In many ways, Hawaii has always been a slight anomaly within the United States. Only joining the union in 1959, it is one of only two states not to form part of the contiguous USA. In fact it is formed of six major islands, all of which offer something alluring to the discerning tourist. Of course, given the often wild nature of the islands, the sensible traveller is likely to take advantage of car rental US style. The necessity of private transport becomes particularly apparent in some of the more sparsely populated sections of Hawaii! Whichever choice is made, however, President Obama’s home state remains one of the jewels of America’s tourist industry.
A trip around Hawaii can start anywhere, but the northernmost island of Kauai is certainly a good candidate. Known for its awesome natural features, visitors to the island can take a trip down the 20 mile length of Wailua River, either navigating themselves or taking one of the many guided tours. The only way to follow the majesty of that experience would be to visit the Waimea Canyone, known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ due to its 14 mile length and over 1 mile width!
After experiencing such natural beauty, most tourists will want to get back in touch with civilisation, and the island of Oahu is the best place to do just that. As the home of the state’s capital and the majority of its population, Oahu is famous for its excellent surfing conditions, the gorgeous Waikiki beach, and the historical fascination of Pearl Harbour. In order to balance out the relatively modern emphasis of this island, however, visitors may next want to hop over to Molokai, which is known for its connection to native Hawaiian culture. The lush vegetation of Halawa Valley is a must for lovers of wildlife, whilst the gorgeous white sands of Papohaku beach will satisfy even the most ardent sun worshipper.
Following a trip to Molokai, Lanai might appeal to those looking for a true island getaway. Home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the state, Hulopoe Bay has regularly been voted as the best beach in the USA, whilst Lanai City provides a laid back and relaxed dining and shopping experience for those visitors who are still looking for a little bit of retail therapy.
After the peaceful atmosphere of Lanai, it is likely that tourists will be wanting to get back to the bigger islands. Maui certainly won’t disappoint, and will be of particular appeal to anyone with an interesting in surfing. Before hitting the beaches, however, it is well worth hiring a car and driving through the awesome vistas of Haleakala National Park, all the way up to the summit of the dormant volcano which gives the park its name. Whilst there, don’t miss the Leleiwi Overlook, which provides a magnificent view of the crater at almost 9,000 feet up.
To finish a visit to the state, the obvious destination is the Big Island itself. Sometimes known simply as Hawaii, the Big Island is larger than all of the other islands put together and contains a host of sights and attractions to suit all tastes. If one is based in the town of Kaliua-Kona, private transport allows access to the entirety of the island with a minimum of fuss. One thing is certain, whether one is at the spectacular Akaka Falls, or hiking through the Volcanoes National Park to experience the active vulcanism of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, the Big Island never disappoints.