Planning a trip to Kauai with kids and starting to think about your Kauai packing list? Keep scrolling for the best packing list for Kauai vacation you’ll find!
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Out of all the islands, One of the best places to visit in Hawaii with kids is the beautiful island of Kauai. We’ve gone many times with our boys and it’s always a memorable trip.

I love that it has amazing beaches, awesome attractions, fun tours, and day trips. And there are tons of kid-friendly Kauai resorts!

But, one of the biggest Hawaii mistakes I see families make is not using a packing list for Hawaii. That’s almost a surefire way to forget something important.

So, if you’re wondering what to pack for trip to Hawaii, I’ve got you covered with this suggested packing list for Kauai!

Keep scrolling to find out some of the best things to take to Hawaii so you’re totally prepared and can spend your time planning your awesome Kauai itinerary!

First trip to Hawaii? Get my step-by-step Hawaii planning guide!

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Kauai Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

Get your copy of this Kauai travel guide for families by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids

Kauai with Kids FAQs

Is Kauai the best Hawaiian island for kids?

It can be! Choosing the best Hawaii island for kids really depends on what you’re looking for. Kauai has some pretty epic outdoor adventures the whole family can enjoy. There are several kid-friendly resorts, lots of activities, and plenty of amazing food options. Plus, it’s got a laid-back vibe families love.

What are the top attractions to visit on Kauai?

Some of the best kid-friendly Kauai attractions include Waimea Canyon, Spouting Horn, Kilohana Plantation, Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei Bay, the Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden, Smith’s Tropical Plantation, and more!

What are the best outdoor activities on Kauai for kids?

Families love going ziplining, riding ATVs, snorkeling, playing mini golf, learning to surf, taking a Kauai food tour, hiking through the jungle, trying stand up paddling, kayaking the Wailua River, tubing down a sugar cane canal, and taking a snorkeling boat cruise.

Check out this Kauai packing list by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids!

What to Wear on Plane to Kauai

Ok, I’m kicking off this post with what you need to wear on your way from your house to the airport and during the flight itself. When people are packing for Hawaii, they usually forget about travel days.

Our family lives in Seattle and unless we’re traveling to Hawaii in Summer, we always dress warmly on the drive to the airport. I mean, we don’t wear heavy coats, but we definitely wear fleece jackets, sweaters, or sweatshirts and long pants.

Wearing warm clothes comes in handy at the airport (which is always freezing) and on the airplane. Most airlines have stopped handing out blankets but they still crank up the cold air.

It may seem like overkill at first, but you’ll probably use these items later if you go up to Kokee State Park or get up super early to watch the sunrise.

Another tip is to wear your heaviest shoes. For us, that’s usually athletic shoes that we take to go hiking on Kauai. Wearing them will save you space in your suitcase.

Avoid wearing flip flops or open toed shoes when flying to Hawaii because you never know if a piece of luggage is going to fall on your foot while traveling. And, flip flops have been known to break.

Heading to Hawaii for your honeymoon? Check out my Kauai honeymoon packing list!

What to Pack in Your Hawaii Carry On Bag

Now that you know what to wear on your flight to Hawaii, let’s talk about what to include in your Hawaii packing list for your carry on.

You’ll definitely want to have lots of activities for your kids. This Hawaii Kids’ Adventure Journal is a fun way for them to learn about Hawaii, do some activity pages, and start to write about their trip.

There are a few things to pack to Hawaii that can make flying to Hawaii more comfortable.

Food and Drink

It takes about 6 hours to fly to Kauai from the West Coast and about 10 hour from the East Coast. Most flights to Hawaii don’t provide a complimentary meal and some don’t even offer food to purchase.

That’s why I suggest packing your own snacks. We usually bring something with protein (like nuts or jerky), granola bars, crackers, and so many more snacks for the kids.

We also make sure everyone has their own water bottle. This is especially helpful with little kids, who tend to make a mess of the airplane cups. Each person has their own color and we let the kids decorate their bottle with stickers.

We still get the complimentary drinks on the airplane, but we pour them into the kids’ water bottles to avoid spillage. Check out the latest prices and more details.

We always pack Hydro Flask water bottles for our flight to Hawaii. Image of a teal Hydro Flask water bottle.
We love our Hydro Flasks!
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Headphones

In addition to bringing food, you’ll want to think about entertaining yourself on the flight.

One of the best birthday presents my husband gave me were a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. They are seriously game changers.

They work really well for watching movies on my phone or listening to music while I try to sleep.

But, most of the time I don’t even listen to anything. It cuts down on the background noise (which usually drains my energy) so I feel more refreshed when we land.

And I can still hear my kids when they ask me for help, but I’m able to relax. Check out the latest prices and more details.

I always add my noise cancelling headphones to my Hawaii packing list for the airplane. Image of silver Bose noise cancelling headphones.
My Bose headphones are my true BFF.
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Electronics

My family is BIG on electronics and that’s the majority of our baggage weight. Most end up in our carry on bags so we only bring our essentials.

Because I’m a travel blogger and usually end up working on our trips, I always travel with my laptop. I don’t bring a separate bag for it but I do use a laptop sleeve so I can just stick it in my backpack. Check out the latest prices and more details.

I always put my laptop in a laptop sleeve like this in my Hawaii carry on bag. Perfect addition to a Kauai packing list. Image of a tropical print laptop case.
Isn’t this a cute way to protect a laptop?
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Our kids also bring their iPads and Nintendo Switches for the airplane and downtime in the hotel. They have special iPad cases for kids that help the kids prop them up to watch movies. Find the best prices here.

My husband also brings his “fancy” camera and lenses if he thinks he’ll want to take photos on the trip. Those go in a special camera backpack with padding for all his camera gear.

I usually leave my big camera at home and rely on my phone for photos these days. But, I do bring my DJI Osmo Pocket. It’s a tiny video camera that’s super lightweight and takes up hardly any room. Check out the latest prices and more details.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is a super portable video camera perfect for a Hawaii vacation. It's always at the top of my Kauai packing list. Image of a small handheld video camera.
I’m totally obsessed with this mini video camera!
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Regardless of which electronics you bring, you’ll want to put them in your carry on bag instead of checking it. It’s the best way to protect them from damage or getting stolen.

Power Cords

Now that you have all your electronics sorted out, you’ll want to make sure they stay charged up.

I suggest packing all your charging cables (for any device you plan on using on board) in your carry on bag. Find the best prices here.

Most airplane seats now have USB outlets, but they aren’t really strong enough to charge iPads very quickly. Our kids learned that the hard way.

So now we always bring along battery packs just to make sure we can charge devices mid-flight. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Don't forget portable battery chargers in your Hawaii carry on bag. Image of a black portable battery pack.
These battery packs are SO useful!
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Get my full airplane packing list for Hawaii HERE!

What to Wear in Hawaii

Another top question first-timers have is how to dress in Hawaii.

Really, Kauai is a super laid back island and you can wear pretty much anything you like. You’ll mostly see residents and tourists wearing shorts, dresses, t-shirts, and tank tops.

Of course, swimsuits are a major Hawaii packing list essential!

If you’re staying at Kauai resort, you’ll also want to pack some sort of swimsuit coverup to wear to/from the pool area or to grab lunch at a resort restaurant.

And it’s a smart idea to pack along sun hats and sunglasses for everyone in your group.

I’ll go into more details about what to pack for Hawaii for specific activities later in this post.

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What to Wear in Hawaii in December-March

So, most people don’t realize that Kauai can get pretty chilly in the winter. It can get down to the 60s in the evenings.

And that can change the types of clothes to wear in Hawaii.

Personally, I get cold fairly quickly, so I usually pack a couple of lightweight sweaters, long pants, and maxi dresses. Then, I just throw on extra layers if I’m worried about being cold.

Winter is also the rainy season on Kauai, so it’s nice to bring along a light rain jacket. I usually bring a foldable jacket that I can stash in my bag until I need it. Find the best prices here.

Don't forget to include a jacket on your Kauai packing list. Image of a purple Columbia rain jacket.
This one folds up nicely!
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Things to Pack for Hawaii with Babies and Toddlers

If you’re heading to Hawaii with a baby or toddler, keep in mind that you’ll want to bring enough clothes to last your whole trip. And then throw in a few more, in case of accidents.

It’s also easiest to pack your own diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, pacifiers, medications, etc. Things are expensive in Hawaii and you won’t want to race around Kauai looking for these items.

SPF swimsuits and rashguards are also super helpful for these ages. And you’ll need swim diapers if you plan on swimming in the resort pool. Find the best prices here.

Heading to Hawaii with a baby or toddler? Don't forget swim diapers on your Hawaii packing list! Image of Pampers Splashers swim diapers.
Don’t forget swim diapers!
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While babies don’t really need shoes, toddlers who are walking should have a pair of sandals. And it can be helpful to bring a pair of water shoes if they are going to play at the beach.

See which beach essentials for babies I recommend HERE!

Plus, you’ll want to figure out which Kauai toddler activities you want to do, so you can make sure to pack any activity-specific clothing/items.

What to Bring to Hawaii with Kids

Make sure to pack enough clothes for Hawaii and swimsuits to last your entire trip. Let your kids pick out hats (that they will actually wear) to protect themselves from the sun.

It can also helpful to bring one “nice” outfit. This is for if/when you go out for a fancy dinner, attend a Kauai luau, or do a family photo shoot.

If you’ll be doing a lot of hiking or outdoor activities, keep in mind that Kauai is famous for its red dirt and it WILL stain clothing.

It’s actually better to bring old clothes that are okay to get stained rather than being worried about staining new clothes.

Hawaii Essentials

There are tons of things you should add to your packing list for Hawaii and they vary from family to family.

I actually have a full post about all the things people ALWAYS forget on their Hawaii packing list that you can read HERE.

But, I’ll share the top 3 things to bring to Hawaii that are super helpful:

Reef Safe Sunscreen

So, Kauai first-timers might not know, but Hawaii recently passed a law that states the only sunscreen allowed in Hawaii must be reef safe sunscreen.

Basically, it’s just means you need to use sunscreen that doesn’t have specific chemicals known to harm the ocean.

You can buy reef safe sunscreen when you get to Kauai (it’s the only kind they sell) or you can purchase ahead of time.

You'll definitely want to add reef safe sunscreen to your Kauai packing list. Image of a bottle of Sun Bum sunscreen.
We usually buy our reef safe sunscreen ahead of time.
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Find out my favorite reef safe sunscreen for Hawaii!

Reusable Bags

Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii. So, if you think you might go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping on Kauai) you’ll need to bring your own bags.

Personally, I like to pack nylon bags because they fold up neatly and hardly take up any space. Plus, we use them as extra carry on bags for snacks or pack our dirty clothes in them. Check out the latest prices and more details.

Hawaii doesn't allow plastic bags so it's helpful to add nylon bags to your Kauai packing list. Image of tropical reusable bags.
These ones fold up into their own pouch.
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Beach Bags

You’ll definitely want to have a beach bag when traveling to Kauai with kids. And it helps to stash some wet/dry bags inside to keep swimsuits from getting the rest of your stuff wet. Find the best prices here.

You can choose a tote bag style or even a beach backpack.

Be sure to pack a beach bag for Hawaii. Image of a blue and pink tropical beach bag.
It’s nice to get a water-resistant beach bag.
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Check out the best beach backpacks for Hawaii!

What to Bring to Waimea Canyon

One of the most popular places to go on Kauai is Waimea Canyon. It’s nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and it only takes a quick glance to see the resemblance.

Waimea Canyon is one of the top Kauai attractions for families.
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

The road to get up to Waimea Canyon is a little steep and has some switchbacks, so if you get car sick, you might want to bring some Dramamine or ginger chews.

If you’re just going to hang out at the lookout, you don’t need much. It helps to bring cash if you want to buy any snacks from vendors there. Otherwise, it’s an awesome photo spot for big cameras or even cellphones.

If you decide to keep going past Waimea Canyon, you’ll get to Kokee State Park. It’s much chillier up there, so be sure to pack jackets or sweatshirts.

Kauai Packing for Boat Trips

One of the most popular things to do on Kauai is take a boat trip. And there are TONS to choose from.

A woman sits on a boat in front of the Na Pali Coast on Kauai
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

Because of the wind, a lot of people don’t realize they are getting sunburned. Be sure to wear sunscreen and re-apply often. Lip sunscreen can also help prevent chapped lips.

I also recommend wearing SPF clothing (like a long sleeve rashguard or pullover) to protect your skin. Click here to see more reviews.

And check with the boat company to see if it’s a barefoot cruise or if you should bring sandals or water shoes.

Packing List for Kauai Hiking

Because Hawaii is known for epic hiking, I’ve actually written a complete post about what to add to a Hawaii hiking packing list, but these are the highlights.

Make sure to pack all the essentials when hiking on Kauai. Image of a man wearing an orange backpack hiking on Kauai
Kauai has tons of cool hiking trails.

You’ll definitely need to wear sturdy shoes or hiking sandals that fit comfortably. Please don’t try hiking in flip flops. I’ve seen way to many tourists injure themselves that way.

Kauai can also be a bit buggy in the jungle, so bring along some bug spray. And you’ll want to protect your skin with sunscreen and a sun hat.

What to Bring Snorkeling in Kauai

Whether you are snorkeling on your own or doing a Kauai snorkeling tour, you’ll want to add a few things to your Kauai packing list.

Top 9 Places for the Best Snorkeling on Kauai featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Find out the best Kauai snorkeling spots
Snorkeling on Kauai is pretty amazing!

This might go without saying, but you’ll need a swimsuit and a rash guard.

If you are snorkeling on your own, it can be cheaper to buy a snorkel set versus renting one. You can either pack one in your suitcase or buy one on Kauai (they sell them everywhere, even grocery stores.) Check out the latest prices and more details.

Wearing fins is totally a personal preference. And sometime mask defogger can be useful.

Discover the best Kauai snorkeling beaches!

What to Wear at a Kauai Luau

One of my favorite things to do in Kauai is go to a luau. They are always so much fun and it’s something our whole family likes.

But figuring out what to wear can be tricky. Guests usually dress up a little bit, so you might feel under-dressed if you show up in shorts and a t-shirt.

For men, khaki shorts or pants and either a polo shirt or Aloha shirt are a popular option.

Women tend to wear either a cute dress or pants and a nice shirt. You’ll see a lot of women wear some sort of maxi dress (either solid or tropical print.)

Kids can get away with just about any type of clothing, but a lot of families have them wear Aloha shirts or dresses. That’s super cute for photos.

And for footwear, I suggest avoid wearing heels. Some luaus take place on grassy areas so flats work best. Plus, Kauai is rainy and the ground might be squishy.

Find out the best Kauai luaus worth booking!

What to Wear for a Kauai Photo Shoot

It’s becoming more and more popular for families to book a Kauai photography session during their trip. The setting alone is pretty stunning.

Plus, it’s an easy way to get your holiday card photo so you’ll be ahead of the game. And who doesn’t want a nice photo of their family having fun on Kauai? Check out the latest prices and more details.

Kauai is such a lush backdrop that you have a lot of options in terms of clothing. Most families tend to dress up a little bit for photos, with men/boys wearing collared shirts and women/girls wearing dresses.

Wearing all white can look really crisp for Hawaii photos on the beach. And wearing Aloha prints is always a good idea.

Another way to really take your Kauai family photos to the next level is to get fresh flower leis to wear. There are even Lei Po’o (like a flower crown) that are so stunning in photos.

Click HERE to save $25 on your Kauai Photo Shoot!

Wrap Up

Ok, that’s all I can come up with at the moment about things you might want to add to your Kauai packing list.

Hopefully you have a better idea about Hawaii vacation clothes to pack, as well as other things to add to your packing for Hawaii list.

Looking for more Kauai Travel Resources? Get my Kauai Helicopter Tips, find out the Best Kauai Food Trucks, book a Kauai Jungle Tub Photo Session, check out the Best Kauai Sunset Spots, and 10 Things to Know BEFORE Your Trip to Kauai!

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