After days or weeks on a cruise ship, everyone in the family will most likely be looking forward to time spent exploring Kauai. Since most cruise ships dock mid morning after breakfast, and depart again before dinner, 10Best has put together a half-day itinerary to guide families to the funnest things to do on Kauai. From sightseeing to snorkeling, the family will get the most out of time on this Hawaiian island.
For ocean lovers and thrill seekers, mid morning is the best time to catch a surf lesson at Kalapaki Bay, just minutes away from the port. Each day, Kalapaki Beach Boys - a surf school right at the bay - begins lessons around 10 a.m. With mornings usually offering calm winds and ocean conditions, this is the ideal time to take a lesson.
Lessons include all the gear a novice surfer could need. Just bring swim suits when leaving the ship. For those not in the mood to get in the water and catch waves, just walking the long beach and beach combing in the morning sun is a delightful experience.
Hanalei Valley — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
On the way to the North Shore. stop by Lydgate Beach Park in Wailua. This protected natural swimming pool is one of the top two places on the island for snorkeling. It's an ideal family place because the generally calm pool is protected by a rock wall that serves as a barrier between the pool and the open ocean. Tropical fish are in abundance here, and a mask and snorkel are all that is needed to see the colorful crowds.
Down the street in Kapa'a, Mermaids Cafe is a wonderful place to grab a bite to eat for lunch. A small hole-in-the-wall place, Mermaids is a tiny lunch shop where customers order at the window and take the food to go or enjoy it at one of the few sidewalk tables in front. The Pacific Rim, island fusion blended menu offers healthy meals with vegetables and fresh island fish in wraps and as full meals.
History and beauty combine on Kauai — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Gorgeous mountain and ocean views can be taken in from the road heading towards lush Kilauea town. Once in the old sugar plantation town, head towards the historic Kilauea Lighthouse for gorgeous views of the landmark and the cove below. Endangered sea birds nest in the trees on the cliffs and the cove is often visited by whales and dolphins.
Farther north, right past Princeville, is Hanalei Valley Overlook. The highway overlook offers travelers a view of the valley's incredible beauty, which spreads out in a lush panorama of color, texture and dimension. Set against rugged mountains are the shimmering strands of river and waterfalls, and taro fields push out across the valley in a study of the possibilities of green.
Time in Kauai meets the perfect ending with tapas in Hanalei at Bar Acuda Tapas and Wine. The sleek restaurant is one of the hippest on the island. The varied selection of tapas is a perfect meal before hitting the road and attending dinner back on the ship.
Lydgate Beach Park — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt