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Exploring Accessible Charms of Kauai

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Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle” for its lush greenery, tropical landscapes, and amazing beaches, Kauai, Hawaii, is paradise! I made my first trip to Kauai a few months ago and I fell in love with the island immediately.   It’s a much different island experience than Oahu, for example.  So, if you’re looking for lots of bars, restaurants, and crowds on the beach, Kauai may not be for you.  But, if you want a true island vibe, with numerous uncrowded beaches and a smattering of resorts and small towns here and there, then Kauai may be right for you!  Please don’t misunderstand me.  This island is not a remote destination with nothing to do or see.

Accessibility

Here you’ll find just the right mix of resorts, small towns with bars, restaurants, and attractions in more of a quieter atmosphere.  I found it very difficult to find accessible taxis on Kauai, so I rented an accessible van through Wheeler’s Vans. They’re a small business with locations on each of the Hawaiian islands and they are super accommodating.  They will meet you at the airport upon arrival and again when you depart the island!  visitors of all abilities can enjoy its charms.  I also had the opportunity to tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters again on Kauai. 

Touring with Blue Hawaiian is the best way to see all of the islands with little impact on the environment.  Look for my comprehensive article about them on this site.  And, who knew that hotel rooms are sometimes booked months, if not years, in advance on Kauai!  Accessible rooms are rare!  I was fortunate enough to stay at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.  The is a true luxury hotel and fortunately they had one accessible room.  It was one of the finest hotels I’ve stayed in and the room was beyond comparison.  If you want to treat yourself, you need to stay here.

There are accessible activities and attractions on Kauai and I have listed some of them below.  I would move to Kauai in a heartbeat and I cannot wait to go back.  Here are some of my recommendations for an unbelievable experience in Kauai.

Museums and Gardens

Commence your journey at the Kauai Museum, located in the heart of Lihue. The museum is fully wheelchair-accessible and provides a comprehensive introduction to the island’s rich history and culture. Its exhibits are filled with artefacts, photographs, and art pieces showcasing Kauai’s intriguing past.

Next, visit the beautiful Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. This stunning 240-acre garden boasts of paved pathways winding through various garden themes, including a bronze sculpture garden, a tropical rainforest, and a sandy beach with panoramic views. They offer guided cart tours which cover some of the areas not wheelchair-accessible.

Enjoy the calm and peacefulness of the Smith’s Tropical Paradise Garden. This beautiful  30-acre botanical and cultural garden located in the Wailua Marina State Park offers wheelchair-accessible pathways. Don’t miss their famous Smith’s Luau, featuring delicious traditional food, music, and hula, all accessible to people with disabilities.

Outdoor activities

The famed Waimea Canyon, often dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is a must-see for any visitor. While hiking may not be accessible for all, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides an accessible pathway and platform to enjoy the canyon’s spectacular  views.  There are areas that are not accessible and are more rugged terrain.  You may want to contact the park ahead of time to check out your specific accessibility needs.

Kauai’s Coconut Marketplace is an open-air shopping center with a wide range of accessible stores and eateries. The Marketplace also hosts free hula shows twice a week on an accessible stage, allowing everyone to experience the joy of this traditional Hawaiian dance.

Well, you’re on the beautiful island of Kauai so you must experience a traditional luau.  Make plans to spend a few hours feasting on traditional Polynesian cuisine, watching artisans make arts and crafts, and enjoying dance where every move has a story behind it.  Contact Luau Kalamaku in Lihue for an unforgettable evening.

Beaches

A trip to Kauai wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the accessible beaches.  Poipu Beach Park is an accessible spot!  The park provides beach wheelchairs and there’s a popular snorkeling spot which has a shallow, calm bay where you’ll find many tropical fish.  Nearby, the Spouting Horn, one of the most photographed spots on Kauai, has an accessible viewing area to witness the impressive blowhole

Some other beaches on Kauai provide all-terrain wheelchairs at no cost, including Lydgate Beach Park, and Salt Pond Beach Park. Contact County of Kauai‘s ADA coordinator for more information at 808.241.6203. Plus, Gammie HomeCare also offers floating beach wheelchair rentals that break down to fit into most vans or SUVs.

Sunset cruises

No trip to Kauai would be complete without experiencing a sunset cruise along the Na Pali Coast. Companies like Blue Dolphin Charters offer accessible boarding for passengers who can manage a few steps. Witness towering sea cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and secluded beaches, all while enjoying a Hawaiian sunset.

Kauai is a beautiful, magical, and peaceful island offering a number of accessible activities and venues to enjoy.  With some careful planning from a reputable travel agency, such as Travel for All, you can plan an accessible itinerary to travel to one of the most amazing islands in the world!  I cannot wait to return to this paradise! 

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