Daytime surfing, night-time luaus, grass skirts and spit roasts are the most common things we think of when imagining Hawaii! But, like any exotic destination, Hawaii is much more than its conventional experiences. A celebrated blend of American and Polynesian cultures, a North America holiday in Hawaii is perfect for singles, couples and families alike and it’s only one, quick flight across the Pacific Ocean.
Most Hawaii holidays will begin in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. A big city with a laid-back feel, Honolulu is a great place to shop, eat, drink and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. During the day, hire a car and drive around the island – the coast road is amazing, and you’ll get to see famous beaches like Waikiki, Sunset Beach, Turtle Bay and Ehukai Beach. If you’re keen on some great views, hike to the top of Diamond Head for some sweeping sights of Honolulu and its surrounds.
‘The Big Island’ of Hawai’i is much more relaxed than Oahu, and home to some incredible natural scenery and wilderness. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park should be at the top of every travellers ‘what to do in Hawaii’ list and a helicopter ride over the craters and lava flows (which flow into the sea) is an unforgettable experience. Scuba diving with manta rays can also be organised from Kona, on Hawaii’s east coast.
The second largest and second most populated island in Hawaii, Maui is a common destination with lots of options for those after a memorable Hawaii holiday. Tourists can drive or tour the Hāna Highway along the east coast of the island, passing black sand beaches and graceful waterfalls. Snorkelling and scuba diving off Maui in its shallower waters is also a popular activity and you’ll come face to face with abundant sea life, which can include sharks, dolphins and manta rays. If you’re visiting in winter, be sure to take a boat cruise from Lahaina – you might be lucky enough to see Hawaii’s famous humpback whales!
Sometimes known as the Garden Island, Kauai is famous for its steep, green mountains that drop into the surrounding sea. These magnificent mountains are home to many canyons, waterfalls and lush green rainforests and make for excellent exploring. If you do incorporate Kauai into your Hawaii holiday, include time to hike a section of the Kalalau Trail – the standard day hike will take you past Hanakapi'ai and Kalalau beaches. A local luau on Kauai is also a great way to experience the local culture of the Hawaiian people, away from the larger, modernised cities.
Molokai is home to some of the highest ocean cliffs in the world and is a hot spot for sustainable, eco-tourism featuring remarkable beaches and untouched terrains. The National Historical Park, Halawa Valley and the North Shore Pali are all “must-sees” while in Molokai. Mule rides, pineapple and mango sampling, fishing and whale watching are common here as well.
Complete your Hawaii holiday with a relaxing stay on Lanai. Once home to the world’s largest pineapple plantation, this island features only two resorts, no traffic lights, no shopping malls and is perfect for those looking for solitude or romance. Fishing, swimming, four-wheel driving and visiting the prehistoric village of Kaunolu should definitely be on your agenda.
Decided on your favourite Hawaiian island yet? A Travellers Choice agent can help tailor your Hawaii holiday package