Flashback: Kauai 2009.

My family has a little love affair with the Hawaiian Islands.

Growing up in Southern California, Hawaii was the go-to tropical get-away. Our first visit to Hawaii was way back in 1990, when my high school football team was invited to play the undefeated Hawaiian team. The entire J.V. and Varsity football teams, both sets of cheerleaders (hi!), and all of our parents descended on the island of Oahu as a pack. It was the best trip: not only was my family there, but I was frolicking around on the beach with my very best friends AND my boyfriend. I talked Amanda into jumping off a very high cliff with me into the sea. I had my first real kiss in the breaking surf at sunset in Honolulu. Our football team beat theirs, 40-0. And I received my “hula certification.” (I’m the one in the matching purple two-piece skorts ensemble.)

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My family was hooked. We threw the “hang loose” sign around for months afterward. (Nice hair. And belt. And hat. And I wonder where I get my skinny legs?) 

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Since, either all together or on separate trips, we’ve visited Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai. Kauai was by far my favorite; it’s lush and small and bohemian and perfect. And we’ve got a family trip planned for next month!

You just know this landlocked, snowbound girl is simply counting the seconds. I dug up some of my favorite photos from that trip in 2009. Tropical hikes. Seal friends. Secret beaches. Dolphins. Cliff jumping. Waterfalls. The majestic Na Pali Coast. Enchanting!

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It’s a magical island and I cannot wait to explore more of it!

I’d love your must-see/must-do/must-eat recommendations for the island of Kauai. Share with me!

More of my travels can be found here


  1. I’m a little envious of your travel plans. I have never been to Kauai, and have heard amazing things about the island. Have a great trip!!!

  2. I want to snuggle that little seal. It’s so cute! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time, Amber. I wish I had some must-see/do items, but it’s been so long since I’ve been to Kauai and about the only thing I remember is that it rained a lot. Plus, it looks like you’ve already found so many hidden gems on the little island. 🙂

    1. That seal just swam up and kicked it for a while, letting people take photos! We saw a lot of sea turtles too, but I wasn’t as camera-happy back then…
      I think Kauai gets a lot of rain during certain parts of the year, but I kind of love it. It makes all of the sunny days feel so fresh.

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