Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Poipu has dreamy swaying palms, soft yellow sand, and curling surf breaks, but this three-quarer-mile expanse of three golden crescents on Kauai’s south side is perfect for another reason. Unlike the fierce Pacific swells that batter the island’s north shore, the water here is gentle enough to swim, snorkel, SUP, and catch waves year-round. There are public showers, a brand-new playground, and a protected natural keiki pool for the grommets. Experienced surfers paddle to the outer reef, while rookies take lessons at Poipu Beach Surf School on beginner waves like Lemon Drops. It’s worth soaking up Old Koloa Town’s classic aloha vibe or tackling the Kukui Trail, a five-mile out-and-back that drops 2,000 feet into Waimea Canyon, the iconic Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Splurge on a room at Koa Kea Hotel and Resort (from $429). Just steps from the shore, its spa offers seaside treatments like sunburn-rescue wraps. —S.P.