WHY WE LOVE IT
- Kauai is adored as much for what it lacks (no buildings taller than the palm trees, no crazy nightlife, no big city) as for what it has (funky surfer towns, secret beaches, and arguably the most breathtaking coastline on earth).
- With a largely uninhabited interior and a remote section of shoreline ripe for exploration, Kauai is paradise for couples who want to have pretty beaches and great adventures.
- Hollywood hearts Kauai, too—the Jurassic Park flicks, South Pacific, and Hook were all filmed on the "Garden Isle."
- One of the wettest spots on Earth, Mount Waialeale Crater, soaks in over 400 inches of rain each year. The result? Gushing waterfalls and plenty of magnificent rainbows.
- Jaw-dropper: The Na Pali coast’s jagged green cliffs rise thousands of feet above the Pacific. You can only get there by boat or by hoofing it on one of the world’s great hiking trails.
- Must buys: Pineapple and guava jellies, Kauai honey, and handmade shell jewelry from the many farmers’ markets. Vintage aloha shirts from Yellowfish Trading Company. Red Dirt T-shirts (when you hike on Kauai, you’ll understand).
WHEN TO GO
The weather is temperate all year, but the jungly north shore always gets more rain, usually in the form of brief showers, than the dry south shore does. For dramatic surf and waterfalls, go during the winter months; for calm waters that invite swimming and snorkeling, choose summertime.