Hotel at a Glance: Hanalei Colony Resort
Guests at Hanalei Colony Resort are just steps away from a secluded golden-sand beach. Sandwiched between emerald mountain peaks and turquoise waters, the beach stretches along the coast for more than 2 miles. It's a great place for a swim or relaxing stroll on the sand.
- A free shuttle service to popular destinations along Kauai's North Shore runs from morning until sunset. (There's a $10 per suite charge to reserve the shuttle after hours.)
- Ocean-view suites are about 150 feet from the beach. They include full kitchens, 1.5–2 bathrooms, and private verandas.
- A welcome gift and fresh tropical flowers are placed in your suite before you arrive.
- Hanalei Day Spa: Unwind with a detoxifying algae wrap or hot-stone massage.
- Order a picnic lunch or savor rosemary rack of lamb in Mediterranean Gourmet's dining room.
Kauai Island, Hawaii: Garden Isle with Waterfalls, Green Valleys, and the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”
Kauai is the oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain—and arguably one of the greenest, thanks to its lush tropical forests. From waterfalls spilling over jagged cliffs to the misty mountains framing the beaches, the peaceful landscape here inspired Travel + Leisure to rank Kauai as 1 of the top 10 islands in the world. It’s where you’ll find the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific”—the 14-mile-long, 1-mile-wide Waimea Canyon. More colorful than the comparable Arizona site, the gaping gulch mystifies visitors with red lava beds, green overgrowth, and brown walls that change hue with the light.
Along the shore, Kauai’s reef-protected waters make it popular for surfing, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. Several adventure-tour companies rent out sea kayaks for exploring shoreline caves or the rivers cutting through the island’s interior rainforests. Oceanfront golf courses offer a more laid-back alternative for outdoorsy types.
The Na Pali Coast, "one of Hawaii's most spectacular natural attractions" according to Frommer's, is a 16-mile stretch of sea cliffs that tower above the Pacific. It's possible to take a helicopter or boat tour of this landmark, but one of the best ways to experience it is by foot on one of the hiking trails. Kalalau Trail, one of the most popular, starts at a sea-level beach and then climbs steadily uphill along the coastline with sweeping views along the way (albeit with sometimes treacherously narrow pathways).