Nature is all around you in Hawaii, jungles and the ocean, you are surrounded by it. The beaches there are wonderful and you can find one to suit your wants. If you want big waves for surfing go to the north shore.
There are beaches with reefs for snorkeling and with just sand and small waves for simply swimming. There are a lot of parks in Hawaii, where you can go hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, climbing, anything you want.
Even though the islands are in the middle of the Pacific you don’t feel confined or secluded, there is always something new to do. The Pearl Harbor memorial is there as well and visiting it was quite a somber experience for me. I had fun every day that I was there.
I stay at The Southernmost Hotel Collection, an oceanfront location that offers two Victorian guesthouses right on the sand, along with a modern two-story deluxe hotel alongside, with a great poolside bar and a beach café serving really good meals at decent prices.
Sometimes a week isn’t long enough to do everything offered on this tropical island, besides the snorkeling, scuba diving, party boating, and just plain sunbathing. There are numerous art galleries and historic museums, along with good dining places like Antonia’s for Italian, Square One for fine dining, and funky fish places along the Gulf’s waterfront like the Half Shell Raw Bar.
The island has a hard-drinking, hard-partying reputation with bars like the ones Ernest Hemingway used to patronize when he lived here, like Sloppy Joe’s which is still in business. The Key West Butterfly Museum is near the hotel so I never miss a chance to visit this relaxing and informative conservancy, with its huge and beautiful greenhouse filled with exotic butterflies and tiny songbirds.
Another interesting place I like to check out is the unusual structure housing the Key West Art and Historical Society fronting the Gulf of Mexico. Housed in the original customs house, a red brick Romanesque building built in 1891; this museum always has interesting art and historic exhibits. There’s a whole lot of history on this little tropical island and I visit it every chance I get.
Riding through the middle of town at night is quite a treat. There are quite a few casinos that light up the night. I have visited all of them but I would have to say that my personal favorite is the Montego Bay. Wendover Will is a giant cowboy that used to be located next to the Wendover Nugget casino but it was recently moved to the entrance of the town. Measuring 63 feet, it certainly is a sight to see when it lights up at night.
When we first arrived, they sent a driver to pick us up. He told us he gave desert tours. The tour was the highlight of the trip. The Guide drove half a dozen of us out into the desert for the afternoon. Showed us survival techniques and told us what the desert dangers were. The desert evenings were beautiful.
The resort was placed in the middle of the desert and at sunset we would sit pool sit and watch the sunset. In the evenings we would walk to local restaurants which had amazing southwest food, and prickly pear Margarita's. These were not big chain restaurants but smaller locally owned places which I enjoy more. I remember late nights by the pool and a private hot tub off our back porch. It is a trip I have often though fondly about.
But my all-time favorite thing about California vacations is the amazing whether and the tropical environment. Coming from living in Michigan, having orange and avocado trees in your backyard is amazing. The environment is so warm that year-round vineyards are all around and wine tasting is something that you have to try if you ever go to California for a vacation. It really is a great idea!