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  • Writer's pictureShayna Gaman-Bean

The Garden Isle: How we did Kauai in 4ish kid-free days.

"May there always be Tradewinds behind you, Rainbows above you, and Aloha all Around you." ~ Kauai Blessing

When I found out there was a work conference in Kauai and we had childcare so Mike could come with me, I couldn't turn down the opportunity. Even if I would miss out some mornings for the conferences, I knew the time we would have there would be so worth it.

Since we did have a budget provided by my employer, we didn't book the greatest flight to get there: we flew from Sacramento to Vegas to Lihue. It was a long day to get there, but we arrived at 3pm, quickly got our luggage and got to the car rental place. And then waited TWO HOURS!! to get our car :(.... but we were in paradise and all was well!

Funny side story: I booked a super cheap compact car, one so small I was worried our luggage wouldn't even fit! haha! When we arrived, they didn't have that model, only convertibles and minivans so they let me pick. I was super pumped to get a convertible, but alas, they we out and we were stuck with a minivan. Oh well...

We checked into our hotel Kauai Shores at about 6pm.

Then headed straight to dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club. We absolutely loved this hotel:

The hotel even has free bike rentals and morning yoga! We did not partake in this, but hopefully next time we will.

Day 2:

This was an early morning for us because I needed to check into the conference I was attending at the Grand Hyatt.

Then we met up with some friends and had breakfast on their balcony at the Grand Hyatt. Such a gorgeous hotel!

Afterwards, we explored the Hyatt for a little bit and admired the beach views and the macaws.

Then we headed to Rock Quarry Beach. A beautiful secluded beach. We took some pictures and then watched the surfers for a while before heading north to Princeville to catch our shuttle to the Kalalau Trail.

We had a little time to kill before heading to the shuttle so we stopped to get ice cream at Lapport’s. It was delicious and the perfect pick up before our hike.

Of note: be sure to plan this hike plenty ahead of time. I would recommend the shuttle since the parking lot is small and fills up quickly. Also, be sure to get your reservation to enter the park.

It was easy to find the Waipa Park and Ride and the shuttle. There are employees there to help get you loaded and explained some safety tips, like don’t go in the water because there were 15 foot swells and it was super deadly that day. Finding the trail was equally easy.

We were only able to get the permit to go 2 miles in to the beach, but given how challenging the hike was, 2 miles in was plenty. And at the end, it ended up being about 5 miles round trip. I burned over 1000 calories and my knees were killing me, but the views of the Napali Coast and the final destination of the beach were so worth it!

After our hike, we caught our shuttle back to the car. It was dinner time and we headed to the Kilauea Fish Market. There was no poke, but the fish tacos we got were amazing!

Then we headed home for a drink on the beach and crashed.

Day 3:

We started out with breakfast at Daddy O’s a little hole in the wall place in a strip mall. The breakfast was delicious and service was surprisingly fast considering how busy they were. The stuffed French toast was so good!

Then we headed to Waimea Canyon. It’s a long windy road up a 2000-3000 foot climb with lot of stops and amazing views all the way. We went all the way to the look out where you play $5 per person and $10 per car to park and explore. The lookout is right at the parking lot but there are a lot of great hikes there of varying intensities. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hike because we were on a time crunch to make it to our helicopter tour, but the views were totally worth it.

On the way back down the hill we stopped at a lookout with a river flowing through the red rock and a little waterfall. Waimea means reddish water and the rivers definitely looked reddish.

Next stop was our helicopter tour with Jack Harter and we did the "Doors Off Tour" which I would highly recommend not only for the views, but also for the less likelihood of feeling sick. This company is top notch in my book. We felt very safe and it was just fun. Our pilot was Stephanie and she did an awesome job. She was playing Danger Zone when we took off which just really got us pumped up. We flew over the entire island and it was so amazing seeing Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast from the air after seeing it at ground level the days prior. The flight was a little over an hour and we saw so many waterfalls and some stunning ocean views. I loved all the Top Gun, oldies (vietnam war music), and Hawaiian music playing in the background. It was an experience I won’t soon forget.

After our flight we went back to Lava Lava Beach Club for dinner and drinks.

Then to Poipu Beach to see 58 sea turtles resting on the shore under the Milky Way.

Day 4:

We started this day with breakfast burritos at Saenz Ohana food truck in Princeville. So delicious! We ate at the beach at Halalei Bay. It was a stormy day today and the surf where we were was very rough making the thought of surfing lessons very daunting.

Then we met up with Tri and Sicily at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures to get set up for our surfing lessons. We did a little shopping there too, lots of good stuff.

We headed to the Bay near the pier and river mouth where it was a little calmer to get a crash course in surfing and then we were off. Our coach Tapu helped us into the wave and then it was all on us. I fell a few times first and then it clicked that you're just supposed to relax and look forward and it worked! We all got to surf a bunch of waves for a little over an hour. It was so much fun!

After surging it was lunch time. Miraculously the rain stopped the entire time we were surfing. After surfing it started raining again.

We then headed to lunch at another food truck Da Fazenda which was delicious Brazilian food. I got the Fricasse with chicken which was delicious.

Then back to the hotel to rest.

At about 7pm we met up with my cousin Kainani and her family Tyson, Abigail, and Titus for dinner at Kintaro. It was a delicious Japanese Restaurant and of course it was great meeting Kainani and her family. They are the sweetest and it was so fun catching up and learning about life in Kauai. She works for a boat tour company and we can’t wait to visit again and do a tour with her company.

Day 5:

We started this day with breakfast at Lava’s at the Sheraton in Poipu. Another great breakfast.

Then off to my conference at Grand Hyatt for about an hour.

Then we had some time to kill until our 1:30 check in for our horseback ride.

We checked out Spouting Horn and saw some great spouts there. I absolutely love the sound it makes. Kind of between a soft baritone horn and a whale call.

Then we headed to Shipwreck Beach nearby.

The water here is a stunning color of blue and the waves are huge and break right on the shore. Not very conducive to playing in the water, but plenty of people were doing just that. There were some cliffs nearby that some people were jumping off of so we hiked up there to check it out. We got some beautiful views of the water and watched a few huge waves take everyone out on the beach. Pretty entertaining.

Then we did a little souvenir shopping.

Then off to our horseback ride at CJM Stables. Which is a beautiful ranch right on the shore.

We had a beautiful 2 hour ride that took us onto the beach and up a mountain for some gorgeous beach and ocean views. My horse Cody really wanted to go fast the entire time, but it was good because I got to do a lot of trotting and loping. Mike’s horse Drifter was such a good boy and Mike did great! Lots of great views and pictures along the way.

Then we celebrated the end of a great trip with a delicious dinner and drinks at Brennecke’s with a view of the ocean. We got the world famous Mai Tais and fish and chips.

We finished dinner just in time for a beautiful sunset and to watch the sea turtles coming out to shore on Poipu Beach. So much fun to watch them come ashore. While they’re so slow on the beach, they actually come ashore quite fast and it’s so cute to see their little heads pop out of the water as they near the shore. We watched at least 20 come ashore and as it got dark we decided it was time to head to the hotel to pack.

Day 6:

We started our last day off with breakfast at Lava Lava Beach Club of course for a beautiful sunrise and one last glance at the ocean. It was a perfect ending to the trip.

Then we headed to the airport. This is a much less busy airport and it was so quick and easy to check in.

What a phenomenal 4ish days in paradise!



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