Hawaii

Yippee! I'm going to Hawaii. If you want to come along, pull up a log and help me plan this trip. There is a lot of information to sort through, so you can figure we'll be a while. Since there are 8 main islands, there is a lot more material to search through. But I'm not complaining. Let's get to it.


Now I only ordered the Visitors Guide for all of Hawaii, but if you click on the link for that, you can also go to the individual islands and they each have their own. One thing I haven't stressed much is that most states have a state magazine online. They are full of information and list special events that are not necessarily in other travel materials. So far, Hawaii has the most stuff I have found on the computer.

Hawaii is the only state to be made up entirely of islands. There are hundreds of volcanic islands in the Hawaiian Island Chain and most of them are part of the state of Hawaii. These are volcanic islands, formed by the eruption of volcanoes under the ocean and built up by volcanoes that are still active on the islands. It is the only state that is not located in North America. It is also the only state that grows coffee, is entirely an archipelago, has a royal palace, and has absolutely no straight lines as a state boundary.

While surfing is the official state sport, outrigger canoe paddling is the official team sport. Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States and is also known as the Aloha State. The word "aloha", by the way, means many things but is most familiar to us as a greeting of affection. No one will be surprised to learn that the state dance is the hula. Each of the eight main islands has their own official flower and that is the main flower in the leis that visitors are greeted with.

Kauai, the oldest island in the chain, is known as the Garden Isle. About 10% of this island is accessible by car. To see the rest, a boat, a plane, or hiking will be the best way to go. Kokee State Park has some of the best hiking trails. There are hidden beaches all along the shoreline. You can go ziplining over the rainforest or mountain tubing in the irrigation canals around Lihue. Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The Fern Grotto is a natural rock garden covered with hanging ferns and used to be an exclusive place for the Hawaiian royal family. Film crews often use Kauai for prehistoric and jungle movies because of the trees, plants, mountains, and waterfalls. I have to wonder if Hanalei is the home of Puff, the Magic Dragon. And I HAVE to see Spouting Horn Park. The surf channels into a lava tube and shoots a spout of water up to 60 feet in the air.

Oahu is called the Gathering Place. On this island is Iolani Palace, home of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. Nuuanu Lookout provides a view of the Koolau Cliffs. It is the site of the battle of Nuuana where Kamehameha I won the war that united all of the islands under one rule. You can hike to the top of Leahi better known to us as Diamond Head. It is a 760 foot extinct volcano. Waikiki is known as the home of Duke Kahanamoku who taught the Beach Boys how to surf. At Waimea Valley, you can walk through the 1800 acre rainforest and botanical garden. The marine preserve at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is ideal for snorkeling. Normally, I try not to plug businesses, but the Dole Plantation looks like loads of fun. Besides learning about and eating pineapples, they have gardens and activities. I guess it's a theme park with a twist. The Bishop Museum actually has a man-made, walk-in erupting volcano! Oahu is where Pearl Harbor is located. There you can explore The USS Missouri Memorial and learn about the terrible day that the United States was attacked by Japan.

Maui is the Valley Isle. Lahaina has the Lahaina Historic Trial for walking through to learn about Hawaiian history. There is also a train ride if you prefer. During whaling season, Lahaina Harbor is a good place to be to view the whales. Iao Valley State Park has a lot of hiking trails to take you through natural pools, scenic mountain views, and tropical gardens. The center of the valley is Iao Needle which is a 1200 foot high rock pinnacle. The white sand beaches of Kaanapali was another favorite of Hawaiian royalty. It is a good place for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Makena has a wide rock-paved trail for hiking. About 2 miles off the coast of Maui is the tiny Island of Molokini, an extinct volcano. The crater of the volcano shields the ecosystem from oceanic waters making a home for over 250 species of fish. Molokini is a protected marine and bird reserve so you have to go by way of a registered tour company. They usually provide snorkeling and diving equipment. Hana has beautiful gardens, coastal hikes, and hang-gliding. You can also go underground to explore a cave. Haleakala National Park is named because of a dormant volcano (Haleakala) which at the present time is not erupting. There are bike tours and horseback tours as well as hiking trails.

Molokai, the Friendly Isle, has 32 miles of fringed reef near the southern shore. Halawa Valley offers hiking trails to see flora and fauna. There are many hidden places of worship found there. Kalaupapa National Park has mule tours to take you along the steep cliffs. More than 200 rare plants can be found at the 3000 acre Kamakou Preserve. It is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals. Each May, Papohaku Beach Park hosts Molokai Ka Hula Piko which is the island's biggest cultural festival. Charter boats are available at the harbor in Kaunakakai. Molokai has the world's largest sea cliffs, ancient fishponds, and a 250 foot jungle waterfall.

Lanai is the Pineapple Isle. We have Puu Pehe, the Sweetheart Rock, located about 250 feet offshore. The Garden of the Gods is Keahiakawelo. There is no vegetation here, no birds. You'll only see ancient boulders and mysterious little piles of rock. You can get there by hiking or four-wheeling. You can explore tide pools at Hulopoe Bay. It's also great for swimming, snorkeling and body-boarding. Kaiolohia is Shipwreck Beach. A World War II Liberty Ship lies marooned and rusting on a reef offshore. Hiking and beach combing are popular here. Near Lanai City is Munro Trail. It offers a 3 hour round trip four wheel trip to view the scenery.

Hawaii is the Big Island, not to be confused with the state Hawaii. It's the youngest of the islands and still growing because of the lava flows of Kilauea. Akaka Falls State Park is easy to get to. As you hike along you'll come to Kahuna Falls, tumbling about 100 feet, before finally reaching 442 feet of Akaka Falls at the end of the trail.Waimea is where you find paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). You can ride the horses to see the countryside. Or maybe you'd rather take a story-telling tour on horse drawn wagons. To get to Waipio Valley, there are several ways. You can hike, four-wheel, or cheat and take the shuttle tour to take a look at the valley view. Puuhonua O Honauanau National Historical Park shows us early Hawaiian culture. One of the many historical sites is the royal canoe landing at Keoneele Cove.Puukohola Heiau National Historical Site is a place of worship built by King Kamehameha I as an offering to the gods asking for success in uniting the Hawaiian Islands. The huge stone temple dedicated to Kuksilimoku, the war god, is carefully preserved. It is believed to be one of the last sacred structures built before western influence. Kona is great for snorkeling and diving. It's a good place to swim with manta rays. Maunakea has many international observatories. With the high altitude, clear air, and absence of light, it makes for fantastic star-gazing. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an International Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as being home to many rare and threatened plant and animal species, it is the home of the goddess Pele. Maunaloa is the world's most massive volcano. It hasn't erupted since 1984. Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983. You can see recent lava flows. Older flows become fertile soil to support plant life.

Hawaii is often called the land of endangered species. Because they are islands, the plant and animal life is isolated there and many are in danger of extinction. Birding and plant life is abundant. There are hiking trails everywhere. Of course, the variety of water activities is endless. Check out the links below. There is a lot to enjoy in Hawaii. When you visit, let me know what you liked the most. I really do want to hear what kind of adventures you had.

Copas

Official Hawaii State Site
Hawaii Tour Guide
Hawaii Magazine
Hawaii State Parks
Hawaii National Parks
Hawaiian Volcano Onservatory
Hawaiian Botanical Garden
Dole Plantation
Offbeat Tourist Attractions

Comments

  1. Hawaii is my dream vacation. Maybe some day I'll get there.

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