A few days ago, my husband and I got home from a week-long trip in Hawaii. Around half of our trip was spent in Maui, but our last four nights were spent on the “garden island” of Kauai.
This was my second trip to Kauai, but it was my husband’s first. Not surprisingly, he loved the island from the moment he spotted its towering green peaks from his airplane window on our approach.
While I focus most of my beach and travel writing on the Caribbean and Europe, there’s something special about Hawaii — and especially Kauai — that is hard to pinpoint. Here are a few reasons I think it’s such a diverse destination for families, and why I can’t wait to go back.
Pay with airline miles
First things first. Hawaii is an easy destination to get to with airline miles — particularly if you’re on the west coast. You can fly round-trip in economy from many west coast cities for 25,000 British Airways Avios or from Midwest cities like Chicago for just 45,000 Avios, for example. Flights from the continental U.S. to Hawaii cost just 30,000 Alaska miles, on the other hand. Those are just a few of the best examples, but you can also get to Hawaii with Delta SkyMiles, American AAdvantage miles, and plenty of other programs.
Book hotels or a rental condo with points
Kauai is an easy island to visit if you have a lot of hotel points. I stayed at the Westin Princeville Resort while on the island, which costs approximately 60,000 Marriott points per night. I loved this hotel because of its amazing Princeville location, along with its expansive pools and the fact that each room has a kitchenette.
However, you could also stay at the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach for 25,000 Marriott points per night, Kauai Marriott Resort for 50,000 points per night, Sheraton Kauai Resort for 35,000 points per night, or several other Marriott properties. Of course, there’s also the spectacular Grand Hyatt in Kauai, which I stayed at the last time I was on the island. This hotel has some of the most amazing grounds I have ever seen, and a standard room will set you back only 25,000 Hyatt points per night.
The natural beauty is insane
Kauai is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world based on its natural scenery alone. I read one report that said around 85% of the island is uninhabited and untouched, which I absolutely believe. Everywhere you look, you’ll see rolling hillsides and mountains that take your breath away.
The island’s north shore is especially scenic, with mountains and waterfalls galore. Just driving around Kauai is an experience in itself since the scenery is outstanding. I personally think Kauai is more beautiful than Bora Bora, and that says a lot!
There are animals everywhere
As an animal lover, it’s really hard to beat Kauai. We saw whales from the shore, giant Albatross birds at the famous Makai Golf Club, goats, cows, and chickens galore. Hawaii’s state bird (the Nene), which is also endangered, could be found all over the grounds of the Westin Princeville.
There’s so much to see and do
While we were in Kauai, Greg and I took part in several amazing activities. We took a helicopter tour with Safari Helicopter Tours, for starters, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We even saw whales from the air as we flew over the coast, and it took my breath away.
We also did a sunset golf cart tour of the Makai Golf Club and ate some amazing meals. But there is so much more to do in Kauai. You can go ziplining, take your family tubing, hike numerous trails, ride four-wheelers, snorkel, and more. Kauai is a great destination for active travelers, so we plan to do more outdoor activities when we go back with our kids.
[Image: Flickr/Jeff Kubina]
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