Acres of wilderness at Na Pali State Park.
Surfing gets most of the ink where Hawaii is concerned, but Kauai delivers a trio of adventures without the chest rashes and humiliating wipeouts. And thanks to direct flights to Lihue from Los Angeles (a six-hour hop), San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, it’s an easy trip. Check into the new Villas at Poipu Kai, with its lava-rock-surrounded pool (from $269). Connect with Kayak Kauai for a daylong paddle from Golden Coast at Poipu past the Spouting Horn, a volcanic-rock formation that blasts ocean water straight up through narrow tunnels created by crashing waves, and keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales and sea turtles ($145). The next day, trek the 11-mile Nualolo-Awaawapuhi Loop over slender ridgelines for pristine views of the fluted cliffs along the Na Pali Coast. Before heading back to the mainland, take a Zodiac tour with Captain Andy’s, who’s been guiding the coast for nearly 30 years ($185). The six-hour expedition darts in and out of sea caves, plunges beneath cascading waterfalls, and lands you on Nualolo Kai, a remote Na Pali beach where you can hike, snorkel, and feast on Hawaiian barbecued chicken and pork in an 800-year-old fishing village.