Hawaii’s Diversity Beckons with Aloha Spirit
Hawaii is a place that embraces you as you explore the state’s tropical climate, beautiful beaches and blend of cultures – Asian, Hawaiian, European, North American and Polynesian. It’s a meeting place for beauty, culture and discovery that is as intriguing as it is distinctive.
You’ll know you’ve arrived when you hear yourself saying “aloha,” “mahalo” (thank you) and “ma kai” (toward the ocean) without a second thought.
With hundreds of isles in the Hawaiian Archipelago, the main islands at its southern end (excluding Niihau and Kahoolawe) are populated and offer a variety of experiences.
Yes, there are the famed Big Island volcanoes, but you’ll also love snorkeling the waters of Honaunau Bay near Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, an ancient refuge that includes temples and villages. In Kauai, you’ll marvel at colorful Waimea Canyon or the valleys and waterfalls as you hike the 35.5-kilometer Napali Coast. Stroll through the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) on Lanai, or visit the Kaunolu Village Site, a prehistoric Hawaiian fishing village.
One of many highlights on Maui is the Hana Highway, a winding road with breathtaking vistas. Breaching whales can be spotted near Lahaina, once a famed whaling port. The island of Molokai is home to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, which preserves the leprosy colonies that operated there until 1969, near some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world. The most-populous island (Oahu) with the most-populous city (Honolulu) features many popular attractions, including Honolulu’s Iolani Palace, the renowned Waikiki Beach and the Polynesian Culture Center.
Must-Visit Parks and Monuments
Among the incredible natural and historic sites in Hawaii, Haleakalā National Park, the “House of the Sun” on Maui, is a massive shield volcano that offers spectacular views of the sunrise. You can hike around and into Hawaii’s active Kilauea volcano on a guided tour, then visit the museum and stay at the hotel near the summit. At the Pearl Harbor monument, now known as World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, a somber air surrounds the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated to those killed in the infamous 1941 attack. The striking power of erosion is on view at Kauai’s Waimea Canyon State Park. The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” was created by the collapse of the volcano that formed the island.
Hawaii’s spectacular beaches and lush valleys offer a variety of experiences for lovers of the outdoors, including surfing, hiking, skydiving, helicopter tours, paddle sports, whale-watching and zip lining.
But did you know you can also swim with manta rays, dolphins and sea lions at Honolulu’s Sea Life Park, or float down flumes and through tunnels on Kauai’s former sugar plantations?
Only in Hawaii
For a taste of classic Hawaii, take a private hula dance lesson at your hotel or at the Hawaii Hula Company’s group classes on Maui and Oahu. You’ll find slack-key guitarists (kī hō‘alu) performing at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki or the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. The Bishop Museum in Honolulu features comprehensive exhibits on Hawaiian culture and houses the world’s largest collection of Polynesian artifacts, and the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu’s northeast coast offers visitors an authentic luau dinner and show.
You’ll know you’re here when...
You are greeted with the word ‘aloha’ (hello), a warm smile and a fragrant lei (or garland). And you’ll also know you’re here when you hear people giving directions using the words ‘ma kai’ (towards the ocean) or ‘ma uka’ (towards the mountain).
You might be surprised by...
- Snow on the peaks of Haleakala on Maui or Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island
- Working cattle ranches and rodeos with paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys)
- The only royal palace on U.S. soil, ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu.
Bishop Museum in Honolulu is Hawaii’s largest museum and is dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Hawaii and the Pacific. Originally designed to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artefacts and royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of King Kamehameha I, the museum is now the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific.
Your child will always remember...
Stringing a floral lei; catching a wave in the place where surfing was invented; learning to dance hula; seeing a mother humpback whale escort her baby.
Classic road trip
With 620 bends and 59 bridges, Maui’s scenic road to Hāna leads through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. Or go for a day trip along one of the heritage corridors on the Hāmākua coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. It begins in Hilo and ends at the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Explore old plantation towns, see amazing waterfalls and discover scenic detours.
Don’t overlook this...
Rub shoulders with the local art-loving, hipster community during First Fridays in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, or in Wailuku Town on Maui.
Ala Moana Center is one of America’s largest outdoor malls, with 290 stores. And for fresh fruit, food and flowers, check out the farmers’ markets found throughout the islands.
Hawaii has it all—surfing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, whale watching, deep-sea fishing, ziplining, swimming with manta rays or dolphins, hiking through rainforests and skydiving. Have you ever gone mountain tubing down old plantation ditches? You’ve got to try it when you’re on Kaua‘i or Hawaii’s Big Island!
Just want to indulge?
Consider a spa retreat using local treatments such as the Hawaiian traditional massage of lomilomi or Kona coffee and chocolate-macadamia body scrubs. You can even get a massage on the beach!
For your first visit...
- ‘Talk story’ with local residents to experience the true meaning of aloha.
- Visit iconic sites such as Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park and Waimea Canyon State Park.
- Take part in ‘only-in Hawaii' experiences such as a lu‘au dinner and show, a hula dancing lesson and a live performance of kī hō‘alu (slack key guitar).