Hot Spot Kauai, Hawaii

July 12, 2009|By Katherine McNaboe

Whether you're newlyweds looking to get away from it all, family looking for fun, or just want to relax and unwind, Kauai is so perfect it's almost unreal. Oldest of the Hawaiian islands, the "garden isle's" natural attractions include a canyon, waterfalls, wildlife refuge and botanical garden. It's also home to Hanalei Bay, a beach ranked this year as best in the U.S.

1

Relax at America's No. 1 beach : Kauai's Hanalei Bay is at the top of Stephen "Dr. Beach" Leatherman's 2009 list of the country's best beaches. Hanalei, a two-mile, crescent-shaped, untouched paradise, still has a genuine hometown vibe, and offers the perfect combination of magnificent views, crystalline water and pristine sand.

2

Ride the river : Kauai is also home to the only traversable rivers in Hawaii, and Wailua River on the east side of the island has the most to offer. You can kayak or canoe the Wailua, past cascading waterfalls and lush greenery, or take a boat tour of the romantic emerald Fern Grotto.

3

Hike the other Grand Canyon : Waimea Canyon, known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," has trails for novice and experienced hikers. The canyon is about 10 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, featuring several lookout points with dazzling views of Kalalau Valley.

4

Celebrate an anniversary : During the 25th Annual Koloa Plantation Days Festival, July 18-26, festivities are held in the Koloa and Poipu communities to honor Hawaii's first sugar plantation, established in Koloa in 1835. Visitors and residents can enjoy sports tournaments, dance competitions, food tastings, crafts, a parade and rodeo.

5

Tour the tropical landscape : Located on the south shore of Kauai, the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Lawai Valley is 2,000 acres of ancient Hawaiian plants, palms, tropical fruit trees, orchids, ginger plants, mini-waterfalls, Hawaiian stone walls and taro terraces.

* More information: kauaidiscovery.com, gohawaii.com

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