It was 53 years ago today that Dwight D. Eisenhower scratched his name on a little piece of paper and declared Hawaii the newest state in the Union, rounding off the state count from the awkward 49 (damn you, Alaska) to a nice, even 50. In the years since its annexation, Hawaii has become the 13th-most densely populated state — as evidenced by the bustling metropolis of Honolulu and the endless stream of tourists on Maui and the Big Island — but to most it is still known as a natural getaway with stellar flora, fauna, and half-naked surfers. Therefore, to celebrate the anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood we decided to showcase one of the more pristine islands in the chain: Kauai. Sure, it’s not as uninhabited as Niihau or Kahoolawe (the fact you’ve probably never heard of them proves my point) but little has changed since Jurassic Park was filmed there 20 years ago, so “The Garden Isle” is sure to hold the otherworldly charm that one expects on a visit to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean.

But don’t take our word for it — check out these photos from Kauai.com and see if you can spot any Velociraptors chasing Laura Dern through the jungle.

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Steven tried out for The Amazing Race one time and was denied. We're not saying this is why he started this site, but it may have been a contributing factor in his decision to explore the world online and share his travel inspiration with others.

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