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.

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

Lesbian Travel: Rejuvenating Kauai

Author: , May 31st, 2015

Kauai AerialIt’s not often that we have time to stop and think about the life we are living. Nor do we sit down and think about our current blessings and future legacy. But travel can make us do all of this and more. Travel can open our eyes and help us find beauty in the NOW.

On a recent trip to Kauai, I met a woman named Puna Kalama Dawson, Hawaiian Cultural Guide to Wellness at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. She reminded me of a few very important things:

How important it is to take the time to appreciate what is directly in front of me
To be kind to others but also myself And most importantly, to live in the moment – not to count the tomorrows – for they may not come.

The word “Aloha” means a shared space, a special moment. As I was greeted with this word during the rest of my stay in Kauai, I remembered and breathed in her words. It wasn’t hard – after all, I was in Hawaii.

By Holly Rosen Fink – Full Story at Go Girlfriend | 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

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

Shopping on Gay Kauai

Author: , November 15th, 2014

Kauai Shopping

Kauai offers tons and tons of shopping opportunities. We explored the island from top to bottom for you, so you’ll know where to go. First off, we’ll cover the big shopping centers:

SHOPPING CENTERS:

Kukui GroveKukui Grove Center
Lihue
http://www.kukuigrovecenter.com
Here you’ll find Kukui Grove, the only real shopping mall on-island – anchored by Ross on one end and Macy’s on the other. This open air mall also has one of the few Starbucks on island. The mall is nothing fancy by mainland standards, but it’s great to have if you need to pick up something while you’re here – a new shirt, flip flops, or maybe a treat at the yummy Kauai Bakery?

Coconut Marketplace
Waipouli
http://www.coconutmarketplace.com/
The Coconut Marketplace is the second-largest shopping center on-island, with several restaurants and the island’s second multi-screen cinema. The center is being remodeled, so about a third was closed when we were there, but this is a great place to find reasonably priced gifts for your friends back home. The Marketplace also features live hula performances weekly at 5 PM.

Poipu Shopping VillagePoipu Shopping Village
Poipu
http://poipushoppingvillage.com
This is the older (but still beautiful) shopping center, along the main drag, on the western side of Poipu. It offers upscale shopping in a garden setting, and is home to both Keoki’s Paradise and Roy’s, two restaurants we’ll review in our restaurants section.

Shops at Kukui UlaThe Shops at Kukui Ula
Poipu
http://kukuiula.com/community/the-shops-at-kukuiula/
This center is brand-new in the last couple years, and is part of the Kukui Ula development, where you can buy a plot of land for your ocean view home, if you have a million bucks to spare. It’s a beautiful center, right in the heart of Poipu at the new traffic circle.

Nawiliwili Harbor / Kalapaki Beach
Lihue
http://www.kalapakibeach.org/shopping
At the ocean end, on Nawiliwili Harbor, the cruise ships dock, and there’s a nice resort and a smattering of tourist shops.

KilohanaKalapaki BeachKilohana Estate
Lihue
http://kilohanakauai.com/wp/
On the edge of Lihue, you’ll find Kilohana, an old plantation estate that’s been updated and filled with little shops, including Koloa Rum, a pottery shop, several little art stores, a candy store, a jewelry shop, and much more.

INDIVIDUAL STORES:

There are also a few shops in particular we really like:

Hilo Hattie
Lihue
http://www.hilohattie.com
One of our favorite island stores is here. Kauai’s only Hilo Hattie is right in the middle of Lihue – stop here on your way back to the airport for great, affordable gifts for your friends and family back home – macadamia nuts, island candy, aloha wear, puka shell necklaces, and much more.

Island Soap and Candle Store
Koloa and Kilauea
http://www.islandsoap.com
Island Soap and Candleworks has a small store in Koloa Town and a larger one in Kilauea – a must-see on Hawaii, both to buy some of their delectably scented tropical soaps and candles and to watch them being made.

Sand People
Waipouli and Poipu
http://www.sandpeople.com
This is a great little knick-knacks store that has a location in Hanalei and one in the the Poipu Shopping Village. Some unique gifts for your friends back home.

Kauai CoffeeKauai Coffee
Kalaheo
http://kauaicoffee.com
There’s a huge coffee plantation on the southern side of the island, west of Poipu and Koloa Town. They have a great gift shop, coffee flavored treats, and of course, great coffee.

ABC Stores
Various
http://www.abcstores.com
These are the local 7-11 type stores – good for the basics, but also offering a lot of touristy goodies at great prices, from mac nuts and candies to shark-tooth necklaces and everything in-between. They are all over the island.

There are a few outdoor marketplaces on Kauai – none of them very good – you’ll find one next to the spouting horn in Poipu, and another, the Kauai Products Fair, just on the northern edge of Kapa’a. But they do have some fun, kitschy tourst momentos.

PRACTICAL STUFF:

Box Stores
Lihue
Lihue also features big box stores like Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and Kmart, and many of the nuts and bolts operations like contractors, suppliers, car dealerships, and more. Lihue is short on charm and long on practicality.

Groceries
One of the local supermarkets – Big Save – is one of the most expensive on the island. Only shop here if you have to, or if you need one or two things – otherwise shop at the island Safeway in Waipouli. ***check this. There’s a brand new Safeway being built just west of Kukui Grove in Lihue, too. I should note, though, that if you want taro chips, Big Save is the only place I found them on this trip.

You may want to take along an extra suitcase, or limited clothing, so you’ll have room to haul back all the things you buy on your visit to Kauai.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Gay Kauai: Introduction

Author: , November 8th, 2014

Allerton Gardens, Kauai

Kauai Aerial ViewWe returned to the Island of Kauai last month for the first time since 2008. We lived in Princeville for a year from 2000-2001, and returned again for a visit in 2006.

Some things have changed. There are some new houses and condos, for instance. Most of the restaurants we knew and loved are gone. The small but beautiful garden with a water feature and bridge was ripped out of the Safeway center in Waipouli in favor of a few more parking spots.

The island now has four or five Starbucks, a Costco, and a Home Depot, and a second Safeway is on the way. And Sears is gone, replaced by Ross.

But other than that, surprisingly it was much like we remembered it, still beautiful and lush and open.

Kauai - AerialThere’s just something special about Kauai, something that reaches out to everyone who visits here, gay or straight. It’s a feeling of peace, of contentment, and a recognition of the stunning beauty this most natural and tropical of the Hawaiian Islands offers.

While there are no gay bars on Kauai, there are many gay and lesbian folks who have moved here from the mainland, and a fair number of the local hula dancers are gay. Our friend Joe, who runs the gay-owned Mahina Kai B&B, is now the President of Lambda Aloha, and they host an annual Pride Picnic, Halloween Party, and dance. More on Mahina Kai later.

Kauai - Waimea RiverWe flew in on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon from Oahu into one of our favorite airports. Lihue’s airport is small, open, and immediately welcomes you to the island with its fresh ocean breezes. Fair warning – LIH has no wifi – paid or otherwise, and very few electric outlets. For that matter, Honolulu’s airport is also short on outlets with no charging stations, and wifi there is $8.85 for two hours. Not very business friendly.

The car rental pick-up used to be right outside the baggage claim area, but it’s now down the street – not a big deal, but you do now have to take a shuttle to reach the rental counters.

This time, we were here for several different reasons. To see our beloved Kauai again, to share the island with you, and to help our Italian friends Fabrizio and Marco get married.

Over the next week, we will share The Garden Island with you.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources