Visit Pre-Colonial Hawaii
The fourth monarch of Hawaii, King Kamehameha IV, put the tiny island of Niihau up for sale in 1863, and Scottish homemaker Elizabeth Sinclair promptly bought the island for a cool $10,000 — promising to maintain the island as a cultural representation of the rich Hawaiian culture. Sinclair and surviving relatives make good on that 151-year-old promise, and today Niihau is a barely-touched, hard-to-reach living piece of history with no electricity, roads, or overnight bookings. Only 200 natives live on the island, and visiting is difficult despite Niihau’s 17-mile proximity to Kauai. Niihau Helicopters, still owned by the Sinclair family, offers half-day excursions to the island — and its completely deserted beaches — starting at $385 per person. "Most people take time to beachcomb and collect shells during their day on the island," says Shandra Macatee, reservationist at Niihau Helicopters. "But since the island is so secluded, it makes for great snorkeling."