The allure of the Hawaiian Islands has been enchanting visitors for years. This small chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean pack quite a punch. Hawaii has sandy, golden beaches and tropical jungles, volcanoes and seaside cliffs, a delectable offering of international cuisine, and activities for all ages and preferences.
Before you throw your bathing suit into a suitcase and jump on a plane, here are 7 tips to make your Hawaiian adventure smooth, fun, and relaxing.
When To Go
The good news is that the climate in Hawaii is great all year-round (more on that below), so if school and work schedules don’t limit your choice of dates, then your bank account might. Price-wise, the best time to visit Hawaii is anytime between spring and fall. Prices and crowds rise just before Christmas and stay that way for most of the winter, with many tourists eager to escape the harsh, continental winters.
Which Island(s) To Visit
There are 6 inhabited islands in the Hawaiian chain with unrestricted access, and there is an island for everyone, ranging from the urban amenities of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach to the sleepy resorts on Maui. Here is a quick rundown:
Hawai’i: The Big Island is famous for its black sand beaches and active volcanoes. Despite being the state’s largest landmass, it has a relatively small population. There is a great selection of resorts and plenty of activities.
Maui: The Valley Isle offers some of the state’s nicest beaches, in a scenic but quiet setting, and world-class resorts. Don’t miss the breathtaking Road to Hana highway.
O’ahu: Hosting most of the state’s population and its capital and biggest city in Honolulu, the Gathering Place is the island for all the big city amenities and famous Waikiki Beach. Don’t miss a drive to the North Shore, one of the premier surfing destinations in the world.
Kaua’i: The Garden Isle is quieter and less crowded, but offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of Hawaii on its Na Pali Coast and the Waimea Canyon.
Lanai’i: The Pineapple Isle still retains hints of its pineapple plantation past. Tourism is on the rise, with a handful of resorts now catering to clientele seeking the quiet side of Hawaii, but amenities are sparse.
Moloka’i: The Friendly Isle is where travelers go for an off the grid experience. This is the least populated of the 6 islands. What this islands lacks in amenities it makes up for with its seaside cliffs and the state’s longest reef.
The climate in Hawaii is great throughout the year. Even in the rainier months of winter, the sunshine never stays hidden for long. The temperature is a moderate 70-80 degrees in the winter, rising into the mid-80’s for summer. That is as varied as things get.
Hawaiian cuisine consists of the islands’ famous BBQ, fresh seafood, pineapple, sushi and poke, and even spam. The 3 more populated islands also offer a diverse range of international dining options.
Visitors to Hawaii are never lacking for something to do. Tourists can snorkel above exotic reefs, hike up dormant volcanoes, search for jungle waterfalls, surf along the beautiful beaches, or dance and dine the night away at a luau. If history is your thing, Hawaii has that too; from the only inhabited royal palace in the U.S. to the awe-inspiring relics of the tragic attack on Pearl Harbor.
There are a number of local airlines and boating companies to ferry tourists between the islands. For travelers who are staying put, it’s fun and very affordable to rent a jeep or a convertible and explore the islands by car.
The choices for accommodation are endless. From the bustling resorts on Waikiki Beach, to private home rentals on one of the quieter islands, or a 5-star resort on Maui, there are options for any budget and any traveler. So, start researching and plan the trip. The flowers are always blooming and the sun never disappears for long.