Kayaking on Kauai

September 1st, 2014

Kayaking on Kauai

As the only Hawaiian Island with navigable rivers, kayaking on Kauai is often a highlight of the vacationer’s experience. Here you can join experienced guides on the Wailua River, meander through lush, tropical jungle filled with waterfalls and large rocks with ancient petroglyph carvings. Other options are available too, such as the Hanalei River on the North Shore, the longest river on the island, or the Huleia River from Lihu.

Ocean kayaking is also an option, including the Poipu to Port Allen route on the South Shore or along the Na Pali Coast with its truly unforgettable scenery. Kayaking on Kauai can be as peaceful or as thrilling as you’d like it to be. The famed Fern Grotto and Wailua River as well as the Hanalei River tend to offer a more tranquil, gentle adventure while sea kayaking along the island’s breathtaking rugged coastline can be a bit more heart-pounding, depending on ocean conditions.

Whether you choose to get out on a river or out the ocean, joining a tour is a great way to ensure a safe, enjoyable and unforgettable kayaking experience.

05Ocean Kayaking with Outfitters Kauai

Outfitters Kauai offers ocean kayaking tours along the 2,000 foot cliffs of the Na Pali coast where you’ll view mile-high waterfalls that plunge into the turquoise waters of the Pacific. Pass mist-covered valleys as well as cool, lava-formed sea caves that are part of Hawaii’s legendary history for a day of paddling that may be the highlight of your time on Kauai.

Along the South Shore, you can embark on a whale watch kayaking tour with the opportunity to paddle to secret beaches and even stop to snorkel or bodysurf at exclusive spots that are accessible only by boat. From December through April, you may even see majestic Humpback whale; all year long watch for indigenous species like Green Sea Turtles and Spinner Dolphins.

Touring the Wailua River with Ali’i Kayaks

Taking a guided tour of the Wailua River through the sacred Wailua River Valley with Ali’i Kayaks to see the Secret Waterfall will allow you to see Kauai’s hidden areas that cannot be reached by vehicle. This is an easygoing paddling trip that includes four miles of paddling and about 1 ½ miles of moderate hiking through lush rainforest, wading across streams through brilliantly green foliage, along with informative narration that will help bring you on a journey back to ancient times and Hawaii’s rich history.

Experienced Kayakers: Rent Kayaks to Head onto the River on Your Own

Those who are experienced kayakers can head out on their own on the Wailua River by renting kayaks at Wailua Kayak and Canoe. Single or two-person kayaks can be rented, with the launch location convenient set where the Wailua River meets Wailua Bay. Kayakers can enjoy gorgeous vistas of Mt. Waialeale, known as the wettest spot on earth, as well as the Sleeping Giant, Mt. Nou Nou and much more.

When visiting Kauai, kayaking is really an experience not to be missed!

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Finding The Best Kauai Vacation Rental

August 3rd, 2014

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Kauai Vacation Rental

Choosing a vacation rental that will meet your needs can make a significant difference in your overall experience while visiting Kauai. While a vacation rental can be an excellent alternative to standard hotels and resorts, doing your research by finding out what is included in the price and asking plenty of questions can be essential to ensuring a good decision is made.

Here is a look at some of the most important questions to ask before booking your vacation rental.

04Where is it located?

Finding out how far it is to walk to the beach from the property is crucial. A five minute walk to the beach verses being at the edge of the sand can make a big difference in the overall vacation experience. If you or someone in your party has difficulty walking or other health issues, you might want to find out if a walk up or down a steep hill or stair climbing is required to get to the beach as well. Other questions to consider asking in regard to location include whether or not there is an ocean view, if the property is located on a busy street, and how far it is to amenities like shopping or restaurants.

Is air-conditioning available?

When visiting a tropical climate, air-conditioning can be a necessity. No matter what the amenities of a vacation rental, if temperatures inside are hot and steamy, it can be very difficult to enjoy them or to get a good night’s rest.

Is free Wi-Fi available throughout the property?

Wi-Fi is often ranked by travelers as the most important amenity for any type of accommodation. Even travelers who don’t plan on working usually want Wi-Fi in order to download and post pictures of their vacation to friends and family back home or to secure reservations, check flight information and more.

Unfortunately, some properties advertise Wi-Fi, but when guests arrive they find it is only available in a specific area, such as the lobby. Find out if you’ll be able to access it from your vacation rental and other areas throughout the property.

What are the sleeping arrangements and the total square footage?

A vacation rental listing normally states the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and how many people it sleeps. Find out the details such as the number of beds, en-suite bathrooms, and whether or not sleeper sofas are factored into the total numbers. If there are additional guests, can they be accommodated on aero beds with no extra costs incurred? Finding out the total square footage and the answers to all of these questions can make the difference in whether or not it is suitable for your particular group or family.

What type of amenities are included?

It’s often the little things that count, for example, a vacation rental normally includes a refrigerator, oven, and television, but you’ll want to find out if laundry facilities are available as well as appliances like a dishwasher, coffee maker and others. Coming back from a long day playing outdoors, you might want to be able to relax and soak in a hot tub or Jacuzzi, is this something that is available to you? If there are laundry facilities, are detergent and other supplies like dryer sheets included? A gas barbecue can also be an important amenity if you’d like to enjoy grilling in the comfort of your rental.

For those that don’t want to lug a laptop through the airport, having access to a computer and printer may be important in order to check-in online for flights or print confirmations. Does the property include an office with access to this? A recycling center offers a convenient way to reduce your carbon footprint, is one available on site?

Other amenities that can help make for a more convenient and comfortable stay include having access to sporting equipment like snorkeling gear and boogie boards as well as beach chairs, coolers, and beach towels.

Is concierge service available?

Concierge service can greatly enhance your vacation by helping you to choose the right restaurants and activities that will meet your party’s needs and desires. Recommendations can be given and reservations can even be made to help provide guests with a worry-free experience. Special extras like in-room massage or even a private chef may also be available – just ask!

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Kauai Helicopter Adventures

July 13th, 2014

Helicopter Adventures

One of the best ways to see Kauai is from above. In fact, about 90% of the island’s waterfalls can only be seen by embarking on a helicopter adventure. Those who have enjoyed the privilege of flying over all of the Hawaiian Islands say that the Garden Isle cannot be surpassed when it comes to which has the most spectacular beauty to fly over. Experiencing the magnitude of the Na Pali Coast and its jagged cliffs that drop down to the edge of turquoise waters by air is something that can never be forgotten, even in an entire lifetime.

Mid-morning may be the best time to fly with optimal lighting and generally the least cloud cover, remember that Kauai is the wettest island and Mt. Waiale’ale is the very wettest place on the entire planet, which is why the Garden Isle is so lush and has so many waterfalls.

A helicopter tour is ideal for vacationers of all types, from honeymooners and those celebrating an anniversary seeking a romantic adventure to families with small children and everyone in between.

03Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Blue Hawaiian offers the latest and greatest when it comes to helicopter adventures. They fly the Eco-Star, a luxury helicopter that’s considered the “Cadillac” of Kauai touring helicopters with lots of room, comfortable seating and large windows to take in sweeping views.

The journey begins with a flight to Hanapepe Valley, a fertile river valley that once housed a community of taro farmers. It continues to Mana Waiapuna, also known as “Jurassic Park Falls,” and up to Olokele Canyon and the magnificent colorful Waimea Canyon, famed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and the home of many hidden waterfalls.  Along the Na Pali Coast, you’ll see the Bali Hai Cliffs and the vivid blue waters of Hanalei Bay. If the weather allows, a visit to Mt. Waialeale and the heart of an ancient volcano will also be on the itinerary.

If you visit between December and April, you might just spot humpback whales in the sea below. The pilot may even bring you down for a closer look. Visitors who have joined Blue Hawaiian have often stated that joining this adventure was “the best decision” made during their vacation and it was “well worth the splurge” to see the most picturesque views of Kauai.

Island Helicopters

Island Helicopters offers a unique waterfall landing tour where you’ll have the chance to land at the internationally known “Jurassic Park Falls,” which was made famous by the Steven Spielberg film. This once in a lifetime experience is a 75 to 85 minute tour available only through Island Helicopters.

Visitors can actually feel the power of these incredible falls, landing just 400 feet from its base. The pilot will then guide you along a jungle path near a stream at the base of the falls where you can take pictures and learn about the interesting history of the area and amazing geologic formations.

The waterfall tour also includes a circle of the island with highlights that include Waimea Canyon, the Mt. Waialeale Crater, the Na Pali Coast, and more. Those who have embarked on this journey have commented, “It was so beautiful and amazing I was moved to tears,” and “an experience that will last in our minds forever… worth every dime.”

 

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Top Ten Quotes + Reminder to Enter

June 15th, 2014

Coming soon :-)

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Golfing on Kauai

June 1st, 2014

Golfing on Kauai

The Garden Isle offers a spectacular paradise for all types of vacationers, including honeymooners, families, and golf enthusiasts. While it’s a fairly small island, there is no shortage of places to get lost among breathtaking scenery that includes picturesque beaches and turquoise waters, tropical rainforests and some of the most scenic golf courses on the planet.

A wide diversity of courses is offered on Kauai, designed by some of the most well-known architects, including Jack Nicklaus. Some feature all of the best the island has to offer, including towering waterfalls, emerald colored mountains, dense jungle and rugged ocean cliffs.

02The Prince Golf Course

The Prince Golf Course at Hanalei in Princeville is often rated by Golf Digest as the number one course in Hawaii. It also ranks as a top-100 course in the entire nation with the chance to play 18 holes among lush jungle, tropical streams and cascading falls, as well as take in magnificent views of the ocean coastline from 300 feet above.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, it’s not the incredible scenery that has earned it so many accolades, but the design he created, turning rolling terrain into a links-style golf course that challenges like no other.  The par-72 course climbs slopes and twists down hills, requiring only the very best shots.

Princeville Makai Golf Course

An 18-hole round can be played on two of the three 9-hole courses, the Ocean, Lakes and Woods with each offering exceptional views. It was recently renovated by Robert Trent Jones to negotiate the beautiful combination of ocean front bluffs, woodlands and lakes.

Poipu Bay Golf Course

This championship course on the southern end of Kauai offers an idyllic location between the spectacular coastline and emerald mountains, sprawling across 210 acres of tropical flowers and vegetation. The site was originally the home of an ancient Hawaiian village, with its remnants incorporated into the course.  Countless golf legends, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have competed here enjoying commanding views of the Pacific as well as Mahualepu, a distant rock formation that appears to be a relaxing giant Hawaiian god, completely submerged, other than his pointed nose.

Puakea Golf Course

Puakea is a local’s favorite and often referred to as one of Hawaii’s best kept golf secrets. It originally opened in 1997 as a 10-hole golf course, hailed as a top ten course in America by Sports Illustrated. Designed by Robin Nelson, today it’s been expanded to 18 holes, taking advantage of the spectacular backdrop of the Ha’upu Mountain Range, famed as the setting for much of the film, “Jurassic Park.”

Pukea offers a fun experience for recreational golfers, while still challenging enough for more advanced players.

Wailua Municipal Golf Course

Known as one of the finest municipal golf courses you’ll find anywhere, this course is also popular with local residents, offering great rates along with Pacific Ocean and mountain views. This 18-hole seaside course includes historic coconut groves and pine trees that can be found throughout the property.

Kukuiolono

Kukuiolono, or Kuks as the locals call it, offers the very best bargain when it comes to golfing on Kauai. The nine-hole course perched on a hillside can be played for less than $10 a round and offers amazing views of the island’s south and west shores. This is a great course for beginners, originally built as the personal course for sugar king Walter McBride.

Kauai Lagoons Golf Club

This course features the longest stretch of oceanfront golf courses in all of Hawaii. A recent renovation was undertaken with the direction of famed architect and legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, with the terrain lending itself so well to his vision that he was said to have made just one change to his original design. Kauai Lagoons has received numerous accolades as one of the finest courses throughout the Pacific, now featuring three unique nines for 27 holes of golf on the island’s east shore.

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Kauai Is A Bird Lovers Paradise! + Last Chance To Enter

May 18th, 2014

Bird Watching on Kauai

The Garden Isle is home to a wide variety of birds with over 80 different species found here, making it a bird lover’s paradise. Many of the species on Kauai are rare and endangered, found nowhere else on the entire planet.

If you’d like to view some of the island’s beautiful birds, here are some of the best spots to do just that.

01Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

The once endangered Nene, or Hawaiian Goose and the state bird of Hawaii, can frequently be seen at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the northernmost point of the island. The Kilauea Lighthouse is also part of this 203-acre refuge which includes spectacular views of the rugged coastline, a seabird sanctuary and a National Marine Life Sanctuary. This is where you’ll find the biggest colony of seabirds across all of the main islands throughout the Hawaiian archipelago.

The protected refuge is a nesting area for many native Hawaiian bird species and is the best place to see numerous seabirds like Great Frigatebirds, Red-footed Boobies and the Laysan Albatross.  The magnificent Laysans frequently soar by at eye level, with this refuge one of the few places in the world where one of these glorious birds can be witnesed. Migratory shorebirds like the kōlea can also be seen from August through May.

Kokee State Park

Most of the native forest birds are found above an elevation of 3,000 feet within native forest habitats such as those found at Kokee State Park on the island’s west side, 15 miles north of Kekaha. To see some of the rarest forest birds on earth, hike along the Pihea trail through Alakai Swamp, watching for the crimson colored i’iwi, also known as the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper. Typically, this area will reveal at least 6 of the 8 endemic bird species including the i’iwi, moa and apapane.

There are miles and miles of hiking trails in the park to explore and watch for rare Hawaiian birds. By stopping in at the Kokee Natural History Museum you can find out more about the local flora and fauna.

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the north side of the island was created under the Endangered Species Act to protect five endangered native Hawaiian birds including the Hawaiian goose, the stilt, coot, moorhen and the Hawaiian duck. At least 45 other bird species can also be seen here, including 18 non-native species.

The Nene can often be seen on the grassy areas between the taro patches along the banks of the river. The bird gets its name for the sound, “ney, ney,” that it makes. You might also glimpse the black-crowned night heron, white coots, moorhens, stilts and koloa ducks near the river. The stilt is usually easy to spot with long pink legs that allow it to wade through the taro ponds.

The Hawaiian Moorhen also stands out with its bright red forehead known as the frontal shield. Its neck and head are black, with feathers varying from bluish-black to slate-gray with white under-tail feathers. The Moorhen is a critically endangered species, numbering less than 1,000 birds, living mostly on Kauai and Oahu, including the taro patches of Hanalei where they are frequently seen.

Last Chance to Enter

All good things must come to an end.  Our sweepstakes for a free one week stay in our Beachcomber at Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach ends the end of this month.  So, if you don’t want to miss out, now is the time to enter.  You’ll win a $1260 credit, which can be applied to the accommodation of your choice.  So come with a friend or bring several friends and stay in one of our two or three bedrooms.  We hope to see you soon at Hideaway.  Good luck to everyone.

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Snorkeling On Kauai

May 2nd, 2014

Snorkeling is not only easy to learn, many visitors say that seeing the incredible marine life is the highlight of their vacation on Kauai. The Garden Isle offers numerous snorkeling spots with many located off some of the nicest beaches on the island. From rare species of brilliant colored fish to green sea turtles, squids, rays and more, you’re bound to be entertained for hours in these spectacular waters.

Guests of Hideaway Cove have access to snorkel gear available to rent, including a mask, snorkel, fins, “no fog goop,” and a card that identifies local fish.

If you’ve never been snorkeling before, it’s very simple to learn, but you might feel more comfortable joining a tour with guides that can help you learn the proper technique as well as point out the myriad of marine life that you’ll find below the water’s surface.

For those who go out on their own, keep in mind that where and when you snorkel will make a big difference in the experience. You’ll want to look for calm waters without waves that are protected by reefs. Tropical reefs and corals are where you’ll find the fish. Kauai offers many protected snorkeling areas that are ideal with the reef areas offering an abundance of diverse fish populations. Keep in mind that the water is typically calmer at low tide and in the morning.

Some of the best spots on Kauai to snorkel include:

10Ke’e Beach

Snorkeling at Ke’e Beach is like being inside a giant aquarium with the ocean lagoon protected by a reef where a great diversity of fish and other marine life can be seen. This is the last beach accessible by car on the north shore and best utilized during the summer with calmer ocean conditions. It is a popular spot that can get pretty crowded, so you may want to arrive early for a better experience.

Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach offers a little more privacy while still teeming with marine life. It’s known as one of the best snorkeling spots on the island due to the undersea rock formations that include a labyrinth of underwater lava tubes. The cove has a shallow inner reef that is ideal for beginners and children, while the more adventurous can swim out further to the outer reef. Either way, snorkelers are practically ensured of spotting dozens and dozens of tropical fish and occasionally even a sea turtle.

The beach itself is very picturesque, and the surrounding area was the setting for the 1958 film, “South Pacific.” It’s best to snorkel here in the summer, as the currents can be quite strong here during the winter, even when the water appears to be safe.

Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach is a great place for children and beginning snorkelers to learn with its protected, shallow area. The best snorkeling can be found just to the west of the tombolo, a narrow strip of sand running out to Nukumoi Point. This is the only beach on Kauai’s south shore that has lifeguards seven days a week.

Lydgate Beach

Lydgate Beach, located on Kauai’s east shore between Wailua and Lihue is another good spot for novices to learn to snorkel as it includes a lava rock wall that encloses a small lagoon where fish can be seen. There are lots of activities for kids here as well, including an amazing community-built playground.

Salt Pond Beach

Salt Pond Beach on the west shore near Hanapepe offers a crescent shaped cove protected from the waves by an offshore reef.  The rock outcropping near the salt ponds are filled with lots of marine life.

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There’s Still Time To Enter

April 27th, 2014

fb31All good things must come to an end.  Our sweepstakes for a free one week stay in our Beachcomber at Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach ends the end of this month.  So, if you don’t want to miss out, now is the time to enter.  You’ll win a $1260 credit, which can be applied to the accommodation of your choice.  So come with a friend or bring several friends and stay in one of our two or three bedrooms.  We hope to see you soon at Hideaway.  Good luck to everyone.

ENTER SWEEPSTAKES NOW!

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Scuba Diving On Kauai

April 20th, 2014

Kauai is known for its spectacular sights on land that include brilliant gardens and cascading falls, but there is no shortage when it comes to magnificent underwater sights that can be explored by beginning and experienced scuba divers alike.

Just a few of the wonders found in the warm waters of the Garden Isle include reef creatures, arches, pinnacles, caverns and an abundance of tropical fish, with more than 25% of the species occurring nowhere else on the entire planet. You’ll also likely encounter Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, prolific here as their main food source, algae, is plentiful in the area with Kauai being one of the wettest places in the world.

06Certification

Most dive operators offer introductory dives for beginners who are not certified. The maximum depth that non-certified divers are allowed to dive is 40 feet, with no more than four non-certified divers for each instructor.

You can get certified while you’re on vacation in Kauai, but you may want to do all of the pool work in addition to learning basic skills, reading the PADI, taking quizzes and tests, etc. at home first so that when you arrive, all you need is your open water dives to complete the certification. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of your precious vacation time studying.

If you’re working through the PADI Open Water Diver course online, once you’ve completed all of the segments you can just print the eLearning record and bring it in to Seasport Divers in Koloa, starting your underwater adventure there.

Diving with Seasport Divers

Seasport Divers offers two boat trips off Kauai’s South Shore every day of the year. Boat dives are led by highly trained, experienced guides who take small groups of a maximum of seven certified divers per guide on guided tours. High quality equipment rentals and dive computers are used for all certified divers who are diving from the boat with a video of each dive shot during the excursion.

Morning trips, catered to more experienced divers, meet at 7:30 a.m. in the Poipu shop. These are meant for divers who are totally comfortable in the water and with diving. The afternoon trips meet at 12:45 p.m., also at the Poipu shop, and are for new divers, those who aren’t certified, or divers who are a bit rusty. The pace is slower and the dive sites are more shallow.

One of the popular dive sites here includes Sheraton Caverns which is considered a must for Kauai divers with its ancient lava tubes made up of beautiful archways and overhangs as the home of many Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles as well as large whitemouth moray eels, conger eels and a wide variety of Hawaiian reef fish. Divers also are treated to Brennecke’s Ledge, a lava shelf that extends for several miles parallel to the South Shore with large branches of black coral where you’ll find all types of marine life, including turtles, cowry, octopus as well as an abundance of tropical fish and even a resident white tip reef shark.

Shore diving tours are also available from Koloa Landing which was voted one of the best shore dives throughout the Pacific by Scuba Diving magazine. The site features lots of interesting coral formations and nearly every fish that can be found on a Hawaii fish cart. Hire an experienced dive guide for a tour of Koloa Landing, or get a briefing on the site as well as equipment rentals at the Seasport Divers Poipu shop.

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Fun Things To Do On Kauai With Kids

April 6th, 2014

When it comes to things to do on Kauai, there are practically an endless number of options, including kid-friendly activities. You’ll have no worries about the kids getting bored on this island paradise that is known for family fun with its easily accessible beaches, paved bike trails and small size that makes it easy to navigate.

Swimming and snorkeling beaches

There are several beaches that offer access to calm waters and are ideal for kids to swim or snorkel, including Poipu Beach Park on the South Shore with its natural ocean wading pool, a shallow bay for swimming and an area for snorkeling.  On the North Shore, Anini Beach and Hanalei Bay Beach Park are good options, while Salt Pond Beach Park on the west coast, Lydgate State Park, Kalapaki Beach and Anahola Beach Park on the east coast all offer the opportunity for kids to safely take a dip as well.

08Fern Grotto River Boat Tour

The Fern Grotto Boat Tour is a favorite with children and adults. This cruise takes guests through Hawaii’s only navigable river, the Wailua. The waterway winds its way through dense tropical jungle, past rich historic sights and brilliant flora with guides sharing fascinating legends of the river. The final destination is Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto covered with ferns where performers demonstrate the near perfect acoustics of the cave with their beautiful singing voices.

Luaus

Luaus are fun for all, even families with young children can enjoy them with dancing and music that can keep everyone entertained for hours. Smith’s Tropical Paradise Luau at the Wailua River on the east coast is especially popular with families, offering the opportunity to start the evening with a tram ride and a tour of the garden.

Other top luaus include the Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau on the oceanfront at Poipu Beach, the Sheraton Kauai Resort’s Surf to Sunset Oceanfront Luau and the Luau Kalamaku at Kilohana Plantation.

Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

These beautiful gardens include a children’s garden that features a tropical jungle gym, tree house, maze, Jack and the Bean Stalk Giant and a train ride.  There are many beautiful spots to take family pictures too, such as the Wild Forest Garden or the Shower Tree Park and Ka’ula Lagoon.

These gardens lead to picturesque Kaluakai Beach where visitors can relax at the edge of the surf or meet some of the island’s indigenous and exotic birds.

Zipline tours

Zipline tours are offered throughout the island, with Outfitters Kauai in Koloa offering several different types, including tours that are suitable for younger children; kids as young as seven years old are able to zip. Their Safari tour includes a two mile kayak trip as well as the chance to take a dip in a pristine, freshwater pool and zip across the forest canopy, taking in the breathtaking views.

Ride the Kauai Coastal Path

The Kauai Coastal Path is a great place for a family bike ride, running along the island’s magnificent shoreline with beautiful views of the ocean. Bike rentals are available at several shops and include a variety of sizes for children aged six through 12; for those with smaller children, trailers that attach to an adult bike can also be rented.

The path is fairly flat and stretches for miles along the coast with humpback whales sometimes seen putting on a show from December through April. Dolphins and turtles often spotted year round, primarily at Kapaa Point.

Of course, this is just a short list of the many activities available for families; horseback riding, dolphin watching, surfing and boogie-board lessons and hiking are just some of the other possibilities.

 

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