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Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Sheridan, Indiana
8 posts
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Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

So I have a group of 11 (4 kids, 7 adults) heading to Kauai on July 5th and I am completely overwhelmed on all the amazing things you can do/see on Kauai. I don't know how to pick what to do without feeling like I missed out on something else. Being the planner of the family they seem to all be looking to me for advice on what to do on on this week long vacation. I have kept a very close eye on all of the postings over the last few months and I think that all the different pieces of advice seem to have made my planning brain go into overdrive! Any help on restaurant and must-see things would be greatly appreciated...I just feel like if I try to do/see everything I won't have much of a relaxing vacation. This is my first time to Hawaii and I would like to enjoy it stress free!

We are flying in on July 5th and leaving the 12th (late in the evening). We have rented 2 large vehicles and are staying at the Pono Kai resort on the east side of the island. So far we have booked a few excursions on the island... tubing for the entire group with Kauai Backcountry Adventures on Monday, Zipling for the adults with Kauai Backcountry Adventures on Wednesday, and a luau at the Kilohana Plantation on Friday night.

Few things that might help with your suggestions... The kids are all ages 6-10, We do have a few certified scuba divers in our group that are looking for some great spots to dive (open water or from the beach). We are all out doorsy people who would love so advice on great hiking and exploring. And we also have a birthday to celebrate the week we are there...

Any help you could give on must see things and must try restaurants would be great! Thank you for all your suggestions in advance! HELP!

California
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1. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

First of all please understand you won't be able to please everyone. Go in with that expectation. Have a few days where each family goes off on their own. You could drop some off to kayak the Wailua River and thats a 5 hour excursion.

Since you are staying in Kapaa, you have many restaurants to choose from. You also have a large party and if you want to go somewhere like Hukilau Lanai (a favorite among many) you need a reservation. For a quick meal try Chicken In A Barrel or Monicos Mexican is very good. No reservations needed there. There is a Brick Oven Pizza located about 5 minutes from Kapaa. Check the restaurant guide under top questions.

Is there a reason you chose Kilohana's luau? You are closer to Smiths. It is a beautiful old plantation style home to tour and the younger kids might like to ride the train while the adults visit the rum tasting room.

For the divers, they could call Fathom Five and reserve a spot. You are arriving just next week and activities are filling up.

I would plan one North Shore day (or maybe two) so everyone can get in some snorkeling at Tunnels and see the beautiful vistas and jump off the pier at Hanalei (but be careful please). Another day I would rent boogie boards and head to Poipu. There is something for everyone there. Lots of good restaurants too including Keokis and Beach House for lunch and shopping too.

To tire the kids out I recommend the playground at Lydgate and biking the trail very close to your condo. You can rent bikes quite cheaply next to Ono Family Restaurant which is outside of your parking lot. Great place for breakfast or to try Portuguese bean soup. Their shave ice is good too. Across the street from Pono Kai is a thrift store, maybe check and see if they have boogie boards cheap.

You bought a guidebook?

Sheridan, Indiana
8 posts
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2. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

So I just double checked and I was mistaken on the luau...we are booked for the Kalamaku luau on Friday. The reason we chose this one is because that is what Pono Kai concierge recommended. Should we try to switch or is this luau ok?

I haven't bought a guide book yet? Do you think this is something that I should for sure purchase? Any recommendations on which one is best?

California
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3. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Yes you should buy a guidebook because it has good maps and recommendations. I personally use Ultimate Kauai Guidebook but others have their favorites.

Kalamaku is supposed to be very nice, but it is more Las Vegas style while Smith's is old school and the grounds are just gorgeous. The kids would enjoy walking around and seeing the various birds like the peacocks. I was just curious because Smith's is much closer to Pono Kai. I guess the concierge gets a good kick back for booking Kalamaku. It should be fine and there is really no reason to change.

Be careful with the little kids swimming behind Pono Kai. Areas of the eastside are too dangerous to swim or wade in. Do you like poke? If so visit the Pono Market down the street. I don't even like poke and theirs is pretty darn good. Some of my favorite stores and breakfast spots are a short walk away. Olympic Cafe is another good place for lunch or dinner. For Japanese food you can walk to Sushi Busido or Bubba's burgers is a bit of a walk away in the center of town. They are ok! For a large group of different ages, its a good alternative to a sit down restaurant. There's a very good ice cream store near Safeway called Tropical Dreams.

Indy
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4. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Boy do I understand being the cruise director...everyone looking at you 'Where should we eat?' What are we doing today?

You might consider renting another vehicle because of how many adults. I'm guessing it's 2 families with kids and 3 other adults? Might make more sense to divide and conquer. Depends on who thinks they will ALWAYS want to do the same thing.

We were 3 different groups total of 8 and had 2 cars; 1 large [7 seater] 1 smaller [4 seater]. [my parents; my family; my mother in law [MIL] ...what I did was plan days for my family of 5 to do and invited whoever in the group wanted to come along....I also gave them a list of recommended restaurants and things to do for when they weren't with us.

MY MIL was stranded for 6 hours one day when mom and dad went touring on their own and we went touring on our own and she didn't want to do either but thought one of our groups would be back sooner [I had told her about the shuttle to Hanalei earlier but should have reminded her]. She had food a pool a beach and books...so didn't get much sympathy. LOL.

I mention this to save you a headache. You might want to make sure people know cab companies; any shuttle information; places they can walk to, etc. so YOU are not blamed if they are stranded. Ha!

Items I might pre-book: Ask now who in your group wants to do a Napali Coast tour and pre-book that. Also if you want a nice group dinner, you would want to pre-book that with your group. Since you're traveling from far away, I wouldn't book a dinner the arrival day. You'll be tired. You might make it for July 6 or 7th and/ or one for the last night of July 11th.

I would also plan at least 1-2 group dinners at your condos...So nice to hang out play cards enjoy each other's company and swim in pool, etc.

You have 6 FULL days to work with...July 6-11 with the 5 and 12 being travel days. So write yourself ideas for those days and plan a loose idea or not. For example you could be as unspecific as 'North Shore Day' or more specific such as 'park at Ke'e Beach and do the first 2 miles of the Kalalau trail then snorkel Tunnels...' etc.

We only had 3 full days [Day 1 and 5 travel] ...sigh...but if you look at my trip report you can see how I organized them. We stayed north shore and traveled from Oahu.

I would at minimum write down which activities could be done on each part of the island and a list of dining ideas on those parts so you can organize your adventures better...and when you get hungry look at the recommended choices and pick.

An example day:

July 6 Napali Coast Tour with X company from North Shore 7:30 until noon. Who: list names of those going.

Meet others of group for lunch in Hanalei followed by shopping and/or beach time.

Back to condo to relax .

Dinner @ 7pm or whatever at X Restaurant for group [if it's planned group dinner let everyone know otherwise say dinner on own].

jebett...

I saw the bike rental at Ono and took a picture for future! $10 for 2 bikes. great deal!

Denver
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for Poipu
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5. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Make sure you read reviews of the two luaus so you understand the different production styles and aren't disappointed. I haven't been to either luau but I would take kids to Smiths for the reasons Jebett mentioned.

I would buy as many guidebooks as there are families and make them pick one activity for their family. We have travelled to Kauai with my parents, my ILs and my sister and her BF in 3 separate trips and each time I have given the other couple a loose outline of what my herd was planning - if that didn't include something they wanted to do then it was their responsibility to plan it. For example, my sister wanted to zipline, which we can't do with our littles (and wouldn't want to do anyway) so she researched companies and made her own reservations. They had a blast, we did our own thing, and we shared stories over dinner later.

The most fun we have in Kauai is when we just roll with the day without a lot of stuff pre-planned - no one will judge you if you don't stop at Wailua falls or decide not to spend a ton of money on activities. Make sure you take time to lounge on the beach, dig in the sand, and watch the sunset with the ones you love.

Denver
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for Poipu
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6. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Oh, and I meant to say - do read TnTWalter's trip report - she did a great job herding cats. =] tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29218-i304-k75751…

California
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7. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

Great advice from TnT.

Even thought bus transportation isn't first rate on Kauai, there is a bus that leaves Kapaa near Pono Kai that could take some adults into Hanalei if they wanted to go on their own and don't have the second car. My niece does this when she visits (she's a flight attendant) and stays at Courtyard By Marriott. She can be in Hanalei in less than an hour, walk around, have lunch, go to the Sat markets and be back in the afternoon to meet up with everyone for dinner. I am not as familiar with the bus schedule going south, but I am sure you can go online and find it.

Edited: 26 June 2014, 17:29
La Verne, California
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8. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

We just returned from 2 weeks in Princeville. There were 10 of us 6 adult and 4 kids (7-16). Since you already have some excursions planned, I'd concentrate more on which beaches you'll visit on your off days. My opinion, if you're busy with excursions you might miss out on just relaxing and enjoying your time. Definitely head to the north shore and enjoy some of the beaches there. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook is great for finding beaches you would never know about. Enjoy a couple hours in Hanalei. We've only done Smith's luau and everyone enjoyed it. Please feel free to pm me if you have other questions - as we just teaveled with a similar group.

Santa Rosa...
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9. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

".I just feel like if I try to do/see everything I won't have much of a relaxing vacation. This is my first time to Hawaii and I would like to enjoy it stress free!"

You just answered your own question right there. Don't even try to see/do everything. And don't try to be the director of the show. You've got 6 other adults besides yourself in the group. Aren't they capable of doing some reading up and making some plans themselves? Make them responsible for this trip too. Why are you taking it on yourself? Instruct all of the adults to do their own homework and come up with their list of things they want to see/do., including for their children. Then have a meeting of the minds on how to structure this, who is doing what and when. Lastly, do get at least 2 cars so the group can split up.

There's no excuse for them to land in Lihue without a clue and be looking at you. And this won't happen unless you let it.

Reedsburg, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Leaving in a week and I'm overwhelmed!!! What to do???

The luau you have booked is great and because you booked with the Pono Kai you get great seats. Leave some time to relax and enjoy the island itself. The lanai's at the Pono Kai are great and you watch the people going up and down the bike path. I own 15 weeks at the Pono Kai so if you have any questions just send me a pm or your email address.