The Garden Isle: Kauai’s lush wonderland has plenty of places to experience Kauai nature. Gushing waterfalls. Birds unseen anywhere else on the planet. Jungles teeming with ancient plants. Historic canoe crops. Edible landscapes. Crystalline beaches backed by emerald. Rainbows. A hidden redwood forest. One of the wettest spots on earth. Yup, that’s Kauai Nature, with a capital N.
95% of this verdant island can only be accessed on foot. Nature lovers will find some of the planet’s most illusive species.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of Hawai’i’s most lush isle.
With three outposts of the famous National Tropical Botanical Gardens on Kauai, you can fill an entire week exploring the flora of the island. The two gardens on the south shore blend native plants with more showy flower displays.
Dine overlooking the succulent gardens of Plantation Gardens Restaurant.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden’s North Shore property might be the most instructive and interesting display in the state. Limahuli Garden and Preserve illustrates ancient farming practices, native and canoe plants, all while boasting epic views of the sea.
Also on the North Shore, Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park is a natural wonderland.
The isle’s white sand beaches are home to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, sea turtles, dolphins, tropical reef fish, and migrating whales.
While most of Kauai’s beaches are easily accessed, there are a number of hidden beaches–including one pristine area that can only be enjoyed after a treacherous 11-mile hike.
If you aren’t keen on much hiking, you can still experience these parks by car, boat trip or helicopter.
Waterfalls are abundant on the Garden Isle. And the best spot is along the sacred Wailua River corridor.
Spend the evening in the manicured gardens of Smith Family Garden Luau.
Some of Kauai’s most interesting restaurants offer an alfresco experience. The sweet Caffe Coco is set in an arbor-covered garden. Sunday brunch at Gaylord’s at Kilohana will please most anyone with a big appetite and a penchant for another era.
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