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Travel to Hawaii, the Islands of Oahu and Maui for Beach, Surf and Waterfalls

Updated on October 26, 2017
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).

Ka'anapali Beach
Ka'anapali Beach | Source
Wailua Falls, Maui, Hawaii
Wailua Falls, Maui, Hawaii | Source

"...sandy beaches, perfect surf and Hawaiian traditions..."

My visit to Hawaii is one I will always keep with me — the sandy beaches, perfect surf and Hawaiian traditions — until I get a chance to go back again. The best way to spend a Hawaiian vacation is to island hop or more specifically fly between O'ahu and Maui. For those of you that want to get the most of your Hawaiian vacation, or not to mention are afraid of active volcanoes (guilty), should stick with the best two of this pacific island chain, O’ahu and Maui. The two most visited islands for a wonderful reason. These islands are also the perfect stops for those uncomfortable about visiting those chain of islands that have active volcanoes.You can experience the high populated island that holds this state's capital, O’ahu, or relax in the lukewarm water of the laid back island, Maui.

View of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach
View of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach | Source


O’ahu is the heart of Hawaii and home to Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, which is a city made up of high tower hotels, residents and small stores. There are a number of fine and performing arts venues and outdoor festivals that, because of the year round beautiful weather, are always happening. The shopping and nightlife are also great on the island hub.

Diamond Head is a crater that has been extinct for 150,000 years. Its large size makes it a hard to miss site, with the crater being 3,520 feet in diameter with a 760-foot summit. Once a fort, an observation deck was constructed at the summit in 1910 to provide target sighting and a four level underground complex was built within the walls of the crater as a command post. You can climb to the top most edge of the crater to the observation deck through the man-made stairs and tunnels constructed to make this dormant volcano more accessible. The view at the top of the volcano is well worth the long trek. You can see out past the Pacific Ocean to other smaller islands that make up Hawaii. The entire west side of the island is also in your range of sight along the coast of O’ahu, from Waikiki to Koki Head.

For relaxing day on the sand visit Waikiki Beach, this is a popular beach for sunbathing due to the close proximity to the hustle and bustle of the capital city and outdoor market places. Not to mention the epic view of Diamond Head from beach.

For some significant American history, you have to visit Pearl Harbor, which is in quite close proximity Waikiki and Diamond Head. Just be aware that rainy weather can shut down this port to visitors for the day. It's the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into WWII and it's still the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet.

To see some amazing pacific wildlife you can visit the the Honolulu Zoo. Located between Diamond Head and Waikiki, this capital's zoo has over 42 acres to visit.

You know what else is great about all these attractions? They're all located within 30 miles of each other.

Diamond Head

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View of Honolulu from the TopInside the Diamond Head CraterMan-made StairsTunnel underneath Diamond HeadView from the Top
View of Honolulu from the Top
View of Honolulu from the Top | Source
Inside the Diamond Head Crater
Inside the Diamond Head Crater | Source
Man-made Stairs
Man-made Stairs | Source
Tunnel underneath Diamond Head
Tunnel underneath Diamond Head | Source
View from the Top
View from the Top | Source


After this island capital, take a plane to Maui. It can be a scary ride on a small plane made for a handful of passengers that was well worth the hour of nerves to end up on the beautiful, and pristine island of Hawaii. Maui is a mecca for the extravagant seekers and those seeking natural, tropical beauty that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

The geography of Maui Island consists of the beach coastline and the rugged steep hills of the inland. Renting a car is vital for a visit to the second largest island in Hawaii, because of the sheer size and the fact that there is so much to see here past the coast. Driving on the loopy road that circles the entire island will bring you to large, cascading waterfalls and even views of humpback whales, if the season permits. I recall the lukewarm water of Ka'anapali beach that resides right next to the town of Whaler’s Village on Maui. My first surfing experience was an amazing one, recalling the clever words of my surf instructor, “If you don’t bother the sharks, they won’t bother you.” You can eat at the Hula Grill in Whaler’s Village and see a traditional Hawaiian luau while you eat right on the beach. This village also has other American chain favorites such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for some fresh seafood. (Oh, by the way, they put pineapple on everything. Yum!)

The weather is always perfect, tropical weather makes it above 72 degrees, while the size of the islands gives an amazing tropical breeze all year long. There is no need to worry about hurricane season here either. You're more than guaranteed to have sunny weather during your trip. The giant waterfalls, tropical birds and animals, lukewarm water and the unnecessary currency exchange are all a plus and each reason enough to come to these remarkable strip of islands located in the middle of the Pacific.

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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      5 years ago

      Rainbow, waterfalls and tropical beaches. A dream come true!

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nice informative travel hub, reading your tips and suggestions reminded me of my trip to Hawaii about 5 to 7 years ago. One thing I love about it is it's so naturally beautiful you don't need a lot of money to enjoy it.


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