Introduction to Kauai

Nicknamed The Garden Island for its unspoiled beaches, mist-shrouded mountains, and velvety green river valleys, Kauai is an exciting playground for families who enjoy outdoor adventures on a spectacular tropical island. You can swim in the Pacific or in mountain pools surrounded by wild orchids, guavas, and mangos.

We found a wealth of kids’ activities -- swimming and snorkeling with dolphins and sea turtles, watching Humpback whales on a catamaran or rescuing
endangered Hawaiian monk seals. Kids can go kayaking, mountain tubing, horseback riding, or fly through a jungle on a zipline. Hikes through rain forests and lush hidden valleys with waterfalls range from easy walks to challenging treks

Natural wonders include more than 40 gorgeous white sand beaches; Waimea Canyon, dubbed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and the 3,000-foot rugged mountains towering above the Napali Coast. No wonder Kauai has been the exotic backdrop for more than 75 movies and TV shows including South Pacific, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Uncommon Valor, Flight of the Intruder, Blue Hawaii, and King Kong.

Hawaii is the only state with its own music, language and dance. Today, kids of Kauai are discovering once vibrant Polynesian culture – schools teach Hawaiian language, ancient legends and the mysteries of hula, the soul of Hawaii. We took our nine-year old to a theatrical luau where she sampled a blend of exotic local foods. Then she enjoyed dancers and musicians who put on a fantastic show about Kauai’s history and its first inhabitants -- Polynesian gods from Tahiti.

Part of Kauai’s allure is the slow, unplugged lifestyle. Enjoy a passion fruit and pineapple shave ice. We soon felt like ‘ohana (family), especially when someone gave our keiki (child) an orchid lei and a puka shell bracelet. Or taught her how to pronounce the name of Hawaii’s state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. (In Hawaiian, it means fish with a nose like a pig. In English, it’s the gray and black trigger fish). It’s easy to catch Kauai’s contagious special aloha spirit.

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