Part of the Bay Area News Group

FAMILY TRAVEL: Kauai with a Toddler

By Jackie Burrell
Saturday, February 2nd, 2008 at 4:30 am in Family Travel.

The DeJong Family in Kauai
Planning a trip to the islands? Here’s the scoop on Kauai from the deJong family – where to go, what to do and how to do it … plus links!
THE TREK IN A SEC: A week-long retreat to Hawaii’s Garden Island of Kauai for this Oakland family of three.

THE TRAVELERS: Gardener/landscaper Adrian de Jong, childcare worker Tabatha Thomas and their two-year-old daughter Nadya.

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY LODGING: “We rented a house in Anahola that we found on Craigslist,” says Thomas. “There were deep discounts in December for hotels and condos with pools, but we love (this) rustic 100-year old home on the beach. It had screens for windows, several hammocks, tons of books and toys, snorkel and kayak gear, knick-knacks and pottery from the 60s and 70s, and of course a full-kitchen and laundry! We loved renting like that since it was ‘homey’ and (in) an area where only native Hawaiians can own.”

BEST FOOD: The Barbeque Inn in Lihu’e — lunch or dinner with salad, soup, homemade bread and homemade pie included; the brand new Kilauea Fish Market for wraps on the way to the lighthouse; and the Hanamaulu Tea Garden buffet on Sunday night (a great family restaurant with friendly service). “Hanamaulu’s old style Japanese charm, goldfish ponds and tea ceremony rooms,” says Thomas, “make it the it-spot for local holiday dinners and receptions.”

“For breakfast, we enjoyed macadamia nut pancakes and chorizo at Kountry Kitchen, a Hawaiian spin on American-style breakfast. For healthy groceries, we liked Papaya’s in Kapa’a and Hanalei, and Longs had the cheapest Kona Coffee.”

The DeJong Family in Kauai
BEACHES AND OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: “People say the north (has) better weather in the summer months and the south is better in the winter. But we think the South has more baby friendly beaches — Poipu in the South and Lydgate State Park in the East (Coconut Coast). Both have rock-lined pools for children with calmer water, and Lydgate has a 6,000-ft. park for kids too. We kayaked the Wailua River and hiked up to Secret Falls, which was breathtaking. (Bring a baby carrier for a small tot, though!) We also loved Waimea Canyon for hikes on ridges and through the rain forest, and also for its breathtaking views of waterfalls and mountain ranges. Wear appropriate footwear and bug repellent.”
The DeJong Family in Kauai
THE HULA SCENE: “Our daughter enjoyed the little girls’ hula dance at Coconut Marketplace Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and joined them on stage!” says Thomas. “It’s also free to take children that age to Smith’s Garden Paradise, which has gardens, dinner and luau.”

1. Best guidebooks: Check out “Kauai Trailblazer” and “Kauai Trails” if you plan to hike, and “Kauai Underground Guide” ( People use the “Ultimate Guide,” but the de Jong family were less than thrilled with it.
2. Best shopping: Check out the cute kids’ clothes at Sand People in Hanalei and Poipu, and Maile’s Closet in Kapa’a with cute handmade things, hip-looking boys’ clothes and adorably packaged gifts, says Thomas. The gift shop at Koke’e Lodge had unusual items too.”
3. If you hike, make sure you use a bug repellent with Deet, and check your children (and yourselves) for tiny ticks.
4. If you’ll be on the islands for any length of time, consider getting a temporary library card for $10 to check out Hawaiian kids’ books, CDs and uke sheet music from any location on the island, or to use the Internet.
5. And finally, try to stay for 10-14 days to get your bearings and slow down properly. “It can take a couple of days,” says Thomas, “for city breakneck-speed life to melt away.”

Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing us. Or click “comments” and share your travel tips right here.
Looking for more family travel tips? Check out these blog posts too:
An African safari with the Family
Rome with the Bambino
Colonial Williamsburg with the Kids
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City and DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
Paris avec le bebe
and Vancouver with the Kids

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

3 Responses to “FAMILY TRAVEL: Kauai with a Toddler”

  1. hauteroute Says:

    Check out NileGuide’s Kauai trip planner at You can quickly and easily find kid-friendly activities, hotels, and restaurants by selecting your preferences in each category. Then, you can create your own itinerary and download and print your free guidebook. Let us know what you think!

  2. Willy Arifin Says:

    I check out your detail of traveling is very good. I have one tip maybe you can add some price list so we know how much money we should allocate if we go there and do all the stuffs you did.

  3. lorie Says:

    The quality of the info is what keeps me on this site, thanks!

Leave a Reply