to our earth’s rarest plants and birds. Your adventure begins at the edge of a lost world. Thousands of miles from any significant land mass, the tiny tropical island of Kauai has kept herself charmed, mysterious and unconquered. You will experience her secrets as you dive into the beauty Kauai has to offer. From the moment you step off the plane the balmy trade winds will remind you, “You’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Adventure, romance or pure relaxation? Kauai has it all. Your only worries are how to fit it all in. Kick off your shoes, slip into your casual wear and throw your cares to the wind. It’s all good!

Kauai’s raw interior, rugged Napali Coast and the countless miles of remote white sand beaches are a bit on the wild side. But exploring her untamed allure is where the fun begins. While activities like tow-in surfing 40 foot monster waves do exist, there are other activities for the mere mortal traveler that will give you an equal dose of adrenaline.

Hanalei BayOn the North Shore the roads narrow, life slows down and it’s apparent why Kauai is nicknamed the “Garden Island”. Waterfalls cascade a thousand feet from emerald green mountains to manicured taro fields on the valley floor. These are your first signs that you are now entering the “laid back life on the other side of the bridge.” The beautiful & quaint little surf town of Hanalei is full of water-sport shops, eclectic boutiques and local flair. You will find plenty to see and explore whether in the village or in the water of the magical Hanalei Bay, a year round hub of water sports.

Book a kayak or a SUP (stand up paddle board) and make your way through the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. You will be skimming the calm water amongst a myriad of wildlife and hanging trees that frame the banks of the Hanalei River. If this is too tame then just paddle back down the river and test your skills surfing the Bay. Either way you will surely work up an appetite. So…head back to the village where your choices range from take-out to sit down dining and enjoy a fruit infused Mai Tai, while planning the next activity.

Leaving Hanalei in your rear-view mirror the next eight miles of winding road will pique your curiosity and divert your attention. Keep your eyes on the road. This last stretch of roadway will take a while as the pace of life slows down even more the further north you go. That is unless you are in the water!

The horseshoe shaped, coral fringed reef of Tunnels Beach, is a popular destination for snorkelers who want to explore the underwater world of sea caves and exotic tropical reef fish. But the outside breaks, beyond the calm of the protected lagoon, should be left to the experienced. This is also a great spot for to see the locals as they race the winds across the ocean’s surface with their gravity defying kite surfing.

Kauai Vacation GuideThe end of the road at Ke’e Beach marks the beginning of the famous Napali Coast, where the true outdoor adventure begins. You can explore the Napali by foot as you traverse a portion or the complete 11 mile (one way) hike. The valleys of Hanakapiai, Hanakoa and Kalalau will take you back in time. As you traverse the trail built hundreds of years ago you will experience what some believe to be the closest thing to the Garden of Eden. It is hard to fathom that at one time 20,000 Hawaiians used this trail as their super highway into the valleys of Hanakoa and Kalalau.

During summer months adventure seekers choose the ultimate kayak trip, referred to as the Mount Everest of Kayak excursions. The trip begins at the North end of Hanalei Bay where you will paddle beyond the verdant valleys of Hanakoa and Kalalau, past the famous arch of Honopu, and into the sapphire blue waters of the open ceiling sea cave. Paddle the coast with the likes of the playful spinner dolphins, giant sea turtles and the rare Hawaiian Monk Seal. The trip will take an entire day with a stop half way for lunch and swim at Milolii, where you can explore the beach and the remains of an ancient Hawaiian Fishing Village. Polihale, on the west side of the island is the final destination, where the cliffs of the Napali meet the the sand dunes of Kauai’s longest stretch of beach.Na Pali Coast Tours

Seventeen miles off the coast of Kauai’s West Side lies the Forbidden Island of Niihau, known for its Hawaiian speaking community and rare shell leis. Explore the waters of Niihua and Lehua aboard the 65 foot power catamaran Holo Holo. Day trips include sightseeing off the Napali Coast, free diving off Niihau where visibility tops 100 feet the relax on deck enjoying a glass of wine and gourmet deli style lunch. For a closer look at the Forbidden Island of Niihau, privately owned by the Robinson family, book a custom adventure trip aboard their private helicopter to hunt wild boar and feral sheep. The tour includes the outfitting of weapons, personal guide, as well as refreshments and lunch.

Kauai Atv and Waterfall TourAs you meander along Kauai’s roadways you will only touch the surface of Kauai’s hidden treasures. Eighty percent of Kauai is inaccessible by car, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore further by Helicopter, ATV, horseback or by foot along miles of hiking trails Kauai has to offer. Kauai is an outdoor paradise waiting to be discovered. Need help planning? Kauai.com offers a free concierge service to help plan. Kauai Activities and Things to Do.

E Komo Mai ( Welcome)

For information on booking Kauai Tours visit us on Kauai.com or  call 1-800-652-8248 or Local 808 VACATION

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Summer Snorkeling at Anini

Anini Beach
Located on Kauai’s North Shore, Anini is one of Kauai’s most beautiful and peaceful beaches. It is usually less crowded than Poipu or Hanalei and the beach itself is really quite breathtaking. A long stretch of fringing reef located just offshore tends to keep the water relatively calm here, and make for some good snorkeling.

Anini has some nice facilities including restrooms, showers, picnic tables, a grassy lawn, and pavilions that can be reserved for parties. If the pavilions are not already reserved, they can be claimed on a first come first serve basis. There is also a boat launch ramp here. I point this out, because if you choose to snorkel here, you might want to steer clear of this particular area.

Snorkeling at Anini is quite different than many other Kauai snorkeling spots. The slope is very gradual, so it is possible to swim quite a ways from shore and still be in shallow water. During a low tide, it gets so shallow in fact, that it can be difficult to navigate. The best time to snorkel at Anini is early in the morning when there is a high tide. The afternoons can get windy and stir up the sand, diminishing visibility.

At Anini, you will not see the volume and diversity of fish that you will on the South Shore, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t snorkel here. If you take it very slow, you will see things at Anini, that you will see nowhere else. For example, in the sandy shallows, you might run across a flounder or helmet gurnard, they are so camouflaged that you won’t be able to detect them until you see one move. In the sea grass beds, solar powered sea slugs, or nudibranchs are common and the sea turtles will come in to feed on the sea grass here.

Most snorkelers will pass right by a solitary coral head, but if you stop and float motionless over the top of the ones here, you might discover a whole community of Hawaiian Dascyllus, black and white “Domino Damsels” guarding their coral head. If you are lucky, you might spot a Lionfish or Leaf Scorpionfish, tucked between the branches of the coral. Whitemouth Moray Eels are also common on the reef here.

The best place to snorkel at Anini is in front of the first parking area you come to before the bathrooms and the boat ramp. A lunch wagon often parks here (but will be absent early in the morning). Look out at the water and try to spot the small orange buoy. Snorkel in the shallows first to gain your confidence, but then follow the edge of the reef out to the buoy. Do not swim over the top of the reef, instead follow it along the perimeter.

Please note that there is no lifeguard posted at Anini, so be sure to take all the necessary precautions. Stay in the shallow area if you are a beginner or you are snorkeling with children, but if you are feeling confident, head farther out (with your buddy, of course). It will begin to get deeper and you will enjoy the unusual topography of the reef. Eventually, you will be lead out into a deep and narrow keyhole where you will not be able to go any farther. Look for eels tucked into the walls of the reef, taking your time to discover what lies in each crevice. Then head back to shore following the other edge of the reef. On the way back, be sure to notice where you are swimming relative to the shore, you will want to stay to the left of the boat launch area.

Like all coral reefs, the reef is fragile at Anini. Please practice reef etiquette and if you need more tips about snorkeling, be sure to check out our other snorkeling articles.

Don’t forget to bring you fish cards or fish identification books. These are available at convenience stores around the island. If you have kids, order a copy of The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book. Your children will be able to learn about all the fish they discovered on the reef (including the Helmet Gurnard) while coloring them in. This book is also great for the long plane ride home.

To get to Anini, head north past Kilauea and take the second Kalihiwai road, toward the ocean, then turn left on Anini drive.

Lydgate Beach Park, the Perfect Place for Families Visiting Kauai

Lydgate Pond

Lydgate Pond

If you are traveling with kids on Kauai this summer, make it a point to visit Lydgate Park. This popular Kauai Beach Park offers the perfect combination adventure and comfort for families traveling with small children. The kids will love the large community-built “Kamalani” playground where there are swings, slides, bars, tires, walkways, swinging bridges, a volcano, tile benches, drinking fountains and all that wonderfully soft sawdust they pour on the ground to pad any falls. Dozens of crevices and secret pathways make for a great game of hide-and-seek.

Kamalani Playground is quite unique. As you visit, you may notice the colorful handmade tiles that were created by the children of Kauai to decorate the area with a Kauai-based theme. You might also notice the plaques of all the donors that made the park possible. The main reason to come here though, is that the kids will love it and if they do, there is a second playground called “Kamalani Kai Bridge” located about ¼ mile south of this one, tucked amongst the trees right on the beach.

Kamalani Bridge

Kamalani Bridge

Lydgate Beach Park is located on the East side of Kauai adjacent to the Wailua River. As you drive into the area, you will notice all the family friendly amenities like soccer fields, beachside pavilions, and comfort stations. However, the beach here is quite rough due to the incessant trade winds waves that pound the coast. The river also deposits a lot of debris in the form of driftwood, which makes swimming here hazardous. But Lydgate is special, since these conditions were recognized, two man-made rock wall ponds were built to buffer the waves and now provide a calm swimming, snorkeling, and wading area.

The ponds allow the water to move freely through the crevices in the rocks. Juvenile fishes can move into the pond through these crevices and as they grow are unable to escape. As a result, it is possible to view several different species of fishes when snorkeling here. Turtles and eels can also be found in the pond from time to time, especially after a high tide. The protected area, calm water, posted lifeguard and variety of fish make this the perfect beginning snorkeling spot. A second, shallower pond, adjacent to the first is a perfect wading area for the littlest of visitors.

lydgate_volcanoIf you are a history buff, you might be interested to know that the Wailua area is rich in ancient Hawaiian historical sites. These sites may be worth investigating. At the far north end of Lydgate Park, you will find the Hauola Place of Refuge. This Place of Refuge was considered a safe zone for commoners who had broken a kapu or committed a crime. The rock wall remains also mark the site of the Hikini a ka la Heiau.

When you visit, be sure to pack a nice lunch. There are plenty of picnic tables, shade pavilions, and nice grassy areas to relax and enjoy a picnic. Whatever adventure you choose here, the whole family will enjoy the day at Lydgate Beach Park

Hanalei Pier Restoration Complete

pier new

Sunrises over the new Hanalei Pier

Nothing quite says summer on Kauai like a day on Hanalei Bay, a walkout to the end of the pier and a  jump  into the crystal clear water below.  The Hanalei Landing  has long been a significant  landmark of Kauai’s north shore.

Over the years deterioration, weather , neglect and vandalism left the canopy at the end of the pier a dangerous attraction.  Last year The Hanalei Rotary Club spearheaded Save the Pier, a project that raised over $170,000 toward the  restoration project.

This last Thursday an official blessing and celebration took place for the newly restored roof canopy at the end of Hanalei Pier.  Governor Abercrombie was on Kauai to take part in the ceremony and celebration along with Mayor Carvalho,  Rotary Club Members, project  contractors, the restoration team and many members of the community.  Mahalo to all who contributed to the  preservation of this very special part of our community and Kauai’s history.


Farewell old shed Mahalo for the memories.

Koloa Landing Snorkeling Underwater Exploration

003-115Koloa Landing is one of the best spots on Kauai for beginning shore dives. Because there are no facilities here, there are rarely more than a few people in the water. Most of the local dive companies use this as their “shore” dive location due to the ease of entrance, deep water, and abundance of marine life, but anyone can access the beach.

Entering the water is as easy as walking down the old cement launch. Divers will find that the water gets deep almost immediately. Mariners originally discovered this deep-water port during the days of the fur and sandalwood trades. Divers will find it full of marine life. The schools of fish are much larger here than they are at other nearby locations like Poipu Beach. Visibility is usually good and divers can encounter many different species here that are seen less frequently elsewhere on Kauai including: mullet, trumpet-fish, and file-fish. Even the invertebrate populations are a little more unique here. The rocks are often covered with red pencil urchins and it is common to spot octopus.

Koloa Landing can also be a great snorkeling spot as long as a few precautions are followed. Snorkelers (and divers) should remember that ocean conditions vary and there is no lifeguard on duty here. The water is typically calm, but it can get a little rough near the rocks and it is wise to stay out of surge areas if there is any swell showing. Visitors should check in with the lifeguards at Poipu Beach Park to find out about ocean conditions along the South Shore before venturing out. Of course snorkelers should always swim with a buddy and follow ocean safety guidelines. You can also check out our tips for snorkeling at Kauai.com.

Due to the deep water, lack of facilities, and the absence of a lifeguard, this location is not recommended for families with children. Only more advanced snorkelers should venture out here, or consider signing up for a guided shore dive.Sea Turtle

Finding Koloa Landing is a little tricky and so is finding a parking spot. From the round-a-bout in Poipu, take the exit marked for Spouting Horn and then make an immediate left Ho’onani Rd. On the right you will see a dirt parking area followed by a bumpy gravel road that goes down to the beach. If there is parking up top, take it, there is rarely parking available below.

To learn more about Coral Reefs, or the fish that you will see while snorkeling on Kauai, check out Monika Mira’s many books about marine life. All are available on Amazon.com

Kalapaki Beach Kauai Secret Vacation Destination

Kalapaki Beach Area

Minutes from Lihue Airport, Kalapaki Town is nestled along the white sand beaches of Kalapaki Bay and the tranquil, lush banks of the Huleia River and the spectacular backdrop of Haupu Ridge.

Don’t overlook Kalapaki Beach and surrounding areas, it just might end up being your favorite attraction or vacation destination.

Kalapaki Town offers a colorful mix of resort and boutique accommodations, a myriad of water and land activities and an eclectic mix of shops for the discerning shopper. Kalapaki Beach is the most centrally located and diverse vacation destinations on Kauai.

Find fun and affordable dining options and the perfect mix of amenities, activities and attractions for all ages. Grab a breakfast egg sandwich or lunch at the Kalapaki Beach Hut home of  “The Original Ono Char Burger”. Dine upstairs for ocean views at this casual and family friendly establishment. Take your order to go and sit along the shores of Kalapaki Beach while Hawaiian music drifts through the air and palm trees sway in the light trade winds off the shore.  After a day in the sun treat yourself to a rainbow shave ice at Kalapaki Shave Ice or a Gelatto for Papalani Gellato in Anchor Cove.

Kalapaki Beach is also the perfect spot to take a surf lesson. You can rent stand-up paddle boards, surf boards, & boogie boards within walking distance from the blue waters and white sands of Kalapaki Beach. Why not kayak and zip-line along the Huleia River, or be a spectator along the jetty for the Thursday night Nawiliwili Yacht Club races. The calm waters of the inner harbor is the perfect place to learn to sail or be a guest of one of the competing race boats.

Kalapaki Beach accommodations include the upscale resort accommodations of The Marriott Resort and Beach Club, which offers luxury amenities, spa services and a world class golf course. Romantic boutique hotels and private vacation rental sare also available. There is something at Kalapaki for every budget.

The Garden Island Inn is steps away from the white sand beaches of Kalapaki Beach, dining, shopping and the newly opened Kauai Athletic Club This charming and whimsical  property has beautiful hand-painted island style rooms and lush tropical grounds for the perfect island style retreat.

Located a little further inland is the The Kauai Inn, settled away from the bay, this 100 year old hotel holds the title of first hotel on Kauai, preserving its relaxed Hawaiian charm with comfortable family friendly service at affordable rates.

Kalapaki is not truly hidden, in fact it is easy to find, full of activity and located in such a way that makes exploring Kauai’s other regions simple and convenient. So why not explore Kalapaki Beach as your choice for your next Kauai Vacation.

Enjoy Kauai’s Beaches Safely

This six-minute water safety video could save your life.

This six-minute water safety video could save your life.

In six minutes you can learn how to enjoy Kauai’s beautiful beaches safely, thanks to a brand new water safety video that plays on a continuous loop in both of Lihue Airport’s baggage claim areas and on YouTube at Kauai Water Safety Video.

“Since 1990, 200 people have drowned in our oceans; 150 of them have been visitors,” says Dr. Monty Downs, an emergency room physician who knows only too well how heartbreaking it is to let families know that one of their loved ones has drowned while on vacation. “Our beaches are beautiful. We want everyone to know how to enjoy them safely.”

Kauai’s ocean conditions are different than many people have ever experienced before, and can change in moments, cautions Downs, who is also president of the Kauai Lifeguard Association. “In some locations, the ocean can appear calm, but huge sets of waves that come in 30-minute intervals from the Aleutian Islands are on their way and you can be caught in a living Hell.”

Downs recommends swimming only at Kauai’s lifeguarded beaches. “However, only 10 of our 75 beaches are have lifeguards and Kauai is the Island of Discovery, so we are realistic and know that people are going to also swim other places,” he says. Therefore, Downs recommends educating yourself about ocean conditions:

  • Visit www.kauaiexplorer.com for current ocean conditions, updated daily.
  • Familiarize yourself with how to use the 200 Rescue Tubes located on beaches across the island, including much of the non-lifeguarded shoreline.
  • Learn what to do if you are caught in a rip current. Visit www.kauaiexplorer.com and click on Rip Currents the right hand side of the page for step-by-step instructions of how to save yourself if you area caught in a rip current.

Downs dedicated the airport water safety video to the memory of people who have drowned on Kauai “and to those who won’t, thanks to our water safety efforts.”

The water safety video that plays in Lihue Airport baggage claim areas was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kapaa, Kauai Lifeguard Association, Dupont Pioneer, Wala’au and KVIC.

Members of the Rotary Club of Kapaa, the driving force behind the Kauai's water safety video, joined by Dr. Monty Downs (top right), president of the Kauai Lifeguard Association.

Members of the Rotary Club of Kapaa, the driving force behind the Kauai’s water safety video, joined by Dr. Monty Downs (top right), president of the Kauai Lifeguard Association.

Kauai Monk Seal Pups

M. Sullivan. NOAA Permit #10

Hawaiian Monk Seal and Pup

Springtime is Monk Seal pupping season. So far in March of 2013, at least four seals have been born in the Hawaiian Islands, although there still may be some unknown births in the remote areas of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While no seals have been born on Kauai yet this year, a representative from the NOAA Monk Seal Research office expects that some of the female monk seals will pup here later this year. On average over the last few years, about four pups have been born on Kauai each year and Poipu Beach seems to be one their favorite locations for pupping.

While this event brings awe and wonder to visitors, it can also be a little dangerous for the pups if precautions are not taken. Luckily, Kauai has quite a devoted group of Monk Seal Watch Volunteers. You may see the yellow tape strung up around the Monk Seals to protect them. The volunteers are a wealth of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask them question. As long as you are standing on the outside of the tape, you can get some beautiful photos of a species that you will encounter nowhere else on earth.

If you get to see a Monk Seal pup, consider yourself lucky. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of the most endangered animal species on the planet. It is estimated that there are fewer than 1100 individuals in the population and while their population is increasing in the Main Hawaiian Islands, numbers are still declining in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. There are a number of conservation efforts underway to help curb this decline in population. To learn more about these efforts, you can visit the NOAA Monk Seal Research Program website.

You can help protect Hawaiian Monk Seals by learning more about them, following safe wildlife viewing guidelines and reporting any entangled marine life to: Marine
Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline 1- 888-256-9840. Responsible wildlife viewing helps to ensure your safety and their protection and long-term
survival in the wild.

To ensure that your presence does not disturb Monk Seals you can practice the following responsible viewing guidelines:

Observe them from at least 50 yards. Since this is not always possible on the small beaches that we share with them, make sure to stay behind the yellow tape that has been placed around them for their safety.

Do not attempt to approach a seal or “play” with them. The seals may misinterpret your actions and cause serious injury. Cautiously swim back to shore and watch them from a safe vantage.

Do not attempt to push seals back in the water. Please keep your pet on a leash at all times when in the presence of monk seals. Dogs can share diseases with seals that could have devastating effects on the population.

Cautiously move away if you observe any of the following behaviors:

  • Rapid movement away from the disturbance and toward the water.
  • Sudden awakening from sleep on the beach.
  • Female attempting to shield a pup with her body or by her movements.
  • Vocalization or “growling” at the disturbance.

NOAA Monk Seal Research Page

Kauai Vacation A Family Destination

Kauai activities with kids

Kauai is a paradise for families and children, a simple place, where flip flops, shorts and t-shirts are everyday attire and running barefoot along white sandy beaches and casual dining where shirts and shoes are optional.

Kauai is a safe place for children with lots of family friendly swimming choices, surf lessons, life-guarded beaches, snorkeling, easy hiking trails, parks and playgrounds. This tropical island boasts mild temperatures year round, driving times from one destination to the next are short and there are countless activities that cater to all ages. Some of the Kauai’s top activities cater to families with children as well as resorts with water slides and kid day camps. Kauai overall is a casual, kid friendly and safe place to vacation with children. Whether you live on Kauai or plan on visiting with children, booking your Kauai Vacation Activities is best done before you arrive.

Plan your vacation on-line and spend your time on Kauai playing, exploring and relaxing. Kauai has a lot to offer families and children of all ages. Check out the Kauai Calendar of Events for current and upcoming Kids Activities and family friendly events.

Top 5 Activities for Kids

The following top 5 Kauai activities offer diverse selection for all ages and level of adventure.

Na Pali Boat Tour and Snorkeling: Sailing off the Na Pali or a whale watch during the winter months is a unforgettable adventure for families with children and an educational experience on marine life and Hawaiian history.

A Kauai Luau and Train Tour Sit back and let the conductor do the driving as you explore the Kilohana Plantation and relaxing historical train ride followed by a traditional luau and spectacular show.

Tubing Adventure Float on inner tubes through irrigation ditches and tunnels. A fun and relaxing adventure for all ages.

Kauai Helicopter A birds eye view of Kauai’s interior. A once in a life time experience that will forever be remembered.

Zip-Line Adventure Now this will get the kids attention. Soaring over the tree tops of a tropical rain-forest with shouts of “Look Mom no hands”, Exhilarating fun! Then a relaxing dip in a fresh water swimming hole and lunch.

It is good to wear them out but don’t book it all in one day!

If your kids are not quite up to speed for the high adventure activities, don’t worry there is no shortage of substitutes. Many mellow Kauai activities cater to children.

Kauai Beaches and Attractions

Want to just sit back in the shade and watch the kids play for hours? Lydgate Beach Park and the Kamalani Playground, a spectacular community built play structure with slides, swings, bridges and tons of fun hiding places, will leave them entertained for hours. If you want to visit a botanical garden that will keep the little ones just as intrigued as you, visit the Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden, an amazing display of botanical wonder , bronze statues and fairytale like children’s garden with shallow wading pool, tree house and rain forest jungle.

Another free activity that incorporates hiking and exploration is Kauai Geo-caching, a world wide treasure hunt using G.P.S and landmark clues.

Body Boarding or body surfing is a fun and inexpensive activity the whole family can enjoy. Rent your boogie board by the day or week and you will quickly catch the wave fever. Please choose from one of the life-guarded beaches and always take precautions during any ocean activity.

The Kauai Coastal Path is safe and picturesque place to rent bikes and explore. Tandem bikes, beach cruisers and child carriers are available to rent, adult and children sized bikes. Along the Kauai Coastal Path you will find many choices for picnic spots, beach exploring and facilities that offer showers, restrooms and along this 4.1 mile scenic coastline.

Try your swing at the new Mini Golf in Kilauea this is a a fun family outing that is designed around a botanical garden with native plants. You can also grab a quick bite to eat and treat yourself to a tropical fruit Gellato after your game.

With countless Kauai activities to choose from you won’t have to worry about finding things to do on Kauai, you just have to start planning your next trip before you even leave.


Free Fun Things to Do on Kauai

Kauai free things to do

The top activities to do on Kauai definitely include the Na Pali Boat Tours, a Kauai Helicopter Tour, ATV Tours, Zip-line Tours, and a traditional Hawaiian luau, but there are a few family fun things to do on Kauai you might find to be a nice way to pass a couple hours of your vacation time.

Hula Shows – Most visitors to Kauai include a luau in their top to do list. If hula dancing and Hawaiian music are on your list, here is a chance to get a little preview. If you just can’t get enough of the melodic beat and swaying of hips check out one of the following free Hula shows around the island.

Grand Hyatt Kauai – Torch Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:15, Keiki Hula Show on Tuesday 6:30-8:00pm For Information call: 808 742-1234

Poipu Shopping Village – Tahitian and Hula Dancing Mondays at 5:30pm. For Information Call: 808 742-2831

Harbor Mall Lihue – Hawaiian Entertainment and Hula on Wednesdays at 12:15 pmFor Information Call: 808 245-6255

Coconut Marketplace – Wailua Hula Show on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm and Saturdays at 1:00 pm Call: 808 822-3641

Farmers Markets- Weekly farmers markets island wide sell locally grown produce, exotic tropical fruits and flowers as well as locally made products.

Hanapepe Art Night – Enjoy exploring the many galleries demonstration , performances and local cuisine as you stroll the streets of historic Hanapepe Town. Every Friday night Hanapepe Town comes alive with local artist, musicians and ethnic eats. Every Friday Evening from 6:00-9:00 pm.

Historic Walking Tour of Waimea – Free walking tour of Waimea Town every Monday. Lei Making Workshop Every Friday. Reservation required. Contact the West Kauai Technology Center at 808 338-1322.

88 Shrines at Lawai International Center – Short video and story telling by Lynn Murumoto on the second and last Saturday of the month. Tour Times 10:00 am -12:00pm and 2:00pm call 808 639-4300 Donations Accepted.

Old Town Kapaa First Saturday of the month Art Walk

Free live music, artist, tasty food and entertainment every 1st Saturday of the month in downtown Kapaa. 5:30 -8:30

Kauai Museum – Free guided tours with the cost of admission. 10:30 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Ohana Saturdays – Free admission the first Saturday of the month.

Lydgate State Park – A favorite or generations of locals and their keiki, this east side park (Leho Rd access in Wailua) fronts two wonderful boulder enclosed swimming areas that allow freshwater and fish in and that are well protected from ocean waves. The water is calm and clear and perfect for beginning swimmers and snorkelers with bathrooms, picnic areas, a playground and lifeguards right there as well. The area is also part of an extensive network of archaeological sites in what was a historically significant part of Kauai for Hawaiians. Be prepared for lots of kids and a fun time at the beach!

Geo-caching What is Geo-caching? Geo-caching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called Geo-caches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. There are several hidden treasures all over the island. The best guidelines to follow are Geo caches that are on public property and easy and safe terrain.

And Almost Free…

Kauai Plantation Railway – The Kilohana Plantation Estate is a where you will find an an authentic narrow gauge railway tour that chugs along on a 40 minute ride through almost 100 acres of sugar cane, pineapple, banana, papaya, hardwood trees, tropical flowers and coffee. This fairly new attraction recreates the time of the plantations and is highly informative about Kauai agriculture past, present, and future. Train tours run daily. The train leaves the Depot at 10 & 11 am, 12 Noon, 1 & 2 pm, and 5:30 on Tuesdays and Fridays. Next door, the 16,000 sq ft managers home is open daily with galleries and a courtyard restaurant.

Kilauea Mini Golf – The good folks from Anaina Hou have recently finished up a miniature golf course and botanical garden just a minute or so past Kilauea Town on the north shore. Its 18 holes of fun runs through gardens representing different eras of Hawaiian culture and we can tell you its truly a unique experience for our little island. It’s open every day from 11:00am – 9:00 pm and costs $15 for ages 11 and up, $10 for ages 5-10, and is free for 4 and under. You also have to love the fact that it’s right next to Banana Joe’s fruit and smoothie stand where you can enjoy something tasty after your game!

Monika Mira brings the ocean to life for children

Monika Mira

Monika Mira loves to open children’s eyes to the world of creatures that live under the ocean’s surface through her colorfully illustrated children’s books. Her most recent release, Coral Reefs, features beautiful and fascinating photographs of denizens of the deep who thrive in and around coral reefs, such as polka-dotted eels, bright orange clownfish, green sea turtles and black-tipped reef sharks. Written for ages 10-13, with its clear scientific descriptions, the book is also great for adults who want to learn about life under the sea.

“As an aquatic biologist, it’s my passion and I also feel like it’s my duty teach children about the amazing animals I come in contact with in my work,” she says. “I also like to make children aware of how they can become good stewards, so in my books you will often see a list of things children can do to help the ocean’s animals and their environment, such as etiquette when they are around a coral reef.” Mira also challenges children to come up with some of their own solutions for conservation and protection of our natural resources.

Mira’s The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book was her first book. Originally designed for adults, similar to the Anatomy Coloring Book used to teach adults about the human body for massage and other medical applications, The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book became a hit with children, too, and is now used in classrooms across the country from elementary schools to colleges.

Her next book, the charming Who Lives in the Sea? Ocean Animals of Hawaii, was designed for beginning readers and is written with repetitive rhyming text to encourage early reading skills and to introduce children to sea creatures like the Humpback whale, dolphin, sea turtle, jellyfish, reef fish and starfish. Mira also includes important species like the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal.

An artist as well as a scientist, Mira creates all her own illustrations for her books, including the captivating, brightly-colored collages made from paper she cut out with scissors then digitally scanned for Who Lives in the Sea?

Mira has worked on dozens of projects to help conserve Hawaii’s natural resources, from teaching marine science, to conducting biological stream surveys for the Department of Health. Now, she writes books to spread the message about conservation.

“My goal with all my books is to foster an appreciation for ocean animals in children at a young age and to perpetuate an attitude of caring for the animals of the sea.”

All of Mira’s books are available on Amazon. Who Lives in the Sea? and The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book can also be found in specialty shops around Kauai. For more information, visit https://kauai.com/lucidpublishingMonika Mira bookcover collage


Best Summer Snorkeling At Kauai’s Tunnels Beach

The summer months are almost gone, but lucky for you the big north swells have yet to arrive. There is still time to take advantage of the crystal clear, calm water at Kauai’s best North Shore snorkeling spots, like Tunnels Beach. So, grab your family and some snorkel gear and take a peak at what lies below.

Tunnels Beach offers a unique combination of interesting topography and diverse marine life. Parking is the hardest part of snorkeling here, but lucky for you, some of the local residents have opened up their yards for parking right across from this world-class snorkeling spot. For a $10 fee (and believe me, it’s worth it!), you can park across the street and walk. While it is wise to check in with the lifeguards at nearby Haena Beach Park, the beach in front of the lifeguard stand is not the best place for snorkeling. You must enter 1/4-1/2 mile to the right of the park when facing the beach.

There is a shallow reef at Tunnels with deeper fingers that run perpendicular to the beach, out to the edge of the reef before it drops into about 40 feet of water. Enter at a place where you can stand in the sand and there is a clear shot out to the channel. One such locations is right in front of an alley way that the local dive companies utilize for parking and set-up (you will probably walk down it to the beach if you have parked in one of the paid lots). Once you have made it to the edge of the reef, follow that outside ledge parallel to the beach, heading back toward the lifeguard stand at the beach park. Be careful not to get yourself into a spot that is too shallow. You will return the same way.

The inside reef offers plenty of interesting fish including several species of Hawkfish, which can be found perched upon the scattered heads of cauliflower coral. Schools of Whitebar Surgeon-fish are common here as well. If you are lucky (or early), you might be able to spot some Pacific Green Sea Turtles.

The outer reef offers the best snorkeling here, but this spot is not for beginners. You must know and understand the conditions. A strong current can pull to the left and if you forgot where you entered it is difficult to return. If there is any surf what-so-ever, it is wise to avoid this spot. However, if you consider yourself an expert, the conditions are calm and you have checked in with the lifeguards, then you can cross the channel until you get to the outer reef. Once you have made it out, you may be treated to turtle cleaning stations, larger schools of fish and more undisturbed corals.

No matter where you snorkel at Tunnels, you are sure to be treated to something extraordinary. Just remember, Hawaii’s Beaches can be unpredictable. If you have never snorkeled before you might want to start out at a spot like Lydgate Park, or Poipu Beach where a lifeguard is present. Try out your gear, get comfortable. Use a wetsuit for comfort or a floatation device if you need to. For more information, check out our page on snorkeling tips. Also, bear in mind that Kauai’s beaches are delicate and susceptible to environmental stress. Please avoid standing or stepping on the reef. View marine life from a distance, practice Reef Etiquette and enjoy a safe and memorable snorkeling experience on you Hawaiian vacation.