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Aloha!!!  I was lucky enough to live in Hawaii for seven years, and you absolutely cannot go wrong with Hawaii as a vacation destination.  There are eight main islands, with six of them being open for travel.  Each of them has a unique appeal.

Oahu is the home to the capital of Honolulu and is the most populous island.  Historic Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head (Leahi), the famous North Shore town of Hale’iwa, and Waikiki are top destinations on Oahu.  Rich in history and culture, as well as high end shopping, surfing, hiking, and food, Oahu has so much to offer.

Despite recent wildfire devastation in the Lahaina area, Maui is gorgeous and offers many experiences and opportunities. Tourism to Maui’s unaffected areas helps the economy there as it struggles to return to normal.  The east side of Maui features the huge extinct volcano Haleakala (Hawaiian for “house of the sun”), perfect for watching a sunrise or sunset from this 10,000 ft peak and National Park.  The Road to Hana is a popular, winding, and scenic drive.  Make sure to start early, and grab a picnic lunch in Paia before you go.  A hidden gem is Ali’i Lavender Farm on the slopes of Haleakala.

The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its Kona coffee and active volcanoes.  Volcanoes National Park on the southeast side of the island boasts two active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa.  Both erupted in the past year, with Kilauea typically erupting a few times per year.  VNP has a perfect viewing area when Kilauea is active, and there are dozens of hiking trails through old eruption zones and lava tubes.  Enjoy a meal at Volcano House, overlooking the Kilauea crater.  Near VNP, you can visit a coffee farm where Ka’u coffee grows on the slopes of Mauna Loa.  In the southern region, you can visit both black and green sand beaches and spot green sea turtles (honu), as well as get some malasadas at Punalu’u Bakery.  The Kona side hosts the Ironman Triathalon each year, and features many beautiful resorts.

Lanai and Molokai are small islands, rich in culture.  Lanai is 98% privately owned, and formerly a pineapple plantation.  It is accessible via boat for a day trip from Maui or via short inter-island flights.  Lanai has no traffic lights, and if you are a cat lover don’t miss the Lanai Cat Sanctuary!  Rich in history, Molokai is known for its leper colony, originally founded by Father Damian.  Similar to Lanai, it is only served by local airlines.

Kauai is the Garden Isle, known for breathtaking scenery like the steep and stunning Na Pali coastal cliffs, as well as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon.  Several movies like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones have been filmed here, using the mountains and water as a backdrop.  Hiking, surfing, kayaking, and resort life barely scratch the surface of things to do here.

There are a plethora of ways to see and experience the beauty of these islands.  From self-paced audio tours to week-long inter-island cruises, Hawaii offers beauty and accessibility for all ages. Enjoy more than one island in a vacation; quick inter-island flights make it easy!  Reach out to your vacation designer for a well-curated trip to the Aloha State!

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