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Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

birmingham, mi
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Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

We spent 10 amazing days in Maui last year ( July - August ) family of 5 then , now 6 ! ( kids aged 7, 5, 3, less then 1 ) We want to go back later this year and stay on the Big Island and Kauai - but I am worried that we may be let down due to the comparison to Maui - The kids love beaches and I understand many hotels on the Big Island only have Lagoon beaches ( we stay at 4 or 5 star hotels usually- like the Fairmont Kea Lani and Hyatt Regency in Maui )

Any comments ? Will we still love it ? Please give me your thoughts from a families perspective with young kids


Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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1. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

IMHO, Kaua'i has some of the most beautiful beaches in the islands. Ke'e beach, to me, is the quintessential Hawaiian beach. Bear in mind that Kaua'i is more rural than Maui (as is the Big Island). There's little nightlife but plenty to do otherwise. If your kids like beaches I don't think you can go wrong with Kaua'i.

The Big Island has few beaches, but what it does have is pretty cool. There's a beautiful black sand beach, and there's some of the best snorkeling in the islands. The older kids would probably enjoy HVNP; we think the park is pretty neat.

Someone else should chime in here on the Big Island - HD? TT?

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

A big difference between Maui and the Big Island is that the BI is newer. Thus, there is more new (black/brown) lava visible (like the LaPerouse area in Maui) on the west side, especially noeth of the airport. That is why there are fewer sandy beaches.

The Hilton Waikoloa has a "fake" beach for this reason, so does th Four Seasons. The Mauna Lani, the Fairmont Orchid, and the Hapuna Prince all have real beaches, although not the wide golden ones of Maui. The snorkeling is superb, however, on the BI. There is an Island of Hawaii inside page on snorkeling that gives more information.

The Hamakua Coast offers lush greenery and waterfalls (the drive or a helicopter tour are both spectacular. Volcano Naitional Park would be a long all-day trip (7 hr drive time RT but in my opinion well worth it.

I have only been to Kaui once, in winter. It is very lush like Maui, even more so, but my impression was there were fewer snorkleing opportunities (we like to go to a differnt spot each day).

I have violated your "rule" for input since I have no idea what kids like, but we certainly see a lot of them having fun when we go to the BI.

Seattle, WA. USA
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3. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

Kauai's beaches are very beautiful, but Maui's beaches are in general better for swimming. Having said that, Kauai does have a fair number of good beaches so you shouldn't have a problem finding a good swimming beach. For a summer vacation I would definitely go with the north shore of Kauai. Anini Beach would be very safe for your little ones.

In regards to beauty, Maui is lovely, but Kauai is spectacular. I think that Maui is a better balanced island in regards to having man-made things to do (ie dining choices, attractions etc) whereas Kauai is far more scenic and better suited for hiking etc.


Palm Springs...
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4. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

Yes.....it will be

Maui is like a hawaii disneyland.... focused on entertainment of every sort sweeping beaches golf, etc. Highly developed to cater to every desire and budget.

Kauai is more tropical has some good beaches but more wild and simple. It has a feel to me ,of a alternetive life-style hangout. like San francisco that I am not comfortable. It rains a lot.

Hawaii is huge...rugged, very wild with few beaches it has rainforests, alpine measows and volcanoes the best water sports of all the islands However your kids may not appreciate it.

it takes hours of driving to go any where... You have the Fairmont and the Four Seasons to pick from neither has a real beach.

Maui is very compact and 1/6th the size of Hawaii

Portland, OR
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5. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?


Hard to say I guess, since you have kids and Maui has become the Disney version of Hawaii and has some very nice beaches, the smaller number of sandy beaches on the BI might be a little disappointing. But there is so much more on the BI and Kauai is lovely, and the beaches the BI does have are spectacular, like Hapuna. There are some very, very nice beaches on Kauai, being older than Maui. Generally those that find Maui has the best blend of massive development, lots of condos, shopping, nightlife, chain restaurants and beaches find Kauai, Lanai, and the Big Island a little too laid back and local. Those that find Maui beautiful but want more “Hawaiian” experience, find they love the other islands. It is a bit about knowing oneself. I used to love Maui before the mad rush to develop, and before water was as available on the leeward side of the island. Now I feel “compressed” on Maui, like I am being crowded in. To each their own. There are some fancy resorts on all the islands; you should have no difficulty finding one that your kids will enjoy the pool etc.

The BI of course has the best snorkeling in all of the Hawaiian islands, the active volcano, and quite a few climates all on one island and is huge compared to the other islands.

Kauai is the quintessential tropical get away, a great place to relax, hike, swim and slow down.

Good luck and happy travels!

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

yes, if you think Maui is amazing and want that kind of experience, you should probably go back to Maui, something you know is perfect for you. There is no harm in being a repeat visitor when you have found what you were looking for!

The Big Island is a wonderful change for those of us who cannot stand what has happened to Maui; it still has room to breathe and is still Hawaiian and not Disneylike. You would almost have to pay me to go back to Maui; it makes me want to cry to see what they've done to it. But then I just about cried at what they've done to the Waikoloa Beach Resort when I visited in a couple days ago. Paved paradise and put up grandiose tasteless condo clones. Ickkk.

People who have an image of Maui in mind may not see the beauty and grandeur of this island, but instead may be turned off by the desert panoramas.

However, if you stay at the 4 or 5 star hotels on the Kohala coast there's no reason your kids can't have a beach experience. There won't be beaches everywhere, but you can stay on a beach.

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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7. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

Your first question will the BI and Kauai be a letdown. I would say yes, if you found Maui to be amazing. If you stay in 4 or 5 star hotels and like that scene that is available on the BI, but not as much on Kauai IMO. To me Maui is touristy, urban, noisy, congested, and high energy. The BI has some of that but is more laid back, rural, quiet, with lots of huge, wide open spaces. Kauai is definitely laid back, rural, quiet, and smaller wide open spaces. I absolutely love the BI, Kauai is second. If I only go to Maui or Oahu I probably wouldn't go to Hawaii, although there are parts of both I enjoy.

Menifee, California
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8. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?


I am the father of 4 kids...ages: 16, 10, 7, 7

I do NOT think you will be letdown.

Kauai is ESPECIALLY gorgeous in my opinion.

I LOVE Maui, too!

My kids have visited: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island

we have NEVER had a bad time

We are simple folk. We live in a small town about 60 miles from LA and 60 miles from San Diego. We enjoy family time at the beach and siteseeing.

My kids have NEVER complained about any of our Hawaiian vacations.

Bryan Brown


Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

You will not be let down if you don't expect Maui on Kauai and on the Big Island. All of the Hawaiian Islands are different and they offer different things. You will not find Maui-like beaches on the Big Island but you will not find Kilauea on Maui either.

Birmingham, Alabama
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10. Re: Loved Maui, will Hawaii/ Kauai be a let down ?

I expect the kids' level of fascination and enjoyment will be somewhat proportional to yours. Kids around those ages can be pretty well entertained by such a variety of things, especially when they are "new" ... the Big Island is amazing, and does have some great beaches. Stay at the Prince if you want the best beach. The Hyatt Kauai is pretty awesome for kids, too ...

If your kids (and you) like being outdoors and exploring, they will love both of these islands.

The difference with Maui is that there is a some commercial entertainment (i.e., Maui Ocean Center, etc.) that Kauai and BI may not offer ... but all in all I think you can have a great vacation in either spot.