Beliefnet
Fresh Living

hanalei_bay.jpgToday “Dr. Beach,” a.k.a. Stephen P. Leatherman, released his annual “best beaches” list. At the number one slot–Hanalei Bay beach in Kauai, Hawaii. It’s a choice close to my heart. I lived in Maui for several years after college, and I recall my first thoughts when the plane touched down on the tarmac in Kauai–“This makes Maui look like New Jersey.”

 Lush and green, plus beachy and hilly, Kauai is stunning and low-key. Not much to do but, as one friend put it, “stare into each other’s eyes.”  Though you can also swim, eat, sleep, and hike–pretty much all I want to be doing anyway.

Hanalei itself is incredibly sweet–especially for its association with Puff! “Puff, the Magic Dragon, lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei.” (Turns out the song is not actually about that town, but since rumor had it that the song was about pot, and Hanalei was once known for its “da kine bud, brah,” the two got tangled and now you can buy touristy t-shirts there with Puff puffing. Though Peter, Paul, and Mary insist “Puff the Magic Dragon” is about losing childhood innocence. But I digress.)

Hanalei is right near the Napali coast, just about the prettiest place that ever existed. It’s one of the “happy places” I go to when I close my eyes trying to relax. Sheer cliffs, literally breathtaking ocean panaoramas, gorgeous sunsets, wild chickens.

With the economy being what it is, most of us are only going to the beaches in our minds right now anyway. So we can look at this best beaches list as deluxe fantasy fodder. Do you have a favorite beach spot you dream about?

[Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hanalei_Bay_from_Wai%27oli_Beach_Park.JPG

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