How can you resist taking a vacation trip to a place called the Garden Isle, the nickname given to Hawaii's scenic island of Kauai? But if you need more incentive, plus information to help you make plans, just turn to the Internet.
It's not as if you'd be going somewhere unfamiliar, because you've likely already seen parts of the island in movies. Stop by the Kauai Film Commission — http://filmkauai.com/home.html — and click on "Kauai Movies" to see what's been shot there, from "South Pacific" and "Blue Hawaii" to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Jurassic Park." There's even a tour — http://www.hawaiimovietour.com/.
Then you need to visit the Kauai Visitors Bureau — http://www.kauaidiscovery.com/ — to start learning about the places you want to see and the things you can do. Get acquainted with the island's regions including the wild-looking North Shore with Napali Coast State Park, and the city of Lihue, the island's commercial center and cruise port. There's a "Virtual Tour" to perk up your travel appetite, and a section of "Kauai Specials" that might stretch your travel dollar.
It really is an island of variety. Click on the Visitors Bureau's "Activities" link to learn about surfing, fishing charters, cruises, camping, mountain biking, horseback adventures, hiking, whale watching and tours. If that's too much stress, there's a section on spas. And be sure to take a few minutes to peruse "About Kauai" to learn about the Hawaiian language and culture, history, geography, beaches and the weather, especially important as the mainland days get shorter and chillier.
Look up Kauai in the online Miniguides from the travel experts at Fodor's — http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/ — and click on "Sights & Activities" to select spots you absolutely have to see, such as Waimea Canyon, 'Opaeka'a Falls or the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Check out their handy tours and one-day itineraries, and see what it takes to visit the Forbidden Isle of Ni'ihau. And if you still need encouragement, read "Top 5 Reasons to Go."
All that tropical water around the island makes for some memorable diving. Fathom Five Divers — http://www.fathomfive.com/ — offers equipment rentals, classes and boats to take you to the top spots. You can even dive (snorkel) from land; click on "Dive Sites" to check out spots such as Tunnels Reef. Kauai Diving and Scuba Tours — http://www.hawaiiwebdesign.com/kauai_diving.htm — offers more boat and guide services, plus links to land and air tour services and to Kauai Ultralights for the daring. Take a look at Hawaii Dive Companies — http://www.hawaiiscubadiving.com/kauai/dive-companies.html — for links to additional dive operators.
It's Hawaii; you must go to a luau. Click on "Entertainment" at Best Places Hawaii — http://www.bestplaceshawaii.com/kauai/index.html — and look for the "Luaus" link for the Hiva Pasefika Luau. Back at the main page, "Accommodations" has links to many of the island's hotels as well as a variety of bed & breakfast inns.
More valuable tips are available in the travelers' articles at Trip Advisor — http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g29218-s1/Kauai:Hawaii:Inside.html — including one headlined "Budget trip to Kauai? Yes!"
As long as you're in the neighborhood, maybe you'll have time to visit some of the other islands. The state's official tourism Web site — http://www.gohawaii.com/ — can point you to places to go and things to see.