Hawaii is known for its spectacular beaches, rainbow-filled skies, year-round sunshine, Mai Tais at sunset, luaus, and the Aloha Spirit that embraces every visitor. Each of the Hawaiian Islands is unique – different landscapes, highlights, and atmosphere. Experts suggest seeing Hawaii 3 ways – by air, land, and sea – to genuinely appreciate these beautiful islands from every angle. There are activities in Hawaii to suit every traveler – surf the waves (or just watching is fun!), swim with the manta rays, watch the sun rise from a mountain top (then go down the mountain by bus or bike!), hike in a rainforest, look over the edge of a canyon, and visit a Royal Palace. Foodies are in paradise with everything from celebrity chef restaurants to food trucks, touring a winery or a distillery, and, of course, spam of every variety!
While Hawaii can be as adventurous as you choose on a scale of 1 to 10, most visitors choose to visit two or more islands during their vacation. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, plus an incredible variety of hotels throughout Hawaii, many catering to all travelers, while some specialize in romance, family, or luxury vacationers. After a conversation about your Vacation Vibe, a Paper Ticket Agent will recommend the itinerary, accommodations, and activities that are best suited for you!
Around the Islands
Hawaii has over 100 islands – though only 6 are regularly visited by tourists. The square mileage of Hawaii is about the same size as New Jersey or Massachusetts but spread across the Pacific Ocean over 1500 miles – roughly the distance from New York City to Austin, Texas! Understanding that distance makes it easy to see how each island can be so different from the other – ranging from the northernmost Kauai, known for its lush tropical interior, to the southernmost “Big Island” of Hawaii, home to Volcanoes National Park and the famous Kona Coffee farms.
- Oahu – “The Gathering Place”: Visitors have been gathering at Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach, dubbed the “Playground of the Pacific” since the 1800s, when Hawaii’s royal family used the area for their own vacation spot. Today, Honolulu is also known for its chic bars and restaurants, luxury shopping, and high-rise hotels. Most visitors to Oahu will take the opportunity to visit the USS Arizona and pay their respects at Pearl Harbor, while those with deep interest in WWII history can spend an entire day touring all the Historic Sites including the USS Bowfin and Aviation Museum. History-lovers can also visit America’s only royal home, Iolani Palace, or any one of the many art museums and galleries across the island. If you’re looking for adventure, spend the morning hiking up Diamondhead, take a jeep adventure on the set of Jurassic Park, or give surfing a try!
- Maui – “The Valley Isle”: Maui itself can be divided into multiple regions, defined by its two mountains – Kahalawai (“holding house of water”) and Haleakala (“house of the sun”). Along the famous golden beaches of West and South Maui, you’ll find spectacular resorts, luxury shopping, a historic whaling village, look-outs for whale watching, plus restaurants and bars of every kind. Have a farm-to-table meal at a ranch or visit a winery in Rustic Upcountry. Watch the sunrise from a moon-like mountaintop. Stop at a roadside farm stand or for a short hike to a waterfall along the scenic Road to Hana.
- Kauai – “The Garden Isle”: Seemingly every shade of green can be seen in Kauai’s tropical rainforests, while drive-up waterfalls cascade down to meandering rivers. The dramatic Waimea – “Grand Canyon of the South Pacific” – is a perfect spot for a stunning photo stop or a day’s hike. Some parts of Kauai are inaccessible by land, so excursions by air or sea are a must-do to for the most spectacular views! Even with all these natural wonders, Kauai is primarily known for its laid-back vibe and exploring the many small towns along the coast is a highlight for many visitors.
- Hawaii – “The Big Island”: Appropriately named, Hawaii is nearly twice as big as all the other Hawaiian Islands combined and a destination where you can visit 8 of the world’s 12 climate zones ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra. Adventurers can see the stars from the top of Maunakea, explore Volcanoes National Park, zipline in the rainforest along the Hamakua Coast, or dive with manta rays. Visitors can discover Hawaiian history at ancient archaeological sites and taste fresh Kona Coffee at the farm. The beaches of Hawaii Island are among the most diverse in the world – from the black sand beaches of Punaluu (also a great spot to see the famous green sea turtles) to the unique green sand of Papakōlea or Kaunaoa, among Conde Nast’s Traveler’s Top 10 Beaches in the USA.
- Molokai – “The Friendly Isle”: Molokai is known for the island’s rural style and predominately native Hawaiian population who love to share their culture and love of the land close. Home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and Kalaupapa National Park plus Papohaku, one of Hawaii’s largest white-sand beaches, Molokai is an adventurer’s paradise!
- Lanai – “The Pineapple Isle”: 9 miles from Maui and former home to the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Lanai is now known for its duality – exclusive home to luxury resorts, fine dining, luxurious spa, and championship-level golf, while also encouraging a 4×4 adventure along the rugged island’s many off-the-beaten-track hidden treasures.
Ready to Start Planning Your Hawaiian Adventure?
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