Make the Most of Your Hawaiian Getaway
Get a taste of the islands, immerse yourself in the culture and just hang loose in the Aloha State
Beautiful beaches, crystal-clear blue water and palm trees for days – need we say more? The Beach Boys said it best: “Do you wanna go straight to Hawaii?”
First trip to the Aloha State? There is so much to see and do. Instead of limiting yourself to one spot, consider island hopping to make the most of your getaway. The four main islands are a must – Oahu, Kauai, “The Big Island” and Maui. The best part: Each has its own unique charm.
Honolulu, on Oahu, is known for its mix of bustling city life and laidback surf towns. It boasts an impressive assortment of shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.
Waimea Canyon, on Kauai, is a must on your itinerary. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” it provides stunning views of colorful canyons and waterfalls. Helicopter tours are available to take in the beauty.
Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on “The Big Island,” is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about two hours. Astronomers from around the globe flock to its summit, one of the clearest places on the planet to view the night sky. Sunset and stargazing tours are available.
The Road to Hana is, hands down, the top attraction on Maui. The legendary road boasts 52 miles of incredible island views. You can expect an average travel time of two-and-a-half hours.
Inter-island tours are a perfect way to get a taste of all four of the main islands.
Catch a wave
Hawaii is home to some of the most infamous surf spots in the world. If it’s your first time on a board, Waikiki Beach on Oahu and Lahaina Beach on Maui are great beginner spots. And there are countless surf schools to teach you how to ride the waves. Goofy Foot and Maui Waveriders are both great options on Maui. You also have Hawaii Surf Guru, Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt and Kai Sallas’ Pro Surf School to consider on Oahu. Lessons can range from $70 to $1,155, depending on the length of your session, level of experience and how many people you have taking part.
Add a little culture as you plan your activities. Hula dancing is one of the most well-known Hawaiian dance traditions, with each movement telling a story rich in meaning. Sign up for a hula class and live (err, learn) a little. Private and group lessons are available; check out Yelp’s list of some of the best classes in Honolulu.
Luaus are a quintessential thing to do in Hawaii. The traditional parties feature live entertainment and authentic food such as Kalua pig, salmon and poi – a Polynesian paste made from the taro root. And expect plenty of hula and fire dancers, along with drummers and ukulele musicians.
Just hang loose
As you browse your closet, packing for your trip, remember that casual is key. It’s all about T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, board shorts, summer dresses and sandals on the islands. Oh, and don’t forget your shades, swimsuit, cover-up and sunscreen so that you can throw a shaka and just hang loose.
And, once you’ve experienced your first Hawaii trip, you’re bound to want more. So, keep an eye on airline prices and room rates and be sure to start planning your next island getaway at least six months in advance as prices constantly fluctuate. And remember: “Everyone that goes comes back with nothing but raves. That’s in Hawaii!”