Hawaii Holidays

Look up “paradise” in a dictionary and under in its definition you can guarantee it will read “Hawaii”. The archipelago that is Hawaii is famous for its beautiful weather, enchanting beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

Hawaii holidays capture the imagination of everyone who longs for sunshine, scenery and, above all, relaxation. The American state – yes, despite being 2,000 miles from any continent it’s the USA’s southernmost and youngest state – is everything you’d expect and more. It isn’t just for honeymooning couples though; cheap Hawaii holidays will cater to your needs in one of the most romantic settings on Earth.

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Haleakala National Park

If you’re visiting Maui Island on your Hawaii holidays, you simply have to visit the Haleakala National Park. Home to the behemoth volcano from which the island of East Maui rose, the National Park will make you feel as if you’re the first person to discover the area. If spectacular views are what you’re after the volcano’s rim will be to your taste and if you’re feeling adventurous you’re free to trek down into the crater to marvel at your surroundings. Even if you’re in Maui to relax you need to make an exception one day and get up early enough to watch the sunrise that has been described as the most “sublime spectacle” you’ll ever see.

Waikiki

Honolulu’s postcard perfect destination, Waikiki is home to one of the most famous beaches on Earth. Waikiki Beach stretches for over 1.5m and besides the catching some rays affords you the opportunity for some first class people watching, while a walk along the ocean provides a great view of Diamond Head. As home to Oahu Island’s premier resort strip with some of the top Hawaii Hotels, there’s a whole host of the conventional symbols you’d expect from cheap Hawaiian holidays, like umbrella containing cocktails, leis and ukulele music.

Swimming with dolphins

Amongst countless other things, Hawaii is known for its diverse and unique marine life; the state fish is the (almost) unpronounceable humuhumunukunukuapua’a. In Maui between the months of December and April you can watch whales bear their calves, but that magical experience pales in comparison to swimming with dolphins in their natural environment. The Kona Coast on the Big Island is the home to Hawaiian Spinner dolphins and gives you that very opportunity. Numerous swim operators are available to choose from for one of the most incredible experiences you can have on Hawaii holidays.

Hanalei Bay

The perfectly curved Hanalei Bay in Kauai is one of Hawaii’s most photographed and best loved. With several beaches set against a spectacular back drop, the tourist-friendly calm sapphire waters of the summer turn into a surfer’s heaven in the winter with incessant, unrelenting waves. You’re visiting the spiritual home of surfing, how could you not give it a go?

Pearl Harbour

The location of the infamous Japanese attack of 7th December 1941 that propelled America into World War II is now home to a poignant monument. Pearl Harbour is one of the most popular Hawaii attractions, as tourists flock to pay their respects at the site 2,402 people lost their lives. Contained within the National Historic Landmark is a still-active Navy base, the USS Bowfin, which is now a museum, and the memorial monument of the sunken USS Arizona. Hawaii holidays aren’t just for the holidaymaker looking to relax and splash around in paradise; Pearl Harbour is just one of the options available to the tourist interested in historical exploration.

The home of surfing, top cop shows (think Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum PI) and grass skirts has become something of a favourite holiday haunt for A-list Stateside celebrities looking for gorgeous beaches and soothing sea breezes.

It’s an archipelago of contrasts, where you’ll discover big cities and remote villages, sun-soaked beaches and dramatic mountains, and barren, volcanic landscapes bordered by lush, tropical rainforest. T

he larger islands have seen huge commercial development in recent decades, but examples of Hawaiian culture and tradition are also present everywhere. And the smaller islands are perfect for those who like to explore, with unspoilt stretches of idyllic countryside and miles of white-sand beaches, volcanoes and coral reefs. All in all, Hawaii’s perfect for a long-haul summer break.

Getting there/getting around Hawaii

Airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Continental and American Airlines all fly to Hawaii from the UK, but flights generally involve a stop-over in the States, which is great if you fancy exploring Los Angeles or San Francisco for a few days.

If you’re just visiting Oahu and spending most of your time in the Honolulu or Waikiki area, then the public bus system will more than meet your needs. If you want a bit more freedom to explore further afield then a hire car is the best option. There are also lots of inter-island flights, too, if you want to see more of Hawaii’s islands. Flights last between 20 and 45 minutes.

Beaches in Hawaii

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fantastic beaches. On Oahu, the beautiful Hanauma Bay sits within the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and has world-class snorkelling and scuba diving. Only 2,000 visitors per day are allowed at the beach so get there early in the high season. Lanikai Beach is about a mile long, and great for windsurfing and kayaking. Many visitors head to Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore, a Mecca for big-wave surfers. If you’re new to the sport, then you’re better off just watching the pros here, as the waves are monstrous.

On Maui, Kaanapali Beach is a good all-rounder where you’ll find swimmers, snorkellers, body surfers, surfers, kayakers and scuba divers all enjoying the waters together. It’s one of the best places for water sports in Hawaii. Wailea Beach is another good all-rounder which is great for families, as it’s wide with lots of good shady spots. On Big Island, the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area has one of the longest and widest sandy beaches. It’s also the most popular beach on the island and has excellent public facilities and lifeguards on duty every day.

Sightseeing in Hawaii

Oahu is the most developed island with big cities (such as Honolulu and neighbouring Waikiki), excellent beaches and a lush, mountainous interior. It’s the home of historic Pearl Harbor and the North Shore, famous the world over in surfing circles. Just watching the expert surfers tackle the gigantic waves will take your breath away.

Maui, Hawaii’s second-largest island, has lots of quiet beaches and picturesque hiking trails. The 10,000-foot Haleakala volcano has terrific lunar-landscape trails for walkers and the Hana Highway is ranked as the most spectacular coastal drive in Hawaii. The main attractions on Hawaii, The Big Island, include the spectacular Waipio Valley, the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, which is full of ancient temples, royal grounds and ancient burial sites.

Family attractions in Hawaii

If your kids love the beach, then they’ll certainly love Hawaii, with its huge range of water sports. Otherwise, the Hawaii Maritime Center in Honolulu has a great collection of old sailing ships and Polynesian canoes, and in the nearby Chinatown they will find fire-breathing dragons, mystic moon cakes and noodle factories to explore.

More than half of the North Pacific’s humpback whale population spend their winters in Hawaiian waters, so if you want a family experience which will certainly never be forgotten, book a whale-watching cruise and try to catch a glimpse of these beautiful mammals.

Day trips in Hawaii

It’s great to do a bit of island hopping and Kauai, The Garden Isle, should be on your island hit-list. As the name would suggest, the lush green countryside is stunning and places of interest include the 22 miles of coastal cliffs on the Na Pali Coast, along which you’ll find a spectacular hiking trail and the Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Molokai is the most traditional Hawaiian island, where there’s little sign of development and mass tourism. It’s a place where you can enjoy quiet hikes in the rainforest, and it’s also home to the world’s highest sea cliffs in the wilderness area on the North Shore. Finally, if you really want to get away from it all, Lanai, once a pineapple plantation, is very small and extremely exclusive, with only one town.

Shopping in Hawaii

Waikiki’s the main centre for shopping, where you’ll find everything from tacky tourist tat to locally produced arts and crafts. Hawaiian shirts and plastic hula dancers are always popular buys, but Hawaii’s famous flower leis (garlands) don’t usually survive the trip home, so leis made from shells are another option – they are expensive, though.

If you want to purchase locally made goods, look for baskets and place mats woven from the leaves of the hala tree, or bowls and gourds shaped to bring out the natural beauty of local hardwoods such as koa. Macadamia nuts make popular gifts – especially when covered in chocolate.

Eating out in Hawaii

If you want to try some traditional Hawaiian food, dishes include kalua pig (a whole pig roasted in a pit-like earthen oven), laulau (fish, pork and taro wrapped in a leaf bundle and steamed) and pipikaula (beef jerky). The islands are a paradise for fruit lovers, and you’ll never be far from a juice or smoothie bar. Hawaiian Regional cooking mixes and matches the cuisines of Hawaii’s different ethnic groups with delicious results. Try kiawe-grilled fresh shrimp with taro chips, wok-charred ahi with island greens, or Peking duck in ginger-lilikoi sauce, for example.

If this all sounds way too adventurous, though, never fear, as the mainland USA influence on the island’s cuisine is ever present. Enjoy your favourite fast-food outlets, pizza restaurants and coffee chains.

Nightlife in Hawaii

Again, Waikiki is the hub of things when it comes to nightlife. It’s packed with cinemas, bars, clubs and theatre companies and it’s a good idea to get hold of a copy of the Honolulu Weekly newspaper for entertainment listings.

Many of the big resort hotels have Hawaiian-themed nights, where you can expect hula dancers in leis and songs played on a ukulele. In fact, local music is played everywhere and you’ll always find a party or two (or three or four) in the popular surfer hangouts.

The home of surfing, top cop shows (think Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum PI) and grass skirts has become something of a favourite holiday haunt for A-list Stateside celebrities looking for gorgeous beaches and soothing sea breezes.

It’s an archipelago of contrasts, where you’ll discover big cities and remote villages, sun-soaked beaches and dramatic mountains, and barren, volcanic landscapes bordered by lush, tropical rainforest. T

he larger islands have seen huge commercial development in recent decades, but examples of Hawaiian culture and tradition are also present everywhere. And the smaller islands are perfect for those who like to explore, with unspoilt stretches of idyllic countryside and miles of white-sand beaches, volcanoes and coral reefs. All in all, Hawaii’s perfect for a long-haul summer break.

Essential info

  • Currency: Dollar
  • Language: English
  • Visa: British tourists visiting the United States for less than 90 days must apply for an ESTA.
  • Vaccinations: N/A
  • Dress code: N/A, Hawaiian shirts are strictly optional.
  • Important numbers: Embassy: 020 7499 9000
  • Other info: N/A

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