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Which first: N or S?

california
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Which first: N or S?

Planning a trip next June (2013) and I think i *finally* have figured out where to stay. We (family of 5 adults and 1 toddler) will be staying at the Hanalei Bay Resort on the North shore and then the Villas at Poipu Kai on the south shore, these decisions were based on all the help I received here.

I know some frown upon splitting your accommodations during one visit to Kauai but it really seems to make the most sense for us while avoiding the back and forth trips that can happen when you stay your entire time on one side or the other. I'm wanting to avoid too much car time for my daughter.

So the question is: what place should I book first? Or does it matter? I'm going to guess it does, just because there are so many (good) opinions on this board as well as seasoned travelers who may have done the same.

Part of me was thinking the south first, that way when we wake up early our first morning due to the time change we can be up and at 'em to see the canyon early in the day...and also save north shore for last where it's epic beauty can be the last side we see...but the other part of me wonders if we should do the north shore first where we will be a little more active to then come to the south shore to relax for the remainder of the trip...I also haven't decided yet how to split the days, probably 7-8 in total.

Any help or advice here would be appreciated!

bwright1
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1. Re: Which first: N or S?

We just got back and split our stay. I will say, I MUCH preferred it this way. The 'hassle' of moving once was well worth it to me, rather than having a really long day, in the car for over 3 hours. That being said, we did North first and South second for the reasons you are stating. We figured we'd relax more on the south (I always prefer to end my vacations that way!). However, after leaving the raw beauty of the North, the South seemed a little lackluster by comparison (just my opinion). Once we got settled in a little bit, we found it's still great and has it's own charm. Yes, you do a little more exploring on the North, but I still felt well unwound by the end of it. I think the North also feels more 'away from it all'.

If it were my I think I would base it on my kid's sleeping schedule, to be honest. If you want to do anything early morning, go to that destination first (Waimea, NaPali). I know it took my son a few days to adjust to the time difference (a trip to Maui) and we were up at 4am. By 10am the day felt half over! Might as well take advantage of that when you can.

Santa Rosa...
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2. Re: Which first: N or S?

It doesn't matter. Book each side of the island based on the accommodations you can get on each side and when the ones you want are available.

Some people will say save the north shore for the end with the idea of saving the best for the last or the slower pace for the last. I don't see it that way. There is no "best" side and the pace between them is really not all that different. In June the tourists are out in mass on either side. And when you return home you're going to remember all of it, not just what you saw last.

As far as how to split the 7/8. First look at your arrival times and departure times in and out of Kauai. Based on those times the split may actually be very even.

Edited: 25 May 2012, 23:11
California
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3. Re: Which first: N or S?

I think you have trusted my advice so far and I would say, let your last memory be of that view you will experience on the North Shore, at the condo you chose, but honestly I would NOT split a stay for 7 or 8 days. 10-14...sure!!!! 9/10's of the things you want to do (except the canyon) you can do on the North Shore in June. So what if one day you get up early and drive to the canyon and make it an entire day of siteseeing! Its only 1 day and you can see Poipu that day too. I am just afraid you will fall in love with the North and kick yourself for not staying longer. I hear that all the time.....

But if you have decided you are splitting (and it seems you have) stay in Poipu first. Just my opinion!

california
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4. Re: Which first: N or S?

Thank you! I believe I will fall in love with the view at HBR and may save that for last!

Agree with remembering it all when I get home, this will be my tenth trip to Hawaii (just first trip to Kauai) and remember and think and dream about it all!!!

Thanks jbett, you've been great!

Minnesota
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5. Re: Which first: N or S?

I agree south first! Last year we did north first! Big mistake! We were so sad and a bit disappointed be in the south...if it would have been the other way, we might have felt differently! Making plans to bring my aunt and uncle here for th first time next summer and I am booking the south first so they don't feel that letdown.

california
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6. Re: Which first: N or S?

Ok...so thinking about south first, as all reasons make sense...

So now how to split a say, 7 night trip.

2 on south and 5 north?

I think there's a lot more we want to do based out of north...

Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: Which first: N or S?

I'm with jebett - I don't think I'd split my stay for only 7-8 days. If you're staying in condos that means 2 cleaning fees, moving all your food and groceries, trying to keep refrigerated things cold between when you check out of one condo and in to the other. In June I'd stay north and make a day trip or two south.

Moorpark, California
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8. Re: Which first: N or S?

We never split our stay unless we are on the island for at least 14 days. We usually go south first and head north (after hubby is done working) because the north shore is more laid back and we've done all of our activities and running around. We actually decided to do the opposite this year. We are staying 3 nights in Haena to hike to Hanakapi'ai Beach and kayak Hanalei River. We will still be on CA time so we can get up early. And then we're heading to the south shore for the remainder 12 nights. But 7-8 days seems like a lot unless you staying in a hotel for part of the time. Most condos have a 3 - 5 day minimum night stay. Can you get the Villas at Poipu Kai for only 2 nights?

Edited: 26 May 2012, 01:42
Venice, Florida
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9. Re: Which first: N or S?

I absolutely agree with the others -- don't split stay for such a short trip -- it just wastes more of your precious time on the island. But if you still want to do that, I don't think it matters at all which side you do first. We have made that decision based on which place (if any) we could get a late check out before going to the airport.

california
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10. Re: Which first: N or S?

Good idea on seeing which one has a late check out!

Both places do not have a minimum night requirement, part of why we picked them!