Kauai is known as Hawaii’s “Garden Isle” because of its lush tropical vegetation and emerald-green mountains.
Considered by many Hawaiian natives to be the most beautiful of the islands, it is famous for its rainforests, towering sea cliffs and canyons, but it’s also home to some of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.
While many visitors to Hawaii head to Oahu to soak up the sights and sounds of Honolulu and visit the famous (and crowded) Waikiki, Kauai offers a quieter, more romantic atmosphere suffused with pristine tropical beauty. The best Kauai beach resorts will only add to that feeling, by offering picturesque views, luxurious amenities, and easy proximity to the waves and natural wonders of the island. When picking a resort, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, which shore will you want to stay on? Beyond beaches, the island is full of walking trails, waterfalls, historical sites, and mountain scenery, so it’s worth thinking about what you’ll want to do besides beachcomb.
The Northern Coast is dramatic, home to rugged mountains and dizzying cliffs. The most famous northern beach, Hanalei Bay Beach, has been voted the best beach in the U.S. The Kilauea Lighthouse is also a beautiful place for whale watching. In winter, however, ocean swells and currents can increase and make swimming dangerous, so you may want to plan your stay during other seasons.
The Eastern Coast of Kauai is also known as the “Coconut Coast” because of the coconut groves that fill the area.
In addition to Wailua State Park and the Fern Grotto, the East Shore is home to white- and golden-sanded beaches that are safe enough for families and beginner snorkelers – and a few that are great for surfers.
Polihale Beach has 17 miles of white sand, majestic dunes, and grand views of Niihau and the sea cliffs of NaPali. Also make sure to visit the sacred lava rock temple Polihau Heiau, of Kauai’s last king, Kaumualii.
The South Shore includes many historical sites, and two large botanical gardens: McBryde Garden, which features more Hawaiian plants than anywhere else in the world, and Allerton Garden with the Moreton Figs made famous in the film Jurassic Park. Poipu Beach has calm waters for most of the year, and is a playground of endangered monk seals, making it a favorite for families with children.
Where on Kauai would you stay?