Oh, Kaua‘i. It’s like a dream! The Garden Isle definitely lives up to its name — everywhere you look is lush, dense, tropical vegetation that’s so perfect you swear it can’t be real.
If you love laid-back adventures and natural beauty, this is definitely your island. We’re digging extra deep into our Kaua‘i travel guides because there’s so much to do, see, eat, and experience. If you’re traveling with adults only, check out our list of Things to Do in Kauai.
But right now you’re in the right place if you’ve got kids in tow!
So up first is our Kaua‘i restaurant and shopping guide! And the good news is that almost all of this is kid friendly. (Come back later this week for our list of things to do and pack).
Where to Eat in Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i
I knew we were going to see beautiful beaches and tons of nature, but I didn’t realize that we were in for some amazing food, too! For such a laid back island, there are some incredible restaurants, ranging from hole-in-the-wall to super fancy (and everything in between). A quick note: we had our kids with us at every meal, so I’m considering all of these places kid-friendly. We were never looked at sideways for having kiddos with us, but we do take a lot of time for training when it comes to eating out so they were (mostly) behaved pretty well. See the links below for our top spots.
Ama. North side, Hanalei. Gorgeous outdoor setting with killer good ramen and fun cocktails. We had three toddlers and a baby with us and nobody batted an eye. That being said, this place is definitely upscale so if you have a rowdy kid you might not want to spend the money to have to wrangle them all night. 😉
Tahiti Nui. North side, Hanalei. A local legend and easy standby. Go for the pizza, stay for the luau if you’re into that sort of thing. They also have live music in the bar (where we were welcomed to sit with the kids) — a couple of sweet older locals playing Hawaiian music.
Kalypso. North side, Hanalei. Fun atmosphere for lunch or dinner. They have crayons for the kids and a menu with a little bit of everything. I loved the poke bowl, and the cocktails were pretty tasty too.
Hanalei Bread Company. North side, Hanalei. One of my favorite meals! This spot is awesome for breakfast. Get a few things to share around — we loved the avocado toast, breakfast sandwich, and frittata. Also, the Ginger Julius smoothie was insanely good. Eat out on the patio or at the picnic tables.
Hanalei Gourmet. North side, Hanalei. I didn’t actually eat at this joint but it was super kid-friendly and a fun atmosphere. Ryan said the fish and chips was legit.
Chicken in a Barrel. Various locations. This is a local semi-fast food joint with the most delicious chicken ever. I just had some shredded chicken on a green salad and it was to die for. Also, the fries are perfection.
Kaua‘i Juice Co. Various locations. I’m adding this here because they bottled my favorite kombucha I’ve ever tasted — Lilikoi Lychee. SO. GOOD. You can find kombucha on tap at their shop, along with lots of other grab-and-go snacks that are super healthy and super delicious.
Wishing Well Shave Ice. North side, Hanalei. A local favorite and a quirky, fun spot for shave ice. I recommend Da Bomb (root beer and cherry shave ice over vanilla soft serve OHMYGOSH).
Lappert’s Ice Cream. Various locations. Delicious, rich, creamy ice cream stop for the kiddos. Or let’s be real, the grownups.
Makana Terrace at Princeville Resort. North side, Princeville. This is the terrace restaurant located in the old St. Regis Hotel. The views from the terrace are spectacular, especially at sunset. They have a kids’ menu, but no kids’ entertainment (i.e. crayons), so we brought our own coloring books and stickers. This is another place where if you have kids that aren’t used to eating out, maybe get a babysitter or save the cash and find an easier spot.
Kauai Poke Co. South said, Lawai. Food truck heaven! I had poke four times during our trip and this was my favorite bowl, hands down. I recommend the Plantation Bowl.
Kickshaws. South side, Lawai. This was Ryan’s favorite meal all week! This is another food truck, with down & dirty hot sandwiches, burgers, and more. Ryan won’t stop talking about the cheesesteak.
Sushigirl. North side, Kilauea. An awesome little sushi spot located by some fun shops. The sushi burrito is a fun twist on a poke bowl or a roll.
Where to Shop in Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i
I love to check out local shops when I’m traveling to a new place, and I totally wasn’t expecting to find so much great stuff in Kaua‘i! The local makers are top notch, and the boutiques there seem to source the most beautiful odds & ends. Here were a few favorites.
Ohana There’s a small location in Hanalei and a much larger one in Kukui’ula Shopping Village in Poipu. They have the loveliest gold jewelry, wall hangings with shells from local beaches, kids stuff, and locally woven hats & bags.
SoHa Living Also in the Kukui’ula Shopping Village, this shop was actually closed when we were there but I did some intense window shopping and was SO SAD to not be able to go in. Lots of fun home goods.
Beauty Bar A small shop in Hanalei with fun beauty products you might not find elsewhere, also a few little jewelry pieces and an awesome selection of Quay sunnies.
The Barn 808 Ryan fell in love with this pair of shops! One side is home goods and the other is clothing — they have lots of funky stuff for kids, too. They were having a huge 50% off sale when we were there so be sure to ask about any deals.
Wishing Well This little outdoor shop is part of Wishing Well Shave Ice but we found some of our favorite kids’ t-shirts here, along with a sweet little gold bracelet for Maggie. The t-shirts are locally dyed and printed.
Kokonut Kids A fun kids’ store with lots of toys and a ton of swimwear (Maggie got a couple of rashguards here because we found out on the first day that she burns really fast!). Awesome spot to pick up something for a baby or kid if you have a birthday coming up.
Warehouse 3540 One of my favorite stops of the trip! This is a warehouse with a handful of various artists shops set up inside (food trucks and coffee trucks too!). Ocean Paper is here, which is kind of a Hawaiian version of Rifle Paper Company and sells lovely hand-painted cards and art. You can also get some organic watercolor paints there in a little travel kit! So cool! Another fave shop in the Warehouse was Hawai‘i Says HI — perfect for pretty souvenirs or little housewares.
Aloha Exchange An awesome surf and skate shop with a little something for everyone! The kids loved the hats, t-shirts, and swimsuits. I loved the women’s clothing, blankets, and surf books. The dudes in our group loved the Patagonia selection and outdoor gear. This is one to add to your list for sure. There’s also a fun mural on the garage door outside the Kalaheo location.
Hunter Gatherer Another fave! This pretty shop has a mystical vibe, with tons of crystals and rocks, and lots of pretty housewares. It actually had a good section of really pretty hand-carved blocks for kids and fun kids books too. But beware here: it’s definitely a place where you need to keep an eye on kiddos who like to reach out and touch things. 😉
Hope these suggestions help you plan your trip to Kaua‘i! Come back later this week for our recommendations on the best beaches and activities, plus a big fat packing list for families! xoxo