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Hawaii Travel Guide

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Na Pali Coast © Jeff Kubina

Hawaii Travel Guide

Hawaii truly is a dream destination, capturing the imagination of all its visitors. With its breath-taking natural beauty and rich history, the six islands of Hawaii keep visitors awed and constantly intrigued. With so much to see and do in this magical coastal getaway, Hawaii will ensure a fulfilling and memorable adventure.

A large part of Hawaii's appeal springs from its unique culture - it is certainly an American state like no other. With elaborate resorts, pristine beaches and wonderful golf facilities enticing glamorous travellers, and quaint local towns and historical sites to occupy the culturally inclined, it truly is a space offering the best of relaxation, history and culture, and unlike many tropical resort retreats it has a distinct character beyond the beauty which gives it a profound sense of place.

For many, visiting Hawaii is all about the island beach experience and if this is what you are after, then the beaches of Oahu are probably the place to start. Synonymous with surf, sand and sun, Oahu is a place any tourist should explore. Home to almost three-quarters of the state's residents as well as the state capital Honolulu, Oahu promises many attractions. The cosmopolitan city of Honolulu is a bustling, fun destination with many lively restaurants to choose from, exciting nightlife and an interesting art community.

The other popular regions are Maui, Molokai and Kauai. The islands all boast incredible geography offering visitors many diverse recreational activities to choose from including swimming, snowboarding, hiking the rainforests and also history and learning at the many historical sites and museums.

Best time to visit Hawaii

Hawaii's climate tends to be fairly consistent with little temperature variation, making it a destination that can for the most part be enjoyed any time of year. There are two seasons, neither of which is particularly extreme. Summer (May to October) has comfortable warm temperatures and winter (November to April) has temperatures that are never below a cool 65°F (18°C). Leeward, the western and southern sides of all the islands are usually warmer and less humid while the windward, or northern and eastern sides of the islands are cooler and wetter, but generally any time of year is a good time to venture to any one of Hawaii's islands. Read more on Hawaii's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Hawaii

-See more than 3,500 plants and animals at one of the US' oldest aquariums, the Waikiki Aquarium.

-Explore the 19th-century exhibits and educational displays at the Whalers Village Museum in Maui.

-Admire the beauty of Hilo, which has been dubbed 'Hawaii's forgotten city.'

-Witness first-hand oral testimonies of tsunami survivors at the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

What to do in Hawaii

-Pick up a board and give surfing at Oahu's North Shore a go!

-Gain holistic insight into the culture of the different Polynesian communities at the Polynesian Cultural Centre.

-Experience a colourful and eclectic blend of Southeast Asian cultures at Honolulu's Chinatown.

-Peer down into the crater of the world's largest dormant volcano at the Haleakala National Park.

Getting to Hawaii

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii's major airport which acts as the main point of entry for the majority of Hawaii's visitors. There are direct flights from the US mainland to Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island but you may need to connect through Oahu to get to neighbouring islands including Lanai and Molokai. A flight from London takes anywhere from 34 to 43 hours depending on layover times. Get more information on Hawaii Airports.

Read

Hawaii by James Michener, Leaves From A Glass House by Don Blanding, and Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury.

Watch

Hawaii (1966), The Descendants (2011), Blue Hawaii (1961), and Princess Kaiulani (2009).

Drink

Lava Lava cocktail, a Hawaiian Margarita and a Haupia are all sought after drinks when in Hawaii.

Eat

Kalua pork, chicken long rice, squid luau, poi, laulau, and lomi lomi salmon - all authentic Hawaiian dishes.

What to buy

World renowned Kona Coffee, a Hawaiian lei and shirt and a piece of Hawaiian heirloom jewellery inspired by Hawaii's tropical flora.

What to pack

Plenty of sunscreen, a swimming costume and a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

What's on in Hawaii?

Canoe racing is embedded in the culture of Hawaii and you'll find it at the Moloka'i Hoe Canoe Race held in October. Also not to be missed are the Aloha Festivals, celebrated on six islands in Hawaii in September. There's lots going on in Hawaii! More information on Hawaii Events.

Did you know?

-Hawaii is the only US state with a tropical rainforest.

-From east to west, Hawaii is the second widest state in the United States (behind Alaska) measuring 1,523 miles (2,451km)

-The word Hawaii is from the Proto-Polynesian hawaiki meaning 'place of the gods' or 'homeland'.

A final word

From the beautiful sandy beaches of the incredible Hawaiian islands to the awe-inspiring volcanoes and rainforests, Hawaii will certainly leave no visitor disappointed. It truly is a captivating tropical getaway.

Become our Hawaii Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Hawaii travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Hawaii or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.