The title of this article may be misleading because really, do you need FIVE reasons to visit Hawaii? There might just be one ~ because it’s Hawaii! However, to further entice visitors to her extraordinary shores and verdant rain forests, let us give you even more fuel to plan a Hawaiian vacation. This chain of islands set six hours from the West Coast has been a travel favorite for decades. The islands are diverse enough to add interest and with short hop flights between them, it is simple to visit several over the course of one holiday.
Hawaii is the 50th state inducted into the union, as recently as 1959 and is the only state not located in the Americas, but rather Oceania. There are actually hundreds of islands in this Hawaiian archipelago, but for a visitor’s perspective, there are eight main islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii (Kona). Fast fact~ Hawaii State is the 8th smallest and 11th least populated of the fifty US states.
Here is our take on the top 6 reasons to plan a Hawaiian vacation and check out the many wonders of this tropical paradise for yourself.
1. Beautiful Beaches
Enough said. The beaches of Hawaii are world-renowned and, for newbies, stunning in their diversity. Colors ranging from pink to gold to pale white to black abound with each island offering up its unique choices. Three mile beach on Molokai can keep you occupied for days, the famous surf breaks of the North Shore of Oahu draw crowds on a daily basis, while the black sand beaches of Kona create fascinating contrast to the turquoise water.
For a bit of movie magic, head to the following locations:
- Halona Beach Cove on Oahu where From Here to Eternity famous beach scene was filmed
- Shipwrecks Beach on Kauai where Harrison Ford and Anne Heche jumped off the cliff into the ocean in Six Days Seven Nights
- The Na Pali Coast on Kauai where scenes from both Jurassic Park and King Kong were filmed
Watching sunset at the beautiful beaches of Hawaii is something you won’t want to miss. Photographers will love the array of colors the shy creates above this tropical paradise.
2. Hawaiian Cuisine
Your Hawaiian vacation wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the local food. The food of the islands is loved by locals and guests alike. There is, of course, the traditional luau centering on pit roasted Kahlua pig, but there are many other local favorites to check out while there, including:
- Loco moco
- Manapua – a delicious sweet Hawaiian bun filled with pork
- Spam musubi, a rice ball covered with a slab of grilled Spam, glazed with some soy sauce and sugar, and wrapped in seaweed before being lightly caramelized
- Maui Style potato chips
And don’t forget about dessert! Depending on which island you’re on, try Kauai Kookie or Honolulu Cookie Company. If you’re a beer drinker, you’ll want to try out some of Hawaii’s breweries, including Maui Brewing Co and Kauai Beer Company.
3. Waimea Canyon
The remote beauty of Waimea Canyon, located on the west side of picturesque Kauai, is a geographical marvel. Nearly 13 miles long, 1 ½ miles wide and 2750 feet deep, the walls of the canyon delight with an amazing array of colors ranging from red to green to brown to orange. Hiking the canyon is a must do for visitors to the islands, and for the true adventurer hike the challenging Kukui Trail that drops steeply into the canyon to bring you to Wilwili campground, scenically placed next to the Waimea River. Camping perfection attained. For those who can’t or don’t wish to hike, you can still see this Kauai beauty by parking at the scenic outlook.
The big island of Hawaii, generally referred to as Kona, features one of Hawaii’s most distinct attractions in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Covering over 333,000 acres, this amazing national park cover seven distinct ecosystems. The absolutely stunning 11-mile Crater Rim Drive circles the summit of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Much of the time it is possible to see active lava flows, and a trip here should be on everyone’s bucket list. On any given day it is possible to spend countless hours wandering the “hills” of cooled lava and a true highlight is to walk through the 500-year-old Thurston Lava Tube, a natural tunnel that once had red-hot lava cursing through it.
5. ABC Stores
You may be questioning this. Really, a visit to a store is enough of a reason for a Hawaiian vacation? What first timers may not realize is what an iconic image of Hawaii the ABC Stores represent. At first glance they seem like merely a larger version of a 7-Eleven or similar offering, and yet as soon as you step inside you will understand the vast array of items for sale! Did you forget an important toiletry? ABC stores have you covered. If you need a new t-shirt, swim trunks, or souvenirs to bring home you are all set. One very popular section is the food section loaded with local specialties like Macadamia nuts and Kona coffee and Da Dips mixes, some of the most delicious dip mixes around. Hula skirts, Ukulele’s or Puka shells can all be yours. ABC stores are also a great stop to pick up some souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
6. Outdoor Activities
If you work indoors all day, a vacation to Hawaii is just the thing you need. The outdoor activities on the Hawaiian islands are endless. Here is a short list of some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy on your Hawaiian vacation:
- Kayaking down a river
- Zip-lining through some of the greenest places
- Stand-up Paddle Boarding
- Helicopter tours
- Horseback riding
- Catamaran tours
- Tubing adventures
Plan Your Hawaiian Vacation Today
Hawaii is a true paradise. The opportunity for adventure is nearly unlimited with options to hike the remote Na Pali coastline and explore lush rainforests on the wettest island of Kauai. Maui is most often hailed for the beaches and watersports featuring amazing snorkeling just off shore along with more advanced diving and sailing tours. Kona offers the least vegetation but a true highlight of any trip to Hawaii with her active volcano and stunning black sand beaches. Molokai is quiet and not for a party crowd, but those in the know will flock to her shores to search for “old Hawaii”. Lanai offers a true getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life with not a single stop light on the entire island, but make sure to enjoy Hulopoe Bay, one of America’s best beaches. Oahu is for everyone with a choice of cityscapes and nightlife or the romance of simply watching the day pass by.
Niihau and Kahoolawe will most likely not be on your radar, as Niihau is privately owned and Kahoolawe uninhabited, but amazing things happen in paradise and you may just meet someone who will offer to take you for a short visit.
Whichever island of Hawaii you choose, know that you will experience the pineapple hospitality that this state has become known for. To further enhance your Hawaiian vacation, consider chartering a private jet to whisk you away to one, or several, different islands for the trip of a lifetime.