Kauai has long been known as a top choice
for romance travelers in search of quiet spots and magnificent
scenery. But Kauai is also a good choice for a family vacation, as
the Garden Isle offers a wide range of activities that travelers of
all ages can enjoy.
" All-terrain-vehicle adventures: Three Kauai companies take riders out into the open,
skirting the island's cane fields and pastures to hillside
foremost, so all tours are preceded by a training session. Helmets
must be worn. Drivers must be over age 16. Riders must be over age
Most tours last
two to three hours and are priced from $100 per person.
Most of the ATV
tours are guided and traverse dirt roads. The Gay & Robinson
tours are on private land and include a swim and lunch.
" Hiking: There are
three major hiking options to be considered. Each offers a
memorable, inexpensive way to spend a day on Kauai.
Kokee State Park
has dozens of trails suited to every hiking ability. This is the
top spot for hiking on Kauai.
Hikes offer a
multitude of magnificent panoramas, including the canyon and the Na
Pali coastal valleys. There are quiet, streamside trails and
boardwalk hikes into the misty realm of the Alakai
There are park
rangers available if visitors need a trail update or
recommendation. Meals, including take-out picnic lunches, are sold
at the Lodge at Kokee, which also has a small museum. Cabin rentals
The trail takes
visitors to 4,000-foot elevations, with misty rains that usually
come and go. Temperatures can drop into the 40s.
The nearby Na
Pali Coast is another hiking option. This 14-mile stretch of wild
Kauai coastline is nothing short of magnificent. An 11-mile trail
called the Cliffs leads to Kalalau Valley and allows for several
hikes that include coastal panoramas and a lush landscape of rocky
pinnacles and steep hillsides. The best views are at the half-mile
marker. It's another 1.5 miles to the next milestone at Hanakopiai
In the summer,
a sand beach allows for swimming
when the water is calm. In winter, much of the beach is washed away
and the surf is too rough for a swim.
For those with
stamina and plenty of drinking water on hand, a side trail makes a
two-mile loop that ends with a view of one of Na Pali's many
The trail should
be hiked with caution when wet, as portions are rocky and steep.
Going beyond Honakopiai on a day trip is not recommended.
There are other
coastal hikes, including easy trails along the south coast at
Mahaulepu that not only offer beautiful vistas but a long, sandy
stretch of beach.
Several miles of
old sugarcane plantation roads have been opened to hikers along
Kauai's east coast just past Kapaa. The rewards are long views of
the coastline, tide pools and access to several beaches, although
caution is advised if the surf is breaking.
For guided hikes,
contact local tour operators such as Kauai Nature Tours, which
offers escorted treks in Waimea Canyon, over Sleeping Giant (or
Nounou Mountain) and along the Na Pali and Mahaulepu
" Kayaking: Vacationers
can rent a kayak for the day and go it alone or join a group for a
kayak paddle along Kauai's north, east and south shores, heading
inland on one of the many streams fed by rains falling over the
island's mountainous interior.
Kayak rentals are
available in solo and two-person models. They come with life
jackets and car racks.
Kayak Kauai, in
Hanalei and Kapaa, and Outfitters Kauai, in Kapaa and Poipu, both
offer escorted kayak tours and rentals.
" Na Pali coast sailing: The view from the water of the grand sea cliffs and
isolated valleys of the Na Pali coast is magnificent. Catamaran and
Zodiac raft tours are available.
In winter, whales
may be sighted, along with the dolphins, turtles and flying fish
that are here year-round.
include snorkeling and a beach landing.
Most boats depart
from Port Allen on the south coast, taking about 45 minutes to
reach Na Pali's cliffs.
In the air
Kauai was made
for flightseeing, and about a dozen companies take advantage of
airplane tours depart Lihue Airport on 50- to 90-minute air tours
that take in the island's remarkably diverse and dramatically
eroded landscape. Plane tours are the cheaper option at $100 to
$130, compared with helicopter tour rates that start at $200.
To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].