Oh The Places We'll Go...
There is something about traveling that brings excitement, adventure and a fresh perspective to your life.
It takes the dullness out of the ordinary. When most people know they are going on a vacation, everything looks better. You feel better about everything else you do.
My favorite is the Hawaiian Islands. Probably because I was born and raised there, on Oahu to be exact. There are 8 main islands.
The Hawaiian Islands
Some of the hottest vacation locations are in Hawaii. With it's white sand and black sand beaches, water falls, rain forests, Hawaiian culture and being surrounded by the beautiful blue ocean. There is so much to see and do. All the islands offer the chance to immerse yourself in the culture at luaus and different excursions and tours that can be booked in advance or upon arrival but I would suggest advance booking to ensure availability. You can try your hand at lei making or hula dancing or even surfing, wind surfing, zip lining and many, many other activities
Oahu- Known as the “gathering place,” is the third largest island and the most populated. This is actually where I was born and raised. If you are looking to get away but still want to have the nightlife and excitement of the city, Oahu is probably the right island for you. It is a place where you can experience the beauty of the islands including waterfalls, public and private beaches, rain forests all close to shopping, spectacular nightlife and delicious dining options.
You can learn to surf, try some delicious traditional foods at a luau and visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, a living theater and theme park that covers the traditions and culture of many of the Polynesian islands and people.
You can also visit the USS Arizona, a memorial located at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, which marks the resting place of more than 1,000 of the sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Another well known historical place is Pali Lookout. Kamehameha l, while taking over the islands and uniting them under 1 supreme rule, drove the defenders of Oahu over the cliffs of the Pali, making this one of the bloodiest but most important sites in Hawaiian history. Funny, I have always felt so at peace at the Pali though, it's actually one of my favorite places,
Maui is the second most populated island and also the second largest. There are about half as many people that visit Maui as do Oahu so you still get some of the night life but there is more of the natural environment. Haleakala is one of the most popular attractions on Maui. At a height 10,023 ft (3,055 m) it is also the highest point in Maui and a dormant volcano. Maui is also home to the Pools of 'Ohe'o or the Seven Sacred Pools.
Kauai is the greenest island, in fact it is known as the Garden Isle. It is the fourth largest and the oldest of the 8 main islands. It is also the home of Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a large canyon, approximately ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep, located on the western side of the island.
A lot of people get confused because they don't realize that though Hawaii encompasses all the islands, there is actually an island called Hawaii within the chain of islands. This is also known as the big island because it is, just that, the biggest island. It's interesting to as there is a "wet" side and a "dry" side. Hilo is part of the wet side and it rains more often on this side with an average of 126 inches annually so it is greener, lusher. The dry side, Kona, averages just about 63 inches of rain annually.
There are 3 "active" volcanoes in the Hawaiian islands, two of them are on this island. Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and is visited by millions of tourists each year. It has been continuously erupting since 1983 and Mauna Loa which last erupted in 1984. Mauna Loa's elevation is 13,680 ft. Loihi is located underwater off the southern coast of Hawaii's Big Island and has only been erupting since 1996.
Kilauea is located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park offers over a hundred miles of hiking trails that take you through old lava tubes, recently formed lava flows and over the still smoking crater floors of the parks volcanoes.
Molokai is a much smaller island with a whole lot less going on, which may be exactly what you are looking for. On the north coast of Molokai, the Wailau Stream flows into the Pacific Ocean near Lapau Point. There is a black sand beach here that is formed from magnetite fragments washing down from a dormant volcano on East Molokai.
When leprosy was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai is also where King Kamehameha V banished all afflicted to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula. This is actually a very beautiful place and you can take a guided mule ride down the Kalaupapa trail. The trail is steep so it is not for everyone.
Niihau is a tiny island, 72 square miles. Also know as "the Forbidden Island" is privately owned and it and it's people are as close to authentic Hawaiian as you can get. The people of the island have preserved many of the traditional ways of life, including the Hawaiian language, and is inhabited by about 200 locals whose primary language is Hawaiian. For a long time no one was allowed on the island except by rare private invitation. You can now visit this island that is almost lost in time. You don't get to mingle with the locals but you do get to see where they live.
Lanai is the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain. It is also known as Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. 97% of the island is also privately owned but it is still a tourist attraction and there are still locals living on the island.
Kahoolawe is an uninhabited reserve island. Beginning in 1941 the island was controlled by the US Military. They used this island for training exercises and a bombing range. In 1994 control was transferred back to the state.Until last year, for a fee, you could visit the island as a volunteer to help restore the islands native flora and removing invasive weeds, but as of 2016 that is on hold and there is a wait-list due to a lack of state funding.