For the Green Lovers: Kauai
Couples who live and breathe the great outdoors should head straight for Kauai, which you’ll soon discover is worthy of its “Garden Isle” moniker. It’s home to Hawaii’s greenest and most photogenic peaks, a dramatic sea-cliff coastline and a striking 3,600-foot-deep valley.
Photo courtesy of The St. Regis Princeville Resort
The Island Vibe
Kauai is small enough to drive around in a few hours, but big enough to satisfy almost every active nature-lover’s checklist: hiking, sea kayaking, biking, ziplining, surfing, snorkeling/diving and whale watching. Discover the breathtaking Na Pali Coast on foot by hiking the 11-mile Kalalau Trail from Ke’e Beach or by sea during a rigorous kayak paddle with Outfitters Kauai. You can also take a relaxing catamaran sail with Captain Andy’s, complete with snorkel stop to see sea turtles and dolphins. Inland Kauai boasts dozens of miles of hiking trails in red-and-green-hued Aimee Canyon and Koke’e State Park, boating excursions on Hawaii’s only navigable river, the Wailua, and amazing photo-ops in front of rushing Wailua and Opaekaa Falls. Helicopter tours above it all are also wildly popular. Hit the beach: For continuous sun, make your base in Poipu on the drier southern coastline or on the Coconut Coast to the east. Kauai’s North Shore from Princeville to Hanalei is the place to be for some of Hawaii’s most secluded beaches and amazing views. The tradeoff for all this lush greenery is a bit of rain.
Where to Stay
With its prime Poipu location and recent renovation, the 394-room Sheraton Kauai Resort is a romantic beachfront enclave with a contemporary vibe (room rates start at $219 a night; sheraton-kauai.com). Also in Poipu, Koa Kea Hotel & Resort is a stylish 121-room boutique property with an intimate spa and a restaurant specializing in Hawaiian dishes (room rates start at $389 a night; koakea.com). In Lihue on the East Coast, the 345-room Kauai Marriott Resort is set on 800 beautifully landscaped acres on Kalapaki Bay (room rates start at $269 a night; marriotthawaii.com). And offering the most stunning view of panoramic Hanalei Bay, the 251-room St. Regis Princeville Resort is Kauai’s most luxurious resort (room rates start at $550 a night; stregisprinceville.com).