Getaway

5-Night Summer Stay at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort

On the island of Kauai, there are several hotels, resorts, and rental properties of all sorts for travelers to book for accommodations. Whether you're planning on staying on the North, South, or Central shores, there is a place for every type of traveler.

For my trip, I stayed at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort which was just a short distance away from the Lihue Airport. Before getting my rental car situation figured out, I was conveniently picked up from the airport and shuttled to the resort upon arrival. I was greeted by towering palm trees as we pulled into the circular driveway and the friendly staff of Kauai Beach Resort. Check-in was a breeze and I was off to my home (room) for the next five nights!

Honestly, I didn't spend a ton of time at the resort during my stay, so I only explored the property a little bit and when I wasn't out enjoying all that the island had to offer, I was asleep. I did stop by the pool before getting ready for Kauai Fashion Weekend on Saturday for a burger, fries and Mai Tai at the resort's Driftwood Bar & Grille.

I would definitely recommend Aqua Kauai Beach Resort for younger travelers who are looking for something affordable and the full resort package of amenities and services. Also, groups of friends and/or families are perfect for this property as well. There's something appealing for everyone here!

Learn more about Aqua Kauai Beach Resort and start planning your trip to Kauai!

Bird's Eye View of Kauai | Safari Helicopters Deluxe Waterfall Tour

One of the top recommended excursions and activities for visitors of Kauai is a helicopter tour. As I mentioned in my Weekend Itinerary blog post, 80% of the island cannot be accessed by a vehicle, so a helicopter tour is one of the best opportunities to truly see everything. I popped a Dramamine (as advised) to help with any motion sickness and was ready to scratch this off of my bucket list! I didn't want anything ruining the moment.

After checking-in at Safari's office and going through a brief safety orientation, my group for the tour hopped into a van to be whisked away to the airport where the helicopter pads were located. Soon enough, myself and a family of 4 were filing into the helicopter to be greeted by our guide, Bruno. Shortly after, we were lifted far above the airport and our hour-long journey began.

These are some of the photos I captured from the tour. And yes, the island is even more beautiful in real life!

At the end of our tour, we exited the helicopter so the next group could board, took quick individual photos and headed back to the Safari Helicopters office where we were able to grab our bags and other personal belongings from supervised lockers. There's even an opportunity to purchase a USB of your entire tour with the guide's full commentary. The other passengers in my group didn't purchase theirs, but I would have been awfully upset if I left Kauai without that memory despite the fact that I captured several vivid photos.

Me next to the helicopter after our tour with my camera. I got so many amazing photos!

Me next to the helicopter after our tour with my camera. I got so many amazing photos!

Here are some things to remember for a helicopter tour:

  • Take a motion sickness pill at least an hour prior to your excursions with a lot of heavy movement. Typically, the companies will extend this tip, but it's alway good to know!
  • Bring a camera to capture photos to show off and HAVE FUN! How often are you in the sky hovering several hundred feet over landmasses and oceans as beautiful as the ones on your trip? 
  • Wear dark clothing to avoid reflection on your photos. If you're a passenger who may not necessarily be interested in stellar, professional photos, you should definitely be considerate of others on your tour.
  • Listen to your guides and practice safety! While a helicopter tour is TONS of fun, there are things to be mindful of in terms of safety. Stay away from the blades on the helicopter, don't block your guide/pilot's view during the tour to take a selfie, etc.

Book your helicopter tour with Safari Helicopters

Weekend Itinerary | Kauai of Hawaii

Literally "30,000 feet in the air" just like one of my favorite Kendrick Lamar songs. Last month, I traveled to the Hawaiian island, Kauai, for the very first time. In fact, it was my first trip to Hawaii -- period. I'd always thought about taking this trip, but I'm very early on in my travel journey as an adult and I had yet to check it off my list.

I was invited to Kauai Fashion Weekend to cover the event, and I was truly ecstatic to not only experience the fashion, but to capture the natural beauty and culture of the island as well.

Wednesday | Check-In & Chill

Front driveway entrance at Kauai Beach Resort

Front driveway entrance at Kauai Beach Resort

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls

Upon arriving on my American Airlines flight, I was picked up by the Kauai Beach Resort complimentary airport shuttle bus and quickly transported to the resort. I loved how close it was to the Lihue airport -- so convenient! I hopped in my car, stopped by Walmart for important things that I forgot to pack and checked out Wailua Falls before retiring for the evening. I was so sleepy!

I stayed at Kauai Beach Resort for 5 nights and I enjoyed every night after long, exhausting (yet fun) days. Like everyone I encountered during my trip, the staff was very friendly and helpful if I needed them. One of the most important parts of a trip for me is the hotel. Kauai Beach Resort was clean, of excellent quality and affordable.

Thursday | Safari Helicopter Tour

Safari Helicopter getting ready to take off for a tour of the island

Safari Helicopter getting ready to take off for a tour of the island

I can NOW check 'helicopter ride' off of my bucket list and over Kauai was the best way I could have done it! Eighty-percent of Kauai is not able to be seen by car as it's not accessible, so I highly recommend doing it this way. My flight was with Safari Helicopters and they were amazing! Everyone was personable and our pilot, Bruno, gave us all of the history and geographic facts about each part of the island. It was educational and so breathtaking that I was speechless as we flew over the massive mountains and sparkling blue Nā Pali Coast. I got TONS of photos, of course!

Afterwards, I was able to explore the South Shore with Lani of the Visitor's Bureau.

Read more and see the views from the helicopter tour

Meet & Greet with Meghan Edmonds

Meghan Edmonds with the Director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, Sue Kanoho

Meghan Edmonds with the Director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, Sue Kanoho

Me with Meghan Edmonds -- and I have an authentic lei on!

Me with Meghan Edmonds -- and I have an authentic lei on!

On Thursday night, just days prior to the main Kauai Fashion Weekend event, there was a Meet and Greet with Meghan Edmonds of The Real Housewives of Orange County at the Kauai Marriott Resort. Attendees sipped champagne, nibbled on light bites, and were able to take photos with & ask Meghan questions. It wasn't Meghan's first time on Kauai, so she had a lot to say about the island and how it is a must-travel vacation spot...and I can most certainly agree!

My question to Meghan was:

Most people ask, "What one item would you bring if you were stranded on an island?" Well, you're on the beautiful island of Kauai by choice, of course, but what is the ONE beauty product that you can't travel without?

She mentioned that the product she never travels without is her concealer. After remembering the name of the brand, she told me that she's obsessed with Glō Minerals (available at Dermstore). I'm finding that concealer in general is great for light summer makeup, so I may need to try her fave!

Friday | ATV Tour on Kipu Ranch

Safety orientation prior to the Kipu Ranch ATV Off-Road tour

Safety orientation prior to the Kipu Ranch ATV Off-Road tour

An ATV off-road tour is definitely not anything I would have ever thought to book for a trip! I'm such a foodie when it comes to traveling, but this tour at Kipu Ranch was so much fun and high-energy. If you're traveling with family or friends, I would totally recommend it for a unique group outing. I rode with our tour guide, Marlon, to get photos during the ride and we got to see all of the famous filming spots from movies such as Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park.

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Read more about my ATV tour and my tips for the excursion

Saturday | Kauai Fashion Weekend

After my adventurous days, I decided to spend my Saturday in my room and relax. As the sun set over Kauai on Saturday evening, I was busy getting ready for the big Kauai Fashion Weekend show which I found to not only be about fashion and the immaculate designs, but also about culture. From from women's formalwear to menswear to swimwear, there were a variety of designs gliding down the runway on models of all body types from local and international designers.

Kauai Fashion Weekend celebrated its 5th annual show this year featuring Meghan Edmonds as the special celebrity guest and the designs of Sha Ali of Ahmad Couture. The evening began with shopping, photo ops and, for VIP attendees, a three-course dinner with the runway show to follow.

I even won one of Sha's designs in the raffle drawing at the end of the fashion show (photos soon)!

Meghan Edmonds and Sha Ali walking the runway during the final walk

Meghan Edmonds and Sha Ali walking the runway during the final walk

See more designs from Kauai Fashion Weekend

Sunday | Captain Andy's Nā Pali Coast Tour

The catamaran for the Captain Andy's tour, Akialoa

The catamaran for the Captain Andy's tour, Akialoa

Passengers snorkeling along the Na Pali Coast

Passengers snorkeling along the Na Pali Coast

Unfortunately, I don't snorkel because I never learned how to swim, but there's much more to Captain Andy's Na Pali Coast tour! Light breakfast and a full lunch is served over rippling water views. I took this time to gaze at the ocean and towering mountains of the island completely forgetting that I'd brought magazines to read. It was a tranquil way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon and the tour gave me time to reflect and brew inspiration.

We boarded the Akialoa catamaran and jetted through the water for approximately an hour before arriving at the Na Pali Coast. I relaxed and captured photos as the other passengers snorkeled for about 20 minutes. People saw dolphins, fish glimmering underwater, and even sea turtles! This is a great tour for capturing cool video clips and photos underwater with a GoPro or other waterproof camera. 

Once we returned to the port, I had the rest of the day to myself to explore! If there's one tip I can give for traveling, it's to leave room to venture out and explore. Don't schedule your days too tightly and go where the wind takes you. Be spontaneous! Some of the best memories are the ones where you stumble upon a non-chain restaurant or a little market with unique items to buy.

On Monday morning, I really didn't want to leave Kauai OR the fabulous view of the pool at resort! The residents were all so pleasant and helpful, driving was much less stressful than in Dallas, and experiencing the culture firsthand was an honor. If you have a weekend to escape to Kauai, there are plenty of excursions to go on that everyone can enjoy, local markets and events to discover, and tons of delicious food spots full of freshness. I'm still on a high from this trip, but I can't wait to return so I can experience more of the island!

Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by the Kauai Visitor's Bureau, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bestie Spring Break in Denver with 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

This is the first year out of college that I haven't had an official spring break week. Being self-employed, my schedule is flexible already, but I enjoyed being able to take a "break" on my own time. My best friend moved away for grad school in Rhode Island last year, so her spring break was a bit later than in Texas. When she told me she was considering Denver for a few days, I was more than ready to book my flight. I absolutely LOVE everything about Denver and I'm happy that I got to explore the city with her this time!

For four days, we cruised Denver in a gorgeous 'Dynamic Blue Mica' 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring stopping at interesting art, music, and food spots. We're both artsy, and who doesn't love food? This trip was most certainly full of culture and good eats. Check out my new foodie Instagram page to see everything we ate at Gastronomic Grub!

Until our next trip! Xo
Where should we go next? 

This post is sponsored by Mazda. All opinions and thoughts are my own.