Kauai is a great choice. You'll love this island. It's my
favorite and I've helped a few friends plan trips to Kauai based on my
Here's a quick look at the different shores and the weather:
North Shore: This is my favorite part of the island. Beautiful beaches, the Na Pali Coast, great vacations rentals on the beach, and Hanalei is a quaint town. This is considered the wet side of the island, but the rain comes in spurts. And you can drive to any other part of the island within a few hours or less and get sunshine. The North Shore has a remote feel and I think this is because it is so lush and green.
South Shore/West Shore: This would be considered the sunny side of the island. Poipu is a popular condo/resort area. It doesn't feel remote here at all. There are nice beaches and quaint towns that you can visit easily if you do not stay here. You can find vacation rentals here, mostly condos.
East Shore: This is the windward side of the island. You won't want to spend too much time here, probably just some grocery shopping or shopping in general. The larger towns of Lihue and Kappa are here.
Here's a link with more info on the weather in Hawaii: http://gohawaii.about.com/travel/gohawaii/library/howto/htwhentovisit. htm
I recommend a vacation rental. You can eat some meals in and some meals out. I like: http://www.aninialoha.com They have rentals for all parts of the island, but I really recommend Anini, Hanalei, or Haena, again, these are all on the North Shore.
For air fare: check out http://www.suntrips.com - they have the best fares around.
For cars, I've found the Budget and National have the best rates. When you're ready to travel to the South Pacific, email me. I'd love to tell you about my travels there. It's an incredible area with wonderful islanders, stunning beaches, lush mountains, and crystal blue waters for snorkeling or scuba.
A couple of Kauai guidebooks are: Moon Publications: Kauai Handbook, I use this Wizard Publications: Ultimate Kauai Guide, I heard really good things about this one
Kim Ruby Northern California