Kauai Family Travel – Going Beyond the Basics

Kauai Family TravelOur spring break was just spent in one of the most beautiful places on Earth – Kauai, Hawaii! Family travel is so important to me, so I was thrilled to be able to take the boys to visit the “Garden Isle” (true paradise in every sense of the term). We got to go back to the place my husband & I fell in love with on our honeymoon – just a little over 10 years later and with 3 young kids in tow! And, this time, we were determined to go “beyond the basics” while there! As part of our participation in an #AlamoDriveHappy sponsored campaign, Alamo had us set a family travel goal for the year – a resolution of sorts.  Because Kauai has so much to offer, we set off with the goal in mind to “try one new thing (activity, food, etc) on each day of our trip! And try new things we did!!

Kauai Flights & Car Rental

The whole trip actually started with new travel experiences for us. First off, it was our first time flying straight with the kids for longer than about 4 hours. Our direct flight was just shy of 7 hours long! And, I’m happy to report that the kids did great! It was also our first time traveling with car seats in tow because it’s actually the first time we’ve ever rented a car with the kids (even though we’ve done A LOT of family trips in the past).Kauai Car Rental with Alamo It was also our first time ever driving an SUV, as we rented a Chevy Tahoe (to help accommodate our family & all that luggage)! The process of renting with Alamo was super easy and by joining the free Alamo Insiders program before booking our rental, we were able to save some money. The booking process was so easy! Everything was there waiting ready & waiting for us when we arrived in Kauai. The kids thought is was pretty fun to be in a different car – and to sit all across in one row.

Kauai Food

In keeping with our travel goal, we made a point to eat at local Kauai businesses (instead of well known chains) and try new foods whenever possible! Our first new food experience was the Puka Dog – a Kauaian specialty! It’s like a gourmet Hawaiian hot dog and it’s surprisingly good. Hawaiian sweet bread, polish sausage, garlic lemon secret sauce, and your choice of relish. I went with mango and Mr. Mom Endeavors went with pineapple. Both were delicious! Puka Dog KauaiWe also heard that we HAD to get some Jo Jo’s Shave Ice. They told us that the way to go was to get the shave ice with a scoop of macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. So, that’s exactly what we did and OH MY was it good!! JoJos Shave Ice KauaiWe also tried Mauai chips (and bought a few extra bags at the grocery store), had some delicious brick oven ham & pineapple pizza from a little food/gas mart in Princeville (yes really and it was SO good that we went back another day), went to Bubba Burgers, picked up delicious pancakes from the Kalapaki Beach Hut in Nawiliwili (pancakes on the beach, YES!), ate island fish tacos on the beach, and got my most favorite ice cream ever at Lappert’s Hawaii -caramel coconut macadamia nut. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!

Encouraging the boys to try new foods and new flavors (or even food just presented in a different way) is perfect for expanding their tastebuds! And doing it together is something that can really strengthen those family bonds & build fun memories. We even had the boys try some poi at the luau! 😉

Kauai Family Adventures

There is NO shortage of family fun things to see & do in Kauai. We had SO many family adventures beyond just the basic tropical island activity of sitting on the beach or playing in the gorgeous resort pools! While we did have LOTS of beach time, we loaded up our Alamo Tahoe rental every day to set out on family adventures – from boat rides and scenic hikes to waterfalls and wildlife spotting! Some of those adventures were planned tours (which I highly recommend), but we also had unplanned days to just set off and explore! I love that because you never know what you might discover! And we made some GREAT discoveries – tons of wildlife and some great family hikes! Kauai Wild PigsOne day while driving around, we stumbled upon a whole group of wild pigs right by the side of the road. And, there were piglets!!! How cute are they?! None of us had ever seen anything like that before, so this was such a fun experience!

My favorite wildlife experience though was swimming with sea turtles. The day before, I asked our guide at the Na’aina Kai Botanical Gardens for recommendations in the area. She said Anini Beach would be great for the boys and for snorkeling, and recommended going in the morning to see sea turtles. We took her advice and got up first thing the next morning to hit the beach early.  Anini Beach KauaiAnini Beach itself is beautiful and GREAT for little ones with reef protection that breaks the large waves out a good distance from the beach. Plus, at 8:00 in the morning, we had the entire beach almost to ourselves. But, the real magic was under water where we got to swim with sea turtles!! It was absolutely incredible and something we will never forget!Kauai Sea TurtlesWe saw some pretty incredible scenery above the water though too. And since we love hiking as a family, we had to get off the beaten path to do some exploring that way! Some of the hikes were a bit too unsafe to do with small children (you know, like on the sides of cliffs and such). But, we happened to find an amazing trail just off the road, tucked behind Kauai Miniature Golf. It’s the Wai Koa Loop Trail and it is amazing! We had NO idea what to expect, but we ended up walking through the largest Mahogany plantation in the U.S!! It was incredible with over 86,000 mahogany trees!!! If we ever go back, we’re going to rent mountain bikes and do the entire 5 mile loop trail because I hear the back half is amazing! With small little legs, we didn’t make it more than about 1 mile in. But, we absolutely LOVED it! Wai Koa Loop Trail KauaiSo.MUCH.fun! The activities shown here are just a small handful of the awesome new things we experienced on this trip to Kauai. And, that is one of the reasons that I think family travel is SO very important! Even though the boys might not be old enough to remember all of this trip years down the road, the memories we made are ones that their dad and I will treasure forever. These experiences help shape them and we all grow as a result. I feel like it’s one of THE best things we do for building & strengthening family bonds! Fern Grotto KauaiAnd, I highly recommend setting some family travel goals/resolutions! Ours definitely helped us go beyond the family vacation basics and helped really make us conscious about trying new things in Kauai! So, I’m pleased to say we definitely conquered our #AlamoDriveHappy family travel resolution on this trip and can’t wait to apply it to the next one!! Hanalei Bay SunsetAnd, remember to sign up to be an Alamo Insider, which can get you some great travel discounts! You an find Alamo at most airports, ready for your next family travel adventure!

What #AlamoDriveHappy Family Travel Resolution would YOU set?

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored partnership with Alamo. All opinions, experiences, and photos are entirely my own.

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Comments

  1. carol dee says

    What a fantastic vacation! Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to make a trip to Hawaii. I see the hand gesture Big brother is showing in lots of photos wit Polynesians, what does it mean?

    • Sara @MomEndeavors says

      It was fantastic – absolutely beautiful there. And, yes…Big Brother flashed that in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO on our trip! Hahaha! It’s the “hang loose” or shaka sign – a Hawaiian/surfer thing. It’s basically just an “aloha” sign. He picked up on it and was just obsessed with doing it. So naturally, the younger ones had to try it in the photos too. The family shot of us with Baby Brother pointing instead just cracks me up! 🙂

  2. carol dee says

    LOL, I did notice baby Brother’s attempt at the *hang Loose * sign. Really cute and cracked me up, too. 🙂

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