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First time to Kauai in August - Diving & Hiking

swimmom1922swimmom1922 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
We are planning a vacation to Kauai in August for DS19 graduation. We have never been to Hawaii so are looking forward to doing as much as we can. We will probably fly into Oahu, spend a day or two doing some of the wonderful things that the post on Oahu covered, then we'd fly to Kauai.

DH and I are Scuba certified. DS19 and DD22 are thinking about doing the online PADI certification so they can do their check out dives in Kauai. Can anyone recommended a dive outfit to get certified? Also do you recommend diving on the south shore or the north shore in August?

We would also like to hike in the Waimea Canyon. What are the best hikes in Waimea and are there any other hikes people can recommend?

We plan on renting a VRBO or homeaway so we may not be located near a beach. We don't know where to stay yet as it depends if we will be diving on the north or south side of the island. Is it easy to find a beach (and parking) for some relaxation after hiking and diving?

Any other recommendations of things to do on Kauai?

Replies to: First time to Kauai in August - Diving & Hiking

  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,997 Senior Member
    I have always liked the north shore better. There are many beautiful secluded beaches on the north shore. There are some nice condos ver close to the beach you can rent out around Princeville. I used to stay at the Princeville Hotel (now St Regis). The south side is more touristy and busier. When we used to go there, it was easy to find parking.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 38,623 Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Two words: Kalalau Trail. :) It is the North Shore area and is absolutely gorgeous. You can do a day hike without a permit (to a certain point).

    The island is so small you can do a day trip out of Princeville to Waimea Canyon and hike there.
  • MagnetronMagnetron Registered User Posts: 2,645 Senior Member

    The south side of Kauai is the sunnier, drier side and where more people live. Koloa landing is where a few of the dive schools do their classes and is full of fish and sea turtles.

    Our favorite hike in the Waimea Canyon was the Alaka'i Swamp Trail to the lookout. From there you can see the north shore and Hanalei Bay. Be warned, though, that the fog rolls in every day around 10:30 am so plan accordingly. We did that one early and a bunch of the shorter hikes and the small visitors' center as we worked our way back down the canyon.
  • firstwavemomfirstwavemom Registered User Posts: 370 Member
    My family is also planning a trip to Kauai (and Maui) in August. @oldfort thanks for mentioning Princeville. My husband is going to do most of the planning, but I will pass this along. I am happy to hear all of the hiking recommendations too. Thanks!
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,997 Senior Member
    St Regis is part of SPG/Marriott. Maybe you guy have points to get some discount at the hotel. I heard the hotel has a pretty amazing Sunday brunch. They used to have a seafood buffet on Fri night at their Terrace restaurant - amazing view.
  • firstwavemomfirstwavemom Registered User Posts: 370 Member
    @oldfort no Marriott points but we do have a friend that works for Marriott and can get a rate if it's available, but usually hard to find at desirable vacation spots in season. Plus, we are a family of 4 and a condo is a better bet for us.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,997 Senior Member
    There are some nice condos around there. A condo would be better for you. :) I have a lot of Marriott points.
  • 1214mom1214mom Registered User Posts: 4,562 Senior Member
    One of the coolest things we’ve ever done was an 18 mile kayaking trip around the Napali Coast. It wasn’t cheap, but it was so worth it. It’s only available in the summer, and books up months in advance, so if you want to do it check it out soon. We have stayed in both Princeville and Poipu. Poipu is better in winter, but Princeville fine for summer. The kayaking trip started up by Princeville. We stayed in a condo right next to the St Regis up in Princeville, and the price wasn’t terrible.
    There is a hike in Waimea canyon that ends with a view of Hanalei Bay, IF you are lucky and get a clear day/view. The hike was a total grunt, but we did get the million dollar view, for maybe 10 minutes. One woman there when we were said it was her 6th time doing the hike, and first where she actually got the beautiful view.
  • swimmom1922swimmom1922 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
    Thanks for all your advice!

    @BunsenBurner - is that part of the trail dangerous?
  • mom60mom60 Registered User Posts: 8,193 Senior Member
    We stayed at the Hanalei Colny Resort. The location was low key and the condo nice with a veranda with an ocean view. Simple pool.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 38,623 Senior Member
    We hiked the entire trail and camped overnight at the wild beach at the end of it. It was an amazing experience. I did not think the entire trail was too dangerous. There was one part where the trail goes around a cliff - it got my heart rate up a bit. But the first part of the trail is easily hikeable, and no permit is needed.
  • tx5athometx5athome Registered User Posts: 3,834 Senior Member
    We stay at the Kiahuna Plantation (condos) in Poipu. I like the South side of the island better because I like the sun. If There is a Marriot Beach club next door to Kiahuna Plantation which are condos. There is a snorkeling/diving spot on the south shore, near Poipu ,in Lawai (Prince Kuhio & Beach House). I have not stayed there, but the Kuhio Shores condos look really nice. I think there are a lot of dive places out of Koloa (Poipu area).
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,165 Senior Member
    The St Regis just left the Marriott family and is now independent. It is called the Princeville Resort now. No Marriott points there anymore.
  • 1214mom1214mom Registered User Posts: 4,562 Senior Member
    @tx5athome, that’s where we’ve stayed, twice - kuhio shores. Once in a 1 br, and once in a 2 br.
    They have no pool, but they are water front (may be closest to the water on the island), there’s a small beach right next door, they are within walking distance of a “mall” and right next to a very good restaurant. If anyone stays there, be careful what unit you are renting. You want to have full view of the ocean, not the other direction. (I THINK it’s unit numbers that end in over 10 that you want, but that may be wrong).
  • bearpantherbearpanther Registered User Posts: 679 Member
    We also stayed a few years ago in a waterview unit in kuhio shores. Really nice location and you can watch turtles swimming off the balcony. We snorkeled right there and saw lots of cool marine life and one morning there was a big sea lion (or seal?) on the beach.

    We don't dive but we did a lot of snorkeling in Poipu and then took a drive to Tunnels beach and Hanalei bay as well. We chose to stay on the south side because the waves are bigger there in the summer and H wanted to surf.

    Other things we did:

    boat trip along Napali Coast (good dolphin watching)

    Lomi Lomi massage in Anahola at Auntie Angeline's--you get a steam, a salt rub, and a 4 handed lomi lomi massage. It takes 2 hours and it is awesome.

    Wings Over Kauai--helicopter tours are popular but only fit so many passengers and invariably someone is stuck with no view. Wings uses a small plane so everyone gets a window seat--one drawback is they can't go down into the canyons but we didn't feel cheated.

    We did a hike with Eric of Hike Kauai with Me---he is very knowledgeable about the island and tailors the hike to what you want. Everything from how long, where, level of difficulty, do you want to swim under a waterfall, etc. We learned a lot and everyone agreed it was a highlight of the trip. I know a lot of people hike on their own there but we were not confident we wouldn't get lost and we really wanted to swim at that waterfall!
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