Miniature movie buffs will love seeing the town that inspired Lilo & Stitch and other film locations on Kaua‘i, which is also the only island in Hawai‘i where you can go tubing
Kaua‘i’s impressive coastline, towering waterfalls and canyons make it an ideal destination for families who love adventure. Be sure to book a cruise along the Nāpali Coast to see some of the most spectacular scenery you are ever likely to encounter. Or, better still, book a scenic helicopter flight to admire it from above.
The islands’ dramatic landscapes have also led it to be a favourite for Hollywood location scouts, with Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, George of the Jungle, King Kong and Raiders of the Lost Ark among the many films that have been made on Kaua‘i. Book a movie tour to see the sights in real life.
They include Allerton Gardens, which is home to the giant Moreton Bay fig trees made famous in Jurassic Park. McBryde Gardens and Na ‘Āina Kai Botanical Gardens are also beautiful picnic spots. Some movie locations are also included in guided ATV tours, which are a great way to explore the island’s lush valleys and rainforests.
If your kids are fans of Lilo & Stitch, make sure you include a visit to historic Hanapēpē, which was the inspiration for the hometown in the animated Disney movie. Friday Art Night is a great time to go (every Friday night from 5pm), when you can meet artists and see musicians perform.
Kaua‘i is also the only place in the Hawaiian Islands where you can go mountain tubing. Don a headlamp and float down canals and through tunnels dug by Chinese labourers circa 1870 to bring water from the rainforest to sugarcane fields. It’s suitable for kids aged five and over, and those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. You can also fly above Kaua‘i’s rainforest canopies, green valleys and streams on an eco-friendly ziplining adventure, while Waimea Canyon — known as ‘the Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ — is a great place to go hiking or mountain biking.
If you’re there between December and May, book a cruise to see humpback whales off Kaua‘i’s coast. Kīlauea Lighthouse, on the island’s northern tip, is also a great place to spot them. While you’re there, visit Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge – a sanctuary for seabirds such as red-footed boobies, great frigatebirds and Hawai‘i’s endangered state bird, the nēnē (also known as the Hawaiian goose).
You can also step back in time to the 1800s and ride the plantation train through the orchards and sugarcane fields at Kilohana Plantation, and learn about Kaua‘i’s incredible natural environment at Kōke‘e Natural History Museum in Kōke‘e State Park.
Kaua‘i also abounds with family-friendly beaches, including Po‘ipū Beach (South), Salt Pond Beach Park (South-West) and Lydgate Beach Park (East).
Aqua-Aston Hospitality has two plantation-style resorts on the island. Aston at Po‘ipū Kai has five pools, nine tennis courts and barbecue areas. It has a variety of one-to two-bedroom suites and two and four-bedroom homes, each with a full kitchen and washer/dryer. Aston Islander on the Beach, on the east coast (known as the Royal Coconut Coast), is a peaceful retreat with an oceanfront pool, spas, barbecues and bike hire. It’s an easy walk to Coconut Marketplace, and around 10 minutes’ drive to Kapa‘a Town.
Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kaua‘i by Outrigger has cottage-style condos on beautiful Po‘ipū Beach. Beachfront Lae Nani Resort Kaua‘i by Outrigger offers a charming ambience and a lava rock-protected swimming area, which is great for kids. Oceanfront Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa Kaua‘i by Outrigger has large, luxurious suites, a heated river pool that meanders through the resort with flumed waterslides and sand-bottomed whirlpool spas.
Castle Resorts & Hotels also has several options to choose from. They include the condominium-style properties Kaha Lani Resort, Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows and Po‘ipū Shores.
Whalers Cove Resort is a small resort at Po‘ipū, around half an hour’s drive from the airport on the island’s South Shore. It has a range of two-bedroom single level condos and split-level townhouses spread across two buildings, with full-size kitchens and washer/dryers. The Resort has a heated pool, spa and barbecues and is just a few minutes’ walk to the calm Baby Beach, and seven minutes to the shops at Kukui‘ula. There’s also a grocery request service, so your fridge can be stocked before you arrive.
In a jungle-like setting at Po‘ipū Beach on the South Shore, Keoki’s Paradise has tropical mocktails for kids and a chef’s tasting menu for parents.
Nearby Kalapaki Joe’s is a great place to catch sport on TV, with a large choice of appetisers, tacos, salads, burgers, salads and steak. It also has another outlet in the Kukui Grove Center at Līhu‘e. The Beach House at Kōloa has a strong seafood focus, with a separate kids’ menu. At Duke’s Kaua‘i at Līhu‘e, you can try local favourites like the hula pie as well as burgers, tacos and salads.
The Beach House at Kōloa has a strong seafood focus, with a separate kids’ menu.
At Duke’s Kaua‘i at Līhu‘e, you can try local favourites like the hula pie as well as burgers, tacos and salads.
A local favourite, Brick Oven Pizza in Upcountry Kalāheo, serves oven-baked pizzas, soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta. Kalāheo Cafe & Coffee Company is best known for its hearty breakfast menu. Try the house special, the ‘Bagel Benny’.
At Hukilau Lanai at Kaua‘i Coast Resort in Kapa‘a, all children’s meals start with fresh pineapple and finish with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, with live music every night from Wednesday to Saturday.
Wailua Shave Ice at Kapa‘a is the place to try the shaved ice dessert made with tropical fruit.