Kauai

Where to play, eat, and stay in the Hawaiian Islands

Kaui, answering charges of perfection     Photo: Comstock

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LESS DEVELOPED than Maui and Oahu and known as the Garden Isle for its abundant rainfall and lush flora, Kauai exudes a mellow vibe. If it's surf you're seeking, go to the north shore in winter and the south shore in summer. Hikers will groove on the views in Waimea Canyon.

ACTIVITIES Take surfing lessons from seven-time world champion Margo Oberg in the gentle peelers just off Poipu Beach at Kiahuna ($96 for a 90-minute private lesson, $48 per person for groups; Margo Oberg's School of Surfing, 808-742-8019, www.brenneckes.com).

Hike the 6.5-mile Awaawapuhi Trail in Waimea Canyon State Park (808-274-3444, www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dsp/kauai.html).

Sea kayak the mangrove-banked, fern-shrouded Wailua River with Wailua Kayak Adventures (rentals, $25; $85 for a five-hour hiking and kayaking tour; 808-822-5795, www.kauaiwailuakayak.com).

FOOD Try the coconut shrimp in a Thai chile plum sauce at Zelo's Beach House (808-826-9700, www.zelosbeachhouse.com).

Duane's Ono-Char Burger (808-822-9181) is known for its Local Boy: a teriyaki burger with cheddar and pineapple. LODGING Hanalei Colony Resort ($215 per night for up to four people; 800-628-3004, www.hcr.com) on the verdant north shore has 48 two-bedroom beachfront condos.

At Hyatt Regency Kauai's Camp Hyatt, kids ages three to 12 learn hula and lei-making ($395 per night; Camp Hyatt, $55 per day; 808-742-1234, www.kauai-hyatt.com).

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