Kauai

  • Image about Out Islands
Kuai
courtesy kauai visitors bureau
Kauai is the oldest of the large islands in the Hawaiian chain, allowing wind and water to sculpt fairy-tale grandeur in the form of canyons, knife-edge precipices, and frayed-thread waterfalls that fall and fall (like the Hanakapiai Falls, pictured left). Kauai is also a spiritual and sensuous place where green reigns supreme and rain falls as delicately as a whisper. Hike in Waimea Canyon, Kokee State Park, or along the Kuilau Ridge Trail above Wailua. Visit Kauai’s renowned botanical gardens (McBryde and Allerton Gardens, nestled in the Lawa’i Valley, and Limahuli Garden on the north shore) and you feel the lushness in your pores. Kauai’s waters press with equal insistence. In summer when seas are calmer, the Na Pali coast is one of kayaking’s finest paddles: 3,000-foot cliffs rise from the sea, spinner dolphins leap from the water, and rainbow-colored reef fish dart beneath your kayak like windup toys gone amok. Nani O Ke Kai — beautiful is the sea — and no one knows Kauai’s undersea waters better than Marvin Otsuji and Seasport Divers. Inside tip: Sign on for a boat trip to nearby Ni’ihau Island. It’s some of the best diving in the Hawaiian Islands, and summer is the season. kauai- hawaii.com

The Bahamas Out Islands

  • Image about Out Islands
The Bahama Out Islands
courtesy Bahamas ministry of tourism
The Out Islands — everything but New Providence and Grand Bahama Island; everything but crowded — are a place where sand flats glimmer, the shallows are the lightest green, the deeps are purple, and everything else is very, very blue. If you want bright lights and nonstop action, the Out Islands are not for you. If you enjoy family-run establishments that have been in business for 50 years, empty beaches where children hunt for hermit crabs in tide pools, and three-table restaurants where the owner takes your order, then welcome to heaven. On Andros Island, go bonefishing and visit the Androsia batik factory. On Staniel Cay, swim in the cerulean grotto of Thunderball Cave. Later, arrange a tour to see the wild pigs on Pig Island (inside tip: Bring something to eat or the pigs will be sorely disappointed). Visit the national park on Great Inagua Island, home to thousands of pink flamingos. On Long Island, visit the caves at Salt Pond, take in an evening game of dominoes, see the phantasmagoric shell work of Mr. Allen Dixon (Everglades Souvenir Shop), and find out for yourself whether Cape Santa Maria (pictured left) does indeed have the whitest sand in the world. bahamas.com; myoutislands.com


The South Jersey Shore

  • Image about Out Islands
The South Jersey Shore
courtesy ocean city regional chamber of commerce
Atlantic City has casinos, great live shows, and a thriving restaurant scene, with everything from longtime local standby Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern (if you have an Italian grandmother, give her the night off here) to cutting-edge Philly-style cuisine (the Philly-style strip steak topped with provolone and caramelized onions is the calling card at Bobby Flay Steak). Wildwood has Morey’s Piers (six beach-blocks of thriller amusement fun) and bawdy nightlife. Cape May has stately Victorians and, just inland, surprisingly good wineries (Mom and Dad, keep an eye out for summer wine festivals). But when it comes to family fun beside the sea, it’s all about the Ocean City Boardwalk (pictured right). Games clang, giddy roller-coaster riders shriek, and Ferris wheels chew slowly through the salt air. Families return every summer, and they can walk the boards with their eyes closed and tell you precisely where they are: the sweet waft of caramel corn (Johnson’s Popcorn, 1360 Boardwalk), the mouthwatering amalgam of garlic and cheese (Mack & Manco Pizza, Eighth, Ninth, and 12th streets), baked dough and sugar (Brown’s Restaurant, 110 Boardwalk). Some jog on the boards, some ride bikes (Oves Bike Rentals, Fourth Street), but everyone eats. And eats. oceancitychamber.com; ocnj.us; southjersey.com/jersey_shore