Hawaii Destination Overview
You'll find everything you're looking for in a vacation when you visit Hawaii. With most of the islands offering a variety of climates, you can see the snowy peaks of mountains on the Big Island to the shimmering of the white sand in places like Waikiki.
The Big Island is home to Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes. The park was founded in 1916 and boasts 333,000 acres that go from the beaches below to the top of Maunaloa Mountain. Adventurers, lace up your boots and hike 150 miles of volcanic craters, rainforests, deserts and even venture through a walk-in lava tube. Be on the look out for Petroglyphs - carvings etched into the lava rock by the natives who inhabited Hawaii hundreds of years ago.
Go on the water adventure of your dreams and swim with manta rays in Kona. A great way to see these marine creatures that have wingspans of up to 20 feet is on a night boat tour. Lights are set up on the ocean floor to highlight the plankton on which the manta rays feed, attracting them from all over the immediate area.
Enjoy the rustic side of Hawaii when you visit Paniolo Country in Waimea. Among the rolling hills you'll spot cattle, ranches and even cowboys. Head over to Kahua Ranch to learn more about the Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) lifestyle before heading up Kohala Mountain Road for breathtaking views of the Hamakua Coast.
The Big Island is the golf capital of Hawaii. There are several courses on the island including Big Island Country Club, Hualalai Golf Club and Makalei Golf Club in Kona, Mauna Lani Resort, Waikoloa Village Golf Club and Waikolo Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast and Hilo Municipal Golf Course and Naniloa Country Club in Hilo.
Hana is considered to be one of the last unspoiled spots in Hawaii. Its a 52-mile journey from Kahului to Hana and along the way you'll see waterfalls, rainforests and seascapes. Make sure you visit Waianapanapa State Park in Hana where you’ll find a great snorkeling spot at the black sand beach. Plan a trip to the Kaleakala National Park in Kipahulu. It’s home to lush Hawaiian vegetation and the Pipiwai Trail will lead you to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
Lahaina is an historic whaling village that boasts art galleries, shops and restaurants. If you’re looking to eat some fresh island fish, try Molokini Bar and Grille. The menu features steaks and daily specials as well as a Sunday Japanese buffet.
For a memory that will last a lifetime, catch a sunrise or sunset in Halekala. Haleakala Crater Road will take you to the top of the summit, which is 9,740 feet above sea level.
Waikiki is one of the most popular spots on the island of Oahu and features several attractions that will suit the whole family. Be sure to visit the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo to see amazing animals, from lions and tigers to sea creatures such as sharks and dolphins. The Waikiki Historical Trail boasts 23 historic sites including the Duke Kahanamoku statue, Duke's Canoe Club and King's Village, a shopping center and the former residence of King Kalakaua.
The world-famous beaches in Waikiki are perfect for swimmers, surfers and sunbathers alike. Kuhio Beach is the most popular in Waikiki and offers views of the Pacific Ocean and Waikiki shoreline from the Kapahulu Pier. If the kids are coming along, take them to the Rock Wall where you'll find that the beach is sheltered and perfect for the smallest of swimmers.
Surfers will love the North Shore where they will find more than 7 miles of beaches. During the winter months, visitors may be lucky enough to attend a surfing competition like the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Before you leave Oahu, be sure to visit historic Pearl Harbor. It's the site of the famous Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The memorial is on top of the USS Arizona and allows visitors to see the final resting spot for the crew members who went down with their ship.