As winter has settled in in the Northern Hemisphere, my mind has regularly drifted to the tropical beaches of Hawaii. There is nothing like the crystal blue water, the lush rainforests and the beautiful golden beaches that cover the eight major Hawaiian Islands. As I walk past the snow piled on the pavement I can’t help but think about my swimsuit, buried in the bottom of my drawers, and how great it would be to escape these icy temperatures and head to paradise.
When I imagine my Hawaiian escape, I want a mixture of culture, scenery, sun, sand, surf and of course nature. I don’t want it to be over populated with tourists but I want it to be relaxing, and suitable for children. Naturally my choice is Kauai, the Garden Isle and the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. I like the idea of tropical flowers and vegetation, the rainforest and the canyon. Plus, the island has some truly stunning beaches that can’t be overlooked. If I was to head to Kauai, Hawaii tomorrow, my ‘holiday to-do list’ would look something like this…
Take a boat to Na Pali
Na Pali is a fifteen-mile stretch of coastline on the northwest side of Kauai. Much of the coast is inaccessible due to its sheer cliffs which rise as high as 4,000 feet above the ocean. I would take a boat to check out this magnificent spot, however if you’re more of an active person, hiking is also an excellent way of getting there. The hikes are particularly amazing, and it is definitely worth going a little bit further to reach the waterfall which is particularly breathtaking. Some of Kauai’s best snorkeling is found around the Na Pali Coast also, so this is a great opportunity to see some amazing tropical fish and maybe even a Hawaiian green sea turtle, if you’re lucky! This stunning area of Hawaii is certainly not to be missed – pictures do not do it justice
Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the north shore of Kauai and is thought of as one of the best beaches in Hawaii. The picturesque beach is nearly two miles long, shaped like a crescent moon and is surrounded by mountains. The bay is a great place to go surfing (particularly in the winter months), body boarding, paddle boarding, fishing, sailing and swimming.
Visit Hanapepe Art Galleries
Hanapepe, which has also been touted Kauai’s “Art Colony”, is a mecca for art studios and galleries. It’s easy to spend many days wandering the rows upon rows of galleries and enjoying the local art work. If you’re in Hanapepe on a Friday night, check out the art night called Hanapepe Art Walk which is held over a two-block stretch of Hanapepe Road. It is these art nights that revived Hanapepe over a decade ago, and helped create Hanapepe to be the art and cultural center that is has become. If you’re looking for a piece of artwork to buy, this is also a great opportunity to support the local community.
See Waimea Canyon
Waimean Canyon on the West Side of Kauai is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. While it’s not as big as the Grand Canyon, it certainly is as breathtaking. The canyon is approximately ten miles long and 3,000 feet deep and was initially formed by a collapse of the volcano that created Kauai as well as the steady process of erosion from heavy rainfalls. The Waimea Canyon State Park is great for a day trip as it encompasses 1,866 acres of wilderness to explore with numerous hiking treks. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, why not see the river from the bottom of the canyon, and kayak down the river. Whether you’re seeing the Waimea Canyon from the top or the bottom, don’t forget your camera, you’re bound to get some stellar shots!
Hike to the top of Sleeping Giant Mountain
As with Na Pali if you want to take the ‘easy route’, drive to the top and walk for ten minutes to reach the summit. If you’re feeling extra energetic, give the hike ago, it’ll make reaching the top that much more satisfying! The Sleeping Giant is a mountain ridge in the Nounou Forest Reserve. The mountain, which is officially known as Nounou Mountain, received its nickname due to the traditional Hawaiian legend about a giant who overate at a party in his honor that when he laid down to rest, he never woke up. The hiking trails lead right up to the highest point of the ridge which could also be the giants “forehead”.
What’s on your Hawaii to-do list? If you’re planning on checking out this tropical oasis out, be sure to check out our vacation rentals on the islands!