Kauai with Your Adult Children
by Tracy E. Hill, Ph.D.
The youngest of my children had graduated from college and, as I had when each older child had graduated, I wanted to organize a destination family vacation— a well-deserved and hard-earned celebration. Yet, as the kids grow to young adults, it becomes harder to find time when everyone is available. They all have their own jobs, partners, and life. And more importantly, I have this quasi rule: don’t go anywhere twice. The world is expansive, and my dream is for all of us to see as much of it as we can at least once. Of course, there are some exceptions to that rule. We still take our annual family ski trip to Colorado, and visiting friends is always a must. So, not only did we have to find a time when all four of us could take time off from work, we also had to find an original destination—a place none of us had already been to. My children are world travelers. As I write this, my middle child is in Thailand with his girlfriend playing with elephants, my oldest is flying back from Costa Rica after a weekend jaunt, and my youngest—whom this trip was for—had spent a semester abroad in London and during that time had visited nearly half a dozen European countries.
We had spent nearly a year and a half sifting through many options and destinations, when a colleague of mine mentioned Hawaii. My children and I immediately all said, “Heck, yeah!”
The planning and reservations began. I bought all our airline tickets (no easy feat trying to coordinate four people from three different airports) and rented a car through Expedia. Through Airbnb, I reserved a two-bedroom villa at Wyndham Bali Hai Villas, complete with furnished kitchen, two bathrooms, and a beautiful family area on the north shore of Kauai in Princeville. The Wyndham was perfection. It had literally everything we could have wanted, including swimming pool, workout rooms, and a golf course right across the way.
My daughter and son arrived at the Lihue airport ahead of us to pick up the rental car (a practical four-door sedan) in anticipation of my other son and I arriving an hour later. Of course, when they picked us up, the four-door sedan had been replaced with a gorgeous, silver-grey Mustang convertible! I’m still not sure to this day how we all fit inside along with our luggage, but the kids were determined and passionate that when in Kauai we had to have the right transportation. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it turned out to be an excellent decision.
Our first stop was at Oasis on the Beach, a delightful restaurant where we initiated our short week with the first of many Mai Tais and a delicious meal. When you travel with adult children, they can definitely out-drink and out-eat you! Of the many restaurants we dined at, some of our favorites were Sam’s Ocean View (https://www.tripadvisor. silver sage Sams Ocean View), Mariachi’s in Kapaa, Tahiti Nui Restaurant, Lemongrass Grill Seafood & Bar, and of course Lava Lava Beach Club (https://www.tripadvisor.com silver sage Lava Lava Beach Club), which has the absolute best Mai Tais on the island.
We’re an active family. All of us stay fit and active, so lying on the beach is not our idea of an ideal vacation. Consequently, we planned various activities. We started the trip off with a hike up Sleeping Giant Trail in Kapaa (https://www.tripadvisor.com/silver sage sleeping giant). We took a fabulous horseback ride at Silver Falls Ranch in Kilauea. I wrote a great review of that (“Chill Ride with Juan”) adventure for TripAdvisor, but for some reason the review is gone. Silver Falls was definitely worth the fun—but watch out for the chickens! This was my daughter’s trip and one of her absolute “must do’s” was to scuba dive. (Sidebar note: Since my daughter was little, she always wanted to sky dive. To celebrate her 18th birthday, we had all jumped out of a little, gutted Cessna and taken to the air in a free fall to make her wish come true.) So we headed off for the southern shore of Koloa to meet up with Seasport Divers. We had the absolute best day ever swimming with sea turtles, butterfly fish, snappers, and more (https://www.tripadvisor.com/silver sage seasport divers). One afternoon we decided that a Hawaiian vacation would not be complete without a luau and headed for Smith’s Family Garden Luau (https://www.tripadvisor.com/silver sage luau). My boys went golfing one morning while my daughter and I had spa treatments.
Over five days, we laughed, played catch on the beach, enjoyed giant Jenga while drinking at Lava Lava Beach Club, chased the many chickens on the island, and cruised around in our Mustang. No partners were invited, just me and my children. Priceless.
Why did we choose Kauai? Hawaii is a big state with several islands. We chose Kauai because it was considered the most “adventurous” of all the islands, and I decided that, if the kids ever wanted to return with their perspective partners, they had seven other islands to choose from, so they wouldn’t have to repeat. If you choose Kauai, I think my kids and I would recommend that you stay on the eastern/southern shore, as the weather is definitely more temperate than the north shore.
I look forward to our next family vacation. Time is short—spend it with those you love!