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Cruising Hawaii with Carnival | Kauai

Day 2: Kauai

Kauai is one of my absolute favorite places on earth! Many people say Kauai is what Oahu used to be 40 years ago. A lot of Kauai is not developed and has much of its natural beauty and still with not too many people either. We really wanted to get a jump start on the day and do a hike since the weather was so nice.

view overlooking beach and jungle

The ship docks in the Nawilwili Harbor in Lihue. There is a really cool bay with a white sand beach walking distance from the ship. It looked like it would be a cool beach to hang out at with little waves and small restaurants in the area. While we were at breakfast, we talked to one couple that was super excited to have booked surfing lessons. Kauai is great place to learn to surf because a lot of the breaks are very mellow, and there are a lot less people in general, both locals and tourists.

kids running on pier surrounded by water

We got off the ship around 8 after a quick breakfast so we could get a car and head out. Carnival® makes it so easy to get around. There are taxis and shuttles to take guests to shopping, rental car places and more. We walked up the road about 10 minutes and rented a car from a small rental car company near the pier.

We headed up to the North Shore to Haena State Park where the hike we planned on doing is. Kauai is so so gorgeous with such lush and vibrant vegetation at every turn! It had rained the night before we got there so there were water falls in every crack and crevice in the mountains, gosh thinking about it love Kauai makes me miss it!. Sometimes Shem and I joke that if we ever move it would be to Kauai because of the special feeling there!!

Here are a few fun facts as to why Kauai is so beautiful and is an absolute must to do some sight seeing and exploring. Kauai is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and because of this it has the most developed landscape and ecosystem. It is also home to Mt. Waialeale which gets the 2nd most rain fall in the world! This is why Kauai is called the ‘garden island’ with its incredible vegetation; it is magical!

Anyways, so as we were driving up to Haena State Park we stopped in Hanalei at the cutest little fruit stand. The boys got some acai bowls and smoothies that we all really enjoyed. The acai bowls were really good quality in both texture and flavor. The owners were really nice and their service was fast as well. Shem and I got their wellness shots which were zingers and the acai bowls helped to chase em down. We bought a few fruit items because what else is better on a hot sweaty day than some fresh fruit packed away in your back pack.

kids snacking in front of fruit stand

After the fruit stand, we headed straight to Haena State Park. The hike was a bit muddy because of the rain the night before so the boys opted to go barefoot as they usually do. This hike is awesome for the whole family because the first part of the hike is fairly mellow as it goes up for about a 1/4 of a mile and then the trail just follows the ridge lines of the mountains weaving in and out of the valleys, very kid friendly.

dad and son hiking on muddy jungle trail

The hike was great as the weather was clear with very little clouds so you could see all the way down the coastline. One of my favorite sights is the view from the mountains down to the ocean. When the sun is out and the water is clear, you can see the all the details of the reef, almost like staring through a glass window. We made it about 2 miles before we decided to turn around so we would leave enough time to return the car and get back to the ship before it left. When we got down from the trail, we headed to the beach that is at the bottom and jumped in the water to rinse off the mud and have a bit of a swim.

mountaintop view overlooking ocean

I can’t say it enough, we love Kauai. The ship stays in Kauai long enough to really get some great exploring done. Some awesome things we have done in the past while visiting are:

  • Surf in Hanalei (there is a surf school that is set up right next to the dock in handle). Also a great beach for the family.

  • Visit and site see in Koke’e State Park, great short walking paths/hikes for all ages.

  • Visit Waimea Canyon State Park. It’s like the Grand Canyon and Hawaii had a baby.

  • Checkout Opaeka’a Falls. Really gorgeous waterfall and easy to get to, no hiking required.

  • Grab a bite to eat in Hanalei.

  • Stop at a local fruit stand for fresh local grinds.

  • Snorkel Na’Pali coast with boa.

view from top of waterfall in jungle

andy and kids sitting on muddy trail

andy's hair blowing in the wind on boat

On the Ship:

For Us:

When we got back on the ship, Shem and I decided to do a couples massage and let the kids have fun in Camp Ocean. This was a true treat, and I just got to say it was the best massage either of us have ever had! Ask for the Bamboo one.

For the Kids:

When we booked our massages they let us know that there is a place called Camp Ocean for kids where Tama and Ira could hang out and play while they waited for us. This place was awesome and one of the highlights for the kids! At first, Tama and Ira were a little reluctant but once they saw that there was so much to do there they were stoked to stay. There are books, board games; they do group activities, play with toys and have video games. The team members were so nice and made it really fun for both Tama and Ira.

kids looking at fruit on fruit stand

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.

Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.