Hawaii is a diverse combination of many islands, each offering a totally unique experience. We suggest choosing one or two per trip to make sure you can get the most out of your vacation. Learn more about the must-dos at four of the most popular islands.
Island of Hawaii
Known as the Island of Adventure, this is the place for active travelers and nature lovers. Start your day with a freshly brewed cup of 100 percent Kona coffee, because you’re going to need all the energy you can muster to keep up with the excitement this island has to offer – it is known as The Big Island, after all. Begin your tour in Kailua Village, a historic fishing village that once was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty. Catch the sunset from Kailua Pier, which also serves as the finish line for the Ironman World Championship triathlon each year.
A little way north is the Kohala Coast, a resort area with golf courses, great restaurants and Hapuna Beach State Park. Explore ancient history through the Anaehoomalu Petroglyphs Field in the Waikoloa Resort and the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve nearby. Venture inland and uphill to reach the coffee plantations and ranches that form the agricultural background of the island. Take a horseback tour with the paniolos – Hawaiian cowboys – who tend the ranches, and learn about their contributions to Hawaii’s culture.
On Maui, your day should begin before sunrise, because you’ll want to make it to the top of Mt. Haleakala before the sun breaks the horizon. Watch as the light slowly illuminates the mountains, streams and waterfalls below you. Stay a while and hike the trails or take a horseback ride through the national park surrounding this dormant volcano, which is the highest point on Maui. At the foot of the mountain lie the seven sacred pools of Oheo, where you can take a dip and relax while planning out the rest of your trip.
Head north about 10 miles to Hana, a quaint village that retains the true character of Hawaii. It’s the end point of the famed Road to Hana, or in this case, the beginning. Browse the Hasegawa General Store and Hana Ranch Store for unique souvenirs before setting off on an exciting and visually stunning drive. At the other end is Kahului.
If you turn left along Route 37, you’ll reach Kula Botanical Gardens, a lush and relaxing spot in the mountains. Venture back north to Kahului, then west into the mountains to the Iao Valley, which not only is home to the famous Iao Needle, but also plays a role in the history of the islands.
This is where the action is! The most popular and populated of Hawaii’s islands, Oahu is No. 1 for visitor arrivals, and for good reason. Begin your journey in the heart of the island at Waikiki Beach, where the
majority of visitors stay. Here you’ll find plenty of sunbathing and dining opportunities. A short drive west from Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, where a memorial to the fallen sailors stands in the harbor atop the sunken USS Arizona. This somber point of interest is an essential element in any visit to Oahu.
A little further west is the resort area of Ko Olina, with lovely beaches, calm lagoons and a marina. Journey on to North Shore, a haven for surfers and home to some of the world’s best-known surf competitions. Along the way, be sure to stop at the Dole Plantation to learn about the influence of the humble pineapple on Hawaii’s agricultural history. And don’t miss the chance to sample a delicious Dole Whip!
On Kauai, the natural wonders never cease. A good place to start exploring is Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. This gorge is 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, with stunning vistas and a variety of trails for exploring. The area where these mountains meet the sea is known as the Napali Coast, and it’s largely inaccessible by land. However, boat tours are plentiful and can be found in Port Allen in the town of Eleele. The canyons and coastline are also beautiful when viewed from the air on a helicopter tour.
Nearby is the town of Hanapepe, which has numerous shops, eateries and art galleries to browse. A short drive east takes you to the Spouting Horn, which launches water into the air with each crashing wave. Next stop is Poipu Beach, one of the most well-known beaches in the Hawaiian Islands and home to many popular resorts.
Head east and north to Wailua, where you can journey up the river to the famous Fern Grotto, a tranquil spot that surrounds you in natural beauty.
Hawaiian resorts by Pleasant Holidays
From the romantic to the adventurous to the family-friendly, Pleasant Holidays’ Hawaii resorts offer something for every traveler. Call or visit your nearest AAA travel agent to learn more and book your Hawaii getaway today.