X No Thanks

Hawaii: The 50th State of Mind

by Travelbag on 26 November 2019, 10:11AM


Hawaii offers unparalleled natural beauty with all the creature comforts you expect from the USA. With year-round temperatures averaging 30 degrees, luxurious sandy beaches, thick rainforest and active volcanoes, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is one of the world’s top holiday destinations. Vicki Power selects the best islands to visit in this Pacific paradise.


Oahu is the most populous of the six main Hawaiian islands and the most visited. Chances are you’ll land in Honolulu, so make time to explore the capital city before heading on. Remember, Hawaii was the last state to join the US (in 1959) and not long ago had its own kings and queens. Tour the Iolani Palace – the royal residence until a coup d’etat in the late 19th century. It’s an opulent castle that tells the story of forward-thinking Queen Liliuokalani, the Kingdom of Hawaii’s last ruler. Check out the city’s famous Waikiki beach, an expanse of white sand with warm blue waters. Head there at sunset to avoid the masses and enjoy the view of the dormant Diamond Head volcano. You’ll probably spot some surfers and possibly even a few celebrities. Honolulu is also a shopping mecca. Ala Moana is the world’s largest outdoor shopping mall, while Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki is a high-end shopping street set against the beauty of the beach. History buffs should head to the Pearl Harbour National Memorial, which commemorates Japan’s attack on the US Navy on 7 December 1941. Exhibits and films explain the attack and there are memorials to the battleships that were destroyed.

The North Shore

With a laidback vibe, this stretch of coast with big waves is a surfer’s paradise. Check out the action on Waimea Bay and Pipeline and Sunset Beaches with a shave ice – a traditional Hawaiian treat – in hand. Stop by Haleiwa Town to browse local art galleries and trinket shops. For snorkellers, the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District has calm water, so even beginners can view coral, colourful fish, sea turtles and occasionally seals. Stop by the Dole Plantation to see up close how one of Hawaii’s most famous crops is cultivated. Take the Pineapple Express Train Tour or wander through the maze and its eight different gardens.

Honolulu Hawaii 


With 30 miles of beaches, a mild climate and crystal-clear waters, Maui beckons visitors into the sea. Molokini is its most popular snorkelling destination. This volcanic caldera about two miles offshore offers clear waters and a reef – you may even see sea turtles and dolphins on your trip. Maui’s shallow Auau Channel is one of the best whale-spotting areas in the world. Between November and May each year it’s estimated that over 10,000 humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii to breed, so don’t miss this astonishing natural spectacle. Embark on your whale-watching tour from towns like Lahaina and Wailuku to see these amazing mammals frolic in the wild. Admire the sunset from the Haleakala Crater in Haleakala (‘House of the Sun’ in Hawaiian) National Park – a drive of hairpin bends that will take you from sea level to 10,000 feet in under 40 miles. Because of its particularly clear air and lack of light pollution, crowds flock here to see spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and some stay on for stargazing – Hawaii is uniquely positioned so that you can view stars from both the northern and southern hemispheres. Or spend the whole day there hiking and admiring the local landmarks – the park’s Pipiwai Trail leads you three and a half hours to Wailua Falls and back.


The Big Island

Its official name is Hawaii, but to avoid confusion the state’s largest land mass is referred to as The Big Island. Its varied terrain boasts three active volcanoes, beaches of stunning coloured sand, beautiful waterfalls and lush rainforest. Kick off with a visit to Volcanoes National Park, where you’ll find the active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea – the latter being the most active in the world. Park officials keep a close eye on volcanic activity and visitors are allowed to ascend Kilauea and look into its steaming vents and lakes of lava.

Beach Life

The Big Island is famous for its black-sand beaches, created by volcanic activity. Punaluu is one of the most popular, where lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of Hawaiian green sea turtles in the surf. Or check out Hawaii’s newest black-sand beach, Pohoiki Beach. This is the result of a 2018 eruption of part of Kilauea, in which 13.7 square miles of land were flooded by lava. Papakolea Beach is one of only four green-sand beaches in the world; its unusual colour comes from the mineral olivine that has eroded from the volcanic cone which encircles it. Hapuna Beach is the state’s biggest white-sand beach and its small waves make it perfect for families, while Kahalu’u Beach Park is a popular snorkelling site.

Volcanoes National Park Hawaii 

Lana’i and Moloka’i

The least populous of Hawaii’s inhabited islands, Lana’i and Moloka’i offer very different experiences. Lana’i – once a wall-to-wall pineapple plantation – is a paradise isle home to five-star resorts like the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay. It’s a place to splash the cash at the pricey boutiques in Lanai City and on the championship golf courses. You can also visit pristine beaches such as Hulopoe Bay, a stunning arc of sand perfect for swimming. The Bay is also a marine sanctuary where spinner dolphins congregate to give acrobatic displays. A 45-minute hike from Manele Bay takes you to iconic landmark Puu Pehe – a rugged summit where it’s said a heartbroken warrior once jumped to his death. Shipwreck Beach, on Lanai’s north shore, is a photographer’s dream. The hazardous waters surrounding it mean that in the past 200 years numerous ships have been wrecked there, or deliberately run aground. Along the six-mile stretch of coast you’ll spot at least a dozen barges, schooners and ships, the two most prominent being two World War II navy vessels scuttled on purpose – YOGN-42 and YO-21 – the latter of which was also present at the attack on Pearl Harbour. Shipwreck Beach is especially popular for beachcombing.

Moloka’i boasts heritage sites and has a rugged natural beauty. Its most famous site is Kalaupapa Overlook in Palaau State Park. Perched atop a cliff overlooking the stunning Kalaupapa Peninsula – which is surrounded on three sides by ocean – it offers a gorgeous panorama of Moloka’i’s north coast. It also contains a natural rock formation, Kaule O Nanahoa, considered a symbol of fertility. On the east side of the island is Halawa Valley, home to two stunning waterfalls – Moa’ula and Hipuapua Falls. Take a guided hike (the only way allowed) through lush foliage and pass by an ancient burial ground and stone temple. If you can’t face the four-and-a-half mile round trip on foot, the falls can also be spotted from vantage points along Highway 450.

Lana'i Hawaii 

Pop into your nearest Travelbag shop to speak to one of our experts and start planning your American adventure.

Or, if you’ve already ticked Hawaii off the list, find out which Caribbean island is best for you.

6 Places to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Read More

A Hop Around the World’s Beers

Read More

Top 10 Things to do in Vancouver

Read More

Antigua: Paradise at the Right Price

Read More
Post of the month
by Tourism Australia More

Email sign up

Register to receive holiday offers, cheap flights deals, hotel offers and more.

Travelbag Travel/Leisure London

01 Jan 00:00 Read More
Travelbag's Twitter
Common Tags
24 Hours 48 hours in 5 Reasons Abu Dhabi Activities Adventure Holiday Africa Alaska America Antigua Argentina asia Auckland Australasia Australia bahamas Bahrain Bali Bangkok Barbados Beach Holidays Beaches beer Bolivia Bora Bora Borneo Botswana Brazil California Cambodia Campervan Canada Cancun Cape Town Caribbean Central America Chicago Chile China City Breaks Colombo Colorado Cook Islands Costa Rica Cruise Holidays Cruises Cuba culture Dining Dominican Republic Dubai Ecuador Europe Family Holidays Festivals Fiji Florida food Food Trip Gold Coast Grenada Hanoi Hawaii hiking Ho Chi Minh City Hoi An holiday reading holidays Honeymoon Hong Kong India Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Luxury Holidays Indonesia Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Koh Samui Krabi kuala lumpur Langkawi Laos las vegas Latin America Literature los angeles Luxury Holidays Macau Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Melbourne Mexico Miami Middle East Montreal motorhome holidays music Myanmar Namibia Nature New England New York New Zealand North New Zealand Northen Territory Oman Oregon Orlando Penang Perth Perth Beaches Peru Phuket Qatar Quebec Queensland Queenstown Rail Travel Ras Al Khaimah Reading on holiday Road trip Safari San Francisco Scuba Diving Self-Drive Seychelles Shanghai Sightseeing Trip Singapore snorkelling South Africa South America South Australia South Carolina South New Zealand Southeast Asia Sri Lanka St Lucia Surfing Sydney Tahiti Tasmania Tennessee Texas Thailand Things To Do Tokyo Top 5 Things to Do Toronto tour trekking UAE United States USA USA Roadtrip Utah Vancouver Vietnam Vietnam Beaches Virginia Washington DC Western Australia whale watching Wildlife Wine Winter Sun
Please Wait...

We use cookies
Read more

Cookies: We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our site cookies.
See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Would you like a call back from one of our experts? X
chat with our experts
0871 703 4698
Call us until today

Schedule a call back


Please Select a Date


Please Select a Time


Please supply your First Name


Please supply your Surname

Phone Number

Please Check the Number and Try Again


Please Select a Destination


Dear , our experts will call you on , on to chat about your trip. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site for inspiration