Hawaii is a blissful vacation destination, with its laidback island living and beautiful islands to explore. But with so much to see and do, how can you fit it all in, while also getting from island to island safely? With eight major islands awaiting exploration (although only seven are inhabitable), it’s a lot to fit into your schedule.
Are you thinking of visiting Hawaii? Here’s how to get around and explore the beauty that Hawaii has to offer its visitors.
The Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii (the Big Island)
As its name hints, Hawaii is the biggest of islands. There are 4,028 square miles to cover when exploring this island which is why you should start with scheduling the best Big Island tours so you don’t miss the most desired activities. In your chosen mode of transport, it’s time to explore the volcanic activity. Head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see a live volcano and lava rock in action. Here, you can see the caldera, but you can also head down the Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile road that takes you through sweeping volcanic landscapes as well as tropical rainforests.
You should know, though, that taking a lava rock as a souvenir is considered bad luck. Leave the lava rocks behind where they belong and find another souvenir of your time in Hawaii.
When you think of Maui, you may think of unlimited, blissful beaches. There are many picturesque options when it comes to selecting a beach for you to lounge on and enjoy. If beaches aren’t your thing or you’ve been sunbathing for too long, however, then try and spot the humpback whales as they migrate from Alaska’s cold waters to Hawaii’s warm waters. You’ll have to head to Maui between the months of December to March, as this is the whale watching season, but, if you’re lucky, you may spot whales as early as September.
There is more to Maui than the beaches though, and one of the best ways to get around is to go to a rental car company and hire a car. By doing this, you have a lot more freedom, and you get a more authentic experience as you can stop off and go anywhere you like for a little exploration.
Home of ‘The Great Canyon of the Pacific,’ Kauai is home to the Waimea Canyon, which can be visited after completing a scenic drive of winding roads and beautiful island vistas. You will want to book transportation well in advance. There are many car rental services around, with Advantage being a reputable company to use. During this drive, you can even spot Ni’ihau, an island that is only accessible to native Hawaiians.
Kauai is also renowned for its hiking trails and the opportunity for you to camp and explore the secluded Na Pali Coast. Here, you can escape the tourist crowds and see some of the best views the island has to offer.
Of course, you’ll want to visit Honolulu and Waikiki. However, that doesn’t mean you should spend all your time there. You can take the bus and exit these popular zones and head to better island attractions. Spend a day snorkeling at Hanauma Bay; rent snorkel gear and indulge in this nature preserve.
For those who are after a quieter, more rural Hawaii, then Molokai is the island for them. Accommodation is limited due to this island’s smaller size; however, it isn’t too expensive. For a laidback vacation, Molokai is all about tapping into Hawaii’s spirituality and being more reserved in resources.
Another small island, Lanai is a great place to visit if you wish to go off the grid and enjoy the Hawaiian scenery and secluded beaches. You can spot dolphins offshore, or if you love a round of golf, then the Manele Golf Course can make this a trip of a lifetime.
Known as Hawaii’s “forbidden island,” in the past, you couldn’t visit Niihau; however, now you can. You can see Niihau from the air, during a helicopter ride that also includes a trip to the beach. Otherwise, you have to be invited by the Niihau owners (the Robinson family) or by one of the full-time Native Hawaii residents that live there.
Although the smallest island, Kahoolawe is beautiful to see. However, this island is off-limits to the public and considered uninhabitable; if you wish to visit this island, then your only way ashore is through volunteer work.