Hawaii is a wonderful family travel spot. Each island has its individual charm, hot spots and must sees. No matter which island or islands you visit, you’ll find loads to do, loads of places to stay, and plenty of gorgeous, tranquil nature and scenery to take in.
Kauai — its size about 550 square miles — is called the Garden Isle for its lush landscapes. The island has more sandy beach per mile of coastline than any of the other Hawaiian islands. In addition to beaches, you’ll find an array of satisfying hikes throughout Waimea Canyon, the awe-inspiring cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, and the mountains, including Mt. Kawaikini and Mt. Waialeale.
Whether you want a laid-back, relaxing family holiday or an active, adventure-style getaway — you’ll truly find it all on Kauai.
Here we’ll focus on some of our favorite kid-friendly activities on the island of Kauai, Hawaii that are suitable for all ages from toddler to teen to adult.
Snorkel at Poipu Beach Park
Snorkeling and hanging out at the beach is just about our favorite activity while in Kauai and with family! Poipu Beach Park, on the Southern coast of Kauai, is around numerous vacation rentals and the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club.
Poipu Beach Park is a beautiful beach with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great place to snorkel as there is a rock wall on half of the beach, making it calm and easy for little ones to stick their heads in and enjoy the bright, numerous, always exciting sea creatures that all of Kauai and Hawaii has to offer.
(TIP: Ask ahead of time to see if your vacation rental or hotel has snorkeling gear to borrow for the day. If not, pick up some cheap gear at Safeway, Longs Drugs or another shop in Lihue. You can always leave your gear when you are done for the next family that stays!)
Bike on Kauai’s Coastal Path
Kauai’s coastal path, also called Ke Ala Hele Makalae, takes you along the Eastern coast of Kauai. It’s a fabulous place to explore nature with kids of all ages. There are several places to rent bikes along the path.
Try Coconut Coasters in Kapa’a. It’s a small, bright and friendly rental place where you can pick up bike trailers and bikes of all sizes to suit everybody in your group. It’s also right along the trail, so you can hop right on and enjoy the coast right away.
Ke Ala Hele Makalae offers endless opportunities for family pictures and views enjoying nature. Pack some snacks and stop at one of the covered gazebos along the way to get off your bikes, explore the paths, rocks and beaches and listen to the waves.
(TIP: On the way back, stop by one of the shaved ice food trucks or shops for a traditional Hawaiian treat. We love Shave Ice by the Bay in Kapa’a. It’s on the way back to returning your bikes!)
Hike at Waimea Canyon
While there are numerous trails at Waimea Canyon (on the West side of the island), a nice trail to try with younger kids is the Cliff Trail. It takes you along the ridge and offers beautiful views of the Canyon. You will not be disappointed in the views! Check out this website for more hiking info at Waimea: https://kukuiula.com/hiking-in-waimea-canyon/
(TIP: Try packing your Ergo baby carriers or another carrier suitable for toddlers if you are worried about how far your kids can walk.)
Watch the Sunrise
While you are adjusting to the time change from your travels, take advantage of everybody waking up at the crack of dawn and go for a walk along the coast to watch the sunrise. This is a fantastic way to spend the morning!
If you are staying on the South coast of the island, try walking along the side of the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa and watch the sunrise from Shipwreck’s Beach. You’ll get beautiful, uninterrupted pictures and memories to last a lifetime. Kids will love to wander around with nowhere pressing to be, taking it all in.
If your group is hungry, stop by coffee bar of the Seaview Terrace at the Grand Hyatt for some fruit and a muffin. (It opens at 5:30 am.)
Relax at Lydgate State Park
Lydgate State Park, along the East side of Kauai, makes for a wonderful day stop. The beach is laid-back and has a great rock wall area close to the shore so kids and adults of all ages can enjoy calm, uninterrupted snorkeling and swimming. The variety of fish here is fantastic and kids will like pointing out fish in every color of the rainbow! (Outside of the lagoon area, the water can be too rough for swimming.)
After everyone has had their fill building sand castles and watching sea creatures, kids can enjoy the large Kamalani playground that’s behind the beach. A large, community built recreational area, there are all kinds of fun places for kids to hide, climb and explore. Bring a picnic and spend the day between the playground and beach.
Dine at Beach House
The Beach House Restaurant is a famous restaurant in Koloa. It’s a great, fine dining option to enjoy the unbeatable views of the rocky shoreline here and the never ending ocean literally right outside the floor to ceiling windows that open and let in that breeze.
Go early enough with the kids and you’ll have the place mostly to yourselves. Although it’s fine dining, the atmosphere and staff are still laid-back and welcoming of families. Kids will enjoy ordering their drinks, complete with little paper umbrellas and who doesn’t love that?
After dining, walk along the shore here. If you stowed your snorkeling gear in the car, bring it out for some unbelievable sightings of sea turtles. This area, though rocky and not suitable for little ones, is a great place to see turtles and large fish while snorkeling. Kids can hang back and watch the waves and the creatures from the shore, while parents or guardians switch off diving in.