Kauai is lush, tropical and wild. With cascading waterfalls and towering green mountains, this island is what most people imagine Hawaii to be like.
From the spectacular views at Waimea Canyon to the verdant vistas along the Napali Coast, Kauai can take your breath away. More and more people are coming to Kauai because they are attracted to its natural beauty and laidback atmosphere. Visitors are also drawn to Kauai for its gorgeous tropical rainforests, some of which can only be accessed by helicopter. These aerial tours take you into the heart of the island and offer spectacular scenic views that will remain with you long after your vacation ends.
Facts: Population 58,303, Area 552 sq. miles
The "Garden Island" offers magnificent scenery and lush vegetation, beautiful waterfalls, the spectacular Waimea Canyon, the great "hidden" valley of Kalalau, colorful tropical plants and flowers. Landmarks: Hanalei Bay, Wailua River, Nawiliwili Bay, Poipu Beach.
Flower: Mokihana (Green Berry)
Island Color: Purple
Family Fun: The traditions of the many cultures that make up life on Kauai center around ohana (family). Here, children are not only welcomed; they’re celebrated. This unique corner of the tropics is a virtual playground for children. Family-oriented accommodations, activities and restaurants make family trips safe, easy, fun and economical.
The Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum in Kapaa isn’t just for children. Interactive exhibits, virtual reality games, and hands-on science and art activities will delight adults as well. On Saturdays, the Starlight Planetarium Program tells how the Polynesian voyagers used the stars, winds and ocean to navigate their canoes across the Pacific.
Most of the major resorts on Kauai have programs for kids that include fun, educational activities like Hawaiian crafts and cultural activities, fishing, beach games, nature walks, surfing lessons, sand sculpture contests, coconut frond weaving, tide pool explorations, tours of historic sites, and fieldtrips led by local naturalists and other experts.
Adventures: Kauai’s spectacular natural environment and easy accessibility make it a perfect destination for today’s adventure-seeker.
Take an invigorating mountain bike ride down Waimea Canyon Road, an interpretive nature ride through the native forests of Kokee State Park, or just a leisurely cruise on the beach. You can rent mountain bikes and take guided tours on the Island’s north, south and east shores.
Kauai is also a hiker’s paradise. The rewards are unparalleled views, tropical vegetation, streams, waterfalls, swimming holes and most of all, exquisite isolation. The Napali Coast/Waimea Canyon/Kokee region has the most extensive network of trails, and there are a few others near the Wailua River.
Kauai’s mountainous interior is also accessible by helicopter. Ride the skies into the waterfall-lined crater of Mt. Waialeale or skim through a twisting valley of the Napali coastline. Helicopter flight-seeing tours are available from Lihue, Port Allen and Princeville.
By land, by sea, or by air, Kauai is a refreshing fantasy full of adventure and discovery.
Golf: Like the Hollywood filmmakers who shoot here, golfers go on location to Kauai for the spectacular scenic backdrops. Of course, they also enjoy a good challenge. Here, the courses are crafted by nature and helped along by some of the game’s most talented architects. The views could be considered an obstacle, as your mind may wander onto seaside cliffs, into forested hills, or smack-dab into the ocean. Just don’t let your ball do the same. Each of Kauai’s courses has its own definition of “breathtaking” and there’s always one nearby no matter where you stay. Whichever one you choose, you can count on breathtaking views and demanding play hole after hole.
Photo courtesy: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson - Kauai