You may recognise Kauai even if you have never visited. The spectacular verdant scenery has appeared in South Pacific, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Avatar, Blue Hawaii and more than 60 other films. There are times when you might think you have walked onto a film set on your Kauai holidays. Formed by the eruption of the now dormant Mt Waialeale, there's a definite pre-historic feel about the wild, impenetrable interior and rugged coast.
Here you'll find Hawaii's only navigable rivers, winding down through mountain jungle - great for kayaking - and the incredible 3,500ft deep, rust coloured Waimea Canyon, named the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' by Mark Twain, with its miles of trails for hiking or horse riding.
Along the majestic Napali Coast in the north-west, cliffs plunge 3,000ft into the sea from a mostly inaccessible 14-mile stretch. If you only take one helicopter ride in your life, this is the place to do it, and you can pre-book for your Kauai holiday.
The sunniest and most-visited holiday areas on Kauai are the south and east coasts. In the main town of Lihue, there are dozens of shops and restaurants to visit, or call in at Kilohana, a plantation estate with lush gardens and a working farm.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy on your holidays to Kauai. The resort of Poipu to the south is a good base for windsurfing, surfing or snorkelling, while nearby Kalapaki is a lively tourist centre. The Royal Coconut Coast, 10 miles north of Lihue, has most of the accommodation, shops and historical sites on the island.
For quiet and unspoilt beaches on your holidays to Kauai visit the north shore where Princeville and Hanalei Bay are surrounded by verdant mountains overlooking beautiful beaches stretching more than 10 miles.
Across the island, the atmosphere is laid back and rural. In the small towns and villages around the coast, life centres on the plantation and the missionary church, as it has done for centuries. Known as the 'Garden Island' for its lush, green unspoiled landscape - there are four botanical gardens - Kauai holidays are perfect for those looking to relax as well as the more adventurous.