It’s time to start planning your trip to the islands of Hawaii. Seven islands make up Hawaii, including Hawaiʻi (the Big Island), Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Niʻihau. While the first four are the most often visited, the smaller islands are also worth a look if you want to escape the crowds even more than you already when you travel to Hawaii.
Hawaiʻi, The Big Island
Hawaii Vacation Planning Guide
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OUR FAVORITE Hawaii Hotels and Vacation Rentals
Hawaii, the Big Island
- Hana-Maui Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Residence
- The Napili Bay (1 bed, 1 bath condo)
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Hawaii’S BEST TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
More Amazing Tours to Book in Hawaii
DIVE DEEPER INTO Hawaii
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- Hawaiian Dinner Roll Recipe
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Hawaii Travel FAQ
What makes Hawaii a popular travel destination?
Hawaii’s popularity as a travel destination stems from its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, warm tropical climate, rich cultural heritage, and a wide range of activities and experiences for all types of travelers.
How do I get to Hawaii?
You can get to Hawaii by air, with most major airlines offering direct flights to the main islands’ international airports. Direct flights are available from many major cities in the United States, as well as from international destinations.
Do I need a passport to travel to Hawaii?
If you’re traveling within the United States, you do not need a passport to visit Hawaii, as it is a domestic destination. However, if you’re an international traveler, you will need a valid passport to enter the United States.
What is the best time of year to visit Hawaii?
The best time to visit Hawaii is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). These periods offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and potentially better deals on accommodations and flights.
Are there any specific events or festivals to consider?
Hawaii hosts various events and festivals throughout the year. The Aloha Festivals in September celebrate Hawaiian culture, while the Merrie Monarch Festival in April showcases hula and Hawaiian arts. New Year’s Eve and Independence Day also bring lively celebrations.
What is the weather like in Hawaii throughout the year?
Hawaii enjoys a mild tropical climate year-round. Temperatures typically range from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29°C). Coastal areas are warmer, while higher elevations can be cooler. Be prepared for occasional rain showers, especially in the winter months.
How many islands make up the Hawaiian archipelago?
The Hawaiian archipelago consists of 137 islands, but the eight main islands are Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe.
Which islands are the most popular for tourists?
Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (Big Island), and Kauai are the most popular islands for tourists due to their diverse attractions, cultural experiences, and beautiful landscapes.
Can I visit multiple islands during one trip?
Yes, you can visit multiple islands during one trip. Inter-island flights and ferries make island hopping convenient. Each island offers distinct experiences, so plan your itinerary based on your interests.
What types of accommodations are available in Hawaii?
Hawaii offers a wide range of accommodations, including luxury resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, condos, boutique inns, and bed and breakfasts.
Is it better to stay in a resort or opt for a vacation rental?
The choice between a resort and a vacation rental depends on your preferences. Resorts offer amenities and services, while vacation rentals provide a more private and local experience.
Are there any unique lodging options on the islands?
Yes, you can find unique lodging options such as beachfront bungalows, treehouses, and eco-friendly accommodations that blend seamlessly with Hawaii’s natural beauty.
Should I rent a car or rely on public transportation?
Renting a car is recommended for exploring the islands, especially if you plan to venture beyond the main tourist areas. However, Oahu has a well-developed public transportation system called “TheBus.”
Are there any scenic drives I should consider?
Absolutely, the Hana Highway on Maui and the Chain of Craters Road on the Big Island offer breathtaking scenic drives with stunning views of landscapes and coastline.
Can I travel between islands by ferry?
While ferries between the main islands are limited, inter-island flights are the most common and convenient way to travel between different islands.
What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Hawaii?
Hawaii offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, zip-lining, horseback riding, whale watching, and exploring volcanic landscapes.
Are there opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, and surfing?
Yes, Hawaii is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can hike to breathtaking viewpoints, snorkel in vibrant coral reefs, and ride the famous waves for surfing.
How can I experience Hawaii’s stunning natural beauty?
To experience Hawaii’s natural beauty, explore national parks, take guided nature tours, visit botanical gardens, and spend time on its pristine beaches.
What are some cultural experiences unique to Hawaii?
Engage in a traditional Hawaiian luau, learn hula dancing, attend a slack-key guitar performance, visit cultural museums, and immerse yourself in the local way of life.
Can I participate in a traditional Hawaiian luau?
Yes, attending a traditional Hawaiian luau is a fantastic way to experience Polynesian music, dance, and cuisine while learning about the islands’ rich history and culture.
Are there any etiquette rules I should be aware of?
Respect the local culture by removing your shoes before entering homes, using “aloha” as a greeting, and asking permission before taking photos of people or their property.
What are the best beaches for swimming and sunbathing?
Hawaii boasts many beautiful beaches, with Waikiki Beach (Oahu), Kaanapali Beach (Maui), and Hapuna Beach (Big Island) being popular choices for swimming and sunbathing.
Which islands offer the best snorkeling and diving opportunities?
Maui and the Big Island offer excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. Molokini Crater off Maui and Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island are renowned for their underwater wonders.
Are there any precautions I should take for ocean activities?
Always follow lifeguard instructions, be aware of ocean conditions, and avoid swimming in areas with strong currents or waves. Use reef-safe sunscreen to protect the marine environment.
What are some must-try Hawaiian dishes?
Indulge in traditional dishes like poke (marinated raw fish), kalua pig (roast pork), plate lunches, laulau (steamed meat wrapped in taro leaves), and shave ice for a refreshing treat.
Are there food markets or food trucks I should explore?
Hawaii’s food markets and food trucks offer a diverse range of local flavors. Visit places like Honolulu’s Chinatown and North Shore’s food trucks for unique culinary experiences.
Where can I enjoy a traditional Hawaiian meal?
Many restaurants across Hawaii offer traditional Hawaiian meals. Look for those that serve dishes like lomi-lomi salmon, poi (taro paste), and haupia (coconut pudding).
What are the best places to shop for souvenirs?
Explore local markets, shopping centers, and boutique shops. The International Market Place in Waikiki and Lahaina’s Front Street on Maui are popular spots for souvenirs.
Are there any locally-made products I should look out for?
Look out for products made with Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, Hawaiian quilts, aloha shirts, and unique arts and crafts that showcase the islands’ culture.
Can I purchase traditional Hawaiian crafts?
Yes, you can find traditional Hawaiian crafts such as wood carvings, woven items, and handmade jewelry at local markets, art galleries, and cultural events.
Is it safe to swim in Hawaii’s waters?
Hawaii’s waters are generally safe for swimming, but it’s important to be cautious and aware of ocean conditions. Always swim in designated areas and heed any warning signs.
Are there any health concerns I should be aware of?
While Hawaii is relatively safe, be cautious of strong sun exposure. Apply sunscreen regularly, drink plenty of water, and take necessary precautions to prevent heat exhaustion.
How can I stay safe while enjoying outdoor activities?
Stay on marked trails while hiking, use appropriate gear, and follow safety guidelines for activities like snorkeling and surfing. Pay attention to weather forecasts and advisories.
What efforts are being made for sustainable tourism in Hawaii?
Hawaii is actively promoting sustainable tourism practices. There are initiatives to protect coral reefs, minimize plastic waste, and promote eco-friendly activities.
How can I minimize my impact on the environment while traveling?
Choose reef-safe sunscreen, avoid single-use plastics, practice responsible wildlife viewing, and follow Leave No Trace principles when exploring natural areas.
Are there any eco-friendly tour options available?
Yes, many tour operators offer eco-friendly and sustainable tour options. Look for tours that focus on education, conservation, and minimizing environmental impact.