Kauai's Family Friendly Activities

Kauai's Family Friendly Activities | 2024 Top Picks

Kauai is the ideal playground for families! The island’s pristine beaches, dramatic jungles, and abundant activities make it the ultimate spot to reconnect while creating new memories with your kids, parents, and grandparents. Here are our top eight unforgettable activities for your next Kauai family vacation. 

1. Tube Through the Tunnels of a Historic Sugar Plantation

The historical, hand-dug canals, tunnels, and flumes of Kauai Backcountry Adventures provide a perfect 3-hour activity for all ages (5+) and abilities. These man-made waterways date back to 1870 when they supplied the irrigation needed for Kauai’s sugarcane fields. The guides are fun and knowledgeable, the tubes comfortable and the refreshing water flows leisurely for your 2.5 mile ride. Headlamps are provided for navigating the five tunnels, adding a bit of a thrill to the experience. This activity fills up, so make your reservation early! 

2. Spend Loads of Time at the Beach

Kauai boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Whether building sandcastles, snorkeling, swimming, or simply relaxing, the beach is a must-visit for families. Our favorite family beaches are easily accessible, safe, and mostly patrolled by county lifeguards. We suggest bringing the entire ohana (family) to Salt Pond Beach Park, Poipu Beach Park, Kalapaki Bay (no lifeguard), Lydgate Beach Park, and Hanalei Bay. Open an umbrella, apply lots of reef-safe sunscreen, and picnic while enjoying the sounds of waves gently lapping the shore. As a side note… If you want to keep good with the locals, select a space 20 feet from another group and don’t block their view of the water. Also, leave the canned music at the condo. Instead, enjoy the natural vibrations of the water, birds, and keiki (children) enjoying the beach.


3. Hike the Grand Canyon of the Pacific (Waimea Canyon)

In 1866, American author Mark Twain looked across the breathtaking Waimea Canyon and declared it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Today, this beautiful state park is enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Its beauty contrasts with the lower-elevation jungles and the 10-degree cooler temperatures are much appreciated in the summer months. Research family-friendly trails at the state park website and note any parking fees. Bring a picnic to the meadow or enjoy an incredible meal at the Kokee Lodge. The lodge also boasts a cozy communal space with board games and often hosts live music.


4. Create Memories in the Kitchen

Cooking Classes are a sure way to bring families closer. The relaxed, social atmosphere creates the perfect opportunity to connect with your children. Even the grumpiest teenager will be spied smiling as they assemble their musubi! At Cooking Kauai, guests learn the history of each dish while creating musubi, mochi, somen salad, and poke. Everyone leaves with extra musubi and there will not be any arguments over who’s doing the dishes!


5. Zip Line or ATV through Kauai’s Back Country

View Kauai’s jungles while zipping over tree tops or splashing through lush underbrush. For adventurous families, zip-lining or ATV touring through the dense backcountry offers adrenaline-pumping fun. While gliding or riding through the wild terrain, fantastic guides, share historical stories, Kauai tips, and names of the tropical flora and fauna.

6. Learn to Surf

Sign up for a family-friendly, Poipu surf lesson. Kauai’s gentle waves are perfect for beginners, and riding the waves together is a memorable experience. Those who do not wish to take a lesson make great cheerleaders and photographers for those in the water. 

7. Let’s Block Party!

Kauai has a growing number of free-to-attend block parties and night markets each month. Every Friday, Hanapepe hosts Art Night. The galleries stay open, often serving wine and pupus, there are food trucks, live music, and street vendors. Local cafes including Japanese Grandma and Midnight Bear are also open and often have special menus for the evening.

2nd Saturday in Lihue is always a good time. Sponsored by Downtown Lihue, this organization is passionate about revitalizing Kauai’s main hub by supporting its local businesses through events and initiatives. On 2nd Saturday, Kress Street is closed to traffic and instead, is lined with craft vendors, food trucks, and live local music. Surrounding cafes are open late including Kauai Beer Co., Restaurant Kiibu, and Hamura Saimin.

Located on the north shore of Kauai, you don’t want to miss the Princeville Night Market. This event takes place on the second Sunday of each month. This free and family-friendly market with over 30 artisans, ranges from paintings and wood carvings to hot sauce and handmade soap, showcasing a large selection of items made on Kauai.  You may also enjoy dinner or a sweet treat from the featured food trucks and dessert vendors, or any of the many restaurants in the Princeville Shopping Center while listening to the tunes of local musicians.

8. Catch the Train!

Both littles and grandparents love this nostalgic train ride at Kilohana Plantation. Head to the depot for your ticket, then select your seat on one of the vintage train cars. The conductor will navigate the train through the 105-acre plantation while the guide shares the history and crops cultivated on the property. There are loads of photo opportunities and the entire family will be delighted to feed the goats, pigs, and donkeys along the way.

 As you plan your family trip to Kauai, let the island's natural beauty and active lifestyle set the stage for unforgettable moments. Whether skipping along our beautiful shorelines, learning new recipes, or flying through the tree tops, Kauai offers the perfect backdrop for family memory-making.

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