One Hawaii island continues to affirm its peak desirability, securing the top pick in the USA for TripAdvisor Readers’ Choice Nature Destinations. This makes Kauai one of the best island picks in the world. The 2024 rankings also showcase the USA’s descent, with only Kauai taking a top spot in this category for a U.S. location. There were in total 18 places that scored. See the other finalists below.
Amid the discourse surrounding the significance of such top-pick lists and how they influence our travel choices, it’s clear that personal preferences and individual interests play a pivotal role in any destination selection, something that a mere ranking cannot capture comprehensively.
TripAdvisor says about these Travelers’ Choice Awards Best of the Best winners, “Fewer than 1% of TripAdvisor’s 8 million listings are awarded Best of the Best, signifying the highest level of excellence in travel. Whether you’re hiking through national parks or watching the sunset on the beach, these are travelers’ favorite places to disconnect in nature. “
Over-tourism in Hawaii and on Kauai continues to be a major concern.
More than 60 years after Elvis’ Blue Hawaii and jet travel put Kauai on the map, mass tourism has backfired, and the industry that was once stereotyped by iconic imagery has reached its limits. As we’ve said before, tourists have literally loved Kauai to death, and over-tourism has taken a huge toll on the island’s environment and people.
But Kauai is still beautiful, iconic, and accessible. In time, how to best manage tourism will evolve. New visions and images of a future co-created by residents, visitors, and the travel industry will evolve.
Quality of life and environmental focus issues aren’t new to Kauai or even Hawaii. It’s a global phenomenon from Venice to Bali and Barcelona to Machu Picchu. In the meantime, Hawaii has started to limit access by advance reservation and charge for access, including state parks and the iconic north shore. And in that, Kauai and Hawaii are absolutely not alone. Kauai joins other destinations in seeking tourism which provides more significant benefits for both residents and visitors.
We envision a Kauai tourism in which residents and visitors see themselves as essential elements of one ecosystem, with benefits and responsibilities creating a harmonious island for all. This is a vision where visitors and residents co-exist and co-create.
The latest Readers’ Choice Awards for nature destinations worldwide:
- Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Halong Bay, Vietnam.
- Hurghada, Egypt.
- Lombok, Indonesia.
- Kauai, U.S.
- Zanzibar Island, Tanzania.
- Grand Cayman.
- Kruger National Park, South Africa.
- Wadi Rum, Jordan
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Ambergris Caye, Belize
How many of the top 10 nature destinations have you been to? BOH editors have visited three: Kruger, Grand Cayman, and BOH’s home island of Kauai.