I have been staying away from this wonderful forum for the past while because with a new baby I just can't bear to daydream about a paradise that I can't visit for 4 or more years. However, Baby Cutie is proving to be such a sweetie (and Miss 7 an ideal Big Sister) that we are now playing with the idea of returning to Hawaii perhaps in the fall of 2012, when Baby Cutie will be 2 yrs old. So now I am wondering if we should expand our horizons and try Kauai instead of Maui?
Here's what I LOVE about Maui: I love the bustle of Kihei and could spend hours in the quilting shop at the Azeka Mall. I love the family-friendliness of the Kam beaches. I love poking around the Kalama village shops. I love the funkiness of Paia & could drop (and have dropped!) a small fortune in the gallery shops. I love watching the surfers at Hookipa and could spend hours - days - watching them and the surf roooooooooooooll in. I love the peacefulness of Haiku and the Fourth Div'n Marine Park. I love poking around Makawao and nosing around all of Upcountry, enjoying the gardens, the winding lanes, the views (and the wine at the winery!) I love driving up the Haleakala the being on top of the world. I love the drive to Hana and how I feel like the world's most skillful driver as I whip round corners with fierce concentration while still taking in the views. I love the historical sites - the sugar museum, all the historical buildings in Lahaina - I've been to the museum in the old Courthouse three times!, Wailuku, the Bailey house, the Kepaniwai heritage gardens. I probably wouldn't miss Kaanapali but I do like taking the beach path & seeing how the other half lives in those posh resorts. I most of all love the beach at Poolenalena (see my TR from the fall of 2009!).
So, given all that, would I enjoy Kauai? I have read more than once that some people find Maui to be too commercial/ized; I don't have that perspective. Most importantly, would there be enough for an 8 yr old & a 2 yr old to do when the parents do not want to spend the entire day on the beach but like to sightsee and (in my case) do a bit of shopping?
Mahalo for the input!