There’s nothing that beats the thrill of discovery on vacation: The remote waterfall, the picturesque cobblestone street, or the hidden beach that feels like it’s all your own. When we stumbled upon these nine spots on our travels, we experienced the aha moment that comes when you find something truly special. We’ll admit that we’re not the first travelers to experience these beautiful places — but then Columbus didn’t really discover America, right? So go ahead: Take a peek at our favorite hidden spots, and find out where to stay to discover them for yourself.
Opaekaa Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
Discover: Opaekaa Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
Cascading down into a hidden pool, this waterfall is easily one of the island’s most accessible major waterfalls. Located on a north branch of the Wailua River, Opaeka’a Falls is named for rolling shrimp that used to be present in the water. The falls can easily be seen from an overlook off of Kuamo’o Road — walk across the road from the lookout point and up the hill for another great vantage point.
Stay: Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort, Kauai, Hawaii
At this 118-unit high-end family-friendly condo resort, the beautifully decorated one- and two-bedroom suites are among the most luxurious in Kauai. A family-friendly pool and full kitchens make The Outrigger Waipouli appealing to vacationers who value high-quality rooms in a quiet atmosphere.
Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica
Discover: Floyd’s Pelican Bar, Jamaica
This is as unique of an experience as it gets. You have to take a small boat to get to this rickety shack on the ocean, where you’ll be treated to fresh, tasty fish cooked in front of you over hot coals. And the name is no coincidence: You can spot pelicans diving into the water around the bar for their own meal.
Stay: Jake’s, South Coast
With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake’s is a member of Island Outpost, Jamaica’s trendiest hotel group. Guests come to unplug — there’s no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages. The black-sand beaches aren’t Jamaica’s most impressive, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting and yoga classes, and excellent food make this a particular favorite.
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