Best Things to Do with Kids in Kauai

From tots to teans, Kaua`i will satisfy kids of all ages with ocean fun and exciting sites

Kaua`i isn't just for honeymooners and adrenaline freaks, it's the ideal place to travel with children. Children of all ages, from infants to teenagers will have a blast all over the Garden Island. Kaua`i is pretty small which is good news for parents - kids won't be asking the classic "are we there yet?" as you weave your way around the island. 10 Best is here to guide you to the best spots for children of all ages island wide, and parents will have fun too!

All kids love rides of any kind, and many love trains. For a unique experience stop by historic Kilohana Plantation, and take a ride on the classic train that weaves through fruit trees, animal enclosures, and through every part of the acreage. For a different sort of fun, Lumahai Beach's awesome freshwater river is the spot where local kids and visitors go and play. Remember that the open ocean here isn't to be swam in - ever - but the river is an ideal place to hang out and swim.

What's probably the closest thing Kaua`i has to a theme park is Kamokila Hawaiian Village. The land was once a Hawaiian village, which has been reconstructed to show visitors home styles, share information on Hawaiian remedies, share traditional Hawaiian games, and allow visitors to pick fruit.

Almost everyone loves a peak at the underwater world, especially kids. Lydgate Beach Park on the east side offers hands down the best snorkeling on the island. Of course it's important to always remember ocean safety, but this is one of the safest spots too.

So hit up our list of the top 10 Kaua`i activities for kids for all the info you need for great family time. As usual, 10 Best has you covered!


Koke'e State Park
Photo courtesy of jade eckardt

Just north of Waimea Canyon, inland from the Na Pali Coast, lies this rugged state park, spread across 4345 mountainous acres. Especially popular with nature lovers, the park offers terrific scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, from hiking to pig hunting to trout fishing (with pre-arranged licenses). Temperatures at this elevation are a bit cooler than elsewhere on the island, so you'll want to dress accordingly. Plus, nature trails crisscross the landscape, and camping is available. The park also features a lodge, museum, and visitors center where you can check park conditions before venturing onwards.

Local Expert tip: Bring gear for both hiking and a picnic. You can even sleep up here in a bunk room or tent.

Read more about Koke'e State Park →

Poi'pu Beach Park and Brennecke's Beach
Photo courtesy of jade eckardt

Thanks to its proximity to South Shore resorts, this stretch of beach gets a good amount of traffic. It doesn't hurt, of course, that it boasts abundant sunlight, soft sand, incredible views, and a good mix of surf and gentle shallows. Families and teens gather to bask in the sun, snorkel, swim, and laze in contented bliss. Food is available nearby, and the park also features showers, restrooms, and picnic facilities. Brennecke's Beach, on the eastern end, draws a constant crowd of bodysurfers, who take advantage of the area's rolling waves.

Local Expert tip: A great place for kids and a picnic.

Read more about Poi'pu Beach Park and Brennecke's Beach →

Lydgate Beach Park truly has everything you could need for a day at the beach - two protected natural swimming pools, spectacular snorkeling, white sand, amenities, lifeguard, and an amazing playground for children. This is where snorkel lovers will have the time of their lives. The underwater worlds in nearly always pulsing with life, and offers views of colorful tropical fish. The calm pools are perfect for children or anyone else who would prefer to not get knocked around by waves. Lydgate is a great place for a full day at the beach or a quick snorkel stop. It's also centrally located on the east side so it doesn't require driving far out of your way.

Local Expert tip: Bring some fish food from a snorkel gear shop and send the fish into a feeding frenzy!

Read more about Lydgate Beach Park →


Set along the Wailua River, this 30-acre complex introduces visitors to Hawaii's local flora and to more exotic species too. A mile-long trail wends through manicured grounds, offering folks the chance to view cultivated vegetation and a series of ethnic villages that represent the cultures of Kauai's various immigrants. Filipino, Japanese, and Polynesian sites can be explored, along with a fruit orchard, rainforest setting, and ginger and heliconia gardens. Narrated tram tours are available, and the complex also hosts weekly luaus, complete with entertainment and traditional foods.

Local Expert tip: Catch the luau, it's very worth it.

Read more about Smith's Tropical Paradise →

Kilohana Plantation
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt

In its heyday, this grand, 1930s-era mansion was the focal point of a successful sugar-cane plantation. Today, the Tudor-style, 16000-square-foot home has been restored to its original glory and houses galleries, boutiques, and the historic train. Visitors may wander its halls with their rich detailing and explore the cottages that lie on the estate's grounds. In addition, 22 North gourmet food fit for a locovore, and local artwork and crafts from on-site shops make ideal souvenirs. You'll also find Kauai's only rum distillery and a ceramics shop where you can make your own pottery to ship home.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Kilohana Plantation is the best near port place to pick up locally crafted gifts and souvenirs.

Local Expert tip: Ride the historic train.

Read more about Kilohana Plantation →

This large, crescent-shaped bay on the North Shore hosts a number of enviable beaches, which all share golden sands and clear, calm waters. The bay is protected by coral reefs, and along its two-mile stretch, folks soak in the sun, build sandcastles, and throw frisbees. Water activities include everything from fishing to windsurfing, swimming to kayaking, scuba diving to boating. During the winter, waters get a little rougher, but conditions at such beaches as Black Pot and Waikoko remain manageable throughout the year.

Local Expert tip: Take surf lessons here.

Read more about Hanalei Bay →

Immortalized in the movie "South Pacific," this gorgeous beach garners ample acclaim for its beauty, although its swimming opportunities are less than optimal. Rip currents plague the waters, which are generally too dangerous to broach except in the middle of summer, when they briefly calm down. Still, the juxtaposition of tropical jungle and ocean panorama is certain to intoxicate any visitor, and time spent on the sands is as satisfying and pleasurable as a jaunt in the sea.

Local Expert tip: Hang out on the northern end and swim in the fresh water river. Keep an eye on the ocean.

Read more about Lumahai Beach →

Kamokila Hawaiian Village

On the very site of an ancient Hawaiian village, this modern-day equivalent has been erected to teach visitors about the islands before Western contact. The compound, lying along the Wailua River, showcases (replicated) homes and community buildings, including those used by the chief and those devoted to storing herbal remedies. Visitors may also catch demonstrations of cloth-making, agriculture, and poi-making and learn about early religion and social interaction. Educational and enlightening for the whole family.

Local Expert tip: Make sure to try of the fruit that grows here.

Read more about Kamokila Hawaiian Village →

Wailua Falls
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt

Many visitors recognize these twin falls as the ones pictured in the opening sequence of the "Fantasy Island" TV show. Their dramatic, 80-foot tumble is the subject of many tourist photographs, a distinct difference from the days when Hawaiian royalty dove from the cliffs as a sign of power and prowess. Although the falls' beauty waxes and wanes depending on rainfall, they're always a worthy site. Some folks choose to hike down to the basin, but the journey, which is steep and somewhat treacherous, is perhaps best reserved for adrenalin junkies.

Local Expert tip: Serious adventurers can consider taking the trail up to the falls.

Read more about Wailua Falls →


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade