Where to Stay on Kauai North vs South Shore?

As our kids get older, like so many families, ours is faced with an increasingly busy extra-cirrucular schedule and demanding school committments. And when it comes to travel, the unfortunate reality of this is we’re becoming more confined to traveling over major school holidays.

So over the past few weeks I turned my attention to the week of Thanksgiving, and trying to figure out where to travel during the 3rd week of November here in the U.S. We considered Portugal (low season so very affordable, relatively cool temps but a nice time of year to be there), the western coast of Mexico (less risk of hurricane weather vs the Caribbean which is a major factor in that area this time of year) and even the South Pacific (perfect for a 10 day trip!).

In the end we decided on Hawaii!

After years of exploring far off lands with my family, we decided to keep things relatively simple and head to Kauai for a week. Why? We have direct flights from Denver to Honolulu (major bonus!) we also love the idea of spending our days hiking around national parks, finding waterfalls, hidden beaches and staying active while also enjoying some time at the beach. This is beach vacation perfection for my family!



Once we decided on Hawaii, and the island of Kauai specifically, we needed to decide where to stay on Kauai north vs south shore? Ask anyone who’s been to the island and you’ll discover strong opinions endorsing both sides of the islands. If you’re planning a family trip to Kauai and trying to decide on accommodations, here’s what you need to know about where to stay on Kauai North vs South shore of the island.

Why stay on the South Side of Kauai:

The South shore of Kauai is home to most of the famous beaches on the island, including Poipu Beach. Here, there is a lot happening, plenty of accommodation options, restaurants and a real buzz. Old Koloa town offers quaint shops in historic plantation buildings along with world class golf, tennis, walking trails, shops, Anara Spa and great restaurants. The Shops at Kukuiula has plenty of shopping as well and unique dining places.

Poipu and the other beaches in the area boast soft, white sand in calm, protected bays perfect for young children, great snorkeling, and in certain areas fun waves for boogie boarding. But perhaps most important, here there are several properties that are immediately adjacent to the beach, within easy walking distance. If you want to stay right on the beach, Kauai’s south shore is where you will want to be.

Why stay on the North Side of Kauai:

The drive between the South and the North side of Kauai is usually between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on traffic. While there is a lot happening on the southern shore of Kauai, the northern side is much quieter, relaxed and rural feeling and this general difference in atmosphere should be your main consideration when deciding where to stay on Kauai North vs South shore.

Rainfall is also one of the main differences between the North vs South shore. The North Shore of Kauai receives a great deal more rain than the South Shore. In the summer months, for instance, the town of Princeville in the North Shore gets about six inches of rain in July and August, while in Poipu, on the South Shore, rainfall is less than two inches per month.

This serious rainfall is what gives the North Shore its beautiful, green, lush scenery, but could mean some rainy beach days during the summer months. But for the drier fall and winter months, rain shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Hanalei Bay on the northern shore of Kauai is often ranked as one of the best beaches in the world, and is where most of the accommodation options are located. The St. Regis Princeville is the best option on the northern side of Kauai (where my clients get some nice extra perks like free breakfast, a nice resort credit, room upgrades, etc.)

So which area would you prefer on Kauai North vs South shore? Contact me today to begin customizing your family’s Hawaiian travel adventure.

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