Top Reasons to Stay at Aston Waimea Plantation Cottages
Once the site of a flourishing sugar company, the oceanfront resort is made up of a cluster of cottages along a coconut grove on Kauai’s western coast.
Each of the cottages comes with a full kitchen and living room, and is outfitted in period furnishings made from mahogany, rattan, and wicker. Covered porches look out onto the gardens, grassy lawn, or ocean.
The resort was awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and a Fodor's Choice award in 2012, and was ranked the No. 1 Hidden Romantic Getaway by Sunset magazine.
You can pick fruit in the gardens, lie around in one of the hammocks, swim in the oceanfront pool, visit the gift shop, or challenge some friends to beach volleyball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, or croquet.
The Grove Café features local music on Thursdays, as well as karaoke on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Stop in to sample tropical cocktails and Hawaiian-made brews.
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 in 2012. 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).