This past April, Hubby and I took Aria with us on our five year anniversary trip to our favorite Hawaiian island, Kauai! She totally loved it and we're so glad because her middle name is Hanalei, inspired by beautiful Hanalei Bay (pictured above) on Kauai's North Shore. But more on that later! I'm sure we'll have many blog posts to come about this magical place including our resort review, favorite beaches and travel tips but to start off, here are the top 5 Things We Love About Kauai. And yes, they're all Aria approved!
1. The Flowers
Ever since Aria could walk she's been picking wildflowers to put in my hair, gathering bouquets for our dinner table and helping me care for the blooms in our garden so she was in heaven amongst all of the gorgeous gardens and flowers on Kauai. We love hibiscus and plumeria the most and lucky for us they grow like weeds on this island! They're literally in every parking lot, storefront, beach, park, you name it. So if flowers are your jam, you'll definitely love "The Garden Island!"
She really wanted a photo next to this Bird of Paradise!
2. The Chickens
Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Kauai has something special - an abundance of feral chickens! They are everywhere! Aria loved chasing around the Mama's with their chicks and hearing the glorious roosters crowing outside our balcony every morning, and I'm pretty sure she said hello to every single one! At first we thought it was a little strange that there were so many just wandering the island at their leisure but then they started to grow on us.
Not kidding.. everywhere!
On the last day of our trip the only souvenir Aria wanted to take home was this little stuffed chicken wearing a lei. Of course she named him Hei-Hei!
3. The Shave Ice
Oh my, the shave ice! Real Hawaiian shave ice is nothing at all like the crunchy snowballs I grew up with every summer in Maryland. Hawaiian shave ice is light, fluffy and soft. The syrups are natural and made with local fruits and the best part? You can order your shave ice over a scoop of homemade vanilla macadamia nut ice cream and top it with fresh coconut cream drizzle! Yum!
I spy a Hei-Hei!
We visited different shave ice stands every single day during our trip and our favorite flavor was by far the organic lychee rainbow from Wishing Well Shave Ice in Hanalei!
4. The Waterfalls
Kauai has some of the most picturesque scenery in the world and its waterfalls are the ones you see in the movies. Remember the Jurassic Park waterfall when they first arrive on the island via helicopter? That's Hanakapiai Falls on Kauai! Although many of the falls are inaccessible by foot or too dangerous to get to with a little one, you can still see many of them in the distance all over the island or you can take a helicopter tour.
We took Aria to see Wailua Falls and Opaeka'a Falls up close and she was pretty impressed!
See the waterfalls in the distance? They look tiny in this picture but they were so pretty to see while laying on the beach in Hanalei Bay. Which brings us to our most favorite part of the island....
5. The Beaches
When I asked Aria what her #1 favorite thing about Kauai was, her first response was "the ocean." My little Moana loves her ocean like no other but one thing that makes the ocean so wonderful to enjoy on Kauai, especially with littles, are all the beautiful beaches! Kauai has over 60 beaches spread over 90 miles of shoreline and they are all freely accessible and open to the public.
The very first thing we did after checking into our resort was walk right outside onto the beach! Aria collected coconuts for hours and we watched the sunset together.
Here is our view just outside of our resort, the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort.
Unlike the other main Hawaiian islands, Kauai is much less populated and the beaches aren't nearly as crowded. It was super easy to find parking everywhere and grab a perfect shady spot under a perfectly gorgeous palm tree!
This is at Glass Beach on the South Shore in Hanapepe. The entire beach is made of sea glass!
We watched the students of Hanalei School swimming with sea turtles and practicing canoeing in Hanalei Bay...
... and of course Aria did beach yoga!
Seriously Kauai, we love you so!
Tips from Aria:
"You can find lots of little coconuts at the beach and take them to your hotel room!"
"Watch out for chickens that don't move. And don't touch them." (Yes, unfortunately this happened. She found a sweet non-moving chicken in a restaurant parking lot and decided to pet him. Definitely watch out for that!)
"Baby Beach is my favorite. It had rocks so the waves couldn't get me." (She's talking about Lydgate Beach on Kauai. It has a baby-friendly area surrounded by lava rocks so the kiddos can safely swim.)
If you made it this far, thank you so very much for reading! Aria is off to the lake to see her Paw Paw tonight and I'm headed to an exciting photoshoot. Hope you had a great weekend!
Aimey + Aria
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