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Trying to figure out Kauai

Vancouver, Canada
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Trying to figure out Kauai

Hello everyone,

I'm trying to plan a once in a life time trip for my family for next Christmas. We would like to rent a big house or a couple of neighbouring houses on the beach and close to a town (walkable).

I"ve searched and searched. I'm thinking that the North shore might not have gentle waters in December even though I love the look of Hanalei. Each time I look at places, it seems like there are rows upon rows of big resorts along the water. We would like a funky little town within walking distance from our accommodation. We want to explore around the island, hike, snorkel, swim and just hang out together. We are not into big fancy resorts and activities. We are outdoorsy and enjoy nature. There are 4 couples and 3 early 20's "teenager-type" kids for a total of 11 people.

Can anyone help me figure out which area to focus on? Also, searching for accommodation - VRBO but you can't search by location (beachfront) bedroom quantities etc.

Thanks so much for any help or references to websites that would help me.


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1. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

Rain or shine Hanalei is a wonderful, funky town and I absolutely love it there.

Check these places out.


Also I saw a lot of signs for Kauai Beach Rentals. I loved some of their houses for rent right on the beach.

Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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2. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

You're correct that the water on the north shore will generally be rough in winter, although you might get one or two days of calm. You really want to be in Po`ipu in December. Hopefully martik will will post some rental links; she's more familiar with them than I am.

You could possibly try Anini Beach, but it's not within walking distance of anything.

Artesia, New Mexico
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3. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

More Hanalei rentals....



Happy hunting....

Kent, WA
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4. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

These two properties are side by side on Anini. Not walking distance but should be very nice in December. Good Luck, Harry



San Diego...
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5. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

Hanalei is probably the only spot on Kauai that matches your description.

Xmas might be fine or you could be in a winter storm. That's just the chance you take with Hawaii in winter. The further south you go down the chain, the safer you get but that's just odds making. Could also be nice on Kauai and be storming on Maui

Santa Rosa...
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6. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

I really can't think of any place on Kauai that is rows upon rows of big resorts. Sure you weren't looking at Maui? In Poipu the Marriott and Koa Kea and Sheraton are close to each other but outside of that there are many nice condos and homes that are on the water or close. Poipu /Koloa is also a residential area and you'll find more there than just resort hotels.

If you're looking for homes or cottages there are indeed many to pick from in the Poipu area. Plus , you'll have those good swimming beaches it sounds like you want. I can think of a number of places that are either 1 very large waterfront home or 2 smaller homes side by side. Some are right on the water, others are a short walking distance. Some of them are close to Poipu Beach County Park also. Here are the websites for two of the largest rental agencies that manage homes and cottages:



Sparks, NV
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7. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

When I think "Kauai" and "funky little town within walking distance," there is only one place that comes to mind and that is Hanalei. I would never use the words "funky" and "Poipu" in the same sentence. If it was me, I would take my chances on the weather and book a couple of beachfront or nearby properties in Hanalei.

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8. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

Koloa is my favorite town on Kauai, though Hanalei close second. We have never spent a night near Hanalei, Have been on beach there but not sure how usable it might be.

Koloa is town for Poipu though not reall walkable from Poipu, Nice beach at Poipu

Dallas, Tx
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9. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

We like Hanalei as well- and would love to stay there too but its a bit pricey for us so we stay in Princeville and just take the 5 min trip into Hanalei. Its my favorite beach.. We've stayed in the area December, 2 Novembers, January and September.. and headed back this Nov/Dec. I"m sure you hav read it is more rainy than the south and that the seas are rougher but its not everyday.. if a day looks like its going to rain the whole day take a trip to Waimea or to the south. On our last visit over the Christmas break we had a great time playing in the waves at Hanalei... and some days the waves were too flat for us... only 1-2 feet...we are very happy with 4-6 feet waves and most other days we had that. I think one day from all the trips Hanalei was a mess and there ways no way I'd go in but the next day it cleared up. Also same thing for snorkeling.. if it looks too rough don't go in... and we would just be super flexible depending on weather or if the sea didn't look good for playing in the waves (too calm) we'd go snorkeling at another beach or if too rough to snorkel at Tunnels- go take a look at ke'e or go back to hanalei to play in waves.

I do get a little freaked out still when I hear of the rough waves or that it can be rainy up north on the winter months but have been pretty fortunate on our 5 trips...We absolutely love Hanalei. I know they do get bigger waves but some of the places they get them in hanalei is on the outter reefs- were its more of a experienced surfers only.... I haven't seen super big waves closer in where we experience hanalei except 1 trip where they were 8-9 feet and a bit too big for my taste... If the waves got really big in this area I would love to go watch all the surfers that would come out. Also if when you are there the waves are big they say if you go closer to the pier they won't be as intense.

When we went to Hanalei/Princeville in September Hanalei beach was totally flat and we enjoyed Kealia down by Kapaa but our last 2 visits during the winter months - There is no way I'd go into the water- super rough and choppy and all turned up- no way! But then Hanalei was perfect- nice long ride waves...Is your group into boogie boarding or want to try surfing I think Hanalei is your spot... If you think your group may be into snorkeling... then maybe Anini like others have mentioned though it can be hit or miss with the snorkeling experience but it will be calm (If you do stay here be sure to do some research on where on Anini beach is good to snorkel) We do like Anini as well and usually make 1 drive/visit just to walk around and explore but I haven't snorkeled here in a few years (we like tunnels/ke'e and hideaways (but that we only visit in Sept- I'm a bit anxious about where it is located for winter months)...Anyways we visit Hanalei almost everyday and Anini only once per visit.

I think if you opted for to stay in Anini and you had good weather- you'd pack up the car everyday and go to Hanalei to play in the waves, gaze at the beautiful mountains surrounding in and count how many waterfalls you could see while waiting to catch your next wave.

Kauai - has lots of wonderful beaches to experience for different reasons- we usually always rent a car and keep the trunk with our beach gear (chairs,boogie boards, snorkel gear) and just go check out a beach we intend to visit that morning/afternoon or for the day... If when we get to the beach one of us goes to check it out - if parking is a bit away to check out the waves if good we get out if not we just move along to the next one but most of our trips we stay toward the northern beaches 80% of our visit.

My 2 cents.


Santa Rosa...
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10. Re: Trying to figure out Kauai

You're right, Labs. Poipu is far from funky. Nearby Koloa is moreso but not walking distance. Just wanted to point out that it's not row upon row of resort hotels and there are options there for homes and cottages. Also, it seems like being able to swim and snorkel is important. Thus, I gave some Poipu recs.