A Travel Guide to Hawaii
Let us tell you some facts and let’s see if you can guess the vacation destination. The only US state made up entirely of islands. The only US state that grows coffee. The only US state with an Asian plurality. The only US state not located in North America. The only US state to have royal palaces. The only US state completely surrounded by water. The only US state that doesn’t have a straight boundary line. The most recent state to join the nation. That’s right, we’re talking about Hawaii.
Best Time to Visit
Hawaii has only two seasons if you can call them that. Summer, from April to November, has an average temperature of 75 degrees, while winter, the rest of the year, drops down to a brisk 68. Sounds pretty perfect, which is why many travelers have made it their top tourist spot. Hawaiian food is a fusion of many influences. Its main dishes include plate lunch, is a dish of rice, macaroni salad, and meat of your choosing marinated in Hawaiian spices, which you can find almost anywhere on the island, loco moco, a hamburger steak and egg over rice, or malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts. Hawaii has an incredible natural beauty with plenty of fun activities from whale watching to windsurfing to dancing the night away at a luau.
The Popular Hawaiian Islands
The “Garden Isle” may be Hawaii’s most beautiful with incredible waterfalls, rainforests, and mountains. It is also the oldest. Waimea Canyon is the known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and is the island’s national park. Nearby is Kokee State Park, which is a great place for hiking. Exquisite views of the Pacific Ocean can be found at Kilauea Lighthouse or on the Napali Coast. Kauai has many historic little towns, home to great art scenes and local culture. On the east side of the island, check out the famous Sleeping Giant, the Nounou Mountain.
Home to Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, Oahu is the most populated island and the main travel hub of Hawaii. It houses Hawaii’s major airport, Honolulu International Airport. Many of the state’s museums, resorts, and tourist attractions are located on Oahu and much of the action takes place in Waikiki with its luscious beaches. Just beyond Waikiki is Leahi, or Diamond Head, a famous 760-foot crater that offers panoramic views of the island. The North Shore of Oahu is one of the most popular places to surf and home of many surfing competitions. Oahu is also where the United States’ sole royal palace, Iolani Palace, is located. The Pearl Harbor national historic monument is located on Oahu.
A quaint, small island, steeped in the past (it has no traffic lights), Molokai is great for a break from the chaos of everyday life. Explore Kalaupapa National Park or the Halawa Valley. Sunbathe on the white sand of Papohaku Beach. Kaunakakai is the main town on Molokai, home to historic shops and restaurants. You can see local fishermen making their catch of the day. In Kaunakakai, you can go to Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove to see the plantation that was first started in the 1860s. At Kamoka Reserve, you can see 250 plants unique to Hawaii.
The smallest of Hawaii's major islands, Lanai to is a getaway from civilization. Lanai was for a long time the world’s greatest grower and exporter of pineapples. The regions of Lanai are separated into North, South, and Central. In the North, top tourist spots include Kaiolohia, or Shipwreck Island, off the beaten path, which is named for what you can find there and Keahiakawelo, or the Garden of the gods, a mysterious rock garden. The South is home to the island’s main commercial seaport, Kaumalapau Harbor, Hulopoe Bay, and Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock.
Perhaps Hawaii’s most favored island for tourists, Maui is the second largest but not densely populated. Haleakala National Park, home to the dormant volcano of the same name, is a popular visiting spot. Swim in freshwater pools in Oheo. Drive the rugged coastline to Hana. The famous landmark Iao Needle is located in Iao Valley State Park. There is an endless supply of gorgeous beaches on Maui.
Both the youngest and the largest of the islands of Hawaii, Hawaii’s Big Island is home to two of the state’s national parks, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea, and Nahuku, or Thurston Lava Tube, and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, a former refuge for lawbreakers. Punaluu Beach is known for its black sand. The Hamakua Coast is home to rainforests, botanical gardens, and Akaka Falls, and Waipio Valley Lookout. The island has many petroglyphs or lava rock carvings. Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the US.