Kauai with 5-year-old: Round 4, Days 1-8

In years past, I have more or less diligently blogged our biannual family tradition: Traveling to Kauai with our one child as he grows, plus grandparents and aunt.

This was our fourth trip, so I thought I’d do things a little differently. I left my computer at home. I left my big fancy camera at home. For the most part, I stayed off of social media, email, and phone.

I took a VACATION.

But, what that means for you, dear reader/stumbler upon of this page after googling “activities in Kauai with kids” or somesuch, is that I don’t have the tips-heavy multiple descriptive posts of years past.

However, the travel writer in me cannot resist making a list of my favorite discoveries from this family trip in August of 2013.

Where to eat the first day for lunch when your plane lands around noon and checkin isn’t until 3pm:

RUN, don’t walk, or rather drive, to The Feral Pig in Lihue. A mere 5 minutes or so from the airport and I swear I’d almost fly to Kauai just to eat there again.

It’s merely a formality at this point, or a joke they insist on continuing, that the signature Feral Pig burger is “not on the menu.” But if your waitperson doesn’t mention it, ask for it. A proprietary grind mixture of locally-sourced meats, smoked pork and grass-fed beef, topped with cheese, caramelized (reaallly caramelized) onions, and thin slices of divinely crisped pork belly on a taro bun.

Oh. Mah. Volcano-Gawds.

The fries, oh the fries, how The Feral Pig has ruined me for french fries anywhere else. I was going to be saintly and ask for the salad instead, and in fact, at first, all of us adults went that route, but the waitress stopped us. “Our fries, she says, take four days to make.”

Four. Days. People.

“They actually taste like potatoes.” And in fact, the half-week process of soaking and twice frying did indeed yield the most crisp, potato-y perfection I have ever tasted. Even though I’m prone to hyperbole. That good.

Where to have lunch in Kapaa after you visit the waterfall at Wailua or snorkel the protected, calm waters at Lydgate Beach:

Chicken in a Barrel — the name conjures KFC in my brain but this is SO NOT THAT AT ALL. This is BBQ chicken, and pork, beef, ribs, smoked in a barrel-shaped smoker which imparts the most delicate flavor, tenderness. Aaaaaaah. So good. Brown rice, corn bread, chili with actual chunks of meat. Mmmmm.

Other than the above, a shout out is due to Poipu Beach where we stay, with its fabulous snorkeling and gentle waves that feel like a big hug. And occasional visits from Monk Seals who beach themselves on the spit to take a nap.

Also to our favorite places to buy BBQ proteins: Sueoka’s and Koloa Fish Market, the latter also has a GIGANTIC box lunch combo, fish or pork, that will rock your flip flops off.

And my new favorite for spending way too much money on dinner. Merriman’s. The poke trio was ridiculously good. Amazingly, they serve “real” ginger beer, the kind I recently learned how to ferment in a class I took on such things. Actually, the cheaper downstairs Pizza and Burger Merriman’s is pretty great as well. Had my first taste of Hawaiian butterfish there (a.k.a. “Walo”) which is now my favorite fish of the islands.

As in trips past, Jonah’s favorite activities were bamboo-pole catch-and-release fishing, although he’d like to catch and cook something sometime in the future, as well as chasing and video-ing the chickens, feeding, drawing, and video-ing the Koi, and swimming swimming swimming swimming swimming.

I took a ukelele class and not only did I learn a few chords, I discovered that a GOOD uke makes one’s playing sound oh so much better. Sigh. (Must pick one up on our next visit.) And now I am prone to singing “Tiny Bubbles” and “Going to a Hukilau” at odd moments throughout the day.


For those who would like a look at past years’ reports, a few portals into the archives:




4 comments for “Kauai with 5-year-old: Round 4, Days 1-8

  1. Judfin
    August 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    It was a great trip. Loved l the swimming progress Jonah has made. The water sumersalts were the best.

  2. August 26, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much for including my ginger beer video in your post! I appreciate the link love! :) Cheers!

  3. August 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    @Stacy: My pleasure!

  4. Heather
    September 3, 2013 at 5:19 am

    What a wonderful tradition. Someday we would like to go and I will make sure we check out all those great places.

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