Hawaii Vacation Ideas

Hawaii Vacation Ideas #1: Whalers Village Museum in Lahaina, Hawaii provides an interesting look into the life of a whaler in the mid 1800's.

They have a large collection of whaling memorabilia and exhibits showcasing harpoons, sea chests, photo murals and the skeletal remains of a 40-foot Sperm Whale.

There is a re-creation of an authentic whale boat with a typical whaling crew's quarters.

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Maui Coast
Maui Coast near Kahanu Garden
#2: Kahanu Garden, on the eastern shores of Maui, is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. It has 123 acres of tropical plants including the world's largest collection of breadfruit. Kahanu Garden is surrounded by black lava flows and native forest. Self-guided or guided tours are available. The garden is also home to one of the largest ancient Hawaiian stone temples in the islands, the 500 year old Pi'ilanihale heiau.
#3: Molokini - One of the top ten dive sites in the world is Molokini, a tiny island off the coast of Maui. The crescent shape of the island creates a 300 foot deep protected reef that is home to 250 species of fish and perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. Boats take you to the island but you cannot go ashore because it is a protected preserve.
#4: Whale Watching season on Maui is December to May. Some 2,000 to 3,000 Humpback whales migrate every year from Alaska down to the southwestern coast of Maui. The Pacific Whale Foundation conducts whale watching cruises led by marine naturalists. But you don't have to go out on a boat to catch a glimpse of these 40 ton creatures. They are a common sight along Honoapiilani Highway between Maalaea Bay and Lahaina, particularly at McGregor Point.
Hawaii Vacation Ideas #5: Sea Life Park, located on Oahu's beautiful Makapuu Point, is the place to go swimming with the dolphins. You can put on a dive mask and get up close and personal with a dolphin. You will get to spend 20-25 minutes in deep water with your dolphin. Depending on the dolphin's mood it may take you on a dorsal fin drag ride. They also have a an exciting shark tank, a Sea Lion show and other fun attractions.
Feet On the Beach in Maui Hawaii
#6: Maui - My favorite vacations have been, hands down, Hawai'i. Everything in Hawai'i is absolutely pristine; the beaches, the mountains, the scenery, the wildlife, all of it. It really is the closest thing to paradise that I've ever experienced.

Having been to 3 of the Hawaiian islands (Oahu, Maui, and Kauai) I can safely say that Maui is my favorite out of all the Hawaiian islands. Half of the island is a barren desert while the other half is a tropical rainforest. It truly is the definition of dichotomy.

Maui also has gorgeous State Parks that will shock and awe you, such as: Wailua Valley State Wayside, Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside, and Makena State Park, to name a few of my favorites.

If you’re looking for something even more secluded and tropical, however, I would recommend Kauai, the Garden Island. It is the most tropical of the islands and has mountainous greenery everywhere you look, along with beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous rentable villas. For all these reasons and many, many more, Hawaii is my favorite vacation idea. - Matt from California

#7: USS Arizona Memorial and Museum commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II. There is a 75-minute guided tour that takes you to the resting place of the USS Arizona and the ship's 1,177 crewman who died that day. A 23-minute documentary film reviews the attack as it happened. There is a memorial, museum, and waterfront exhibits.
#8: Hana Highway - If you are feeling adventurous you can take a drive on the Hana Highway. This coastal road is famous for its 600 white-knuckle turns and its 54 one-lane bridges. It's a thrill-ride of a journey but along the way you will be rewarded with stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities to stop at beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls, caves, and more stunning scenery.
#9: Shark sightseeing is a popular adventure activity off the shores of Hawaii's islands, especially Oahu. The crystal clear water is 200-400 feet deep. You can stay on the surface and watch the sharks from the boat. Or you can climb into a glass cage which is then lowered into the water. This is an adventure you will never forget.
Hawaii Vacation Ideas #10: Haleakala National Park is a dormant volcano by the sea. It has 27 miles of moderate difficulty hiking trails through rainforest, shrub land and volcanic rock. There are both guided hiking and independent hiking opportunities. This is considered "THE" place to watch the sunrise in Maui. The park is popular for sky-watching, particularly night time stargazing.

Hawaii Vacation Ideas #11: Maui is a popular vacation place in Hawaii and one of the top vacation activities on Maui is a land tour. You can rent a car for this and do it on your own. This is a perfectly fine way to enjoy a Maui land tour. But maybe you don’t want to rent a car or you want a little guidance.

In that case, there are some excellent tour companies that will provide both a vehicle and a guide. The guides are local residents so they have great insider knowledge that can really make your land tour experience memorable.

Some good places to go on Maui for land tour trips are the Hana Highway, the Haleakala Center, Iao Valley and around West Maui. Hana is one of the most scenic and exciting trips to take, but this is one where having a guide is a good idea.

The Hana Highway can be grueling and having an experienced local driver may be a good option. You can get a private tour to Hana with Chauffeured Services/Town & Country Limousine.

Another excellent company for land tours is Temptation Tours. They have some excellent tours that focus on comfort and luxury. But they also have some more adventurous land tours which offer things like helicopter rides, horseback rides or cave exploring.

Hawaii Vacation Ideas #12: During the grey Seattle rainy season last year, my older sister and I took a two week vacation to Hawaii. We spent one day in the city of Honolulu and the remainder of the trip on the Big Island of Hawai'i. We found a very affordable vacation rental in the town of Volcano, just minutes from the Volcanoes National Park.

Every morning we woke up surrounded by fog and ferns to the sound of tropical birdsong and the scent of ginger wafting gently on the trade winds. Every day after tea we proceeded to leisurely explore the National Park where we usually stayed until after watching the sun set over the wide blue Pacific Ocean. It was an amazing vacation because we were able to avoid the large tourist crowds and the high prices of urban areas. - By Anna from Seattle

Hawaii Vacation Ideas #13: The Place of Refuge is a sacred spot for Hawaiians. Locals call it Pu’uohonua o Honaunau. This place is now Pu’uohonua o Honaunau National Park on the south coast of the Big Island. In the past the Place of Refuge was a holy place that provided a safe haven for lawbreakers. Those that broke a law against the gods could go to the sacred spot and find safety and absolution for their crimes.

Access was by swimming or canoe, but if you could make it to the temple, you would be protected by the priests. Now as a national park, the Place of Refuge has reconstructed the temple and associated thatched buildings. Royal grave sites are featured. Explore the self-guided trail, learn about canoe building and watch demonstrations of traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts.

Hawaii Vacation Ideas #14: A favorite vacation was a trip to Kauai my wife and I recently took. After landing in Honolulu and catching an inter-island flight to Kauai, we rented a car in Lihue and drove to the Grand Hyatt Resort in Koloa and checked into our ocean view room.

While fairly expensive, the Grand Hyatt is well worth it, with a tremendously high level of service and beauty. The hotel itself offers tremendous opportunities for relaxation, with a very indulgent pool area. There are 2 chlorinated pools, 1 for children and 1 for adults, a lazy river, and a saltwater sandy pool that is refreshed with ocean water daily.

It is truly a perfect place to relax. There is also a water slide and lazy river for guests. Other activities during this trip included driving around the (small) island of Kauai, looking for small local restaurants and enjoying ice cream and shaved ice.

Wailua Falls is a can't-miss opportunity to hike to a beautiful waterfall not far from Lihue. Other wonderful activities on Kauai (nicknamed the Garden Island) are finding the secluded beaches to relax on and golfing on one of the lush golf courses that dot the island. By Andy from Seattle

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