Winter is coming. With that in mind, it’s time to start planning your escape to someplace warm and relaxing. Well, there’s no better escape than Kaua’i, Hawai’i. To quote local singer Norman Ka’awa Solomon’s rendition of “Na Mele O Kaua’I”: “I’ve been around the world, but I’ve never seen beauty like this.”
Without a doubt, the small island of Kaua’i is the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian Islands. Because it’s also the oldest island, Kaua’i is the most lush and green—and thanks to Kaua’i laws, buildings cannot exceed the height of a coconut tree, preserving much of the island’s natural beauty.
Just being on the island is a wonder, and a trip there will likely be one of the greatest favors you’ll ever do for yourself. To ensure you don’t miss a thing, here are the five best ways to experience Kaua’i.
1. From a Zip-line. Kaua’i is an adventurer’s paradise. From snorkeling and deep-sea diving to hiking through the famous Nā Pali Coast State Park, the activities are endless. With the Zip-N-Dip adventure from Princeville Ranch Adventures, you can combine many activities in one experience. Sit back and relax as you zip-line 100 feet above the treetops, through the mountains featured in Jurassic Park. Take short hikes through valleys between zip-lines and cool off with a swim in a water-hole oasis in the middle of the jungle, before climbing up to the last and most notorious zip-line, the King Kong. But keep your eyes open on the zip down, so you don’t miss a thing about Kaua’i from the open air.
2. On horseback. Slow trot on the beach, through valleys and over hills with CJM Country Stables. Bonding with the gentle spirit of your horse while riding through unbelievable surroundings will heighten your ability to simply be present and aware of the life unfolding all around you.
3. From the beach at sunrise at Hanalei Colony Resort. I stayed at some truly lovely places while on Kaua’i, from the condos at Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation in Koloa to the budget and family-friendly resort Aqua Kaua’i Beach Resort in Lihue. But the most amazing condo experience is at Hanalei Colony Resort in Hanalei. Situated on the east end of the island, this is the only place you want to be at when the sun rises. Get off of your beautiful balcony and get down to the beach; just sit there and be, in between the mountains, as the sun emerges from the horizon. It’s the ultimate peace.
4. From the balcony at the St. Regis Hotel. If you’re less a beach condo person and more of a luxury hotel traveler, there’s no better place to stay on Kaua’i than the unequaled St. Regis Hotel in Princeville. Sure, its rooms are an indulgence not to be missed and its breakfast buffet is perfection. But stay for the incredible view of the mountains, waterfalls and beach from their matchless balcony. The view is breathtaking, transformative, unreal. This was the very last thing I did while on Kaua’I, and I might’ve missed out on one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life had I not made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go.
5. By helicopter. By far the most amazing way to experience Kaua’i in all her glory is from the sky. My 360-degree helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters was only an hour long, and was still the most incredible thing I did the entire week I was on this gift-from-God island. At a height you can’t reach by zip-lining, you fly through the mountains and hover before waterfalls like the famous twin Jurassic Falls. You can even land in the valleys and go for a hike only reachable by helicopter. By air, you’ll hit every famous landmark and discover all the magic that is Kaua’i.
Brooke Obie visited Kaua’i courtesy of the Kaua’i Visitors Bureau and the spots she enjoyed the best on her trip are featured above. Read about Brooke’s transformative journeys here. Follow her travels on Twitter and Instagram @BrookeObie.