Family holidays can take many forms, but the basic ingredient is simple: fun! With its three navigable rivers, more than 80 kilometres of white-sand beaches, and mile-long list of adventures, Kaua‘i is as much the island of family fun as it is the island of lush botanical gardens. Families will gain a lifetime of new memories in the mountains and beaches of The Garden Isle.
Family activities and outings are seemingly numberless, from swimming and canoe riding to hikes along the shoreline, kayak or riverboat rides, or exploring a botanical garden.
Zip, dip and be hip!
You can build an entire family scrapbook on ziplining. The ultimate thrill for families, it’s a unique way to see the island … from the air, flying like a bird, looking down at verdant forests, streams and waterfalls, listening to birdsong and feeling the wind and sun on your face. You can even zipline in tandem and take video and pictures of each other.
Hikes and bikes
Canyon trails, waterfall trails, short streamside trails, challenging uphill trails, trails through a Sugi pine grove—it’s a hiker’s paradise in the Waimea Canyon-Kōke‘e State Park uplands of west Kaua‘i. At the Waimea Canyon lookout, you might hear the echo of distant bleating goats and glimpse a whitetailed tropicbird soaring overhead. At the Kōke‘e Natural History Museum, you can see owls, rare honeycreepers, and rare plant and wildlife up close and personal, and you can plan your adventure with the trail maps available at the museum.
The road ends at the Kalalau Valley Lookout, towering over the spectacular valley of the ancients. Look up, too – rare red honeycreepers flit among the ‘ohi‘a trees and feed on lehua nectar with their delicately curved beaks. For a unique wheeled adventure, you can cycle to the coast from Waimea Canyon rim, more than 3,000 feet high, in Kaua‘i’s version of the Tour de France. Children 12 and older are eligible for the downhill Waimea Canyon bicycle cruise, led by expert guides over panoramic views of Ni‘ihau and the island’s west coast.
Eats and treats
Shave ice, saimin, plate lunches, taro burgers, teriyaki beef sticks, pineapple and mango smoothies, lilikoi sorbet, coconut ice cream—there are taste treats throughout the Garden Isle. Shave ice, a magnet for kids, is an island institution, a mound of finely shaved ice topped with tropical syrups and sometimes paired with ice cream and sweetened azuki beans.
Saimin is the noodle soup that reaches its pinnacle in the small kitchens of this island. Plate lunches—rice, macaroni salad, and beef, chicken or fish in local-style preparations—are the dine-and-dash specialty for Islanders, a Hawai‘i signature available at diners and take-out counters around the island. Enjoy the island’s roadside fruit stands, where fresh chilled coconut can be cracked and served for its cool, refreshing coconut water and freshly picked fruit is blended on the spot for smoothies.