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Kauai’s sand, savings, and celebrations in September

SmarterTravel

More room to stretch out on the beach, better deals and availability at hotels, and a spotlight on native culture. Welcome to Kauai in September. Voted Hawaii’s best island by Travel + Leisure readers (who also named it the second-best island in the world after Bali), Kauai is an island with a lot of fans. And though popularity can lead to higher prices and larger crowds during most of the year, September is a forgotten month on the fringe of summer that offers plenty of the best the island has to offer.

Back to school for some means better prices and more deals for others. The weather is still great, with temperatures averaging around 80 and less rain than in the months to come. And as the crowds of summer dissipate, Hawaiian culture takes center stage during the Kauai Mokihana Festival in mid-September.

Why Kauai in September?

Hawaii is a popular destination with families, and Kauai is no exception. However, when kids go back to school in September, visitation drops and the low season begins. Many travel providers respond to this lull by offering better prices on airfare, accommodations, and air-and-hotel packages. People who can travel in September will find the same great weather as during summer, but with smaller crowds and better prices.

September also brings the Kauai Mokihana Festival, a celebration of Hawaiian culture and history from September 17 to 23. Events include a Hawaiian instruments musical competition, a composers’ contest and concert, and three nights of hula competition. The theme of the festival this year is sacred sites, and there will be lectures on and excursions to culturally significant locations around Kauai. Some events are free to attend, while others cost between $5 and $20. Excursions are priced individually.

Kauai September savings

Hawaii is one of the SmarterTravel.com top five bargain destinations for fall, and Kauai represents this value trend well with a solid array of discounts and sales on airfare, hotel stays, and vacation packages. The deals listed below are by no means the only ones available, but they do offer some indication of the sorts of prices and offers you can expect to find for September travel.

Airfare

There are a variety of ways to fly to Hawaii for less. Hawaii’s new interisland, low-cost carrier Go! makes it easier than ever to take advantage of airfare sales from the U.S. mainland to larger airports in Hawaii, and then tack on quick and cheap flights to Kauai.

Go! flies to Lihue on Kauai from Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, and has $39 one-way fares. Delta has a [%1290050 | | sale %] on September airfare to Honolulu booked by August 21, with fares such as $498 from New York. United is running a [%1293147 | | special %] on flights to Maui and Oahu, from $328 between Los Angeles and Honolulu. And, ATA and Aloha both had sales to Hawaii that expired just before press time, but it’s possible they may renew sales or start new promotions soon.

Visitors who don’t want to bother buying tickets from different airlines have options as well. American has sale fares and standard booking bonus miles to Kauai (and elsewhere in Hawaii) for flights booked online for travel through September 30, with prices like $504 between Lihue and Houston.

Hotels

Many hotels are offering discounts and perks for September stays. The Castle Resorts and Hotels chain is running a free-night promotion. Starwood has [%12860 | | promotional rates %] such as $220 per night (compared to the usual $355) at the Sheraton Kauai Resort, as well as sale rates at the Princeville Resort. ResortQuest Hawaii’s Aloha Free Deals are packages that include free nights, discounts, and bonus offers such as two-for-one luaus. And AllAboutHawaii.com is offering fall packages that combine discounts and perks, such as a free fifth night and $100 dining credit at the Kauai Beach Hotel and Resort.

Air-and-hotel vacation packages

Vacation packages can be competitive with or better priced than a-la-carte rates for air and hotel. American Airlines Vacations is offering $250 off fall vacation packages. At press time, Liberty Travel was listing free nights and dining discounts up to $100 with its packages. Pleasant Holidays has a variety of packages for Kauai and other Hawaiian islands, including a four-night stay at the ResortQuest Islander with airfare from Los Angeles and rental car from $797. United Vacations is offering a free five-day car rental with the purchase of any of its Hawaii vacation packages.

Ways to save at any time of year

Year-round, there are ways to get the most out of a Kauai vacation without overspending. All 43 of the island’s white-sand beaches are open to the public. It doesn’t cost anything to take in the view at Waimea Canyon, hike the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast, or visit one of the many waterfalls. And while there are guided snorkeling and kayaking trips, many towns also have shops where you can rent your own equipment, which can cut costs and give you more freedom to explore on your own.

Both the Kauai Visitors Bureau and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau have additional information about Kauai.

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