Kauai is a dream

Nicknamed the Garden Isle, Kauai is home to some of the island chain of Hawaii’s most unique scenery. Spectacular flora and fauna fill Kauai’s vistas like no other place on Earth. Where else can you see Nene geese or iiwi birds flying among the Kiawe trees and Taro plants? To top off all that, Kauai has more than 50 miles of pure white sand beaches that beckon visitors to enjoy hours of swimming, snorkeling, surfing, sailing or fishing. It’s no wonder this island mecca has received so many accolades over the years.

Resort areas showcase island’s diversity Island fathers have divided up Kauai into five distinct resort areas. Its North Shore, East Side, South Shore, West Side and Lihue and Kalapaki offer recreation, sprawling first-class resorts, shopping and, of course, a variety of dining. If you have limited time on the island, then you might want to spend the majority of it on the North Shore. Here, you’ll find mountains, beaches, waterfalls and an amazing amount of vegetation that make this area the perfect spot for everything from humpback whale-watching to a round of golf.

To relax, spoil yourself at the Hanalei Day Spa. Located at the Hanalei Colony Resort, therapeutic massages, body scrubs, rejuvenation programs and yoga classes are all offered here. More upscale resorts, rental homes, cottages and even beds and breakfasts can be found throughout the North Shore. The Princeville Resort, which has gone through a recent management change and renovation, is a premier property that features a 252-room hotel, two massive golf courses, tennis club with pro shop, health club/spa and shopping center. A North Shore highlight is the Napali Coast. It is a 17-mile stretch of coastline that features sea caves, valleys and 4,000-foot cliffs.

East Side rich in history, culture

In the East Side area of Kauai, coconut trees and groves line this region that is rich in history, culture and mysticism. Here, you’ll find the Sleeping Giant, the ridge of Mount Nounou that bears resemblance to a reclining man. Gorgeous views are everywhere on the East Side.

From Opaekaa Falls to the Fern Grotto, the East Side of Kauai is a memorable environmental dream. The Wailua River State Park, Opaekaa Falls and the Fern Grotto are just some of the sights that show off the natural wonders of the East Side. After exploring everything off the beaten path, you might want to get back to civilization in Kapaa Town. Eclectic art, jewelry and clothing are on display throughout this cute village. South Side full of activities Composed of the Poipu resort area, Old Koloa Town and Kalaheo, the South Side is home to a range of activities, including kayaking, horseback riding and bodysurfing.

While you can keep yourself busy here, must also take time to simply relish the beauty of Poipu’s legendary beaches. Just some of them are Mahaulepu Beach, Shipwreck’s Beach and Lawai Beach. Lodging on the South Side has improved in recent years with the arrival of the Poipu Beach Villas. This 323-unit facility is a mix of new condos and town homes that are near three pools, a recreation complex and small restaurant.

Kauai’s West Side story

The West Side of Kauai is striking. From the Waimea Canyon to Hanapepe Town, the West Side is a picturesque destination. Nicknamed the “Little Grand Canyon” by Mark Twain, Waimea Canyon is made up of similar views to its “canyon cousin” in Arizona, but with own island characteristics. Hanapepe Town is an historic treasure that boasts classic storefronts and artist studios. Some of the best hiking can be found on the West Side. The Kokee State Park and Kokee Natural History Museum is a good place to locate maps for a rugged individual hike or guided tour.

The gateway to Kauai

Whether by cruise ship or plane, guests arrive to Kauai into the Lihue and Kalapaki resort area first. Since Lihue is Kauai’s county seat, most of the island festivals are held here. This is also where you can see the island’s history and culture with a trip to the Kauai Museum. “Each side of the island has its own special attractions and events to enjoy together — whether it is watching a free hula show at one of the shopping centers, attending a festival or craft fair, or watching the birds at Kilauea Lighthouse as the waves crash on the rocks,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. “Kauai can be enjoyed by those on a budget.”

Kauai’s East Side is called The Royal Coconut Coast for its abundance of coconut trees and groves. Lumahai Beach on Kauai’s North Shore served as the setting for the film “South Pacific.” Prince Kuhio Park on the South Side of Kauai is the birthplace of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, the “People’s Prince,” who opened the beaches of Waikiki to the public in 1918. No structure can be built more than four stories high, approximately the height of a mature coconut palm tree. Kauai has 43 white sand beaches, more beach per mile of coastline than the other islands. Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii. Kauai has been the film location site for more than 60 major motion picture and television films, including “Jurassic Park” “Six Days/Seven Nights” and “Dragonfly.”

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