Out of Bounds: Niihau, Hawaii

7 incredible island getaways from around the globe

Oct 10, 2013
Outside Magazine
Hawaii Niihau Forbidden Island Nanina Beach North Shore person on beach best island island trips vacations travel

Hawaii, Niihau, Forbidden Island, Nanina Beach, North Shore, person on beach    Photo: Perspectives

Ever since this 70-square-mile spit of land was purchased in 1864 by Elizabeth Sinclair, a wealthy Scottish farmer, Hawaii's Forbidden Isle has been most famous for being off-limits. But the wild landscape of arid, red-tinged volcanic terrain is easier to reach than you think: you can still take day trips from Kauai. Join Niihau Helicopters, which will land you on secluded beaches with nothing but shells, translucent water, and a few endangered monk seals ($400 per person; niihau.us). Or scuba through 100-foot-wide lava tubes with monk seals, spinner dolphins, Galapagos sharks, and humpback whales (three-tank dives from $315).

Access: Trips start and end in Kauai. The 17-mile crossing takes 2.5 hours by boat. Stay at Koa Kea (from $346).