Travel to the northern-most point of Kaua‘i and the Main Hawaiian Islands and you’ll be met with a paradise known as Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. When Anne Readel photographed this shot in March, red-footed boobies circled the skies around the setting sun, she described it as a “truly magical place”. Gorgeous views from the 568-foot ocean bluff, incredible wildlife watching and mesmerizing waves crashing below – a trip to Hawaii could be the perfect goal for the next year. What is your dream #usinterior destination? Photo courtesy of Anne Readel.
Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is easily the kind of place you picture when you hear the word “paradise.” It is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and is located about halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa. The palm trees bust over the edge of the water like a vase overstuffed with a giant bouquet. Palmyra consists of a remote string of 26 islets nestled among several lagoons and encircled by 15,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs. While people are scarce, both the lush jungle and ocean waters teem with tropical wildlife. Video by Ian Shive, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A true tropical paradise, National Park of American Samoa is the ideal island getaway. Photographer Ian Shive explains “The park is spectacularly beautiful. I was able to walk up the beach alone, without seeing any other people, just the occasional crab climbing out of a hole in the sand.” National Park of American Samoa is really ‘three parks’ on three separate islands–Ta’u, Ofu, and Tutuila in the South Pacific. Relax in the shade, learn about the area’s rich culture, snorkel and see an abundance of fish, and enjoy a walk along the beach. It’s time to recharge. Photo courtesy of Ian Shive.
The ‘Ōhiʻa (pronounced oh-hee-yah), is a small flowering tree with incredible cultural and ecological importance to Hawaii. Once lava cools — before any other life can return — the ‘Ōhiʻa tree grows. It is the lone voyager. It’s bright red blossoms and green leaves can be seen dotting barren lava fields across the big island of Hawaii. Without the ʻŌhiʻa to help bring life back to the land, the cycle of creation after a lava flow would be disrupted. Unfortunately, ʻŌhiʻa are facing an invasive fungal pathogen and we need help identifying it and protecting this important tree. Photo courtesy of J. B. Friday.
Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico offers access to quiet beaches, spectacular ocean views and topnotch snorkeling. The refuge was created to maintain rare subtropical dry forest habitat, help local wildlife and protect historical and archeological sites. It’s a blend of rich heritage and the soothing calm of paradise. Photo courtesy of Keenan Adams.
We can’t get enough of the National Park of American Samoa. Like an emerald set in an ocean of aquamarine, this jewel of a park welcomes visitors to a world of sights, sounds and experiences unlike any other national park in the United States. You can celebrate Samoan culture, spot exotic birds, snorkel in clear ocean waters and hike up into the lush mountains for unforgettable views. And after all that, you can just lay on the perfect white sand beach. Photo by National Park Service.