Hawaii is one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in the United States. Whether for a winter getaway or a romantic honeymoon, Hawaii offers visitors beautiful seascapes, invigorating sunshine and a unique tropical climate. Where to visit in Hawaii will depend on what you're looking for. You may want to traverse the usual tourist spots, or you may want to find some seclusion. Either way, this guide will help you find the best places to vacation in Hawaii.
Located on the Oahu Island, Honolulu is both Hawaii's most populace city, claiming a little more than 900,000 residents, as well as the most popular for tourists, welcoming about five million visitors a year. Nearly all flights incoming from the United States. enter Honolulu, making it the perfect destination for the traveler that is a little weary about straying too far from the airport or the urban center of the state. It is also the perfect place for people that want the quintessential Hawaiin trip, as Honolulu has the most tourist attractions and nightlife of any of islands' major cities. For the history buff, you can explore the commemorative site of Pearl Harbor. There is also the Bishop Museum, the largest museum in the city, which features the largest collection of Hawaiin and Pacific cultural artifacts in the world. The famed Aloha Tower, which sits at the port of Honolulu Harbor, is one of the most identifiable landmarks of the islands. For the beach bums, Honolulu is home to many notable beaches, the most popular of which is Waikiki Beach. Waikiki Beach is located on Honolulu's southern coastline and is a popular surfing destination. Finally, for the foodies, Honolulu has some of the best dining in all of Hawaii, featuring many restaurants owned and operated by celebrity chefs, including Alan Wong's Pineapple Room, which features gourmet native cuisine.
Measuring only about 550 square miles, Kauai, the Garden Isle, is a great vacation spot for those looking to immerse themselves in Hawaii's natural beauty while still reaping all the benefits of its rich nightlife. The island is sparsely populated, claiming only 70,000 residents, and welcomes about one-fifth as many annual visitors as Honolulu. This makes it a great place to escape for those that are looking for a quiet vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. One of the biggest highlights of the island is the Na Pali Coast State Park, located on the northwestern side of the island. The park occupies more than 6,000 acres and is marked by high, lush cliffs that loom as high as 4,000 feet. The area is perfect for those looking to hike or kayak. For beach lovers, a great destination is Hanalei Bay, located just five miles east of the Na Pali Coast State Park. The large bay features two miles of beach, backed by a lush, mountainous landscape. It is a popular location for sailing, swimming and surfing. Finally, for those looking for a bit of city life on Kauai, there is Lihue, which features the island's largest shopping center, which includes a Macy's, as well as a large number of fine dining establishments, including Duke's Canoe Club, which is known for its upscale food and beautiful view of Kalapaki Bay.
Located on the eastern shore of Hawaii, the largest island in the Hawaiian chain, Hilo is a fairly large city, claiming more than 40,000 residents. The island itself garners about a million visitors a year, mainly because of its famed active volcano. This island is a perfect mix of the natural beauty of Kauai combined with some of the urban elements of Honolulu. The only drawback is that the island is rather large, so if you are leaving Hilo to see some of the sights, you may need a car. The city of Hilo itself is next two two volcanoes, Mauna Lao and Mauna Kea, the former of which is active. One unique feature of Hilo is the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo, the only zoo in the U.S. located in a rain forest. There are also a number of museums in the city, including the Hilo Art Museum, which features works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and others. For those looking for a unique Hawaii experience, visit Hilo during the Merrie Monarch Festival in April. This festival, which is more than 47 years old, is one of the largest and most prominent celebrations of the traditional hula dance throughout all of Hawaii.