Your Ultimate Guide to Hawaii

With its geological wonders and near-perfect weather, Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations for a tropical island getaway. The Hawaiian islands have an exotic atmosphere with rich cultural traditions and extensive history.

The islands are renowned for their natural beauty with rugged mountain ranges, golden sand beaches, tropical foliage, cascading waterfalls and fresh floral air.

Whether its a family holiday, honeymoon, wedding or just a short getaway from reality, the islands of Hawaii have something for every traveller.

Where is Hawaii?

The US state of Hawaii is located on an archipelago in the central region of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 3,900 km south-west of North America, Hawaii is the only state in the USA that is made up entirely of islands.

Hawaii is made up of over 130 individual islands, 6 of which are considered to be the major islands.

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Which Island Should I Go To?

O’ahu

O’ahu is home to the state’s capital and the majority of Hawaii’s population. The major city of Honolulu brings visitors from places all over the world and is perfect for those who love the hustle and bustle of the city lifestyle. It is Hawaii’s most cosmopolitan city with an amazing backdrop of mountain ranges and waterfalls. The island of O’ahu offers visitors both an urban and rural country experience with forest trails and farmlands just a short drive from the city.

Top attractions in O’ahu

  • Pearl Harbour: Hawaii’s number 1 visitor attraction, Pearl Harbour, is the location where World War II began for the United States.
  • Waikiki Beach: As one of the most famous and recognised beaches in the world, Waikiki attracts millions of visitors each year.
  • Diamond Head: Diamond Head State Monument is one of Hawaii’s most recognised landmarks, attracting thousands of hikers each year to enjoy the breathtaking views of Oahu.
  • The North Shore: The birthplace of big wave surfing with numerous professional surfing competitions being held here each year.

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Maui

Maui is the second largest island and home to some of the best whale watching locations in the world. Being Hawaii’s second most populated island, Maui has something for travellers of all ages. Maui is home to some of Hawaii’s most remote and pristine areas such as the cascading waterfalls and unspoilt rainforests of Hana. As well as an endless coastline of gorgeous beaches, you can also find rolling mountains and vineyards in up-country Maui.

Top attractions in Maui

  • The road to Hana: With approximately 600 turns, this famous scenic drive leads to the charming town of Hana.
  • Lahaina Whaling Town: If you want to learn a bit of Hawaiian history, Lahaina tells the story of Maui’s whaling days, which was once the primary source of income for Hawaii.
  • Haleakala National Park: The scenic home to Maui’s highest peak.

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Kaua’i

Kaua’i is the oldest and northernmost island in Hawaii. For all the nature lovers out there, Kaua’i is the place for you. The island, also known as “The Garden Isle”, is graced with natural beauty and home to some of the world’s best beaches. Here you can explore the incredible coastline of the Coconut Coast or check out the Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.

Fun fact: Kaua’i’s incredible landscape has been the backdrop for countless movies and tv shows including Jurassic Park.

Top attractions in Kaua’i

  • Poipu Beach: Voted one of America’s best beaches, Poipu Beach is a series of golden sand crescents perfect for swimming, snorkelling and surfing.
  • Waimea Canyon: Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon provides spectacular views of Kaua’i’s mountain ranges.
  • Napali Coast: Best seen by boat, the Napali Coast offers spectacular views of the towering cliffs of Kaua’i’s coastline.

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The Big Island

Hawaii (the Big Island) is where you can see Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Living up to its name, the Big Island is more than twice the size of the other islands combined. It is also the most geologically diverse island with 11 of 13 of the world’s major climate zones. From active volcanoes to black sand beaches, ranches, farms and gorgeous waterfalls, Hawaii has something to meet every traveller’s needs.

Top attractions on the Big Island

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Here you can see the Kilauea volcano, the big islands most popular attraction.
  • Coffee plantations: Visit the award-winning coffee farms of Kua, Puna and Hilo and sip a freshly brewed cup of Kona Coffee.
  • Hilo farmer’s market: Known as one of the best open markets in Hawaii, the Hilo farmer’s market has a selection of freshly grown fruit and vegetables, fashion, handmade jewellery, wooden treasures and baked goods. Perfect for holiday souvenirs.

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Molokai

Molokai is one of the smallest of the six islands, offering visitors a window into a less developed Hawaii. In fact, the island is so well preserved that it does not even have a single traffic light. With it’s rural, laidback lifestyle, the island of Molokai is the ideal location for peace and seclusion. Molokai is often described as “the real Hawaii”, a place where time has stood still.

Top attractions of Molokai

  • Papohaku Beach: One of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii.
  • Kalaupapa National Historic Park: Discover the rich history of one of the most remote corners of the Hawaiian islands.

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Lanai

Lanai is another of Hawaii’s smallest islands and has made a successful transition from pineapple agriculture to tourism over the years. Lanai is the perfect place to get away from the crowds with two luxury resorts for ultimate relaxation. As Lanai doesn’t attract as many tourists as the other Hawaiian islands, there are numerous unspoilt beaches in remote locations.  For those after a bit more adventure, Lanai features mountain trails and pine forests perfect for hiking and exploring.

Top attractions of Lanai 

  • Lanai City: The central town of the island with local shopping and dining.
  • Munro Trail: This is the most popular trail to hike in Lanai, leading to the highest peak on the island. From here you can see an incredible view of 5 other Hawaiian islands.

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Have you been to the Hawaiian Islands? I’d love to hear about your experience! If you have any recommendations on things to do and see, feel free to comment below. 

Until next time,
Jetsetter Soph