Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa -- It's the collection of swimming pools here -- freshwater and salt, with slides, waterfalls, and secret lagoons -- that makes this oceanfront Hyatt a real kids' paradise. Camp Hyatt (ages 3-12) offers arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and other special activities for $80 for a full day (9am-4pm), including lunch and activities. It's $60 for a half-day with lunch, and $50 for a half-day without lunch. Plus, the Hyatt is one of the few hotels to offer "camp" in the evening; it's $80 for a full evening (4-10pm) including dinner, $60 for up to 3 hours with dinner, or $50 for up to 3 hours without dinner. Babysitting and activities on weekend evenings give Mom and Dad some time alone.
Hanalei Colony Resort -- These spacious two-bedroom condos come equipped with full kitchens. Management has badminton and croquet sets on hand for the whole family, as well as toys, puzzles, and games for the kids.
Kalaheo Inn -- Families on a budget will love this wallet-friendly motel. One-bedroom apartments start at $97, two-bedrooms at $137, and three-bedrooms at $187, all with kitchenettes. What a deal! It's located in the town of Kalaheo, a 12-minute drive from world-famous Poipu Beach, a 5-minute drive from the Kukuiolono Golf Course, and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Hosts Chet and Tish Hunt love families and have a storeroom full of games to keep the kids entertained. Plus, they happily hand out complimentary beach towels, beach toys, and even golf clubs to guests (to use at the nearby course). This is a must-stay for vacationers on a budget.
Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club -- This place has Hawaii's largest pool (26,000 sq. ft.), in addition to a new kids' pool -- but that's just the beginning. Water runs everywhere throughout the resort: lagoons, waterfalls, fountains, a 5-acre circular swimming pool (the largest on the island), and a terrific stretch of beach, Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai's port of call. As we went to press, the informal Kalapaki Kids program (ages 5-12) was in operation Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3:30pm and Wednesday evenings. The program offers activities ranging from boogie boarding to treasure hunting.
Sheraton Kauai Resort -- With the recent decline in visitors to Kauai, the kids program here was restricted to Monday through Friday and offers camp-type activities like bamboo pole fishing, lei making, hula lessons, and tide-pool explorations from 9am to 4pm for $65 with lunch (or half-days for $50 with lunch) for Sheraton guests (for non-guests the program costs $75 for a full day, or $60 for a half-day, both including lunch).
Waimea Plantation Cottages -- Among groves of towering coco palms are these clusters of meticulously restored plantation cottages that offer families the opportunity to relax off the beaten track. Some people may find Waimea a little too out-of-the-way (it's a 1 1/2-hr. drive to the North Shore), but it is close to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. The re-created village allows kids plenty of room to wander and play away from traffic and crowds. There are also tennis courts and a pool.