Kauai for Queer Families – 2TravelDads

Author: , March 16th, 2018

Kauai for Queer Families

Thanks to Jon Bailey from 2dadswithbaggage.com for sharing his families favorite semi-secret aka off the beaten path Kauai activities with kids. We love hearing from other dads, especially when it’s about a place on our bucket list that we’re hoping to visit in the coming year with our own kids. Thanks, Jon, for these great tips!

Finding off the beaten path Kauai isn’t difficult if you know where to look. Caves, waterfalls, shave ice and more are just off the road on the Garden Island of Hawaii. 2traveldads.comOur oldest daughter was just eight months old when we first took her to Kauai, and we’ve been back with her and her younger sister more than a dozen times since then. Now 16 and 14, the girls help us Dads plan the trip while hitting as many of our favorites as possible, and even after years of visiting we still have more of off the beaten path Kauai to enjoy.

We’ve done all the usual attractions, and the island is filled with many amazing ones definitely worth visiting. Hanalei Bay, Kilueah Lighthouse, Poipu Beach, Waipu Falls and many more gorgeous places will provide endless family fun and zillions of postcard-perfect photo layouts on the Garden Island. There are so many more parts of off the beaten path Kauai to explore, and that offer the more relaxed beauty that a local might experience.

1. Waimea Plantation Cottages

This sweet little hotel is located waaaaaay on the West Side of Kauai where people seldom venture, near the road where cars drive up the hill to reach Waimea Canyon State Park. Because it is away from most of the tourists sites, guess what… There are very few tourists at Waimea Plantation Cottages! It’s a collection of historic sugar plantation cottages, moved from other locations to this tranquil spot on beachside of the island, making it very much an off the beaten path Kauai destination.

Although not a swimmable beach, the long walks and sunsets are epic. And did I mention there are few tourists here? The sign of a good place is when Hawaiians come from other islands to vacation at this place, which is just what we’ve discovered about Kauai and the Waimea Plantation Cottages. At the Cottages, BBQs are included, along with working kitchens and lots of kitch, so it’s perfect Hawaii.

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

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.

Gay Kauai: Our Favorite Beaches

Author: , November 20th, 2014

Kauai Aerial

While we lived on Kauai back in 2000 and 2001, we found a few great beaches, Here are the ones we like the best.

Poipu Beach KauaiPoipu

On Pe’e Road on a little bay halfway between Poipu Plantation and the Marriott, is a great Honu-watching spot – stand above the rocks on the eastern end of the bay in the morning and watch for a few minutes – they’re hard to spot at first, but you’ll start to see dark shadows in the waves, and if you’re lucky, you may see 5-10 turtles here.

There are actually three main beaches here in Poipu – Shipwreck Beach on the east, in front of the Hyatt, Brennecke’s Beach in the heart of Poipu, where you may see the Honu, and Lawai beach, to the west, near the Spouting Horn.

Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach Kauai

Tunnels beach kauaiThe famed Tunnels Beach, a popular surfing beach for the last half century, offers a great view of Bali Hai, the rocky outcrop that was used in the movie South Pacific as the Island of Bali Hai, though it’s really just a ridge on Kauai.

Tunnels is one of the few places on the north shore where you can view the sunset.

Our Italian friends Marco and Fabrizio chose tunnels for their wedding day, and they were married just before the sun set next to Bali Hai. It’s the perfect Kauai wedding location, especially at sunset.

Lumahai Beach, KauaiLumahai

Farther along the north shore, you’ll come to our favorite beach, Lumahai (pictured at left). There are rarely more than 5-10 people here at any one time, and the beach is really long, so it’s easy to find a bit of privacy. It’s maybe five minutes past Hanalei – after you leave the bay, the road winds up and around the coast.

After a couple minutes, the road straightens out and there’s a pasture to your left, often with wild horses. Just ahead you’ll see a two lane bridge where the road crosses high above a small river. Just before the bridge, pull off on the Makai side (ocean side) of the road – there’s a dirt turn-out here. Park and walk out to the beach.

This beach is fabulous. Most days when the Hanalei Bay is cloudy, you can find sun here. There’s a river that winds down to the sea at your left, where you can wade in warm water. Don’t try to swim in the ocean here, though, as there are rip tides and swimming can be very dangerous here.

The sand often piles up in two or three banks leading down to the water – put your towels and stuff down on the second bluff, and watch the tourists on the first bluff run when the water rushes up the hill and soaks their towels.

If you’re up for a hike, walk eastward about 15 minutes to the end of the beach. This is the quintessential Hawaiian Cove – dramatic black lava rocks rise up from the water, and beautiful tropical jungle frames the white sand cove. If the tide is high, you can reach the cove above the rocks, crossing through the jungle – just be careful because the rocks can be sharp.

Barking Sands

Where the sand is coarse and crunches (barks) under your feet.

Donkey Beach

A little ways up the road from Kapa’a, 7/10 of a mile past mile marker 11, there’s a path that leads across an old sugar cane field to Donkey Beach, one of Kauai’s unofficial nude beaches. Using this beach is AYOR, as nudity is technically illegal here, and there have been some enforcement efforts spurred on by development of this section of the island and prudish homeowners and politicians who don’t want their views, ummm, spoiled by unexpected outcroppings.

Kauai’s other nude beach is also here, just past Kilauea – Secret Beach is accessible at the end of Kalihiwai Rd. Again, using this beach naked is AYOR.

Queens Bath KauaiQueen’s Bath

While Queen’s Bath is not technically a beach, it is a beautiful saltwater pool on a lava rock shelf just above the water. Get there from a trail at the end of Kapiolani Rd. in Princeville, and follow the trail down to the ocean. For more detailed instructions, see The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Be aware the pool is not safe at high tide.

Ke’e Beach

Most folks goto the end of the road on the North Shore, where you’ll find Ke’e Beach, with a protected cove that’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and where you’ll find the start of the Na Pali Coast trail.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Gay Kauai: The Towns of Kauai

Author: , November 9th, 2014

We’ll start our review of the Garden Isle of Kauai with an overview of some of the main towns on the island, in alphabetical order.

HanaleiHanalei

Along the water just below Princeville, Hanalei is one of Kauai’s most charming towns with some great stores and restaurants. Hanalei is also home to one of the largest taro farms in the islands – if you’ve ever been to a Luau and tried Poi, that bland-salty purple pudding-looking stuff, you’ve had taro. It’s an island staple, and was a primary source of nourishment for pre-contact Hawaiians. While most folks can’t stand poi, taro can be quite good – we’ve had it as taro pancakes, taro hashbrowns (very rich and buttery), taro rolls, and most often, taro chips, available currently at the Big Save stores on-island.

On the western end of Hanalei, you’ll find a cute American Gothic style church (pictured at right) in a green meadow – this is the oldest surviving church on Kauai, and was completed in 1912.

Kapa'aHanalei also has one of the most beautiful bays in Hawaii – a crescent of white sand around a circular bay, with great surfing/boarding, all against the backdrop of the Hanalei Valley and Mt. Waialeale.

After a good rain, waterfalls cascade down the steep mountain face behind Hanalei, Pele’s beautiful paradise backdrop to this cute little town.

Kapa’a

Kapa’a was made famous in Leaving Las vegas, when Nick Cage’s character couldn’t pronounce the name.

It was also the location of a scene from the first Jurassic Park.

KilaueaIt’s an old plantation town, billed as one of Kauai’s “most walkable” towns because it has a sidewalk.

There are a series of cute stores and restaurants here, and the Kauai Products Fair at the northern edge of town, where you can buy a number of locally made products, mostly clothing.

Kilauea

Kilauea’s main claim to fame is the lighthouse, and it’s definitely worth the stop.

But there’s also a cute little shopping center that’s home to a soap and candle store, an imports store, and the best pizza on the north shore.

KoloaKoloa Town

Another cute south shore town, just north of Poipu.

This one-street town has a great pizza place, some really good ice cream, cute stores, a historic monument, and a Big Save grocery store (expensive but you can get your taro chip fix there).

Lihue

Lihue is the largest city on Kauai (basically a small town almost anywhere else), and it’s a working town.

LihueIt’s where the island government is – we used to go to the DMV here when we lived on Kauai, as well as the museum, the car dealerships, the mall, the cargo and cruise ship port, and much more.

You’ll arrive on Kauai from the mainland or the other islands at the airport here.

Lihue is no great beauty, but she does have everything the locals need on a day-to-day basis – Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, Kmart, and soon the island’s second Safeway store.

This is where the locals go when they need to shop.

PoipuPoipu

The Poipu area is one of the major resort regions on-island. Poipu Beach is almost entirely residential, mostly vacation homes, older condos, newer/remodelled hotels and timeshares, and two nice high-end shopping centers.

There’s also a huge new residential area going in on the west side of town that was started just before the recession, and which is getting going again.

A lot there will run you about a million bucks, with no house – that’s an expensive camping spot. Poipu is also where you’ll find a great swimming beach with honu (sea turtles), the spouting horn, and the Allerton botanical garden.

PrincevillePrinceville

Next is Princeville, the second major resort area on-island. This resort community sits on a high bluff above the sea on the North Shore, just above Hanalei, and is half residential, half resort/condo. You’ll recognize it by the grand fountain that graces the entrance – looking a bit more Greecian than Hawaiian.

Princeville is also home to the largest shopping center on the North Shore (stop here for delicious Lappert’s Ice Cream). There’s also a pricey grocery store here if you need just one or two things.

Waipouli

One word. Safeway.

Western Towns

To the west of Poipu are the tiny towns of Lawai and Kalaheo. Farther westward, the island continues to get drier until you reach the southwestern coast of the island, which is almost a desert, and which houses the Naval base and the In between are the towns of Eleele, Hanapepe, and Waimea, each with its own collection of shops and restaurants about a block long.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources