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11/23/2016 07:57 am ET

11 Reasons You Need To Visit Kauai In Your Lifetime

Heaven is a place on Earth. 😍

If you follow any travel blogs or Instagram accounts, we can almost guarantee they’ve featured the Hawaiian island of Kauai a time or two. And we can’t blame them: Kauai is the ultimate destination in Hawaii.

The Garden Isle checks off every essential on any traveler’s bucket list: beaches, hikes, resorts, and then some. Not to mention it’s one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth.

Our jaws are on the floor. 😮
M Swiet Productions via Getty Images
Our jaws are on the floor. 😮

Below, 11 reasons you should visit the “Garden Island,” at least once. Trust us, it will be one of the most magical trips of your life.

1. Blissful Beaches

This one is 100 percent obvious, but it has to be said. Kauai’s beaches are everything you’ve ever wanted in a stretch of sea and sand. Sunbathe on the powdered shores, wade into the warm, unclouded water and enjoy the abundant coral and wildlife that find Kauai’s surrounding waters home. Tunnels Beach, Polihale State Park and Poipu Beach are all tried and true classics.

Before you head for any particular beach, however, be sure to check the weather forecasts as well as the ocean conditions. Hawaii’s shores can be highly dangerous, and a number of tourists drown in the state every year.

M Swiet Productions via Getty Images

2. The Hike Of A Lifetime

The Kalalau Trail is one of the toughest, albeit most worthwhile hikes in the Aloha State. Be prepared to work hard and sweat up a storm for the entire 22-mile roundtrip.

But rest assured: with all the hard work comes a major reward. Dramatic cliffs, breathtaking vistas and solitary beaches are worth making this grueling two-day hike. If you want to include the Kalalau in your vacation plans, however, you’ll need a permit. Train accordingly and come prepared ― you can’t wing this one.

Kalalau Beach, at the end of the trail.
ScottHanft via Getty Images
Kalalau Beach, at the end of the trail.

3. Heavenly Hanalei Bay

Cradled by tall green cliffs, this popular bay is a perfect beach for kids. During the summertime, the gentle waves and incredible scenery make it a dead ringer for paradise. And don’t forget to bring a surfboard. Sunsets from the center of the bay are absolutely serene.

Yes, it really looks like this.
Michele Falzone via Getty Images
Yes, it really looks like this.

4. Undeniable Charm

One of the best parts of Kauai is its small town charm. With a population of about 70,000, the island has managed to maintain a sleepy town feel while still catering to large numbers of tourists each year.

Waimea Town and Hanapepe Town are great spots to grab a meal, do a little shopping or just explore.

Hanapepe is located on the south shore of Kauai.
Peter French via Getty Images
Hanapepe is located on the south shore of Kauai.

5. Historic Hawaii

Of the main Hawaiian islands, Kauai is the oldest ― and it has the geology to prove it.

To explore Kauai’s rich natural history, pay a visit to Makauwahi Cave, a large sinkhole that is teeming with fossils and artifacts. Within the cave, excavators have found various animal bones, pollen of extinct plants and geological evidence of past floods, hurricanes and a massive tsunami. It’s little-known, but Makauwahi Cave is one of Kauai’s coolest activities.

Our Hilo ohana came to visit! :)

A photo posted by Lindsay Conway (@lindszbinz) on

6. The Grand Canyon Of The Pacific

Waimea Canyon is a natural marvel that completely lives up to its extravagant nickname, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Its colorful dips and peaks are home to lush vegetation and towering waterfalls. But for the very best view, make a trip to the canyon’s lookout point and prepare to be blown away.

Joshua McCullough, PhytoPhoto via Getty Images

7. The Na Pali Coast

This dramatic coastline is perhaps Kauai’s most famous attraction. The vivid colors, sheer cliffs and unmatched views of the ocean make this coastline an absolute must-see on Kauai.

Hike it, kayak along the coast, take a helicopter tour ― you really can’t go wrong whichever way you choose to see the Na Pali Coast.

Mint Images - Frans Lanting via Getty Images

8. Little-Known Coffee

Kona Coffee from Hawaii’s Big Island might have name recognition going for it, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the coffee on the other islands. Visit Kauai Coffee Company to learn about the coffee-growing process, tour the grounds and, of course, sample some joe.

A photo posted by @xinelaine on

9. Luxurious Digs

Though Kauai’s natural beauty is a major draw for island visitors, there is something to be said for throwing a bit of manmade luxury into the mix. Resorts like the St. Regis Princeville and the Grand Hyatt Kauai provide incredible pools, upscale restaurants and a level of relaxation and extravagance you just can’t find elsewhere.

10. Wild Waterfalls

The Hawaiian islands are known for raging waterfalls, but Kauai is home to one of the wettest places on earth. Mount Waialeale has dozens of falls that pour into a deep canyon accessible via hike. Similarly, Wailua Falls, famous for its appearance in the opening credits of “Fantasy Island,” is an essential, easy-to-reach Kauai sight, and Waipoo Falls, located in Waimea Canyon, can be seen cascading 800 feet from various lookout points.

Rainbows aren't a rarity at Wailua Falls.
Danita Delimont via Getty Images
Rainbows aren't a rarity at Wailua Falls.

11. Contagious Relaxation

Kauai comes with plenty of excitement, but if you’re desperately seeking some peace and quiet, this sleepy island is the perfect place for that as well.

Set up a few beach chairs on an empty stretch of sand, plan to spend a day or two lounging by the pool and unplug from the outside world. There’s no better way to recharge and unwind than spending some quality time on an island in the middle of the Pacific.

Pfleeger via Getty Images
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
The 17 Most Beautiful Viewpoints In Hawaii
CONVERSATIONS