From snowcapped volcanoes to rainforests to lava-rock deserts, Hawaii is much more than the parade of high-rise hotels that hug glorious Waikiki Beach. The push and pull between highly developed tourist apex, ancient Polynesian culture, and natural paradise is palpable in the complex 50th state. Add to that the vestiges of “old” (pre–1959 statehood) Hawaii—the one where mai tais are poured in a salty seaside shack to the tune of hapa haole (Hawaiian music with English lyrics), and you have a destination with a rich, complex identity. But everywhere the generous spirit of “aloha” is infectious, making lifetime repeat visitors of many who set foot on these exotic, yet very American, islands.
Located in the Pacific Ocean west of California, Hawaii is the only state to be completely surrounded by water. It consists of six main islands—the Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Lanai. Cascading waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and rugged canyons make Hawaii travel great for relaxation or adventure. And getting around is easy—there's one major airport and several smaller ones. This Hawaii travel guide is filled with ideas to kick-start your vacation planning.
Things Not to Miss in Hawaii
Here, a few highlights of this idyllic island chain.
• Snorkel to view bright corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles.
• Sunbathe on one of the many beaches that dot the 750 miles of coastline.
• Go whale-watching during humpback migration season (December—April)
When to Visit Hawaii
Hawaii is in the tropics, but has a cooler, drier climate due to the trade winds that blow from the east. Temperatures are consistently warm but comfortable throughout the year, but it's important to keep in mind when planning your travel to Hawaii that May through October is dry season, while November through April is the rainy season. If you visit Hawaii in the winter months, it is advisable to bring rain gear.
- A horseback or carriage ride into the Big Island’s Waipio Valley, a lush ancient gorge sacred to the Hawaiians, where taro is still cultivated as it was by the original Polynesian settlers who set foot here more than a thousand years ago.
- Ringing the enormous bell at Oahu’s stunning Byodo–In temple, a replica of a 900-year-old building in Uji, Japan, with a gorgeous green mountain backdrop.
- Seeing some of the best hula dancers in the state at the dance’s traditional birthplace on rural Molokai at the three-day Molokai Ka Hula Piko festival in May.
- For more bars in Maui, visit NileGuide
This is the Most Epic, Luxurious Round-the-World Cruise
Better start saving that vacation time: Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced a new 137-night Navigate the World cruise for 2018 on the luxe ... Read More
New Aerial Survey Reveals Hawaii's Beaches are Littered With Garbage
If you need another reason to recycle, take a look at this new study of the Hawaiian Islands. In short, it revealed that garbage is accumulating on the... Read More
Is Amy Schumer the Ultimate Celebrity Travel Buddy?
Turns out Amy Schumer is not only one of the world’s favorite comedians, but also a beloved travel partner of the A-list crowd. The most recent... Read More
Man Forced to Pay United $43,000 for Doing Yoga on a Plane
One man’s aggressive mid-flight yoga session landed him with some not-so-zen consequences. Back in March, Hyongtae Pae was arrested for yelling and... Read More
Make Your Vacation Your Vocation: Hawaii is Hiring
Many visitors to Hawaii wish they could stay under the blue skies and warm sun forever. Now, teachers may have a chance to make that a reality and say ... Read More
Hawaii Is Fighting Back Against Illegal Campsite Rentals on Its Pristine Beaches
Hawaii is not happy about the increasing number of people renting off prime "glamping" locations on its pristine beaches on sites like Airbnb. It's... Read More
Drone Video Captures Humpback Whales Playing in the Ocean
Every year, humpback whales return to the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii to mate, give birth, and nurse their young. YouTube user Uheheu captured some... Read More
Hawaii Island Declares State of Emergency Over Dengue Fever
This article originally appeared on time.com. ... Read More
This Slack Key Performance is the Best Date Night On Maui
If you didn’t know that the slack key guitar has its roots in feral cattle, there’s plenty to learn about Hawaii’s melodic, musical gift to the world.... Read More