LGBT Families: Exploring Kauai With Kids – 2 Travel Dads

Author: , January 31st, 2018

Kauai - 2 Travel Dads

After having gotten to explore Oahu with kids and share highlights and tips from the busiest of the Hawaiian Islands, 2TravelDads is excited to share more ideas for Hawaii! Exploring Kauai with kids is another great way to experience the islands, but at a different pace. And if you’re doing a Hawaiian holiday with smaller kids, this is perfect for you!

Exploring Kauai with kidsEach of the Hawaiian Islands is very different, and exploring Kauai with kids is a relaxed adventure. From waterfalls to natural wonders, the Garden Island is mellow and gorgeous. Perfect for a Hawaiian family vacation. 2traveldads.com
by Andy LaBadie

We were so excited to venture back to Hawaii for the chance to visit our third island, Kauai. After five days at Disney’s Aulani for a work conference and tons of family fun, we hopped a short flight from Oahu to Lihue (on Kauai) for five more days in paradise.

Nicknamed the “Garden Island” because of its lush landscape, plentiful waterfalls, and beautiful mountainous terrain, from the moment we landed, Kauai did not disappoint. While not on the beach, our hotel was very close to the water and had great views at sunset from the wall of the cliffs across the street. We even spotted several whale spouts on our last night there!

Great Beaches on Kauai with Kids

Though our hotel had several amazing pools, our kids love the beach so we were lucky to find the aptly named “Baby Beach” a short ten minute walk from the hotel. For doing Kauai with kids, the South shore beaches are great for families because many of them are protected by reefs and do not get the high surf that the north shore has this time of year (winter). The beach was fairly empty whenever we visited and the water was calm, which was great for our little water babies.

By Andy LaBadie – Full Story at 2 Travel Dads

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Hale Kua Guests, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii

Author: , September 24th, 2015

Hale KuaPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

We invite you to be our guests on the south side of the lush tropical “Garden Island” of Kauai. We’re just minutes from the beaches of Poipu, yet located on the cool hillside of Lawai Valley. Our convenient location is a short drive to Waimea Canyon, Lihue Airport and the east and north shores of Kauai. Imagine all the amenities of home with the comfort and convenience of your own private tropical setting.

See the Hale Kua Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals on Kauai

Kauai, The Garden Isle

Author: , July 10th, 2015

Kauai Island Helicopter

Nobody on Kauai will give you a hard time for simply lazing on one of the island’s gorgeous beaches every waking hour of your vacation. Still, you may find it impossible to resist the countless opportunities for outdoor adventure on this lush, mountainous and least-populated of Hawaii’s four major islands. Whether you venture out sea-kayaking, helicopter-touring, ziplining, hiking or canyoneering, you won’t likely regret packing an activity or two into each of your days on what’s typically nicknamed the “Garden Island.”

Kilauea LighthouseFor the ultimate hiking and beachcombing, many visitors to Kauai head for the Na Pali Coast, which is on the northwestern tip of the island, just beyond the picturesque village of Hanalei (the setting for such films as South Pacific). The eastern side of Kauai is dominated by the waterfalls of the Wailua River Valley, the southern end by Poipu’s breathtaking beaches and upscale resorts, and the western side by gargantuan Waimea Canyon — there’s unparalleled beauty wherever you look.

Touring Kauai by helicopter affords visitors one of the most memorable opportunities to see the entire island, and especially the remote and formidable Na Pali Coast. Several companies offer these tours. Island Helicopters is especially fun because they offer an 85-minute island excursion that includes stopping and walking around the base of 400-foot Manawaiopuna Falls, which appeared prominently in the opening scenes of Jurassic Park. This extremely informative, mesmerizing tour then circles the entire island, its capable pilots zipping in and out of tight valleys and even, weather permitting, the crater of extinct Kawaikini Peak, the island’s highest point.

By Andrew Collins – Full Story at the Dallas Voice | Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Mahina Kai Ocean Villa, Kauai, Hawaii

Author: , January 21st, 2015

Mahina Kai

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

“Mahina Kai is the only B&B on Kauai that was built for our community. Staying at Mahina Kai is more like staying at a villa than a B&B. Our full-time staff’s goal is to offer a level of service not found in other B&B’s – we want you to feel pampered. Treat yourself, you deserve it!”

See the Property Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Kauai Island Guide

Author: , November 26th, 2014

Ultimate Kauai GuidebookHere is a resource we found helpful during our visit to the Kauai – it’s our bible for things to do on the island. Please remember that the advice in any listed resources is AYOR.

The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook
http://www.wizardpub.com/

This is our favorite guidebook series. While not a gay guide, these books are beautiful, featuring tons of full color photos, and are easy to thumb through to find great, interesting places and things to see all over the island.

Another big plus – these books, unlike most of the books we’ve seen, detail the mile markers on the highways where you can find each of these sights – a huge help in a place like Hawaii that’s not big in street numbering.

Pick up this book before you go, or stop by a bookstore on-island to get a copy after you arrive. Borders in Lihue at the Kukui Grove senter usually carries them.

Kaua’i is a fantastic, mystical place that changes everyone who visits it. Be careful coming here the first time – it may get into your blood. Farewell, Kaua’i, until next time.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out in Gay Kauai

Author: , November 25th, 2014

Restaurants on Kauai are EXPENSIVE. We’re talking often 15-18 bucks for a chicken sandwich, and $30-40 for an entree at a decent restaurant.

With that in mind, here are a few of our favorites, some on the high side, some actually reasonable, in alphabetical order.

Saddle Room Burger

The Saddle Room – one of the best deals on the Island

Beach House
Poipu
http://www.the-beach-house.com
We didn’t visit The Beach House restaurant this trip (which is also hear in the western section of Poipu), but it was very good, though a bit expensive, when we visited here before. It also has really romantic water views.

Eastshore CafeEastshore Cafe
Kapa’a
In the storefront that used to host DaKine Hot Dogs, you’ll now find a cute little place called the Eastshore Cafe.

It’s in the heart of Kapa’a, with a bit of an ocean view out the back. There’s live music in the evenings, and we had a charming waitress who was new to the island the week before, and who reminded me of Kirsten Bell.

The food here is burgers and fries and sandwichs, and a little pricey, but the food is good.

Ilima TerraceIlima Terrace
Poipu
http://kauai.hyatt.com/en/hotel
/dining/IlimaTerrace.html

Ilima Terrace is a beautiful restaurant on a terrace at the Grand Hyatt, looking out over Shipwreck Beach. Ilima Terrace offers a great buffet breakfast, and the perfect island atmosphere to relax over breakfast. The Grand Hyatt has one of the most fantastic pools we’ve ever seen – it wanders in and around the huge grounds, under bridges, past sandy beaches, and is enjoyable just to walk through – and it’s a part of your view at the Ilima Terrace.

Kalaheo Cafe
Kalaheo
https://kalaheo.com
For breakfast or lunch, try the Kalaheo Cafe (at right) across the parking lot… surprisingly good basic fare and a nice sunny patio to eat at.

Kauai BakeryWe had the pesto chicken sandwich and a breakfast burrito for breakfast – both were excellent.

Kauai Bakery
Lihue
http://www.kukuigrovecenter.com/shopping-dining/dining/kauai-bakery/
While small and unassuming and tucked away on the edge of the Kukui Grove mall, the Kauai Bakery is also gay friendly – they made the wedding cake for Marco and Fabry’s wedding – and they boast some seriously delicious breakfast pastries.

Perfect for a quick stop for breakfast before heading out to explore the island.

Kauai PastaKauai Pasta
Lihue
http://www.kauaipasta.com
There’s also a great restaurant here – Kauai Pasta (pictured at right) – right on the main highway about half a block south of Hilo Hattie.

We ate here both on our 2005 trip and again in 2014 – the pasta was fantastic.

Get here early, though, for lunch or dinner – it’s a popular place, and it only has a handful of tables.

Keoki’s Paradise
Poipu
Keoki's Paradisehttp://www.keokisparadise.com
Keoki’s Paradise in Poipu used to be a favorite, with its kitschy tropical ambiance. Tables are situated on tiers, surrounded by a lagoon and tropical plants. But we were sorely disappointed the last time we were here – we were given a water-side table – in a dark far corner of the restaurant, away from the waterfall, and near the street and some ongoing construction.

And the food was from 30 years ago – teriyaki steak that was undercooked, macadamia encrusted entrees. Beware any restaurant with macadamia nut encrusted anything on its menu. If you do insist on going, ask for a table by the waterfall, not just by the water. At least the view will be good.

Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza
Kilauea
http://kilaueabakery.wordpress.com
The Kilauea Bakery is also here, a hole-in-the-wall place (pictured at right) with some of the best pizza on the north coast. We tried it with our Italian friends this time, and they gave it the thumbs-up. The cheese is amazing.

Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee
Poipu
http://koloamill.ahez.com
This place served some excellent ice cream – our Italian friends actually preferred the ice cream here to the gelato a few doors down at Pizzetta – and it’s filled with chunks of chocolate, nuts, etc.

Neide'sNeide’s
Princeville
http://www.yelp.com/biz/neides-salsa-and-samba-hanalei
In a pleasant surprise, one of our old regulars, Neide’s Brazilian Restaurant (at left), was still in business. The Brazilian dishes are fair, but the Mexican dishes here, though basic fare, are really good, and the portions generous.

The prices, while a little higher than we remembered, are still very reasonable, and the shared courtyard is a great place to relax in the early afternoon or in the evening for dinner. A definite must-do on the north shore.

Shave Ice at Ono RestaurantOno Restaurant
Kapa’a
http://www.yelp.com/biz/ono-family-restaurant-kapaa
We came here for the shave ice – they have an abundance of flavors, as well as other island specialties – and judging by the line, the place is pretty popular.

They also have a restaurant that’s open at night, but we didn’t have the chance to try it.

Ono-Char Burger
Anahola
http://www.yelp.com/biz/duanes-ono-char-burger-anahola
Next on the highway is Anahola – blink and you’ll miss it – but the Ono-Char Burger at the little stand here are divine, so stop here for lunch one day if you have a chance.

PizzettaMahina Kai, a beautiful gay owned b&b, is also here, down the southern fork of Aliomanu Rd.

Pizzetta
Poipu
http://www.pizzettakauai.com
Right in the heart of Koloa Town, this place has great pizza – wonderful crust, delicious cheese, and cooked to perfection – even our Italian friends said so.

It has great service and a nice open air atmosphere.

They also serve gelato – it’s the first time I’ve ever had POG gelato (Passion-Orange-Guava juice – an island staple.

Poipu DolphinPoipu Dolphin Restaurant
Poipu
http://www.thedolphinkauai.com/
We ate here mainly because a) it was raining and b) they had french fries, which Fabizio really wanted for lunch that day. The food was pricey, but good.

Roy’s
Poipu
http://www.royshawaii.com
Roy’s is an island chain that has also spread to seaside cities on the mainland, and the food here was fantastic.

The service was good, but get here early. This restaurant is unique in that it sits on the main pedestrian walkway at the Village, and is in fact split into two sections by it, so if you come late, you may end up sitting on or near the aisle, with passers-by watching you eat. But we give this place a hearty recommendation.

Saddle RoomThe Saddle Room at Wrangler’s Steak House
Waimea
http://www.wranglersrestaurant.com
On our way back from Waimea Canyon, we were starving, and were looking for a place to grab some lunch without driving all the way back t Koloa Town or Poipu. We happened upon the Wrangler’s Steakhouse – on the south side of the Highway in Waimea Town.

You can’t miss it – there are five paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) in cutouts on the roof. The steakhouse itself is closed at lunch, but they have a small restaurant on the side of the building – the Saddle Room, that serves AMAZING burgers and fries.

Seaview TerraceAnd it’s actually AFFORDABLE. You don’t often run across these two words together at a Kauai restaurant – well worth the stop (or the drive).

Seaview Terrace
Poipu
http://kauai.hyatt.com/en/
hotel/dining/SeaviewTerrace.html

There’s also the Seaview Terrace at the Hyatt – a kiosk with coffee, pastries, and juices that offers the same view in a less formal setting, but for a price.

But the views are pretty incredible, overlooking the beautiful Hyatt pools and Shipwreck Beach.

St. Regis PrincevilleThe St. Regis Princevillle Hotel
Princeville
http://www.stregisprinceville.com
With an absolutely gorgeous lobby and several great restaurants.

There’s also a small coffee/breakfast bar with a terrace that boasts the most fantastic view of the Hanalei Bay,.

This is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with some of the best views on the island.

Tidepools
Poipu
http://kauai.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/Tidepools.html
TidepoolsAlso at the Grand Hyatt is Tidepools Restaurant, a tropical restaurant set among the landscaped pools between the hotel and the beach.

It’s only open for dinner.

We ate here after Marco and Fabrizio’s wedding, and the staff was friendly and helpful – they took care of us when we were a little late arriving from the north shore, and served the wedding cake (for a small fee).

The atmosphere is a lot less contrived than Keoki’s, especially at night, when the tiki torches provide a beautiful glow across the water anf the Koi play just below your table

TomkatsTomkats
Poipu
http://www.tomkatsgrille.com
The first town you’ll come to is Koloa Town, an old sugar plantation town with a charming collection of shops and restaurants. There’s a Lappert’s Ice Cream – a Hawaiian ice cream store chain that has great locally-made ice cream. There’s also one of our previous favorite restaurants, Tomkats (pictured at right) – a local Pizza joint with a nice outdoor courtyard out back.

Unfortunately, we can no longer recommend Tomkats – when we visited the last time, we waited for almost 10 minutes before the hostess even acknowledged us, the service was extremely slow and rude, and the food was cold and greasy.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Gay Kauai Lodging – Mahina Kai

Author: , November 24th, 2014

There are a number of great places to stay on Kauai, but one place has been around almost forever, and is also gay owned. Joe, the host, is a good friend of ours whom we’ve known since 2000.

mahina-kai-kauai (4)

Mahina Kai Ocean Villa
Anahola
reservations@mahinakai.com
http://www.mahinakai.com/

Mahina Kai - KauaiMahina Kai is a B&B with a long gay history – originally opened as a gay bed and breakfast in 1985. The b&b was sold to a straight owner later, but was purchased in the late ’90’s by Joe Moore, the current gay owner, an has been returned to its gay Kauai roots.

Joe, a contractor, has completely renovated this beautiful property. The first thing you notice as you drive up the palm-lined drive is the fantastic blue-tile roof, which gives this asian-style, low-slung building a distinctive look. The former garage, next to the parking area, has been converted into a private cottage, the first of the property’s five rooms.

Mahina Kai - KauaiClimb up the stairs to the main villa, and you enter a wonderfully rambling structure with rooms around every corner. The centerpiece of the villa is the Atrium with a beautiful zen koi pond lit with natural light from the glass ceiling. Off to the right is the kitchen, where Joe serves up fantastic breakfasts, which guests can enjoy on the balcony overlooking the ocean. As part of his work on the property, Joe removed a number of trees that were blocking the view, opening up a fantastic ocean vista.

Mahina Kai - KauaiThe house has a very open feeling to it, with several guest rooms opening to a wonderful ocean view, all of which are decorated in a hawaiian or asian style.

The house is open to the jungle around you, so expect the occasional intrusion of some of the jungle fauna, including geckoes (considered good luck in Hawaiian homes).
Above the main house is the final guest room – the private Tea Room, an open studio accessed by a stairway at the back of the main villa atrium. The property features a wifi internet network, free to guests.

There’s also a beautiful, clothing optional pool area below the main house which is private and inviting… the water turquoise blue, and is protected by a bamboo fence.

There’s also a jacuzzi, where you may spot a couple college-age guys in the buff, as we did when we visited Joe one time.

Mahina Kai - KauaiJoe lives on the premises, and is available to give you tips about the island and gay Kauai life. The property is mostly but not exclusively gay, and attracts interesting, open-minded folks from around the world. And Joe is the consummate innkeeper, knowing exactly what his guests want, often before they do. A great place to stay on the east shore.

Joe is also now the President of Lambda Aloha, the island’s LGBT group.

Want to Get Married on Gay Kauai?

Author: , November 23rd, 2014

marco-fabry-wedding

Hawaii now recognizes marriage equality, and who wouldn’t want to be married here?

Our friends, Marco and Fabrizio, traveled halfway around the world to get married at Tunnels Beach at sunset, a beautiful, simple ceremony held in Italian and English.

There’s a great lesbian-owned wedding photographer on-island – Blue Pearl Images – Candace does amazing photojournalistic work. The boys used a local lesbian officant for their own wedding – Kate Sample – and she was divine.

There are so many amazing places to get married here, and the process is easy. We recommend you find an officiant to take care of things for you. Kate set up an appointment for the paperwork, and then we just showed up on the beach for the ceremony.

We list a number of local wedding vendors (LGBT and gay friendly) on Kauai and the other Hawaii islands here.

Getting Around on Gay Kauai

Author: , November 22nd, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you want to see anything on the island, you’re either going to need to get a rental car or take a tour. Fortunately, rental cars are fairly reasonable here. We spent about $220 for a midsized car with four doors from Hertz.

Kauai RoadA quick island note: first, when we say Highway, remember that everything is relative. On 95% of the island, the “Highway” is a two lane road that would barely qualify for country road status on the mainland, so restaurants and accommodations near the highway are much quieter than you might assume.

You may hear the terms “mauka” and “makai” when you are getting directions on Kauai. Mauka refers to the mountain side of the road, while makai is the sea side.

There are several highway traffic choke points on the island. Between Lihue and Kapa’a is where the worst island traffic lies, especially in the afternoon. Although the island population currently hovers around 65,000, tourism in the high seasons can more than double that number, and the road infrastructure is not built to handle it.

To help, the County built a bypass road that leaves the oceanside just past Wailua and cuts through old sugarcane land inland, coming back to the water at Kapa’a. Using this bypass at a busy time can shave 10-15 minutes off your drive to or from the north shore, though it’s not as pretty as the coastal drive.

Kauai RoadSometimes even the bypass doesn’t help, as we found out one afternoon. There was a nasty car wreck just before the southern end of the bypass, and the highway was shut down for several hours, making traffic brutal. We sat in the car, eventually turning off the radio and sweltering in the afternoon sun, until they finally rerouted traffic off the road through of the side roads. So you gotta just grin and remember the mantra – at least we’re in Hawaii!

There’s another bypass road in Koloa Town – after you leave the Tunnel of Trees going south, you’ll see a sign for the bypass – make a left, and it will take you around Koloa to the resorts down on the eastern side of Poipu. But if you’re going the western part of Poipu, or if it’s just your first time here, you’ll want to go straight ahead to and through Koloa Town.

The speed limits on the island are also absurdly low in some places – 25 mph on the Koloa bypass on a straight road with nothing around it. The police like to sit on the sides of these roads, often hidden or partially hidden from view – they make great speed traps, so speed AYOR.

There are a number of one-way bridges on the north shore, starting just before Hanalei. A note about one-way-bridge etiquette – when you approach one, watch for traffic from the other side. The right-of-way belongs to the car that gets there first. That car crosses the bridge, along with up to six more cars waiting on that side. Then the other side proceeds, again until up to six cars have crossed the bridge.

In practice, all the waiting cars on each side usually go at once. Either way, this helps assure the most efficient flow, rather than going every other car. It’s a bit tricky at first, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

While you are on-island, you will run into the occasional tourist or local who has oodles of time on his/her hands, and who insists on driving down the 50 mph two lane road at 30 mph. Just take a deep breath and say to yourself:

“I am in Hawaii.”

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Gay Kauai – The Luaus

Author: , November 21st, 2014

We’ve been to several Luaus on the island – and we have a clear winner when it comes to the performances, but the other one has great food and amazing grounds to wander before the show.

Grand Hyatt Luau

Grand Hyatt LuauGrand Hyatt Luau – Poipu
http://kauai.hyatt.com/en/hotel/activities/hotel-activities/thegrandhyattkauailuau.html

The Grand Hyatt offers a fantastic luau – probably the best we’ve seen on the island. On a clear day, they hold it outdoors in a wide courtyard on the western side of the resort. The service was great, and the buffet meal was excellent – with all-you-can eat pork, the obligatory poi, and much more to choose from. The dancing was also excellent. There were very beautiful wahine (women) and very handsome, well-built kane (men).

The night we were there was perfect – with a crescent moon and the sky deepening to a cerulean blue as we watched the dancers. If you’re going to see a Luau while on-island, consider this one. There’s also a beautiful tropical central atrium at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and if you visit at the right time, you may see a number of tropical birds – parrots, macaws, and cockatoos.

Smiths LuauSmith’s Tropical Paradise Luau
http://www.smithskauai.com

Smith’s Tropical Paradise sits alongside the Wailua River’s southern bank, just above the highway. The luau here is a little cheaper than the Grand Hyatt, and incudes a tram ride around the property, a chance to walk the gardens, a ceremony to unearth the pig at the imu pit, dinner, and the luau itself.

The food was amazing – the pork tender, the mahi mahi well cooked and seasoned, and the teriyaki steak and chicken were mouthwateringly good. The luau itself was a bit short, clocking in at about an hour, and it seemed a little lacking – the dancers were ok but not great, and it seemed to end too soon. So while you get a fair amount here for what you pay overall, we’d rate this one as the second-best on the island, after the Grand Hyatt Luau.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources