Kauai

Kauai's geographical landscape is dramatic. On the northwest side of the island is the Waimea Canyon, a mountain range comparable to the Grand. Further north is the Na Pali Coast, a 17-mile stretch that divides the ocean from the velvet green cliffs with a series of waterfalls and sea caves-so breathtaking that any verbal description doesn't give it justice. To the east, along the coast, is Hanalei Town, a place full of historical sites, artists and scuba divers. And, on the southwest side is Hanapepe, another place where you can stop over and take in a bit of history, or check out some local art. Hanapepe is especially known for its artists and performers, every week the town hosts an art show with food and music.

Just north of Waimea Canyon, is Kokee State Park. Although both areas are well known for hiking, devoting a couple hours to Koke'e's Pu'u Hinahina Lookout, Koke'e Natural History Museum and Kalalau Lookout will put the width and depth of the canyon into perspective. From Pu'u Hinahina you can actually see the Pacific Ocean and the forbidden Ni'ihau Island. The Koke'e Natural History Museum is the starting point, where you stop by to plan your hike and buy a souvenir tee shirt. Kalalau Lookout that may seem a bit familiar even if it's your first visit, the highest reachable point at 4k feet, towering over the 3500 foot Waimea Canyon, has served as a backdrop for several famous films including the original King Kong. It can be argued that Kauai has a continuous sense of newness, some of it's most beautiful places including the Na Pali Coast are difficult to get to, so everything remains almost perfect. With a bit of effort a treacherous hike or kayak ride will get you to these places, or close enough to truly appreciate the natural grandiose that makes Kauai, Kauai.