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Overview

On final approach to Kauai you glimpse gold sand beaches, green velvet cliffs, coco palms swaying in trade winds. It vanishes upon landing in Lihue, a red dirt plantation town of trafficky streets named for missionaries and planters. The vision of paradise returns on Nawiliwili Bay, where cargo ships call, and a fancy hotel fronts Kalapaki Beach. Local surfers hang ten here while tourists tan poolside at Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Kayakers paddle up Huleia River, which starred in Raider's of The Lost Ark. History buffs visit Alekoko Fish Ponds, where early Hawaiians pioneered aquaculture. Green thumbs skip Fern Grotto in ...

On final approach to Kauai you glimpse gold sand beaches, green velvet cliffs, coco palms swaying in trade winds. It vanishes upon landing in Lihue, a red dirt plantation town of trafficky streets named for missionaries and planters. The vision of paradise returns on Nawiliwili Bay, where cargo ships call, and a fancy hotel fronts Kalapaki Beach. Local surfers hang ten here while tourists tan poolside at Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Kayakers paddle up Huleia River, which starred in Raider's of The Lost Ark. History buffs visit Alekoko Fish Ponds, where early Hawaiians pioneered aquaculture. Green thumbs skip Fern Grotto in favor of National Tropical Botanical Garden, a world class garden of tropical plants. Visit Wailua River State Park to see Twin Falls, made famous in "Fantasy Island"; find the Sleeping Giant of Nounou Ridge, cruise Kapa'a for trinkets. If you linger in Lihue, eat at Hamura's Saimin Shop for tasty noodle soup, peek in relic-filled Kauai Museum, and visit Grove Farm Homestead to see how sugar planters lived the sweet life mid-19th century.

Rick Carroll
About the Expert

Rick Carroll has written dozens of articles on Hawaii and the Pacific. His books include Great Outdoor Adventures of Hawaii, Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawaii's Fire Goddess, and Travelers' Tales Hawaii.

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Rick Carroll for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May and October when crowds diminish.