Hawaii October 2017

Kauai, Hawaii

The Garden Isle

Kauai top attractions: Kilauea Point Lighthouse, Hanalei, Hanapepe, Napali, Opaekaa Falls, Poipu Beach, Spouting Horn, Wailau Falls (Elvis Presley Blue Hawaii), Wailua River & Waimea Canyon.

Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Isle,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination.

Kauai Adventures

The adventure begins the moment the plane lands. From boating along the sea cliffs of the Napali Coast to kayaking down the Wailua River toward the Coconut Coast, you’ll find they’ll be no shortage of stories to tell from your trip to Kauai. Even the golf courses here seem more intense, where the unique landscape can make your course hazards even more challenging.

The island also offers other unique Kauai activities, such as mountain tubing in the miles of water flumes of Lihue, ziplining above Kauai’s lush rainforests, off-road exploring by 4x4 or ATV on Kauai’s South Shore, horseback riding in the pastures of Princeville, or hiking the trails of Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon. Whatever you choose to do, get ready for full days of adventure on Kauai. You’ll have plenty of time to sleep on the plane ride home.

Kauai Arts & Culture

When you take a walking tour of Hawaiian culture on Kauai, you’ll feel the spirit of aloha in the air. Hawaii’s Island of Discovery is proud of being the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and a sense of pride is infused in Kauai’s history as well as in the beauty of its hula.

You can learn about the history and culture of Kauai by visiting the Kauai Museum or Grove Farm Museum in Lihue, the Waioli Mission House in Hanalei Town and the Kokee Natural History Museum on the West Side. Visit Kauai small towns like Hanapepe, Koloa, and Waimea to get a taste of local flavor and culture. Kauai’s many festivals (www.kauaifestivals.com) and events give you a chance to see the island from a local’s perspective. Explore beyond Kauai’s luxurious resorts to experience the true culture of Kauai.

Kauai Ecotourism

An important value for Native Hawaiians and Hawaii locals is the idea of “malama aina” or to care for the land. On Kauai there are a variety of activities visitors can explore to see how Native Hawaiian traditions continue to be used to work the land and how locals today are keeping Hawaii more sustainable for generations to come.

Take farm tour in the beautiful green fields of Hanalei Town and see how taro (“kalo” in Hawaiian), an important Hawaiian root starch, is cultivated. The South Shore of Kauai is also home to Kauai Coffee, a working coffee plantation. Some of Hawaii’s largest botanical gardens can also be found on Kauai. The National Tropical Botanical Garden has three sites on the Garden Isle: Allerton Garden and McBryde Garden just west of Koloa, and Limahuli Garden on the North Shore.

Learning about animal conservation is also important on Kauai. You can often see endangered Hawaiian monk seals on Poipu Beach. There are only about 1,200 Hawaiian monk seals remaining and many swim in the waters of Kauai. The law requires that you give these endangered animals plenty of space on land and sea. And during winter, from December through May, you can go on a whale watching tour to learn about humpback whales and their annual visit back to Hawaii’s warm waters.

Kauai Golf

Find the golf course of your dreams on Kauai. From Princeville to Poipu, Kauai is home to some of the world's best golf. Visitors can play beautiful resort courses or affordable independent courses, where the rough is lined with lava rocks while mountain ranges and seascapes frame the greens.

There are 10 golf courses at seven venues on Kauai. Princeville on the North Shore offers two challenging options with an 18-hole and a 27-hole course. PGA legend Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. also designed signature courses in this resort area. You may even see some PGA pros out on the greens during on your visit. After all, even they dream about Kauai, too.

Kauai Relaxation

Lose yourself to the gentle trade winds. Listen to your thoughts as the native red iiwi (Hawaiian honeycreeper) sings its song. Inhale deeply and smell the fragrant flowers all around you. In Kauai’s atmosphere of pure tranquility, you can take pleasure in life’s simplicities.

From hiking the trail of Nounou (Sleeping Giant) to strolling at sunset along Poipu Beach, you’ll sense a spirituality that exudes from this magical island. Several botanical gardens provide excellent spots for reflection. Some of the scenic views atop Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast can be especially therapeutic. And the spas of Kauai offer ample opportunities for wellness and rejuvenation. Go ahead and lose yourself to Kauai’s beauty. You’ll be amazed at what you may find.

Maui, Hawaii

The Valley Isle

Maui Top attractions: Hana & the drive to it, Haleakala National Park, Iao Valley state park, Kaanapali beach, Lahaina, Makawao, Sunrise at the creator. I would spend the full day on the drive to Hana. It has a number of twist and turns and views to stop for. It is more about the journey than it is getting there. Remember to head back in enough time to be back at the hotel before sunset.

Stand above a sea of clouds high atop Haleakala. Watch a 45-foot whale breach off the coast of Lahaina. Lose count of the waterfalls along the road as you maneuver the hairpin turns of the Hana highway. One visit and it’s easy to see why Maui is called “The Valley Isle.”

The second largest Hawaiian island has a smaller population than you’d expect, making Maui popular with visitors who are looking for sophisticated diversions and amenities in the small towns and airy resorts spread throughout the island.

Maui Adventures

On Maui, you’ll have plenty of chances to try an array of outdoor adventures you’ve never experienced before. Snorkelers will be rewarded with unforgettable sights in Molokini ’s luminous waters. See your first humpback spout as you whale-watch from Kaanapali Beach. Or feel the rush of your first surf lesson off the shores of historic Lahaina.

On land, horseback ride atop Haleakala , Maui’s highest peak. You can even take your first helicopter ride to see breathtaking views of Maui’s pristine valleys and waterfalls.

Maui Arts & Culture

From the forces of King Kamehameha defeating King Kahekili in Iao Valley to the rowdy whalers of 19th century Lahaina, this island’s intangible mystique has been drawing visitors throughout history.

To step back in Maui’s past, visit the Whalers Village Museum for an historic account of the whaling industry, discover Maui’s agricultural past at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum or follow the Lahaina Historic Trail to explore this thriving seaport’s heritage.

Today, Maui reveals its cultural past through a thriving arts scene infused with the life-embracing spirit of aloha. From the events and exhibitions at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center to Art Night every Friday in Lahaina, Maui continues to pay homage to its rich history. Local artists and artisans are also expanding their influence by creating a wide range of products, from hip fashion to traditional and contemporary crafts.

Maui Ecotourism

You don’t need to be an environmentalist to appreciate the value of leaving a small footprint on the places you visit. In fact, you’d be in line with the Native Hawaiian concept of “malama aina” or caring for the land.

On Maui, respect for the land is an integral a part of our local lifestyle, whether it’s dining on sustainable foods, preserving native plants and their many uses, or simply appreciating the gift that is our natural environment.

Take a drive to Upcountry Maui and you’ll find yourself in Kula strolling among sweet fields of lavender and vibrant protea. Or walk back in time through gardens of indigenous plants at the Kula Botanical Garden. Continue to the 30,000-foot summit of Haleakala and you just might meet our state bird, the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose), or stumble across a Haleakala silversword, a rare and beautiful succulent that shimmers in the early light.

At the Iao Needle State Park in Central Maui, the mist descends upon the “needle” giving the historical site an almost mystical feeling, while the adjacent Nature Center offers an easy rainforest hike and a chance to learn about life in ancient Hawaii.

And at the heart, or should we stay the stomach, of Maui’s sustainability efforts are the many island farms and ranches that produce the farm-to-table ingredients that grace our Hawaii Regional Cuisine. From chocolate to goat cheese to mountain-grown coffee, it’s a gourmet’s delight.

Where do you start? Maui offers many farm tours, as well as beaches, whale-watching and other activities. Or simply, take the road less traveled and see what you find.

Maui Relaxation

Turn off your cell phone. Step off the plane and trade phone rings for the sound of waterfalls at the Pools of Oheo. Forget to check your e-mail. You’ve got better things to do, like tanning on one of Maui’s heavenly beaches, exploring Maui’s renowned resorts or indulging in Maui’s finest cuisine.

Unplug the alarm clock. Wake instead to the warm sunshine and fresh air of another Maui morning. Spend the day browsing the shops of Lahaina or perusing the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Take a relaxing drive through Upcountry Maui or drive a golf cart on one of Maui’s pristine golf courses.

A few days on Maui and stress becomes a distant memory. Instead, you’ll experience moments of pure relaxation that you won’t soon forget.

Maui Golf

You’ll want to frame your scorecard, no matter what you shoot. Golf on Maui is that memorable. Choose from 14 courses (several of which are ranked at or near the top of the “world’s best” lists) designed by noted course architects and golfing luminaries such as Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw. The PGA TOUR’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions is held here each year, so you may even see a pro in the clubhouse. You’ll see why it’s difficult to imagine a more dramatic setting for these 18-hole masterpieces, with fairways abutting ancient lava flows, tees surrounded by palm groves, and greens arched by rainbows formed in the ocean mist. From Kapalua to Wailea, the views are intoxicating. But stay focused on your game. You’ll want to show off that Maui scorecard when you return home.

The Big Island, Hawaii, Hawaii

Hawaii Island Top attractions: Volcanoes National Park, Historic Kailua Village (Kona), Hilo, Akaka Falls State Park, Hamakua Heritage corridor, Highways. Ok if you did not get it Saturday when we spoke I love Volcanoes so my top pick would be the Volcano. You can see it 3 ways. Air, Lane and Sea your choice. Don't forget that the Big Island also is the home to Kona Coffee!

About Hawaii Island

It’s easy to feel awed on Hawaii Island. From the molten magma flowing from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the snow-capped heights of Maunakea; from the green rainforests of the Hamakua Coast to the jet-black sands of Punaluu Beach; Hawaii Island is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature.

To avoid confusion with the name of the entire state, the Island of Hawaii is often called the “Big Island,” and what an appropriate name it is. Nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, its sheer size can be inspiring. You can travel through ten* of the world’s 14* different climate zones on Hawaii ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa.

Hawaii Island Adventures

Is that sound you hear the helicopter or the beating of your heart? As you hover above Kilauea Volcano’s steaming Puu Oo vent it’s hard to tell. Taking a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the rest of the island’s hidden waterfalls, lush valleys and balmy beaches is just the beginning of an exhilarating Hawaii Island expedition.

With surroundings ranging from lava-strewn deserts to tropical plantations and gardens, you can engage in every imaginable outdoor activity here. Snorkel or scuba with manta rays off the Kona Coast. Horseback ride in the grassy plains of paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country in Waimea. Discover the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the 80-foot Waianuenue, also known as Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park. Hike along the 150 miles of volcanic desert and tropical trails at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Island Arts & Culture

The Merrie Monarch Festival (follows Easter Sunday in March - April) is the world’s premier hula event held in Hilo. This weeklong celebration of the native art of the hula happens every Easter with halau (hula schools) from every island and the mainland practicing year-round for the event. This moving expression of music, dance and storytelling is part of how the people of Hawaii Island continue to perpetuate and interpret the Hawaiian culture and its uniquely affirmative spirit of aloha.

Hilo town is also home to an array of museums, galleries, and performance venues where you can admire the work of local painters, sculptors, musicians, storytellers, and crafts people.

The Merrie Monarch Festival is just one example of how the people of Hawaii Island locals live comfortably in the present but with great respect for the past. The mana (spiritual power) is still strong at important historical places like Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park and Puukohola Heiau Historic Site. Today, with an active volcano still shaping the land at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the people of Hawaii Island continue to forge their own history.

Hawaii Island Ecotourism

Hawaii Island and all the Hawaiian Islands are complex but fragile ecosystems that are easily affected by outside influences. This is partly why, in today’s small jet-connected world, Hawaii has the highest number of endangered and threatened native plant and animal species of any place on the planet. Though the Hawaiian Islands are some of the most remote in the world, they are by no means isolated, hosting more than seven million visitors each year--nearly seven times more than the resident population.

The model for sustainability in Hawaii was already in place and practiced here for more than a millennium by Native Hawaiians. Their fishing, farming, planting, aquaculture and methods of food sustainability and use of ahupuaa (contiguous land divisions which extended from the uplands to the sea) are widely regarded as the most efficient in the Pacific.

You can learn about these ancient methods at museums and historic places like Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, and see modern practices of sustainability in the efforts of Hawaii Regional Cuisine as well as the ranches of Waimea, the coffee farms of Kona and Holualoa, as well as the botanical gardens and farmers’ markets located throughout the island.

Relaxation on Hawaii, the Big Island

Hawaii Island Relaxation

Where else can you take a leisurely stroll on an active volcano? Whether it’s getting back to nature on a hike in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or taking a dip at Hapuna Beach, Hawaii Island has its own unique activities and environments that will help you slow down and relax.

Spend the day window-shopping and sightseeing in Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona), the coffee and art town of Holualoa or beautiful Hawi. Take a road trip along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor then wander the historic streets of Downtown Hilo. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, set up a tee time at a spectacular golf course on the Kohala Coast then hit the spa in one of the island’s luxurious resorts. Wherever you go, you’ll notice the locals here are incredibly laid back. A few days on Hawaii Island and you’ll see why the feeling is contagious.

Hawaii Island Golf

Just try to concentrate. Focus on your swing and not the pristine, black lava-lined fairways and palm tree-speckled greens. Block out the crystal blue waters and the rhythmic crash of waves just beyond the bunker. Try your best to forget that you’re playing on one of the most beautiful golf courses you’ve ever seen. It may take a few holes, but you’ll get used to it.

With some of Hawaii’s most magnificent courses to choose from, some crafted by the biggest names in course design, Hawaii Island is known as the “Golf Capital of Hawaii.” Discover courses along the Kohala Coast, such as the Jack Nicklaus designed Hualalai Golf Course, the championship Francis H. Ii Brown courses of the Mauna Lani Resort and the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed courses at Mauna Kea Resort. Not to be outdone, play the two courses of the Waikoloa Beach Resort designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Discover a variety of other hidden gems throughout Hawaii Island and play amongst the striking contrasts of lush green fairways, pure white bunkers, jet-black lava flows and turquoise Pacific waters. Hit a bad shot and you can always blame it on Hawaii Island. Views like this justify a mulligan.

Pearl Harbor, Oahu

With the flight over why not consider stopping on Oahu and see Pearl Harbor?

Credits:

Created with images by skeeze - "hawaiian hula dancers aloha stadium dod photo" • uuzinger - "kauai - 33" • chrishawaii - "waterfall maui vacation" • Mike Johnston - "Maui, Hawaii Map" • WasifMalik - "Hawaii Big Island Kona Hilo 423" • merfam - "Where We Were" • Army Vet - "Pearl Harbor (87)"

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