11 Best Things to do in Kauai with Kids & Tips for Saving Money

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If you are traveling to Kauai with kids, toddlers, or your family, we learned quite a bit on our recent trip.  My family just came back from visiting Kauai for 10 days with our kids.  We had so much fun!

It may seem daunting to go to Kauai with kids…our kids are 4-years-old, and 3-years-old.  I was apprehensive, and they absolutely loved it!!!!! I’m going to lay out some of the places we enjoyed visiting, and tips for saving money in Kauai.  I’ve also created free travel checklist for you to download, to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  As always, these opinions are my own, and I support products that I love.

 Anaina Hou Community park

There were so many fun things to do with the kids at this Community Center.  You can play miniature golf.  Check out their awesome playground. You can order coffee, snacks, and they have food trucks.  My husband ordered an Acai bowl from one of their food trucks, and loved it.  He loved it so much that I didn’t even get a chance to try it.

My son and I also played a giant game of connect 4.  They also have a cute little Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, and host different community and cultural events throughout the week.

 Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge

This place is beautiful.  The views from up top are gorgeous, and the lighthouse makes a beautiful background for a great family picture.  They have lookouts throughout the Refuge that are nice little places to stop.

The cool thing about the Kilauea lighthouse visit is that you can make it as long or as short as you want.  It’s a little walk from your car to the actual lighthouse, and you can do it at your leisure.  I think it took us a total of 40ish minutes to check everything out because our littlest one was tired and hangry (no, that’s not a typo……hungry + angry = hangry….it happens to the best of us).

We were also able to see some baby birds on the walk up to the lighthouse, but careful to give them their space as the refuge does a great job or protecting them.  Just an FYI, you can only take water past the parking lot, they do not allow any other food and drinks as they are rules of having a wildlife refuge (i learned the hard way because i had just bought an iced coffee).

Kauai Plantation Railway

So many cool things about this place that we enjoyed!  We had ordered our tickets online about one hour before (there is a discount when ordering online), and showed up a little early with our lunches packed.  We ate lunch on the grass near the parking lot, and it’s so lush and beautiful!

The kids enjoyed riding the train and getting off to feed the pigs.  It was nice to be educated about the different animals, and crops that they grow on the plantation during the train ride.  It also felt like the perfect duration, It was 40 minutes long.  They also have the option of choosing longer train rides/tours if that’s what you prefer.

Their gift shop also had an ornament that we bought as our official Kauai souvenir.  We have a tradition where we buy an ornament every time we travel, and put it on our tree so we can reflect on it every year we take it out 😉

Visit the St. Regis Beach

Kauai with kids, St. Regis Princeville

I don’t even know where to begin.  First, there is a special entrance just to the left of the hotel for beach access which does have quite a bit of stairs…..but once you are there….man, oh man.  It’s so pretty!!! We visited at least 6 different beaches during our stay, and this was, by far, our favorite.

St. Regis Princeville, Kauai with kids, sunset

We loved the beautiful backdrop.  We loved that there weren’t alot of waves, and the kids could easily play in the water.  I enjoyed that there weren’t alot of rocks which made getting in and out of the water easy.  This was my son and husband’s favorite beach to snorkel.  My husband saw 3 large sea turtles, so cool!

St. Regis Princeville, playing at the beach, Kauai with kids

I visited their coffee shop inside the hotel at least 2-3 times to grab myself a latte, and the ladies that worked there were incredibly pleasant and helpful when I asked them my tourist questions.  I ordered drinks from their beach bar on two separate occasions, once with my husband, and once with my mom and Tia.  On both occasions, we had our cocktails, and enjoyed the sunset.  Many memories were made with my family at the St. Regis beach! Go and have a visit!!!

Watch a Slack Key Guitar show

Running through a grass field in Kauai; Kauai with kids

Before you think I’m crazy for going to a show with little ones, here is the story:  One evening, we accidentally came upon a slack key show in Hanalei.  We were driving to tunnels beach, and the road leading to it was closed, so we passed a sign that said a Slack Key guitar show was starting soon, so we turned into Hanalei Community Center and saw it.

First off, Sandy McMaster was incredibly kind and understanding.  We told her we had two kids with us, and she happily welcomed us in, she also gave us 50% off the admission price since we didn’t know how long we could reasonably stay with niños.  We were able to stay and watch half of the show! And it was aaaaaaaaaaaamazing!!!!!!

Sandy and her husband Doug, are soooooooooo talented.  The music is so peaceful, relaxing, and a wonderful cultural tradition that we got to experience. We were able to stay so long because the Hanalei Community Center had a big box of books and puzzles that my kids were going through in the back of the room during the show.  I can see how it might be harder if the kids were 1-2 year-oldish, but still worth a try!

Also, if you are looking for a great photo-op, right outside of Hanalei Community Center was a beautiful backdrop of lush tropical goodness!!! Bring your tripod, or ask someone to get a photo of you just outside the center!

 Anini Beach

Anini Beach, Kauai with Kids

We came here for one morning to check out the beach, and we loved it.  The water was incredibly calm, perfect for playing with kids.  They also have lots of trees which provided lots of shade.  It was also an incredibly beautiful beach! The water was very blue!! I loved that there was lots of easy, free parking close to the beach.

Get Shave Ice or Ice Cream

Pink's Creamery, Kauai with Kids
Ordering at Pink’s Creamery

I made it a point to do this.  When in Kauai with kids …..get shave ice!!!!! Shave ice seems so unique to the Hawaiian Islands, that I felt it was an affordable way to experience a little culture.  We all shared a small at Jojo’s Shave Ice, and there was plenty!!! It was so delicious!  We also visited Lappert’s Hawaii, and Pink’s Creamery for some ice cream, and they did not disappoint!!! My favorite was the banana mac nut ice cream from Pink’s!

Visit The Smith’s Kauai

Smith's Tropical Paradise

We had every intention of going on their fern grotto boat tour, but we were late and didn’t have enough time for the next one.  My mom and Tia went on the tour, and they enjoyed it! They said they loved the hula dancers, and all the information on the tour!

Since we were late, but still had some time, we ended up checking out the “Smith’s Tropical Paradise”.  It’s $6 for adults and $3 for children 3-12.  It’s a 30-acre botanical and cultural garden, which is a great place to picnic and bring your lunch, or even to go for a nice little walk.  I heard they also have a great luau, but we weren’t able to check it out!

Have Plate Lunch

I love to explore new food in new places.  Plate lunch is also a fun Hawaiian tradition that I would suggest! Whether it’s musubi, chicken katsu, or mac salad, give it a try and include your kids!  We had plate lunch from North Shore General Store, although I also heard that Pono Market is also very good!!

Have a fun Photo-op, Coffee (for the adults), and healthy snack all at the same place!

Java Kai

I have never visited one particular place on vacation, more then I visited Java Kai.  We stopped by 4 times!!!! This place combined my love of coffee, healthy food, and a great place for a picture! As you can see, the pineapples are adorable, and signature to this coffee shop.

Java Kai, Kauai with kids

When you first enter, you may be confused as to where the pineapples are, but go to the back right of the shop, towards the bathrooms, make a left, and BOOM you are in pineapple background heaven.  My favorite coffee drinks were the Iced Maui Mocha and the Iced Mac Nut Latte!

Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

We didn’t get a chance to go check this out, but a friend of ours who is a native to Hawaii suggested this.  They have a keiki day where you can bring the kids and play in their large tree house and their splash fountain area.  Reservations are recommended! She took her two boys and absolutely loved it!!!!

How we saved Money in Kauai

Costco

Yes, there is a Kauai in Costco, and we hit it as soon as we landed because it’s right by the airport!  We stayed at a Vacation Rental By Owner Condo that had a kitchen, so we cooked 95% of all of our meals, and saved a TON of money.  I couldn’t imagine how much it would have cost to feed a family of 4 if we were eating out every meal.  They also have foam boards, sunscreen, towels, and most things that you might have forgotten at home.  If they don’t have what you need, there is also a walmart, which is also reasonable!

VRBO

We stayed in an amazing community, and it’s incredibly family friendly!! There is a pizza restaurant in the community, a pool, and a private trail to a beautiful beach!! It’s also walking distance to the St. Regis (you already know how I feel about that place ;)), and lots of running trails in princeville.  I ran a few times in the morning, and it was breathtaking!!! I would highly suggest staying at one of the following places….the first on the list is where we stayed which is perfect for a family of 4-6, and has great reviews, the rest of these are in the same community or close, all with amazing reviews:

Best place to stay in Princeville

Princeville Rental #2

Princeville Rental #3

Princeville Rental #4

Princeville Rental #5-Condo Fancy pants

Kauai with Kids Supplies

Things to bring with you so that you aren’t spending a fortune buying them at Kauai

Bug Spray: If the mosquitoes love you, you better load up on some of this.  We used this kind, and felt like it worked the best if you are trying a more natural repellent compared with DEET.

A Good Sun Hat: I used this one, and I loved it! And it was only $15!!!  I packed it in my suitcase on the way home and it was unscathed!!!

Snack Bars: I couldn’t believe how expensive these were on the island, even at Costco.  I would suggest buying any snack bars before hand and packing them on your carry on for the plane, so you will want snacks for that anyway.

Floaties, and Rash guards for the kids:  Some of the VRBO’s that are more kid-friendly may have them.  I would definitely check, because if they don’t, it’s worth it to buy these items ahead of time because they provide water and sun safety.

Pack n Play:  Be sure to find out if your hotel or VRBO has one of these if you are bringing your baby!  We have borrowed one of these before, and it was traveling magic!  Quick set-up, light weight compared with most pack n plays, and fits as a carry-on!  These would be super handy to have for all future traveling trips!

Toddler Bed:  Since my kids are in transition, we LOVE these toddler beds and use them all the time.  Whether the kids are spending the night at their grandparents’ house, or we are traveling, these are our favorite.  And they are pretty compact when rolled up! Highly suggest!!!

Lunch Boxes: Besides the fact that these are my all-time favorite lunch boxes right now, they were an asset on our trip!  I packed them full of food for the plane rides both coming, and going.  We also packed their lunch boxes everyday while in Kauai and had picnics many days while on the beach.  These are super easy to clean, and I like their color options.

That’s it folks!  I really hope you enjoyed my tips on traveling to Kauai with kids! Will do another post at some point with tips for traveling with kids on a plane 😉 If you like this article, please save it on Pinterest or share it with your friends!

Thanks for stopping by!

Playing at the beach, Kauai with kids

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