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Many of us are dreaming of tropical getaways right now. We're envisioning a world where a hammock sways between two palm trees, waves lap softly against a shore and peaceful beauty stretches as far as the eye can see.
If we just described you, then you might want to consider a getaway to Kauai for 2021 (when it will hopefully be safer to travel again). Here are 10 reasons why this Hawaiian island could be the best place for you to decompress.
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Kauai is like a magical cloud land, full of green vistas, inviting skies and ribbons of color. In fact, Hanalei on the north coast of Kauai has been called the rainbow capital of the world.
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It's no secret that Kauai is home to world-class beaches. There's less rain on the south shore, which means plenty of time for soaking up the sun. And there are places like Poipu Beach Park that have protected areas for swimming, making them wonderful for long days at the beach with the family. You might even spot some monk seals.
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Kauai is a hiking haven, with trails unlike anything you've probably ever seen. Just imagine walking a dirt path and having the trees open up in front of you to reveal an unbeatable view on a turquoise ocean. That's exactly what you'll find on Kalalau Trail, along with an array of waterfalls and sea caves.
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Kauai is known as the "Garden Island" for good reason. Almost everywhere you look, you see tons and tons of vibrant, fragrant flowers. From orchids to plumeria, hibiscus to tuberose, you can experience them all – often in a lei around your neck.
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There's an abundance of fresh food to be found, by land and by sea, on the island of Kauai. Even better, local chefs know how to make these ingredients sing. And there's something for every palate, whether you're looking to try poke, the local seafood delicacy, or you're wanting to sample a world-famous Puka Dog – Hawaii's take on a hot dog.
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Kauai is just as colorful under the water as it is above. Check it out by snorkeling at Lydgate Beach Park, the perfect spot for a novice. It's encircled by a lava rock wall, which keeps the waters calm and clear.
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Each Hawaiian island has its own distinct history, and Kauai is no exception. One way to experience it is by visiting heiau (Hawaiian temples), and the best spot is in Wailua. It's known as one of the most sacred places in all of Hawaii and is home to four heiau, in addition to petroglyphs and a bellstone.
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Kayaking offers a totally different vantage point – and there are so many places to paddle on Kauai. You can explore by sea off the Na Pali Coast or glide down one of the island's peaceful rivers.
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Awe-inspiring natural wonders
There are so many natural wonders to take in on the island. To name a few, there's the Queen's Bath (pictured), a tide pool surrounded by igneous rock; Waimea Canyon, known as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific"; Opaekaa Falls, gracefully cascading 40 feet; and the Na Pali Coast itself.
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Glorious sunrises and sunsets
There's just nothing like tropical sunrises and sunsets. And the best part? No physical exertion necessary. Just kick back and watch the sun rise above the shore or slowly sink below the horizon while the sky dances with vibrant colors. Just don't forget your camera.