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The island of Kauai is known as “The Garden Island.” I want to share my experience at the Limahuli Garden and Preserve which is recognized as one of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in the United States.
Located at 5-8291 Kuhio Highway, Haena on Kauai’s north shore, this garden of living history is one of a kind. The garden is open for both self-guided and guided tours starting at fifteen dollars per person. I read a sign that this garden experience is only for people ages ten and over. Note that guided tours require reservations in advance using their online system. Look here for Limahuli Gardens tour information to select a date for your reservation and to find out more specific tour information.
I read-ahead and went prepared for this walking tour of the gardens. Please wear good walking shoes (your feet will thank you), and bring a water bottle. I went on a self-guided tour and I got to pause at the spots and checkpoints that I wanted to. They also provide a booklet on the self-guided tour, so that was interesting to read and learn about the stops along the way . It was neat to actually see the garden spots like the stepped irrigation section and then to look in the booklet and read about it. What a glance into the past! The time I spent touring was close to two hours worth. Just letting you know so you can plan accordingly.
It was so neat to learn about and to see plants that are native to Hawaii and to see others that are not native to Hawaii. Did you know that coconut palms are not native to Hawaii?! It is amazing what you can learn if you just step outside of your comfort bubble and immerse yourself in your surroundings. History is fascinating.
Also during my tour I learned that this garden has won national awards as the best natural botanical garden in the whole United States. They have the best appropriate environmental practices of soil, water, and rare plant conservation in their overall garden design. This is a sight to see, folks… a garden to experience.
There is just something about going to the beach. It is so relaxing. It is my time away that I take for myself. (That, and the few times I can go and get my nails done!) Some might call it their “me time.” At Haena Beach you are sure to find what you are looking for… I know I do each time I go. Haena Beach is located on Kauai’s North Shore, just west of Hanalei Bay off of Kuhio Highway.
This is one of my favorite beaches on Kauai. There are lifeguards, restrooms, picnic tables, and outdoor showers for rinsing off after a swim in the turquoise water. The water by the way, looks great up against the white sandy beach, then the backdrop of green is just behind that. It is a very picturesque place! I have talked with folks there and some say it is a bit of déjà vu they say–as if they have been here before or seen it in a movie or something. I will have to look into that and see if anything has been filmed here…
Beaches all come with different flavors, as I like to say. Some are good for surfing, others are good for people watching and sunbathing. Probably why I love this beach so much is because it is a very friendly beach for all kinds of water activities. At Haena Beach I have seen surfers, boogie boarders, snorkelers, swimmers, and sunbathers. I have been a few of those titles during my time on Kauai. I have not surfed these waves, but I like to sunbathe and watch those who do.
There are also camp sites available for those who have a permit to camp. I suggest camping in the non-winter months and for those who have been camping more than once in their lifetime. Then again, if you go with an experienced camper it is great for first-timers. Don’t get me wrong–beach camping is a neat experience and I recommend it for those outdoorsy people.
Another part of Haena Beach that I think is neat, is that it is just across the way from “The Dry Cave.” There are several caves in the area and this one is a sight to see! When you pack your beach bag, I suggest packing a flashlight or two for your group so that you can see the walls and ceiling of the cave better. Pack your camera too–if you have not already–you will want to snap some pics of this unique site.
Haena Beach is a great place to go and have a good time. I like to make half day trips out of the experience. It could easily be made into a day trip as well if you really want to soak up the sun. It is nice to have a change of pace, to have a relaxing day at the water’s edge. Maybe bring your own lunch, eat at a picnic table, and have the rest of your day playing in the water. Oh and go see the Dry Cave across the road. So many options on how you want to plan out your day at the beach.
Here you are at the decision that you want to come to Kauai! Maybe it was the land and the beauty that won you over. Maybe it is the people and the great hospitality that you have heard about that draws you in. Maybe it was the beaches and the idea of simply being on an island that has lead you to make this decision. Hmm… maybe my blog has convinced you that you want to come here.
So now that your mind is made up you need a place to stay. “Where oh where should I stay?” you may ask yourself. Please, take it from me. I have lived here for a LONG time and know exactly where you want to be. And the funny thing is that you might not even know yourself where you want to be and what you want to see. Not yet. You might just have an idea in your mind about what you want your vacation rental to be like and at what price. Enough said. Let me take it from here and guide you to where you want to be.
One vacation rental that is quite the luxury experience is Hale Oli in Haena. Got a family? This will do the trick, as it is a two bedroom two bath home. What I like about this one is that you can save a bit of money by being just a quick five minute walk to the beach. You can rent this house by the night or even by the week, if you plan to be on Kauai for a while. And it is set up to be the perfect home away from home. After all, it’s on the beautiful island of Kauai!
Need more reason to stay here? Well, how about this: free internet. Okay, it’s technically not free, but it is included in the low cost of the vacation home. You also get cable TV, your own washer and dryer, a gas barbecue grill right outside, your own hot tub… really the whole enchilada! Hale Oli is modern, fully equipped, functional, fun, and ready for your family of 4-6.
So do you want to stay in a nice vacation rental near the beach that has a feeling of comfort to it? Do you want a home away from home that is private, an escape! Do you want a vacation house that is only a matter of minutes drive to nearby hot spots like Haena Beach Park, Hanalei Beach, Princeville golf course, and more? Then take my word for it and check out Hale Oli, an exceptional Kauai vacation rental. It will be the perfect rental for your small family without breaking the bank!
A vacation on Kauai can be affordable and fun. So let’s do this thing! You are cleared for: vacation possible…
When you go on vacation, you want to get away from it all, right? You want quiet, relaxing spaces. You want white sandy beaches and fun activities. You want good food, good company, and a good place to curl up with a good book. What you don’t want is a noisy hotel with cramped quarters and shared walls, dealing with masses of people as you try to get through your time off. That’s not good. What you really need is Haena Place, a great vacation rental right here on Kauai.
Kauai is a relaxing place with something to do for everyone. And if you and your family are planning on staying near Haena, Haena Place is a good choice for a rental home. Why? Well, first of all, it’s quiet. Unlike a large hotel, you won’t be sharing walls, dealing with masses of people in the lobby, or hearing your neighbors fighting two doors down the hall. You will be on a quiet cul-du-sac in a safe neighborhood enjoying the benefits of a private home.
Secondly, the cost is far less than a typical hotel room. While hotels overcharge for a single room with an attached bathroom, you can rent Haena Place (two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, living room, deck, kitchen, lanai, etc) for only $1350 a week!! That’s less than $200 a day for an entire, fully-equipped house!
Thirdly, it is in a great location. The neighborhood (which I mentioned before) is safe and friendly. Plus, it’s a short walk from some GREAT beaches! (It pays to stay on the North Shore.) You can sit out on the deck of the house and enjoy some beautiful views, featuring the lush tropical mountains and some lovely waterfalls. And this puts you in a great location to find hiking trails, water sport activities, and equipment rentals as well.
Lastly, the home itself is nice. The kitchen has plenty of space to cut, chop, prepare, and make however many meals you want. The home is furnished with comfortable furniture, and the bedrooms have queen and king-sized beds. The living room has a TV hooked up with cable and a DVD/VCR box. Plus, the deck furniture is nice and perfect for a morning outside, sipping some coffee or tea and watching the natural world around you.
So please consider Haena Place if you plan to stay near Haena on the North Shore. And enjoy your time here on Kauai!
If you decide to stay on the North Shore and want to visit a great beach with lifeguard protection that is perfect for swimming, I would suggest coming to Haena. There is a vacation home here, called Haena Place, that might be just perfect for you and your family, especially if you are a family of 4 or less.
Haena Place is located in a quiet neighborhood in Haena, tucked away into a small cul-de-sac. It is a two-story home with a wrap-around deck that overlooks the lush tropical mountains. So each morning you can step out onto the deck with your family, your food, and your coffee and have a nice breakfast while looking out onto the beautiful tropical landscape.
The house itself is perfect for a small family. There are two bedrooms. The larger of the two has a King-sized bed and the smaller room has a Queen. Plus, there are 1 ½ baths, so the kids will have their own bathroom for everything except showers. The living room is just right for watching one of the movies in the bookshelf for checking out what’s on cable. And the kitchen is fully stocked with the utensils and cooking equipment necessary to make a wonderful meal. You just need to pick up some ingredients.
Plus, the location of this home is perfect. Not only is it located in a safe and quiet neighborhood, but it’s also only a short distance away from Tunnel’s Beach and Haena Beach Park. Haena Beach Park, as you know, is a lifeguarded beach. Plus, the natural shape of the underwater obstacles decrease the large surf, making this beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling. So if you want a family adventure on the beach, this is the place to stay.
And the price is the best part. Hotels are really expensive and you don’t get anything more than a room and a bathroom. It’s even worse when you think of having to spend your entire vacation sharing a small space with your kids. The lack of privacy and crazy mess will get to anyone after a while. But this house is only $1,350 a week! Seriously, price some hotels and you’ll see what a wonderful deal this is. And when you consider all of the amenities you get when you rent a home instead of a hotel room, you’ll definitely decide in favor of Haena Place. You can take my word for it.
We live on an island, so there are MANY beaches to choose from when you visit. Some have great reputations, some are exclusive, some are remote, some are well-populated, and some are just plain awesome.
So when you are choosing a beach to visit, it’s important to keep a few basic questions in mind.
1. Does it have a lifeguard? As I’ve mentioned before, lifeguards can help keep you and your family safe. So if you have the choice, always choose a lifeguarded beach.
2. Do you have children? There are some beaches with lots of activity and big waves and then there are beaches that have calmer waters and fewer people. The beaches in that second category are typically better for families with small children.
3. How well can you swim? Again, beaches with large waves and no lifeguards should be avoided, especially by those of you who do not swim exceedingly well. Each beach is different, and conditions change quickly. So if you are a bad swimmer, avoid the ocean.
4. What does the weather report say today? Each day you plan to go out into the water, check the Kauai Explorer website. Why? Well, conditions change often. Beaches that were perfectly safe yesterday might have large waves and choppy waters today. And knowledge is power.
Okay, so you know what questions to ask, but you might not know anything about the beaches! I can help with that. After all, I live here. ☺
Hanalei Bay Beach Park – Hanalei Bay is one of the most beautiful spots on Hawaii. Typically, when tourists visit our island, it’s to see this beautiful bay. And that is why lifeguards are on duty in this area. The beach is large and stretches all the way around the half-moon bay. For this reason, there is a lot of ground to cover for the lifeguards, which is why I recommend that you and your family set up your towels near the guard towers. And keep in mind that the ocean is not tame in this area, which makes it great for some water sports like surfing but also means you must use caution.
Kee Beach – This is also a lifeguard protected beach and is very near Hanalei Bay. But because of the natural arrangement of water obstructions, it’s much safer than the Bay. This beach is considered a great beach for swimming and snorkeling, so enjoy. But it also has strong currents, sharp coral, slippery rocks, and breaking waves. So please use caution.
Haena Beach Park – Like Kee Beach, this beach is good for snorkeling and swimming, due to the natural arrangement of water obstructions. And this beach has a lifeguard station, so if something goes wrong, a rescue will be forthcoming. It’s also very close to Hanalei Bay.
Anini Beach – Anini beach is considered a good swimming and snorkeling beach because of the natural obstructions in the water. However, there are NO lifeguards on duty here, so I do not recommend visiting this spot. There is, however, a protected swimming area and facilities nearby. So if you watch your family like a hawk, it’s a good place to let your small children put their feet in the water.
Kauapea Beach – Just like Anini beach, there are NO lifeguards on duty. There are also no obstructions, so the water tends to come fast and large. Honestly, I would completely avoid this beach with my family.
Lumahai Beach – There are no lifeguards on duty at this beach and the currents are really really strong. So, if you want to get in the water, avoid this beach. However, if you want to see the pretty spot where they filmed the “wash that man right out of my hair” song from South Pacific, enjoy but stay on the sand.
Also, keep in mind that the North Shore gets large swells during the months of September through May. So if you are visiting within the next month or two, check often on the Kauai Explorer website and check the wave heights before visiting any beach. Also, keep your eyes out for lifeguard warning signs as you swim. Enjoy!
Quite a few couples come to our island every year to get married. Still, other families come to rent cars and tour all of the hot spots on the island. And businessmen have also visited in the past for conferences and workshops, planning and playing on the same trip. And for all of these people, I have a suggestion:
How about going by limo?
Here on Kauai, we have several transportation companies that would be able to offer you excellent service. I’ve personally used the Kauai North Shore Limousine & Tours and can recommend them. Why do you need a limousine company? Well, that’s simple: to travel in style of course!
If you are getting married on Kauai, then you know that our beaches and wedding venues are second to none. We aren’t the Garden Isle for no reason, after all. From the white sand to the crystal clear waters to the lush mountains framed by tropical flowers, we have the most beautiful views in all of the Hawaiian Islands. And many couples have chosen to get married here for just that reason. But if you want to make your wedding day truly special, why not get married on the beach and then get skirted away with your love in an elegant stretch limo?
If you want to tour the island with your family or friends, why pack into a cramped car? There are lots of places on the island to go, from the breathtaking Waimea Canyon in the West to the historic Kilauea Lighthouse in the East to the spectacular Hanalei Bay in the North. So why would you want the hassle of driving all around, trying to find these places on a map? The better choice would be to rent a limousine for the day and tour the island. Kauai North Shore Limousine & Tours even offers specific tours for you to take that will be sure to be enjoyable.
If you are a businessman who is on the island to work, don’t take all the fun out of your trip. Even a work trip is made better when you rent a limousine and enjoy getting from place to place each day. Plus, with a limousine rental, you are ensured to get everywhere on time. These drivers know the roads, know the people, and know how to show up on time. And then, at the end of a long working day, you can bring your co-workers along for an evening on the town!
Do you see how a limousine can really spice up your time on Kauai? Well then try it out on your next visit. Sometimes a limousine rental can be cheaper than a taxi, especially if you need a car to take you from the airport to your hotel or condo. So why not enjoy yourself? Consider renting a limo and really traveling in style.
When you are looking for a vacation rental, what things are most important to you? Is it a large television? Close proximity to hiking trails or the beach? Enough bedrooms to sleep 6-8 people? Internet access?
Well, for me it is all of those things. I want to truly relax in comfort when I rent a home, no matter where I am. And if you are the same way, then you will love Hale Luana, a vacation rental home in Haena.
Hale Luana is a large vacation rental that is comfortable and right on the beach. That’s right – the backyard is literally the sandy shore of the ocean. In the front yard, there is a large plot of beautiful green grass where your family or friends can play touch football or throw frisbees. And there is a large patio/deck/lanai furnished with chairs and a table, so you can lounge in the sun while enjoying the scene.
On the inside, this three bedroom – two bath house is fully equipped for your needs. First of all, the basics of the house are all there. Both bathrooms have showers, so you can vacation with just your family or invite a second family along and each use a separate bathroom. The rest of the house is fully furnished with comfortable beds, teak and bamboo furniture, and enough space for a large group to be comfortable. The kitchen is also well stocked with appliances and a marble countertop.
Additional amenities that you might enjoy are the high speed internet access, cable TV with DVD/VCR/CD player, gas grill, and outdoor shower to rinse off after a beach adventure. This beautiful and spacious home sleeps eight and would be ideal for a large family or group of friends. Plus, at only $4,500 a week for all of that, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal on the island.
If you are going to be visiting Haena State Park, then you’ll want to stay somewhere nearby, right? Well, if it helps, I know a great place: Haena Place.
Haena Place is located a short distance from the park and is a great home away from home for tourists and visitors alike. With two bedrooms and 1 ½ baths, this is an exemplary house for small families of four or less. It is situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and is only a short walk from many great beaches. Plus, unlike a hotel room, it’s fully furnished and has a good-sized kitchen full of equipment.
A few added amenities include cable television, a DVD player, a telephone, and a glorious deck that overlooks the lush tropical mountains. But mostly this house is amazing because of its location and price. So if you are planning on staying near the North Shore during your vacation, check out this property. I just know that your family will love it here.
Actually, it’s more of the beginning of the road. Anyway, if you are planning on visiting Kauai and you haven’t been to Haena State Park, I’m going to use this chance to recommend it. Where can you find Haena State Park? Well, simply go to the beginning!
Haena State Park is located on the north end of Kauai at the very beginning (or very end, depending on your point of view) of State Highway 560. This is a great area for snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, hiking, or checking out some awesome sea caves. Plus, with the mountains and lush greenery of the jungle behind you and the long beach and blue waves before you, you’ll feel like a happy castaway.
Tunnels Beach, which I’ve talked about before, is located in this area and is the perfect spot for snorkeling. With an extensive reef extending out through the water, Tunnels Beach is one of the best places to find sea turtles and several forms of tropical fish. Ke’e Beach is also in the area is a beautiful spot to stop and have a picnic, especially if you appreciate romantic settings.
And, if you’d like, you can take one of the many hiking trails up into the mountainous jungle, exploring the untamed side of Kauai. I am not the biggest fan of exercise, but I do love to explore a bit of our tropical island from time to time. You never know what you might see!
So, when you plan your trip to Kauai, visit Haena State Park and enjoy your day at the beach.
Recently I was asked for information on a vacation rental here on Kauai. A couple I know with three children wanted to come out, but they had specific tastes. Their exact words were “unique and modern,” and I had the perfect place in mind: Hale Oli.
After one look at this recently completed home, you’ll know why I chose it for them. The architecture is like nothing else you will find, and its uniqueness gives it strength. The inside has been newly furnished with the perfect blend of modern and old school furnishings. And the hot tub is a big draw for any crowd. But there is much more to this house than meets the eye. Here is why I chose it for this family.
Families with small children love having multiple things to do during the day. Children, I have noticed, run on two settings: lightspeed and sleeping. So I wanted something for them that had the uniqueness they were searching for and entertainment for the kids. This house had it all: a hot tub, cable television, DVD player (and VCR for old school parents), CD player, high speed internet access, and an easy 5 minute walk to the nearest beach. There was so much for this family to do, I was sure they would enjoy their vacation without worrying about anyone getting bored.
And for the parents, there had to be a little something special. Hale Oli is the perfect romantic getaway, even with kids. There are three lanais to choose from, so there is always a place of solitude, and the views from this house are some of the best on the island. The house is located in Haena, a gorgeous spot at the end of the road on the north side of the island. From the house, you can see Mount Makana and the rest of the majestic Haena mountains. Plus, there is an incredible ocean view from the east lanai. On the back lanai, the couple could take late night trips to the hot tub to watch the stars and dream about their lives together. It seemed absolutely perfect.
Of course, they aren’t the only family who needs a place to stay on Kauai. If this house sounds like something you would be interested in renting for a while, then make that call. I can think of no better place for relaxation, comfort, fun, enjoyment, romance, and uniqueness.
As a child, I always loved caves. There was just something about them that drew me in, causing me to imagine my life underground or living in our historical past. Natural cave formations always fill me with wonder and make my imagination run wild. Perhaps that’s why I am always finding excuses to visit a cave or two.
So I figured if I liked exploring caves, some of my readers might like it too. Therefore, I’m going to briefly describe a few caves in the area that you can visit while you are staying on Kauai.
The first cave is the Maniniholo Dry Cave, and it is called that because you won’t have to get wet to see it. This fun natural cavern is only 300 yards deep and wanders back to a small exit hole on the side of the mountain. According to my grandparents, this cave used to be a lot bigger. However, back in 1957, a tsunami filled over half of it with sand, meaning that a large portion of the cave was lost. As a child, I used to pretend to be an archeologist, digging out the lost parts of the cave and discovering a whole new civilization living under the sand. Now, however, I just visit for the fun of it. If you want to see this cave, it is located near Haena Beach Park on Route 560. When you get to the park, look for the cave off to your left. You should be able to find it without a problem.
Of course, no cave exploration is complete without a little bit of water. Underwater caves are probably my favorite, since the sea depths have always been a mystery themselves. Somehow a dark underwater cave seems to scream hidden treasures, natural wonders, and an abundance of mystery.
There are two underwater caves within a couple hundred yards of each other, so I will direct you there. These caves are the Waikanaloa and Waikapalae Caves. They are both underground and have been explored over the years by scuba divers of all ages. These caves are close together and fun to explore, but they are a bit trickier to find. Located after Haena but before Kee Beach, you can simply drive north on the 560 through Hanalei about 9 miles from Princeville. You will see signs for one of the caves directly off the left side of the road. From there, you can also explore the second cave, since it is only accessible from the water.
If you want to go hiking in a real outdoor wonderful, then you should come to Kauai and experience one of our many beautiful hiking trails. We have great paths all over the island from the bike paths near Lihue to the Hanakapiai trails in Haena. But if you want something truly different, how about a swamp?
This might sound weird, but the Alakai Swamp Trail is a fun and free excursion for Kauai tourists. With a moderate difficulty level, this is definitely a hike that you shouldn’t try as a novice, but it’s easy enough for most trail hikers. Ranging for three and a half miles one-way, this trail will lead you across the swamp, giving you a first hand view of the wildlife and plant life of a swamp area. (Don’t worry; I’m not talking an up-close-and-personal encounter with rats here.)
The swamp is part of the Kauai rainforest, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. As such, there is a lot to see on this trek to Kilohana. The trail varies from a dirt path to planks through the bogs, so you’ll have to watch your step and stick to the trail markers. There is no sense getting lost or wet in this slippery and muddy place.
There are no restrooms in this wet wonderland, so you’ll have to hold it if you want to hike it. There are also no drinking fountains, so any water you want needs to be brought in bottles. Everything else you need to know is basic common sense.
So, if you are thinking that a swamp hike sounds like fun, you’re right. The word swamp often scares people away, but it is only here that you will experience some of the most amazing views and sights in Kauai. Just remember to bring appropriate footwear, sun block, water, and a first aid kit (just in case). You can also bring a few snacks, but don’t trash our trails. Keep it all in your backpack and save our rainforests.
So yesterday I did something that I haven’t done in a long time – I toured a garden. No, I don’t mean that I went to a friend’s house and looked at their flowers, though I do have some friends with great taste and green thumbs. Instead, I went to Limahuli Garden and took a self-guided tour.
Limahuli Garden is one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens you can visit, and there are three of them on Kauai, which makes sense because of our wet and tropical climate. The other two locations are on Maui and in Florida. I chose Limahuli because it is located on the north shore near Haena Beach and is, therefore, the closest one to where I live.
Self-guided tours of the garden run about $15, which I was happy to pay. I knew that it was too late in the day for a guided tour anyway, and I’ve paid the $30 to listen to the tour guide before. While it was a great experience and I would do it again if I was bringing someone new to the gardens, I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a while, surrounded by something beautiful.
On the guided tour, stories and legends are told that bring the Valley and the natural beauty around you to life. Remembering those tales made walking through the garden myself a lot more fun, viewing the lava rock terraces and the Polynesian plants with new eyes. I had brought my story notebook along with me, so I was able to jot down story ideas as they came to me. (I always get ideas when I’m in an enchanting place.) And after a couple of hours, I felt at peace with the world and encouraged by the gracefully sculpted landscaping.
I also learned a few things about visiting one of the National Tropical Botanical Garden spots. First of all, you need good walking shoes. While I enjoyed my visit, I was wearing flip-flops the whole time and my feet hurt a bit by the end. It’s also a good idea to wear long pants to avoid the mosquitoes and a hat for the non-shady areas, though umbrellas are provided free-of-charge by the Visitors Center.
Haena is located near the road’s end and World Famous ‘Tunnels Beach’. It is a short 4 mile drive from Hanalei along a road that winds around the cliff sides high above the Pacific. Those who travel frequently say that this is the most beautiful place on Earth. View other Haena Vacation Rentals