This was our first trip to Kauai. We have been lucky enough to visit Maui many times when our kids were young. Hawaii in general is a great spot to take young kids with the beaches, the ocean, swimming pools… its just so casual and fun for the whole family. This time it was just the two of us and we decided to do some serious exploring.
Of course we were treated to some of the Hawaiian Island iconic images right away!
What is with the feral chicken population? They are pretty aggressive pan handlers!
We first arrived just in time to check out the sunset and plan our first hike for the following day.
We got a fairly early start, thanks to the three hour time difference, and drove an hour to Waimea and Kokee State Park where the trail head for the Canyon Trail begins. This hike is not too strenuous (~3miles round trip) and ends at the Waipoo falls. The canyon itself if quite impressive! The colors are vibrant and there was some serious depth to the canyon.
A scenic overlook before the hike
I just love the color of this volcanic, red clay
Waipoo falls marks the end and turn around point of this hike.
It took us an hour and half to hike down and 45 minutes to make our way back up! Not too bad. We made our way back to the Sheraton Resort, where we stayed for the 5 night vacation, cleaned up and headed out to the Beach House Restaurant for a very nice dinner!
The Beach House version of a Mai Tai
My hubby loves his Manhattans!
After the drinks and appetizer we enjoyed a delicious dinner! Of course we were also treated to a glorious Hawaiian sunset!
The next morning we relaxed by the beach for awhile.
We had a sunset dinner cruise scheduled for the evening so we set out for Blue Dolphin Charters to meet our boat. This was a 4 hour cruise that took us past the north shore area of Na Pali coast.
We had beautiful weather (to start with anyway!)
The colors were impressive to say the least! Notice those clouds moving in!
The prehistoric look of the rock was stunning, there is no question as to why so many movies are filmed here. Of course there was a sunset!
Despite the light rain, and the not so light seasickness experienced by some on the cruise, it was another great day in paradise!
The next day was the big test! We planned to hike the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls. This was going to be an all day affair to remember!!
We drove an hour and half north to Kee beach to pick up the trail head.
This hike was going to take the majority of the day. 8 miles round trip! The first 2 miles would lead us to a Hanakapi’ai beach. This portion of the hike was not too bad and we were rewarded with this view!
the view from the beach back toward the hills
There were quite a few folks at this point, and many stayed here to play in the surf, have lunch and then return to the trail head. We decided to push on the next two miles to the waterfall. These next 2 miles were tougher, steeper and slippery from the periodic rainfall. It was slow going, but the scenery was spectacular. My favorite portion of this trail was the bamboo forest.
After a couple tough hours we were rewarded with this! Hanakāpīʻai falls is ~300 feet long, and worth the hike!
There were people everywhere, even though it looks like we were alone in my pictures. Many were swimming in the water and playing in the falls. It looked so refreshing but we did not want to hike back the 4 miles with wet feet. We stayed a little while, but knowing how difficult the terrain was, we started back soon after seeing the falls. We definitely wanted to get back to the car before dark or, more likely, before the afternoon showers!
We were really wiped out after that hike! Our feet, legs, knees, ankles…you get the idea! All we had the energy for was dinner! We got back, cleaned up and went to Keoki’s Paradise for dinner and more drinks! I really liked this spot, and the live music helped relax us after a really busy day.
This brings us to the final day, where we just wanted to stroll along the beach and take in the beautiful sites one last time.
We spent time at the ocean, by the pool and lounging around in a cabana, hiding from the heat.
We truly loved Kauai and recommend all the restaurants and hikes in this post. We will be back!