The archipelago of Hawaii is the most recent U.S. state, which joined the union on August 21, 1959. It is a hugely popular destination for tourists all over the world due to its abundance of sandy beaches, warm tropical climate and exquisite natural beauty. The island chain owes its existence to a volcanic hotspot deep beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Hawaiian islands were formed over millions of years due to the shift of tectonic plates and the occasional eruptions of volcanic magma.
The Island of Hawai'i
The largest island in the chain, Hawai'i is also the youngest and is still growing in size due to the semi-frequent volcanic activity on the island. It is known to most as simply "the big island," so as not to confuse it with the state as a whole. Its vast acreage presents travelers with a wealth of exciting outdoor excursions and activities that are sure to provide a memorable and exciting visit.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
This national park is the home of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and Maunaloa, which erupted in 1984. The park spans more than 330,000 acres and is one of the most popular attractions on the big island. Guests will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the thrilling blasts of lava, hike along volcanic ridges and craters, walk through scalded rainforests or tour the on-site museum. If you find yourself on the grounds of this park, be sure to watch as nearly 650,000 cubic yards of lava as it meets the ocean waters for a truly breathtaking experience.
Manta Ray Diving off the Kona Coast
These coastal waters are home to one of the most interesting aquatic species in the world, the manta ray, which has a wingspan of 20 feet or more. While these massive creatures may look intimidating, they are actually quite friendly and lack the dangerous stingers seen on similar fish like the stingray or eagle ray. They feed on microscopic plankton, which are abundant in these tropical waters, and keep them coming back year after year. Nightly snorkeling opportunities are plentiful, and provide a majestic display of underwater grace and serenity that is a truly mesmerizing experience.
As the next island in the chain next to Hawai'i, Maui or "the magic isle," provides great opportunities for travelers to engage in some excellent activities. This island is often considered by many to be the best in the archipelago, and is bursting with magnificent beaches, natural wonders and fantastic shopping opportunities. You can be sure that once you come to these tropical shores it will be difficult to leave.
Kula Botanical Garden
These tropical gardens draw thousands of tourists every year, and present guests with a chance to gaze upon some of the world's most vivid and beautiful blossoms. This family-operated establishment rests on the slopes of the mighty Haleakala mountain, and offers visitors 8 acres of incredible foliage, picturesque rock formations, cascading waterfalls, a koi pond and an aviary. Be sure to bring your camera to snap some shots of the gorgeous and unique plant specimens that occupy the grounds of this natural sanctuary.
The King Kamehameha Golf Club
This golf course rests peacefully on the slopes of Maui's Mauna Kahalawai mountain, and offers players a chance to take in some of the best views on the island. The 18-hole par-72 course presents a collection of stepped greens, neatly manicured fairways and magnificent vistas. It plays around 7,000 yards from the furthest tees, and is replete with a variety of water hazards, bunkers, dog legs and other challenging obstacles that will test every facet of your game and every club in your bag. Spend a day on the links during your stay on the beautiful shores of Maui.
Known to the locals as "the island of discovery," Kauai presents guests with a range of incredible adventures and leisure opportunities. As one of the oldest islands in the Hawaiian chain, the natural wilderness of the isle is the most developed in all of the archipelago. A number of white sandy beaches also provide numerous options to relax and take in some rays on nearly 50 miles of coastline.
This area makes up the northern coast of the island and presents guests with some of the most beautiful natural features in the Pacific, and possibly the world. Locals claim that these towering peaks and lush foliage nourish the soul, and provide an almost therapeutic experience to all who venture to this part of the island. The Napali Coast is only accessible via hiking trails or by helicopter, and single-night camping is encouraged (with a camping permit) for folks who want to spend the night amid such natural splendor.
Located on Kauai's northern coast, just before the Kalalau Trail, lies the impressive Ke'e Beach. Underwater coral reefs are located just offshore and provide some of the best snorkeling around the island. The white sands and crystal waters also make an incredible spot to soak up some rays and work on that tan. If you're looking to take a swim, rest assured that you'll come to no harm because lifeguards are always on duty at Ke'e Beach.
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