Top 10 Vacation Spots in Hawaii

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Hawaii is a dream vacation for many people. Honeymooners find the magic in a Hawaiian sunset. History buffs learn about the ancient Hawaiians by visiting a protected temple. Take a tour of Pearl Harbor to pay respects to those fallen in World War II. Hawaii has luxurious resorts, world-class restaurants and designer boutiques. Get away from the cities and you can find secluded beaches and even a drive-in volcano. There is an island vacation spot to appeal to almost everyone.

Waikiki, Oahu

  • Waikiki Beach is the place that started it all. This is where Elvis crooned his hits in the movie “Blue Hawaii” and where Don Ho charmed tourists with “Tiny Bubbles.” The wide stretch of sand is framed by Diamond Head Crater, Kapiolani Park and a row of iconic resorts. Of note are the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, known affectionately as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, and the Moana Surfrider, which opened in 1901 as the first hotel on Waikiki Beach.

    Oahu Visitor’s Bureau
    733 Bishop Street, Suite 1250
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    887-525-6248
    gohawaii.com

North Shore, Oahu

  • This quieter, more rural part of Oahu is a magnet for surfers looking to catch and ride “the big one.” It is also for those who want to just sit on the beach and watch the pros as they zip in and out of a giant wave curl. The waves are the biggest in November and December and that is when the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is held each year.

    Oahu Visitor’s Bureau
    733 Bishop Street, Suite 1250
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    887-525-6248
    gohawaii.com

Poipu Beach, Kauai

  • Located on the sunny southern coast of Kauai, the Poipu Beach resort area is the largest tourist destination on the island. Miles of sandy coastline, golf courses such as the Kiahuna Golf Club and trendy eateries like Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill make this part of Kauai a vacation paradise. Watch the humpback whales spout off the coast during the winter season or snorkel with the Hawaiian green sea turtle in Poipu’s warm clear waters.

    Kauai Visitor’s Bureau
    4334 Rice Street, Suite 101
    Lihue, HI 96766
    800-262-1400
    gohawaii.com

Princeville, Kauai

  • The northern part of Kauai is noticeably wetter, but it is this additional moisture that contributes to the lush, tropical beauty. Hollywood fell under the North Shore’s charms decades ago when it used Lumahai Beach and the cliffs of the Napali Coast in the movie “South Pacific.” More recently, “Jurassic Park” was filmed on the North Shore, with rain provided by Hurricane Iniki. In addition to golfing the courses at Princeville, movie tours are a popular outing on this part of the island.

    Kauai Visitor’s Bureau
    4334 Rice Street, Suite 101
    Lihue, HI 96766
    800-262-1400
    gohawaii.com

Kaanapali Beach, Maui

  • Sun, sand, waves and mega-resorts are all part of Kaanapali Beach. This was the first resort area on Maui and it remains the busiest. Sheraton, Hyatt and Westin all have a presence on this beach. The Royal Kaanapali Golf Course lets you play on greens framed with palm trees and views of the open ocean. Between the end of November until early April it is possible to see humpback whales breaching just off shore.

    Maui Visitor’s Bureau (covers Maui, Molokai and Lanai)
    1727 Wili Pa Loop
    Wailuku, HI 96793
    800-525-6284
    gohawaii.com

Wailea Beach, Maui

  • Wailea Beach is in many ways Kaanapali Beach’s younger sister. Dryer, quieter and with even more sunny days than Kaanapali, the Wailea Beach resort area is also home to mega-resorts. The Four Season’s Wailea is one of the most elegant properties on the island and the Grand Wailea is a fantasy land for adults and kids. There is an even better chance of seeing the humpback whales here as they play in the waters between Maui and Lanai.

    Maui Visitor’s Bureau (covers Maui, Molokai and Lanai)
    1727 Wili Pa Loop
    Wailuku, HI 96793
    800-525-6284
    gohawaii.com

Lanai

  • Once a giant pineapple plantation with one tiny hotel in Lanai City, the island of Lanai is now home to two mega-resorts; the Four Seasons Manele Bay and Lodge at Koele. The Manele Bay is oceanfront and caters to families. The Lodge at Koele is in the middle of the island set amid pine trees and surrounded by an English-style garden. The island itself is magical. Lanai has uncrowded beaches, dirt roads that need four-wheel drive vehicles to negotiate and interesting places to visit such as Garden of the Gods.

    Maui Visitor’s Bureau (covers Maui, Molokai and Lanai)
    1727 Wili Pa Loop
    Wailuku, HI 96793
    800-525-6284
    gohawaii.com

Kohala Coast, Big Island

  • The Kohala Coast is a contrast of black lava landscapes covered with desert stubble and huge resorts dotting the coastline in their emerald-green, palm-studded glory. King Kamehameha built his Puukohola Heiau, one of the largest temples on the islands, on this coast. The Lapakahi State Historical Park, a 600-year-old partially restored Hawaiian fishing village, is also in this area. This part of the Big Island is great for those interested in archaeology and Hawaiian history.

    Big Island Visitor’s Bureau
    250 Keawe Street
    Hilo, HI 96720
    800-648-2441
    gohawaii.com

Kailua-Kona, Big Island

  • Kailua-Kona is the tourist town on the Big Island’s west coast. It is known for reasonably priced accommodations, fun pubs and restaurants and shops offering everything from pineapple-frame sunglasses to designer t-shirts. The Hotel King Kamehameha, built on the grounds of one of King Kamehameha’s homes, is one of the largest properties in town. This hotel is right in front of the dock where sports fishermen bring their day’s catch in for weighing. It is not unusual to see a lineup at the scale as people wait to see a giant marlin unloaded, wondering if it will be another record-breaker.

    Big Island Visitor’s Bureau
    250 Keawe Street
    Hilo, HI 96720
    800-648-2441
    gohawaii.com

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

  • A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can be almost ethereal. If you go early in the morning and stand at the edge of Halemaumau Crater, chances are you will hear: absolutely nothing. The phrase “silence is deafening” comes to mind. Kilauea has been steadily active for decades. The Information Center just inside the front gate can tell you where the volcanic activity is and how close you can get. Other sights within the park include the Thurston Lava Tube and the primeval tree-fern forest with plant species that have survived since the time of the dinosaurs.

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    P.O. Box 52
    Hawaii National Park, HI
    96718
    808-985-6000
    nps.gov

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  • Photo Credit 空撮 ワイキキビーチ image by なおすけ from Fotolia.com
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