On the island paradise of Kauai, families can enjoy all the beauty and luxury of a genuine Hawaiian vacation -- without breaking the bank.
One of the greatest -- but by no means the only -- bargains on the island of Kauai: all 43 of its beaches are free of charge and accessible to the public.
It's not surprising that a place as intensely photogenic as Kauai has been the location for such movies as South Pacific and Jurassic Park. What is surprising is that the natural attractions that make the island ideal for shooting expensive blockbusters are the same qualities that make it a great place for families vacationing on a budget. And there's no shortage of both the fun and the breathtaking.
Kids can swim in a mountain lagoon instead of a hotel pool, ride in a kayak instead of a golf cart, and wander through lush tropical gardens instead of tiki-tacky malls. All of these possibilities conspire to give Kauai its reputation as a paradise.
But the island is a relatively affordable one. Granted, Kauai is 3,000 miles away from the mainland and part of one of the most beautiful and popular island chains in the world, so it's going to cost a few bucks to get there. But there are deals available, with some direct flights from Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There's really not an off-season, so visitors can check with hotels any time of the year to see whether they're offering specials, such as family packages or military or senior discounts. When occupancy is low, hotels are more inclined to give big breaks.