Kauai's beachside garden tempts with flora, fauna, and a tree house.
It should come as no surprise that the Hawaiian Islands are home to many botanical gardens and arboretums. Kauai, the Garden Isle, has half a dozen, including 240-plus-acre Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. Former California ranchers Joyce and Ed Doty, who moved to Kauai in 1982, created the sprawling spectacle, starting from a simple landscaping project.
Today the property comprises a spread with 13 themed gardens, a plantation of 60,000 hardwood trees, a white sand beach, trails upon trails, and an impressive collection of bronze sculptures. The large-scale works range from whimsical (frisky piglets bathing in a tub) to workaday (a horse and mule pulling a stagecoach). A small lagoon stocked with koi can be admired from the Japanese teahouse that overlooks a cascading waterfall. There's even an English hedge maze to wander.
Kids get their own garden, presided over by a 16-foot-tall Jack and the Beanstalk sculpture. The area includes bridges, tunnels, slides, a pint-size train, and a tree house inspired by the novel The Swiss Family Robinson.
To explore the gardens, you must make a reservation and join a guided tour, on foot or by cart, which can take anywhere from 90 minutes to five hours. But given how much there is to see here, even a whole day might not be enough.
This article was first published in November 2017. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.