It is not an exaggeration to say that the Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Also known as the Garden Island, Kauai is home to vast canyons, scenic beaches, and luscious plants galore. Large portions of Kauai are uninhabited due to sheer cliffs, so the Garden Island has a remote quality that enhances its striking natural beauty.
Spouting Horn Beach Park is one of Kauai’s most beloved attractions. A lava tube which acts a blowhole shoots a sizable plume of water into the air at regular intervals. Depending on the time of day, you may even spot a plume of water that is framed by a rainbow. Local lore states that the origin of the Spouting Horn is an angry lizard that once wreaked havoc on the Garden Island who now furiously spews sea water from beneath a rock in an attempt to break free from bondage.
No trip to Kauai is complete without a visit to Waimea Canyon State Park. Waimea Canyon is a vast red rock canyon that is punctuated by water falls and green plants. Visitors can explore several hiking trails and scenic lookout points. One of the best ways to view Waimea is to book a helicopter tour so that you can enjoy an aerial view of the canyon.
The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is one of Kauai’s most celebrated lesser-known destinations. The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a limestone cave that features a rich fossil bed where countless plant and animal fossils have been recovered. Visitors can tour the cave and survey the surrounding area for plants and trees that are native to the Garden Island. The stewards of the Makauwahi Cave Reserve—Lida Piggot Burney and Dr. David A. Burney—are on a mission to uproot invasive plant species and replant native greenery, such as palm trees.
Located a short distance from the Makauwahi Cave Reserve, Lida’s Field of Dreams—which is also run by Lida and Dr. Burney—is a tortoise sanctuary that doubles as a native plant garden. The tortoises snack on pesky weeds so that plants that are native to the Garden Island can thrive. Visitors can spend the afternoon watching giant tortoises slowly munch on invasive plants in the sunshine.
The Garden Island is so breathtakingly beautiful that there is a good chance that you’ll have to rub your eyes to ensure that the rainbows, swaying palm trees, and giant crashing waves you’re witnessing are real.