How to Spend a Week in Kauai
Planning before you take off for a week in Hawaii? Smart idea, and thank you for stopping by our site to see how to spend a week in Kauai, as you begin your research! You will find this guide is perfect for first-timers to this Hawaiian island. This itinerary is curated from our first-hand experience and tips from locals that we met while visiting. Once you get there, you will see why they call it the Garden Isle!
Keep on scrolling to read a detailed guide for your next trip to Kauai!
- Getting to Kauai
- Getting Around
- Where to Stay
- Other highly-rated options
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 1
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 2
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 3
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 4
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 5
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 6
- How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 7
- Travel with Kids Tips
- Enjoy Kauai
- Click Below to See All Things Hawaii
Getting to Kauai
We feel fortunate to live on the west coast of the US, so flight time to any island in Hawaii is about 5-6 hours. We typically fly Alaska Airlines when we fly to the Hawaiian islands, but there are many airlines that will take you there. Keep in mind, that it is easy to jump from island to island once you are over there.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for cheap flights in general, we have you covered! See how we book cheap flights here.
You May Be Interested in this post too: 10 Best Things to Do on the Big Island with Kids
There are your typical options available on the island, but the only one we recommend is renting a car during your stay. It just wouldn’t be cost-effective to take an Uber everywhere on the island. Not to mention that there are some places that are quite far from one another. The other option is to take public transportation, however, this could eat into your precious time! We’ll be honest, renting a car can be quite a budget eater- so consider renting a car for part of your stay.
Interested in booking a car rental?
Where to Stay
There are a variety of accommodations when looking at where to stay on Kauai. Before booking, research the area you’ll be staying in. For example, is it a more touristy area, where there is easy access to different restaurants or markets? Staying off the beaten path may be more relaxing, but you might be sacrificing some conveniences. There isn’t a wrong answer here, just preference overall.
During our last stay in Kauai, we opted for an Airbnb that was located at the Island at the Beach. We appreciated this location and accommodation as it was within walking distance to markets, stores, and different restaurants. Our rental had a hotel resort vibe as there was a pool, with a pool bar, and is located right on the beach!
Pro Tip: Try looking for accommodation with a kitchen, or kitchenette. This is a major money saver when it comes to your overall travel budget!
Other highly-rated options
To make things even easier, here is the link to a map with the below recommendations!
Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy
The Kauai Coast Resort is right on the beach! Based on reviews, this resort is known for being family friendly with plenty of amenities to make your vacation memorable. Amenities include a pool with a pool bar, beach-facing accommodations, and kitchenettes.
Club Wyndham Bali Hai Villas
These accommodations are located a bit of a drive from the main airport for the island, but the location is a popular spot. If you book here you can look forward to great service, free parking and an amazing pool! Another point to consider when booking this resort is that they are an all-suite hotel near a popular golf course.
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
If you decide to book the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach resort you will be happy to discover and experience their excellent breakfast and oceanfront views. Their location also boasts access to a seaside walking trail and a luxurious pool for the family to cool off in.
Sheraton Kauai Resort
The Sheraton Kauai Resort is located in the southern part of Kauai. This accommodation is considered a wonderful place for visitors to set up as their home base while exploring the island. The hotel offers easy access to nearby attractions, more than one pool to relax at and luxurious gardens to explore.
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 1
Arrive on the Island
Depending on when you arrive on the island, you may have time to do more than what we have listed here for the day. Your first few hours will be spent getting your luggage (of course, unless you’re carry-on only), picking up your rental, and then getting checked into your hotel or suite. Remember, you’re on island time! So no rush to get anywhere is how you should get this trip started.
Grab Something Good to Eat
If you’re anything like our family, you’re excited to try something new to eat. We usually look up a couple of the local places using Google Maps reviews and dive right in! You also can’t go wrong picking up some spam musubi from a local market too. No matter what you decide on chowing down on, be sure to read the reviews first!
Get Your Swimsuit On
Now that you’re settled and ready to fully enjoy the warm weather and tropical landscape, throw on your swimsuits and head for the beach or pool. Whichever your preference, you will be sure to get your vacation started off on the right foot. Usually, on our first day, you can catch up doing this until the sun starts to go down. Another great reason for doing this is to help adjust to any time difference. If we are exhausted (thinking of our kid!) we will likely sleep through the night and be refreshed for the next morning!
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 2
Remember the little town that is in the Disney Lilo and Stitch movie? Well, this is that town! If you have kiddos that love that movie (we certainly do), then they are in for a treat! Find a parking spot in one of the free parking areas and get to exploring this little town. There are a few interesting spots in Hanapepe to take notice of. The first is the Swinging Bridge. You can’t miss the sign for this! Next is the Talk Story Bookstore. It’s the westernmost bookstore in the US! Lastly, Jacqueline’s on Kauai is a neat shop. We met Jacqueline herself, and she is known for Hawaiian shirts made on the spot. My husband picked up a pair of unique shorts that were made out of recycled rice bags.
Eat at Japanese Grandma’s
We didn’t get to try everything that there is to eat on Kauai, but we do know what we absolutely loved- and this restaurant was at the top of the list! Japanese Grandma is located in Hanapepe and has limited hours, so be sure to call and see if a reservation is needed. We were lucky enough to get in during a busy lunch period. Steven had a magnificent poke bowl and I had some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten in my life! Don’t worry there’s plenty for the little ones too. Think kid’s bento boxes for the win!
Catch a Sunset
If you’re not staying on the western side of the island, you’ll want to look up when sunset will be, so you don’t miss it. We would recommend planning on going west at least a couple of times on your trip to soak in a gorgeous Hawaiian sunset.
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 3
Wake Up Early to Catch a Sunrise
Luckily, we were staying on the east side of the island, which was perfect for opening our sliding door and viewing the sunrise without too much effort. There is something about a sunrise against the morning ocean that is magical.
Drive up to Hanalei
Take a ride up to the northern part of the island to visit the town of Hanalei and its surrounding areas. You’ll pass lots of lush scenery and lookout points you don’t want to miss. Hanalei gets pretty busy, so plan accordingly if you want to hit the little town for some exploring.
See the Kilauea Lighthouse
The view of this lighthouse is outstanding! We were disappointed that we weren’t able to visit the lighthouse itself during our stay (it was closed), but you are able to park at the viewpoint and take some fantastic photos. Other bloggers and travelers have shared that you are able to spot dolphins and whales from this spot too!
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 4
Explore Waimea Canyon
It is a winding drive to get up to the canyon, but the views pay off! For being a smaller Hawaiian island, it almost seems out of place to have such a large canyon and several lookout points to go with it. There are several areas to pull off to take photos, but be sure that you are pulling over to a safe spot, and not just parked on the side of the road with a tail end hanging out. We saw so much of this on our trek there!
Pu’u O Kila Lookout
This is the lookout you want to see if you’re a Jurassic Park fan. Much to our disappointment, it was covered in fog/low clouds that rolled in while we were there. It was an interesting experience as we could feel the sun beating down on us, but we were surrounded by moist air/clouds, which blocked our view of the valley lookout. We still recommend you try to witness this awesome stop!
Explore Koloa and Nearby Area
The little town of Koloa is so cute! Very much has an old Hawaiian town vibe, with some updates and modern spots to stop at. Near the area, there are other shopping villages and a tree tunnel that you can drive through.
Grab a Pizza
We ended our day by getting pizza from the Koloa Pizza Kitchen + Bar. OH-EM-GEE, such dang good pizza! We liked it so much that we ordered from there a few times during our week on the island. It was the Garlicky White Devil pizza that got us hooked!
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 5
Hang Out at the Beach
You really can’t go wrong at a Hawaiian beach, right? If you’re looking for kid-friendly, head on over to Lydgate Park Pools or Poipu beach for some great space for the younger ones. Pack a cooler, beach stuff and snacks, then relax on the coast for a while. Be sure to pick up after yourself too!
Grab Some Shave Ice
Shave ice is the way to our hearts in our little family. We enjoyed the shave ice at Jojo’s Shave Ice in the Coconut Marketplace. They had a great selection of flavors and our son loved every bite!
Visit the Kauai Coffee Company Plantation
Visiting a coffee farm is somewhat of a tradition for my husband and me when we go to Hawaii. What can I say, we’re obsessed! Two awesome things about the Kauai Coffee Plantation; first, the smell of the store (like being enveloped by roasted coffee beans), and two the neat self-guided tour through the plantation out back. The self-guided tour was a win for us since we were with our toddler with a limited attention span. While visiting don’t forget to distract the kids with some delicious ice cream from their shop and then taste free coffee out on the deck.
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 6
Get a Resort Day Pass
Even though our Airbnb was perfectly situated, we wanted to treat ourselves to a larger resort without breaking the bank. We used the Resort Pass app and scored a cabana at the Royal Sonesta for a full day. It was a fantastic experience, being poolside with dedicated space and service. We highly recommend this travel hack to everyone!
How to Spend a Week in Kauai: Day 7
Kilohana Plantation Railway
Visit the Kilohana Plantation Railway for a fun ride through a working plantation! This is a super fun stop for the kids too. You get to learn about the vegetation they are growing and the history of the land. Halfway through the ride, there is a stop to feed the pigs (food provided) and appreciate the local scenery. The open-air train is a must when visiting the island! The plantation also has other activities to enjoy as well.
Pro Tip: Schedule your reservation in advance to ensure your spot on the train!
Safe Travels Home
You’re likely to be sad leaving paradise, much like we are every time we head to the airport. Do yourself a favor and pack the night before you leave so that you can have a stress-free morning/day before you leave the Hawaiian islands.
Travel with Kids Tips
Are you excited now? If you’re traveling with kids, here are some tips to consider while exploring this new-to-you destination.
Bring a Quality Stroller or Carrier
Bringing a quality stroller not only gets you through the airport easier but also makes that evening walk easier on the little ones that are wiped out from a day of adventure. Another thought to consider is how easy it will be to fold up and transport (thinking of when you’re on the plane). For toddlers, a hiking pack is a great option for conquering the many trails Kauai has to offer!
Bring Water Shoes
Make sure the whole family has water shoes to wear while playing in the ocean. The last thing you want is a cut-up foot from snorkeling!
Consider the Resort Pass App
Thinking about spending a day at a local resort? Download and check out the Resort Pass app! You may want to do this early on in your trip to avoid running into booked-out resorts. Many resorts have dedicated kids pools too, which makes fun for the whole family.
Another post you may like: Top 10 Toddler Travel Essentials
We hope you enjoy this destination as much as we have! Once you have a taste of the Hawaiian islands, it is tough to go back home! Be sure to let us know what things you tried out and share in the comments ideas we didn’t include on the list!
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