Aloha! Kauai is our family's favorite island - it's quieter, less developed, and oh so tropical (it is dubbed the Garden Isle after all). On our recent trip last month we took our 20 month-old son (eek!) and my husband's mother (thank goodness!). This post will focus on the sunny south shore in Poipu & Koloa. Here are some of our travel tips and takeaways.
Family - The #1 tip is to try and travel with family or friends with children. It's more fun, and everyone can take turns caring for the kids during nap time and early morning wake up calls (our son got up every day at 4:30 am - not fun!). Having my mother-in-law there also meant that we got time on our own to go snorkeling, out for drinks, and stargazing.
On the Plane
Fly Hawaiian Airlines - Extending the Aloha spirit a little bit longer is a nice way to start and end the trip. The crew are usually from the islands or very familiar with them, so they can offer great local tips (like where to get the best Lilikoi Chiffon Pie on Kauai, which is definitely Hamura's Saimin - thank you flight attendant, Lucy). They are one of the last airlines to offer a meal in coach, and they have a great film that highlights local Hawaiian events, culture, and locations. They are very accommodating to families with kids - HUGE!
Toys - We try and limit media in our family so no iPad for our son - who is still under 2. We brought a bag of toys that he had not yet seen including: TOOBS - a collection of animal figures with different themes. We also brought a huge stack of his favorite books, and lightweight Waldorf felt toys, colorful silks, and finger puppets.
Milk - If your toddler is still drinking milk, ask for a carton as soon as you get on so that it'll be room temp when you're ready for it (vs. trying to juggle hot water and a bottle - big mistake on our part). Also, if you're flying late at night, ask for a carton to take off the plane for night time/next morning when you get home.
Sleeping - Make sure to bring your little one his or her favorite lovey along with a muslin blanket. They are easy to pack, and perfect for extra warmth. When baby is falling asleep, I put it over my head to create a little tent for privacy. Of course, don't forget his or her lovey. These from Angel Dear come in a 3-pack ("A Pair & a Spare") and are super soft.
Hotel vs. Condo - There are pro's and con's to both, but with a toddler I can't imagine not having a condo. The washer and dryer alone made it. Being able to make breakfast or slice up some fruit for a snack is so much better than ordering expensive room service. Try and get a condo with a pool. It can be a nice break from the beach and is a great activity right before bed. Check out Parrish Collection for condo rentals - they seem to dominate the island. Our condo was fabulous and literally a two minute walk from the beach. We went the last week in May right before the rates jumped up for prime season, which saved a lot!
Grand Hyatt Kauai - We had our honeymoon here and it is a magical, magical place! If you're looking for a hotel, look no further. Exquisite grounds, award-winning restaurants, spa, and Luau...the list goes on! The salt water lagoon is perfect for smaller children with rafts and floats available. For bigger kids, there are water slides, kayaks, snorkeling/scuba lessons, a lazy river, and Camp Hyatt (which we will definitely take advantage of in the future). For grown-ups, there's an adult pool and two hot tubs. Live music is featured every night in the breathtaking lanai off the main lobby. Koi fish feedings happen in the morning outside of the award-winning Tidepools restaurant and the main lobby features an assortment of exotic birds - perfect for kids of all ages.