Kauai among ‘Best of the World’

LIHUE — Kim Gray loves Kauai because it feeds her adventurous spirit.

“It has a lot to offer,” she said.

Of all the trails on Kauai, the Arizona woman’s favorites are the ones in Waimea Canyon.

She and her husband, Don, used to go to Maui before discovering Kauai. Now, they come every year, and spend a few weeks in Poipu.

“Kauai is less commercial than Maui,” Don Gray said. “It has a small-town feel; it’s simple.”

And it’s also a “Best of the World” destination in 2017, according to National Geographic Traveler magazine. The list features 21 must-see sites including Finland; Cloud Forests; Banff, Canada; Ecuador; Baja California, Mexico; and Via Dinarica, Western Balkans.

Kauai is one of three locations in the United States to be recognized, and the only Hawaiian island.

“It’s a great honor for Kauai to be recognized by National Geographic Traveler and such an esteemed group of travel professionals,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. “With Kauai’s tropical weather year-round, scenic wonders including the Kalalau Lookout, Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast, diverse range of hiking trails, and rich, cultural history the Garden Isle is an ideal destination for all explorers.”

Danna Segel, visiting Kauai from Tennessee, said she isn’t surprised Kauai received the designation.

“I can see why,” she said.

Segel and her husband decided to try Kauai after taking a quiz that matched their interests with a Hawaiian island.

“It asked us what we were looking for in a Hawaiian vacation,” she said.

Good beaches and good food were on high on their list, Segel said.

Another draw to the island was seeing where her favorite movies were filmed.

“We took a movie tour that drove us from the Eastside, all the way to the North Shore,” she said.

This was the couple’s first visit to Kauai and they were not disappointed.

“We love everything we’ve done. It’s definitely on our list of places to visit again,” she said.

Of all the Hawaiian islands she’s visited, Wendy Hidlebrand said Kauai is her favorite.

“We’ve been to every island except Molokai. This is the best,” she said.

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