For my 30th birthday this last March, my family planned an incredible journey to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The island of Kauai has always been a special place for my family, and my parents always tried to make the journey over the Pacific at least bi-yearly. Because of conflicting schedules and adulting, we had not been in 9 years.
We stay in the same condo every time we go because we love the view and amenities… hello Margaritaville Machine! We love the owners, and it is by far the best condo on the north shore. If you ever want to stay there, make sure you stay in the Puu Poa penthouse #412, you won’t be sorry. All the units in the Puu Poa complex are beautiful, though.
Around the corner from our condo in Hanalei, we went to a trendy local eatery called Kalypso. They have delicious traditional Hawaiian poke bowls and yummy blended drinks. The view isn’t bad, either.
It’s been many years since I have seen a luau, and seeing as though my aunt and uncle don’t get many opportunities to luau in Ohio, we visited the Smith’s Family Luau in Kauai’s picturesque Wailua River Valley.
The Smith Family really puts on an incredible show. When you first arrive, you receive a shell necklace and a photo is taken of your family that you have an option to purchase later that evening.
Be sure you arrive early, because the gardens and birds on the grounds are breathtaking. A tram will give you a quick garden tour of the indigenous plants and birds as it takes you to the roasting spot. A small ceremony is conducted as the pig is buried, and everyone gathers in a covered dining area where all the yummy grub is served. It’s all you can eat and drink, and the food was great. Traditional American fare as well as some Hawaiian poi is served.
Make sure you get a few Mai Tais! There is also some domestic beer and wine available.
Snorkeling is by far, my favorite thing to do on the islands. When I enter the warm, tropical waters, I feel as though I’ve entered another world. In a way, I have. Because the Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated islands in the world, you can see and experience so many different species of plants and animals. What a better was to do this than enter the underwater? It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of different species of fish and sea turtles.
When we stay on the north shore, my favorite beach is the Hideaways Beach just under our condo. The hike down to the beach is steep in some places, but the hike is short and the reward is great.
A rickety staircase leads you about a quarter of the way down, and the rest is up to you.
But a small, probably empty beach will be your reward.
This has to be one of my top five favorite places on Earth I’ve visited.
A few days we walked down to the Hanalei Bay, which was only a 10 minute walk, to snorkel. This beach is larger and serves the St. Regis Resort, so there are many more people here.
Years ago, before my parents found the amazing condo we stay in today, we stayed at the St. Regis. If you prefer a top-notch resort, this is the winner. For my 30th birthday, my entire family took me to the St. Regis brunch, which is my absolute favorite.
The brunch buffet is to die for.
This trip was so iconic for me, and it eased all the pain of turning 30. A special thank you to my beautiful mother and my handsome husband for planning such a remarkable trip for everyone.
If you have any questions about our trip, please email me!