Kauai’s best playground – and off-airport waiting area for families

Kalamani Playground, Kauai

Can’t check in to your Kauai condo or resort yet? Then come check out the Kamalani Playground just minutes from the airport.

I’ve often wondered if there’s a term to describe the window of time a traveling family spends between its arrival at a destination and when it is allowed to check in to its accommodations. I haven’t figured it out yet, but when you arrive in Kauai with your three children early in the morning after a 5-hour flight and you can’t check in to your condo or resort until 4 p.m., you might be tempted to call it something rather unpleasant–if you’re not prepared. Here’s what I recommend:

Before leaving the airport in your rental car, make sure your water bottles are topped off, leftover airplane snacks are handy, and throw those swim suits, sunblock, hats, and shorts into the day pack(s). Just a short drive up the road from Lihue airport is not only Lydgate Park–one of Kauai’s most kid-friendly lagoons for swimming and learning the basics of snorkeling–but also the best playground on Kauai.

Wooden play structures at Kauai playground

Tired of plastic stamped-out playgrounds? You’ll love the Kauai character and finishing touches at Kamalani Plaground.

Kamalani Playground is located by the same parking area used for the Lydgate State Park swimming area, with restrooms, showers, and picnicking areas. As you stroll over toward the playground, you’ll find an area to the right just for the littlest keiki, which includes baby swings and seating for parents (including some shady areas good for breastfeeding or parking a snoozing baby-in-stroller).

Kauai-Kalamani-Playground2The rest of the playground sprawls in wooden splendor, with hidden pint-size passageways, steps up and down, overhead bridges, slides, balance beams, and for the bravest kids… a two-story slide inside a “volcano.”

If you’re tired of plastic stamped-out playgrounds with interchangeable parts, you’ll especially enjoy the imagination shining through this playground’s design and the finishing touches of mosaics and carvings throughout.

Of course, in a swealter, you’ve also got the kid-friendly Lydgate State Park beach and swimming lagoon just a stroll away. All in all, there’s plenty to keep kids happy and cool until check-in time rolls around.

Getting there:

As you exit Lihue Airport, head north on Hwy 51, which will shortly become Hwy 56. In about 10 minutes, you’ll see the sign to turn right for Lydgate State Park. Click here to see on a Google map with directions.

Good to know:

There is also a second large wooden playground near the south end of the parking along Lydgate State Park, but it is better suited to older kids and feels a bit abandoned (code word: creepy). If you happen upon this playground first, just keep driving toward the swimming and picnicking parking lot and look for the sign for “Kamalani Playground.”

 Related posts and pages:

>>> See more Kauai travel tips and recommendations in Destinations

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby 

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