Escapes: Can Kauai be saved from its own success?

The amazing rugged mountains and the Kalalau Trail of the Napali Coast in Kauai.
(Matt Champlin/Getty Images)

Are we there yet? I mean, the prime of summer vacation season.

Absolutely. And it’s a good moment to look at protecting the destinations we love a little too much. Whether it’s Machu Picchu, Amsterdam or Venice, Italy, the world’s travel hot spots are nearly maxed out this time of year.

Californians’ beloved Kauai is no exception. When damage from a 2018 spring flood blocked access to Haena State Park, residents and officials had a chance to ask difficult questions. Among them: Is tourism wrecking Kauai?

Heidi Chang writes on the safeguards put in place in this garden spot.

“For me, it was special just to be able to pause for a moment and feel the mana, the spirit of the land,” she says of reporting the story. “The new measures are a step in the right direction and are making a difference.”


She is happy to help get the word out about the new rules — and eager to return.

“If fact, I enjoyed it so much, I’m planning to return to Kauai this month, so I can visit that area again,” she said this week.

This week, we also took a trip to the southwestern corner of France, and another to a little cowboy town in Colorado. Meanwhile, is there no end to the add-ons travelers face, whether on planes or in hotels? The latest flash point: those increasingly prevalent resort fees.


Kauai, a backdrop for films from “South Pacific” to “Jurassic Park,” has capped the number of visitors to Haena State Park, the gateway to the Napali Coast. Read how that works, as well as the restrictions other destinations are implementing.

Alan Carpenter stands at the trailhead of the Kalalau Trail along the famed Napali Coast on Kauai.
(Heidi Chang)

In her “On the Spot” column, Catharine Hamm writes about the lawsuits that aim to force hotels to be more upfront on resort fees. Suits filed last month call the fees deceptive and misleading.

Increased resort fees are common along the Las Vegas Strip.
Increased resort fees went into effect in spring at Caesars Entertainment’s resorts along the Las Vegas Strip.
(Erik Kabik )


Trapped at home this August? Take a trip to Bourdeaux, 350 miles from Paris, for chic shops and a wheel of goat cheese. An hour’s drive east, sample much simpler Dordogne, which David Lansing reports is to Bordeaux what the Central Coast is to Napa.

Ornamental water feature in Bordeaux at dusk.
Ornamental water feature in Bordeaux at dusk.
(Visions Of Our Land / Getty Images)


Speaking of simple and rustic, check out Durango, Colo., which is more cowboy than Clint Eastwood. Irene Lechowitzky discovers a hidden speakeasy where Wild Turkey and retro ambiance both flow.

This bookcase at the Bookcase & Barber opens to reveal the speakeasy within.
( Irene Lechowitzky)


Hopping from one Airbnb to another through L.A. can give a newcomer some quick insights into his adopted city. Read about Stuart Emmrich’s unusual journey, including his run-in with an intruder.


Watch agriculture-themed competitions, play in a neon wonderland or eat tacos for a cause at close-to-home SoCal events — not this weekend, but next, Aug. 24-25. (We like to let you plan a little.)


Artist Edward Hopper died in 1967. So sharing a hotel room with him in 2019 would seem an unlikely option. But look what Christopher Reynolds has discovered.

"Western Motel," by Edward Hopper.
(Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Artists Rights Society)


We’re seeking your summer vacation photos for our upcoming photo galleries in mid-September, online and in print. The photos must have been taken between May 25 and Sept. 2, from the beginning of Memorial Day weekend to the end of Labor Day.

You may submit your photos using the form here. You must do so by Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.

Files must be at least 1 MB, and you can submit up to 10 images. You may use smartphone photos. We are seeking photos from amateurs, not professionals.

We will need your contact information in case we have a question about your photo. It will not to be used for marketing or any other purpose.

By sending us your photos, you are granting The Times permission to use your work in print and online. You also affirm that you do not make your living as a professional photographer.


Atlas Obscura writes about Scotland’s Corgarff Castle. It might look like a fortified farmhouse. But Corgarff has a history to make even the grandest of Scottish castles proud.

September’s Esquire magazine takes a 625-mile road trip — Oslo to Berlin — in Mercedes’ first electric vessel, the EQC. On the autobahn, who can resist stomping the accelerator? Well, maybe you shouldn’t.

Mark Twain wrote travel pieces, but so too did Ernest Hemingway, in his novels set across Europe. Re-reading “A Farewell to Arms” is like joining in his adventures — romantic and brave — through northern Italy.


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To answer our original question: Are we there yet? Yes. We’re at the end of another Escapes, and nearing the end of another summer travel season. We hope you made a few memories.

If not, well, autumn approaches. To us, it is the best travel season of all. The weather is pleasant, often better than in summer. Just ask anyone who’s ever been in Rome in July, when shade is in short supply and enormous crowds are not.

As temperatures rise each year, fall becomes an even more desirable time to travel. Room rates and airline fares tend to drop. There’s less of a crush to see popular sites. Even traffic and airports are better.

So if you missed out on summer, consider an autumn trip.

See you on the road.