Destination Spotlight – Hawaii

The State of Hawaii is a highly desirable and popular vacation destination. It has grown tremendously popular among family travel. Hawaii is the northernmost island of Polynesia, the southernmost state and the only state made of only islands in the US.  Located in the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s tropical climate attracts tourists, surfers, biologists and volcanologists. Hawaii is known for sugarcane and pineapple production. Both Hawaiian and English are spoken languages. Hawaii has North American and Asian influences contributing to the exciting local culture.

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The Hawaiian Island chain has hundreds of islands.  The eight main islands are O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’I, Lana’i and Hawaii or “The Big Island”. Hawaii attracts over 7.6 million visitors yearly.  The islands were formed from underwater volcanoes and are still active volcano beds.

Hawaii’s beaches stretch 750 miles which consist of black, yellow and white sand. Swimming, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities in the Islands. The archipelago has coral reefs including conservation areas Waikiki Beach, Hanauma Bay and Hulopoe Bay. Submarine tours are offered through companies like Atlantis Submarine. On the Big Island many of the volcanoes have hiking trails. Volcano, Kilauea has oozing red-hot lava that can be viewed up close.  The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii offers guided hiking. Best hiking spots include Diamond Head, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park. Hawaii has breathtaking waterfalls such as Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, Oheo Gulch and Opaekaa Falls. Whale watching by boat, inflatable or catamaran tours is another wonder Hawaii offers. Hawaii is the sportfishing capital of the world and there are many outfitters. Mule rides are specially popular in the Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Helicopter tours in Hawaii are the best way to view the surreal landscape.

Visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. There are many botanical gardens to tour. The Bishop Museum and the Halekulani’s House Without a Key offer Hula dance performances daily. On Kohala Coast is Mookini Helau the oldest and most sacred temple in Hawaii.

Dining on Hawaii includes mangos, pineapples, other local ingredients and several Asian inspired dishes. Recommended spots are Roy’s Restaurant and Pineapple Grill. The Luau, a Hawaiian dance celebration and feast, are all over the islands, including the “Haleo” at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa and Island Breeze Productions, The Royal Luau at The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and Sheraton Kauai Resort’s Surf to Sunset Oceanfront Luau.

The main Islands have luxury hotels, all-inclusive resorts and vacation rentals. Main resorts on Oahu include Spa Suites at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, Spa Luana at Turtle Bay Resort, Ihilani Spa at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort; on Hawaii, Hualalai Sports Club & Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu and Kohala Sports Club & Spa at the Hilton Waikoloa Village; Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa Moana at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort on Maui and ANARA Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort on Kauai.

Each main Island has a state highway encircling it and a public bus system. The Honolulu International Airport is the main Hawaiian airport. There are airports on all main islands including Kona International Airport and Hilo International. The Hawaii Superferry operates between the islands. Cruise lines arrive regularly in Hawaii making this destination a mecca for family travel.

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