Aloha friends! As most of you know (and definitely know if you follow me on Instagram) we just returned from our trip to Kauai, Hawaii. I wanted to do a trip recap + let you guys know how awesome Kauai and “babymoons” are.
I simply do not have enough great things to say about Kauai, so I’ll let the pictures do a lot of the talking. We both agreed it was easily our favorite vacation of all time and we’around 50 🙂 There are just too many places we want to see before repeating trips.
Babymoons are a must-do! The trip gave us a lot of time to talk about our upcoming addition, but also soak in the time just the two of us. We cherished our uninterpreted time. We also love taking a break from the long Wisconsin winter this time of year. I’ll never forget when + where we picked the name of our child because it happened in such a memorable + beautiful place. The names we picked out are a secret until the arrival. 😉 Drew said “okay Amy, you cannot even tell Krystle, or Michelle, or Carrie, or Marissa……” and then proceeded to name all the rest of the people I’m closest to. Lastly, it was a perfect opportunity to capture pictures with our bump. A pregnancy is a very special time and you’ll see I wasn’t scared to show it off.
If you are going to go to Kauai, I would HIGHLY recommend you purchase this book: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed. I’ll be honest, I’ve never used a travel book/guide before. Typically, I leave it to the internet when I’m researching. This book has forever changed my mindset. Having this book handy was like visiting a good friend that lives in the city you are vacationing to along with you, they have the inside scoop! It was crucial for hikes giving us important details on where to park, how difficult the hike was, important turns to lookout for, how far the hikes were, etc. Drew’s boss borrowed us her version and we religiously looked up our hikes, adventures, and places to eat. She had written little notes of the dates next to the places they visited and ranked them with stars. It was fun to have the same experiences and see what we thought! Drew + I are planning to go to Maui in the upcoming years and are for sure going to purchase the Maui version: Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook.
As I was writing this recap it started to becoming a little longer than expected. Just goes to show how much I loved Kauai. I hope you enjoy the pictures + descriptions and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email!
Napali Coast, north shore. 8 miles round trip. Difficulty: Challenging and muddy, with a few dangerous water crossings.
Holy smokes! Breathtaking to say the least. We absolutely loved this hike. This is just part of the famous Kalalau Trail (which is 22 miles round trip). Our pilot on the helicopter ride told us the full hike is one of the top 10 most dangerous hikes in America, due to plenty of hazards and dangerous water crossings. If you are going to Kauai, it is non-negotiable that you need to hike along the Napali Coast. We chose to go to Hanakapi’ai Falls because we figured 8 miles round trip was enough for a 28 week pregnant person + her little passenger. 🙂 The hike to this falls includes several water crossings and was somewhat treacherous. It was a great team building exercise for Drew + I. Getting to the falls and swimming in the pool below it was one of the highlights of the entire trip. I would recommend that you don’t stop short! You can get all the way to it. We were very muddy and hungry when we were done, Drew could not get me to a burger fast enough!
Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls
Waimea Canyon, west shore, 4 miles round trip. Difficulty: Very moderate.
One thing that we loved and couldn’t believe was how different each part of the island was. This hike + the pictures from it will help me illustrate the point. The drive to the hike and the drive past the hike (higher up the Canyon) were beautiful with a ton of scenic overlooks. Even if you aren’t able to hike you will see some tremendous views. There are plenty of hikes to choose from, we felt the Canyon Trail was a good distance and we love hiking to waterfalls. I would highly recommend getting out to Waimea Canyon if you are heading to Kauai.
Hanalei ‘Okolehao Trail
North shore, 4 mile round trip. Difficulty: Moderate.
The book talks a lot about how unrelenting, tiring, and strenuous this trail is due to the fast climb in elevation. I told Drew I liked the idea of this challenge for our last hike. We found it to be moderate. There were definitely a few times where we were breathing hard, but only took one break before the summit. The views were beautiful and you can see 1/5th of the entire island! We were blessed with a sunny morning.
Sleeping Giant Trail
Nounou Mountain, east shore. 2 mile round trip (also 4 and 5 mile round trip choices). Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
This was the first hike we did. It was easy and short and provided nice views. We’re lucky we ran into some locals because we didn’t know we could go further than the lookout point. We added it to our day after the helicopter ride, it’s great if you want a short hike!
Jack Harter Helicopter Tour
As suggested we did this in the beginning of the trip. This allowed us to get the lay of the land and made us really excited to explore! The views were second to none and it was our very favorite thing we did while in Kauai. We did a Jack Harter Helicopter Tour in a Hughes 500. The helicopter had no doors. This was an adventure! We loved it. Admittedly, both of us + the sweet couple from Jackson Hole that we rode with all did get slightly nauseous during the hour long ride. We figured we kind of asked for it though since the pilot asked if we wanted an adventure and we all responded with an enthusiastic YES! He definitely wasn’t afraid to drop us down fast and weave in and out of the mountains. I could post SO many pictures from this experience alone, but I tried to narrow it down to my favorites. We’re printing a canvas from the helicopter tour for the nursery! 🙂
Captain Andy’s Sunset Dinner Cruise
Because we are growing a little human, we couldn’t take part in some of the other boat opportunities that are more dangerous. We were really excited to take the dinner cruise and thought it was the perfect balance and still allowed us to see Kauai from the water. Our tour was supposed to go to the Napali Coast, but the weather made swells that didn’t allow a safe journey. Captain Andy’s did a great job of explaining this to each person coming in and gave them the opportunity to get a full refund or reschedule due to the change in plans. We knew this was a great possibility beforehand and planned ahead by reading reviews of incredible experiences people had on the south shore. It helped that we had already seen Napali from the helicopter and hike. We decided to go ahead with the cruise and we’re glad we did! We were able to see several whales, seals, a dolphin, and some other beautiful sights. The food was also good, especially the cheesecake!
Polihale State Park
We went to the very end of the road to the west! Thank goodness we rented a Jeep because it was a pretty treacherous drive. It was windy while we were on the beach, but there were barely any people here. We took this opportunity to take some pictures of our baby bump.
This was a last minute stop toward the end of our trip. SO glad we made the trip (thanks Drew)! This was a gorgeous sight. We would highly recommend making this stop if you are in Kauai. Our pictures do not do it justice, but the waves crashing in are mesmerizing and we both agreed we could stay there much longer than we did.
Sunrises + Sunsets
An activity that costs no money! We were up for almost every single sunrise, and would try to get ourselves in a good position to see sunsets.
Favorites Places to Eat
Coffee: Small Town Coffee, Kapa’a. East shore. Cutest little coffee truck + the smoothies are good too!
Breakfast: I cannot choose between the two, so I’ll say Lei Petite Cafe & Bakery in Princeville on the north shore and Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company in Kalaheo on the south shore. Both have adorable settings and delicious breakfast + coffee. They both provided perfect fuel for our hikes!
Lunch: Buchons in Hanalei, north shore. We were SO hungry after our Napali hike. This place has a sweet overlook, great service, and an incredible burger with sweet potato fries. I told Drew I don’t know if it was because I was so hungry, but this tasted like the best burger ever. Also consider Oasis on the Beach in Kapa’a on the east shore. The view is incredible!
Dinner: Drew surprised me by planning the last two dinners of the trip. Both were completely amazing. If I had to chose one it would be the Beach House Restaurant in Koloa, south shore. This was such a romantic dinner, and every seat in the house had a tremendous view of the ocean. The sunset is a huge draw and most people head outside (even during their meal!) to watch it go down. I had an incredible wasabi crusted fresh catch of the day, a virgin pina colada, and we shared a huge piece of Hawaiian carrot cake. Thanks to my sweet husband for picking out this place + being so romantic. I cherish you.
Hotel: We stayed at the Marriott at Coconut Beach on the east shore. It was perfect for us! Kind of the middle of the island, so it made getting to the north, south, or west of the island manageable. It is right on the ocean with a nice pool. This hotel wasn’t overly nice or fancy, but we just needed a place to lay our heads between adventures.
Jeep: We rented a Jeep Wrangler thru Enterprise with our Costco discount. This was perfect! Drew love, love, loved our Jeep. He took the top off as much as possible + took his pregnant wife on a couple off-road adventures. A rental car is a must in Kauai, so that you can explore at your pleasure. The island is so easy to navigate as there is a main road that goes pretty much anywhere! We would highly recommend a Jeep or something else with 4 wheel drive if you plan on hiking, it sure got muddy!
Costco run: Our first day in Kauai we headed to Costco. We read it had the cheapest groceries on the island. We stocked up on fresh fruit, yogurt, sparkling water, some beer for Drew, and a few other snacks. This saved us some moola as we ate a few meals in our room instead of out. Gas is also the cheapest on the island!
Our time in Kauai was jam packed. This was perfect for Drew + I. Each day I woke up SO excited for what we had planned. If you are planning a vacation and want to relax on a beach and sip cocktails: there are MUCH cheaper places to do this. Believe us, we did that last year in Punta Cana. Kauai is for people that want to adventure, and also does provide the relaxation we needed.
SO thankful for this time with my husband + my bump. We would strongly encourage you to go to Kauai if you get a chance or take a babymoon somewhere else.
I have a couple exciting things coming up on the blog including an interview with my sister Krystle (a new mom + the owner of a physical therapy business) and a couple easy, healthy meal ideas!
Hope you have a terrific week! Love, Ames