by Joanne DiBona for USA TODAY 10Best

Explore magnificent Kauai, Hawaii on this virtual tour

Each island in the emerald chain has its own distinctive landscape and offers a palette of adventures, activities and cultural experiences for every age and taste. Here's what makes Kauai really special.

The island's famous Spouting Horn is a blowhole that produces a dramatic cloud of water. A bit down the road, the shores of Poipu Beach Park offer a lovely protected area for swimming and snorkeling.

The Kalalau Trail is the most famous on Kauai. While its full 11 miles is only for seasoned hikers, casual hikers can opt for the picturesque 2-mile trail to the pristine Hanakapi’ai Beach.

Waimea Canyon is touted as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." The Waimea Canyon Lookout is one of several vantage points along the canyon rim and offers an incredible vista over this natural wonder.

Gliding down a river or bay in a kayak is a great way to explore. There are four rivers in Kauai you can kayak, and one of the most peaceful is the Hanalei River, with its lush vegetation and serene water.

Image courtesy of Joanne DiBona

Lydgate Beach Park is great for first-time snorkelers. It has a boulder-enclosed pool that allows sea water and colorful fish in, but keeps out the ocean waves. You can snorkel peacefully for hours here.

Everyone gushes over the flowering plants of Kauai. Everywhere you look, you'll see gorgeous tropical blooms. The delicate plumeria – source of the traditional Hawaiian lei – is in bloom all over the island.

Fresh produce is available at farmers markets that seem to be on every street corner or roadside in Kauai. You’ll never taste fruits and vegetables as delicious as these.

Image courtesy of Tony DiBona

Located near Princeville, the Kilauea Lighthouse, built in 1913, is perched at the northernmost tip of Kauai on a windswept bluff. Bird watchers will delight in the amazing numbers of bird species that congregate here.

For an ultimate adventure, consider renting a bike to take you on roads and trails through some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine.

Image courtesy of Tony DiBona

Queen’s Bath, on Kauai’s North Shore, is a marvel of nature; it's a large pool carved into a lava shelf, fed by fresh seawater thanks to an inlet from the ocean.

On your way to Hanalei on Kauai’s North Shore, you’ll want to make a stop at the Hanalei Valley Lookout to view verdant mountains sprinkled with waterfalls, endless fields of taro, and a rainbow or two if luck allows.

Finding your zen is never so easy than on the magical and mystical island of Kauai – especially while on the beach contemplating a glorious sunset.

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