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Posted: 8/23/2017 2:49:21 PM EST
We have airline tickets to come to Kauai from September 21 - September 28, and I'm having a really hard time deciding if we should stay on the north shore near Princeville or the south shore near Poipu.

Some background - I came to visit Kauai about 7.5 years ago and we stayed in Kalaheo. It was me, my 17 year old brother, and my parents. It was lovely, but we weren't on the beach and it was a distant ocean view. We did a lot of driving around which I was OK with.

Now, I'm married with two small children (aged 3, and 1.5), and I'd like to find someplace with a good ocean view that's also within a 5-10 minute walk to the beach.

None of us will really be swimming beyond about waist deep, but I'd like plenty of room to stretch out and build sand castles with the kids, and play around in the shallow water.

We probably won't be cooking very much at all, so a reasonable selection of restaurants is nice, and if I could swing some place with AC, that would be fantastic.

I've read that Princeville is prettier, but the beaches aren't as accessible, and it seems to be a bit more isolated (from what I remember).

I've read the beaches in Poipu are more kid-friendly, but I'm not sure about the weather this time of year (same goes for north shore). Plus it also seems more of the 'action' is down south. Particularly as far as restaurants and shopping etc.

Overall, I think I'm leaning a bit more towards Poipu, but the folks who advocate the north shore are usually very adamant. I think if it were only me and my wife, I might be more that direction, but with two small children, that makes things more complicated.

Link Posted: 8/27/2017 3:27:22 PM EST
Poipu beach park has a shallow enclosed area for children to swim. Many locals as well as tourist take there kids there. A playground is right next to the swim area and there are lifeguards on duty. So it is an excellent area for families with small kids. There are a ton of places to stay at and a bunch of restaurants in the area. You also get significantly less rain there than on the North shore. So less chance of rainy days.

If you don't want to go all the way to the North shore, you can also stay in Wailua. Lydgate beach park also has an enclosed swimming area for kids. There is a playground as well but it is separated a bit more than Poipu. My wife and son love swimming at there. We pick up food from Foodland grocery store deli for lunch, they have a decent poke selection (seasoned raw fish) as well as cooked food. Try a Spam musubi when you're there, it is a local delicacy.

I usually stay at the Courtyard Marriott in Wailua when I'm back visiting home. My parents live in Wailua, so it is convenient location for us. It is fairly newly renovated (5 years or so), so the property is in great shape and the pool is decent. The Aston hotel right by Lydgate is hammered and they are in the middle of renovating it. But they are doing it on the cheap and doing a wing at a time. So avoid it and do the 5-10 minute car ride from the Courtyard.

If you want to spend the money, the Marriott resort at Nawiliwili has a wonderful property with a great pool right on the beach. But it is spendy at twice the rate of the Courtyard property. I rather spend the money on activities or eating out. But I'm from Kauai and spend time away from my hotel when I'm there. With small kids, it may be worth it to be close to the room. The beach is 50yards from the pool, although not enclosed, it is in a bay so it isn't real rough.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 3:45:59 PM EST
Princeville is on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Great views, but bad access to the beach. And the beach you can hike to is dangerous, people regularly drown there. Hanalei, which is the town below the bluff and on the other side of the river has access to the beach. Hanalei bay, particularly by the Pier has decent swimming for kids. But there is nothing enclosed like Poipu or Lydgate.

And the North shore rains daily. It is super lush, but the requires natures sprinkler system to come on everyday. Its usually short passing showers, it will rain for 5-10 minutes and then be sunny.

So one big advantage to the South shore, is it doesn't rain daily, more like once a week unless a storm is in the area. I grew up in Kekaha, 10 miles west of Poipu, and it wouldn't rain for months at a time, even when Hanalei would rain daily. The South shore is known as the dry side for a reason. The high mountains, Waialeale in particular, is one of the wettest spots on earth. It scrapes all the moisture out of the clouds which typically head North to South, so there is nothing left when it gets to the South shore.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 3:56:58 PM EST
I just looked online and the Hilton just bought the Aston property right near Lydgate. It looks like they remodeled the property. So that might be a good location.

Its been a few years since I stayed at that location. While clean, it was in rough condition. The bones of the property were wonderful, it was just old. So if the Hilton fixed it up, it might be back to its old glory and a 3 minute walk from Lydgate.
Link Posted: 8/30/2017 3:09:47 PM EST
From what I've read and what I'm trying to stay near Poipu rather than the North shore. It seems the south side is more kid friendly with more local activities and the north is a bit more isolated from what I remember.

Does that sound about right?
Link Posted: 8/30/2017 9:06:07 PM EST
The South shore is a bit more friendly to kids, but overall, Kauai is really suited to families.  It is very rural and laid back.  If the South shore appeals to you, definitely do it.  There is no bad locations on the island. Definitely check out Waimea Canyon and it is worth a drive to the North shore to spend the day.
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