A one-lane bridge marks the entry to Hanalei, Kauai, a destination small in size, but with a lot of personality. Monumental mountains flank one side of the town, with a classic 2-mi/3-km crescent beach hugging the other.

Although travelers might see Hanalei as a quick stop en route to the end of the north shore road, rewards await those who linger in the town. Old plantation buildings house galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Outfitter shops offer surfboards, paddleboards and snorkel gear for rent. Food trucks sell island snacks, and falsetto songs float out of restaurant windows.

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