We are taking a family vacation for two weeks to Hawaii and Kauai next December. We have been to Oahu and Maui but these islands are new to us so we want to make the most of our time. What activities would you consider a "must" when visiting these islands?
While visiting my brother living on Oahu, I spent a few days of our family vacation on the Big island of Hawaii. I would recommend having a SUV if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing it can be a lot of driving. The southern point is breathtaking, but hold on to your hat because it is the windiest place I have ever been (famous for the strong wind I believe) the black sand beach (es?) is really beautiful. There were two huge sea turtles that came up on the beach while we were there. The sand is really course though, it does hurt a bit to walk on barefoot. The Hilo Sea Arch is a nice spot, the drive around the park really shows first hand the affects of the lava flows on nature, as well as it's resilience. The Volcanic National Park is where we spent the majority of our time, it was march and was a little chilly so better to be prepared for light rain and colder temps. if you plan on walking there are a lot of trail options, the lava tube is incredible, as well as asking around where the lava flows are currently at. A lot of times you can see the lava flowing into the ocean, I did not get to do that but if it is happening, it's worth going to. One of the craters was smoking for the few days we were there, then a small eruption occurred after making it back to the states. It was small and the island wasn't even evacuated, but being an avid photographer and nature enthusiast I would love the chance to experience something that extraordinary.
Since you're going in winter, I'd stay in Poipu. The surf on the north shore is rough in winter and it's pretty rainy.
My top pick would be the Napali Coast. You can take a catamaran cruise from Port Allen.
Waimea Canyon is also really special. Have lunch at Shrimp Station in Waimea town and then a shave ice at Jojo's.
Poipu Beach is great. You can rent a surfboard between the Sheraton and Kiahuna Plantation or across from Brennake's Beach. The Point at the Sheraton is a great for sunset.
Savage Shrimp near the rotary on the way to Spouting Horn is terrific. And Puka Dogs in Poipu Shopping Village would be an affordable way to feed a family. Have fun.
Drink lots of beer...and drink lots of beer more often.
Sightseeing is a must. BUT try and stay away from Waikki on Oahu because it is overly crowded and the best places are on the other side of the island. Hiking is a MSUT on both islands. take lots of pictures and snorkeling is a lot of fun especially since the water is nice there. Maybe a bike ride? horseback riding? umm...what else...mainly waht I did when I lived on Oahu with my hubby was go on hikes and car rides lots of car rides all over the island! Maui we just stayed two days but it was great, still hiked there too.
Living on Kauai, I learned that the best way to actually see the island, is to relax. Don't plan to much to do or schedule every second of the day. It's nice to maybe take a couple days off from sightseeing and just hang at the beach.
My fave beaches: Secrets, Hanalei, Lumahai, Ke'e-up north. Breneckes, Shipwrecks-down south. And Kekaha out west.
There are so many opportunities out here, you'll probably have to pick and choose. The more tourist things: Sightseeing Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific), Walking through Hanapepe and seeing the swinging bridge, going ATVing or maybe Ziplining, Skydiving for thrillseekers, and there are alot of day catamarans to see the Na Pali coast.
Some of my favorite things are hiking (either in Kokee or on the Kalalau trail, but make sure of the conditions first! Too much rain and the trail will be like walking on ice), making a bonfire on the beach, snorkeling, and jumping off of Hanalei pier.
Whatever you do make sure that your enjoying yourself. Too many people come here to cram way too much stuff in, and end up being unhappy and rude the rest of the time. So relax, explore, enjoy your family, and enjoy the island!
The volcanos on Hawaii, especially where lava flows into the ocean, especially at sunset and at night. I've been all over the world, and watching new land being made is one of my best memories.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island is always a wonderful place to start when exploring the islands of Hawaii
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