One could say Hawai'i is the most exotic destination in the United States, with a unique cultural and geographic environment that exists nowhere else on Earth. Each island has its own cultural identity and gives the visitor a different experience, whether you want to be enchanted by Kaua‘i’s lush, natural beauty, learn to surf at Waikīkī Beach on O‘ahu, explore an artist community in the town of Pā‘ia on Maui or hike to a secluded waterfall on Hawai‘i’s Big Island.
You’ll know you’re here when...
You are greeted with the word ‘aloha’ (hello), a warm smile and a fragrant lei (or garland). And you’ll also know you’re here when you hear people giving directions using the words ‘ma kai’ (towards the ocean) or ‘ma uka’ (towards the mountain).
You might be surprised by...
- Snow on the peaks of Haleakala on Maui or Mauna Kea on Hawai‘i Island
- Working cattle ranches and rodeos with paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys)
- The only royal palace on U.S. soil, ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu.
Bishop Museum in Honolulu is Hawai‘i’s largest museum and is dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Originally designed to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artefacts and royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of King Kamehameha I, the museum is now the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific.
Your child will always remember...
Stringing a floral lei; catching a wave in the place where surfing was invented; learning to dance hula; seeing a mother humpback whale escort her baby.
Classic road trip
With 620 bends and 59 bridges, Maui’s scenic road to Hāna leads through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. Or go for a day trip along one of the heritage corridors on the Hāmākua coast of Hawai‘i’s Big Island. It begins in Hilo and ends at the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Explore old plantation towns, see amazing waterfalls and discover scenic detours.
Don’t overlook this...
Rub shoulders with the local art-loving, hipster community during First Fridays in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, or in Wailuku Town on Maui.
Ala Moana Center is one of America’s largest outdoor malls, with 290 stores. And for fresh fruit, food and flowers, check out the farmers’ markets found throughout the islands.
Hawai‘i has it all—surfing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, ziplining, swimming with manta rays or dolphins, hiking through rainforests and skydiving. Have you ever gone mountain tubing down old plantation ditches? You’ve got to try it when you’re on Kaua‘i or Hawai‘i’s Big Island!
Just want to indulge?
Consider a spa retreat using local treatments such as the Hawaiian traditional massage of lomilomi or Kona coffee and chocolate-macadamia body scrubs. You can even get a massage on the beach!
For your first visit...
- ‘Talk story’ with local residents to experience the true meaning of aloha.
- Visit iconic sites such as Pearl Harbor, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park and Waimea Canyon State Park.
- Take part in ‘only-in Hawai'i' experiences such as a lu‘au dinner and show, a hula dancing lesson and a live performance of kī hō‘alu (slack key guitar).