North Shore Adventure: Kauai

There is limitless adventure on the island of Kauai, and sometimes the hardest part is choosing where to go. The obvious default for most people is to go enjoy the many beaches with over 63 miles of accessible shoreline. We do our fair share of beach and water time, but I am always looking for other adventures to expose my kids to. Sometimes it is ambitious and can be a lot of work, but in the end, it is very rewarding and we will have the memories for a lifetime.

At the “end of the road” on the North side of Kauai lies Ke’e Beach. Ke’e is a great beach to enjoy snorkeling, swimming and the raw view of the open Pacific. It is a nice bonus that it also has one of the many lifeguard towers on island for added security. Ke’e is also the start of the Kalalau trail that follows the Napali Coast out to beaches, valleys and some of the most beautiful coastline you will lay eyes on. The Kalalau trail is an 11 mile out and back totaling 22 miles for a round trip adventure. Most people doing the entire trail will reserve 3-5 days to enjoy the sights and the two camping spots with Hanakoa and Kalalau at the end. You want to make sure to plan far in advance as you need to apply for permits if you plan on hiking the entire trail.

two boys hiking trail on napali coast kauai

If you are looking for more of a day adventure, you can hike the first 2 miles of the trail from Ke’e to Hanakapi’ai Beach, which is very popular and can be done without a permit. You still need to have advanced reservations to enter Ha’ena state park which has a 900 visitor per day limit. Here is a link to a website with all the information you need for permits and reservations:

Hanakapi'ai Beach

Hanakapi’ai Beach

If you are up for even a bigger day trip, continue to Hanakapi’ai falls. I was planning on taking my 7 and 10-year-old boys two miles into the beach, but my 7-year-old wanted to rally up to the falls after a little rest and snack. The falls is a solid uphill two-mile push from the beach and can be more of a scramble at times going over rocks, crossing the stream and navigating downed trees. If you have the ability to make it, the fresh water feels like the fountain of youth, and it is a very incredible amphitheater to enjoy a well-deserved lunch. There were many pep talks along the way, and I think I mentioned a few times that it is ok to feel uncomfortable every now and then. The boys trooped along while we had many conversations about what we would eat and drink when we made it back to town.

After a few more hours of trudging up hill and many bribes that included soda and candy, the boys arrived at the promised land. It was a very proud father moment for me to see the smiles on their faces when they lit up with pride and happiness with their accomplishment of making it to the destination. We enjoyed a smashed up PB&J and swam in the rejuvenating waters with the methodical sound of the waterfall echoing off the walls.

Hanakapi'ai Falls

Hanakapi’ai Falls

After an hour of enjoying the fruits of our labor, we knew it was time to hit the sunbaked trail and make our way down the mountain. The entire adventure from our car door was 9.33 miles and 5 hours 55 minutes. The total elevation accumulated over the hike was 1,866 ft. On our drive back to Hanalei, we stopped for our treats at the boys’ favorite market on island, Wainiha Country Market.

Boardwalk Through Taro Fields - Almost Back To The Truck!

Boardwalk Through Taro Fields – Almost Back To The Truck!

For anyone looking to hike the Kalalau trail, it is an absolute must to do your homework first. Depending on how far you plan on adventuring, you need to make sure you have the physical capability, the weather is good, and you have plenty of water and food to fuel the day. The trails can become very slick with even the slightest amount of rain, and the washes will thunder down the mountain with running water that will sweep you off your feet in an instant.

When the weather is good and you are up for some adventure, the Kalalau trail and Napali coastline will not disappoint. You will make memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime.

Warning Signs Hanakapi'ai Beach

Warning Signs Hanakapi’ai Beach

Looking for more activities on Kauai? Check out my blog post on Top 10 Things To Do in Princeville, North Shore Kauai.

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