There are few destinations that are suited for almost every traveler. Hawaii is one of them. It has almost everything you could want — good weather, tropical scenery and fine hotels and resorts.
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, and numerous atolls. The island group was once known as the Sandwich Islands. The Hawaiian Islands are about 1,860 miles from the nearest U.S. mainland. They were formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth’s mantle.
The fresh, floral air energizes you. The warm, tranquil waters refresh you. The breathtaking, natural beauty will renew you. Each island is unique and offers distinct experiences. They are there for you to experience — and you don’t need a passport to get there.
I would suggest you contact your travel agent to discuss the many choices you have in hotels, tours, cruises and the islands you wish to visit.
Airfares are higher today than they once were, but they are usually not as high as other destinations the same distance away. Two airlines fly nonstop from Phoenix. You can choose Hawaiian Airlines or U.S. Airways.
Which islands should you visit? It depends on your budget and time. I would suggest you first visit Oahu, with Honolulu and Waikiki as the focal point.
Waikiki Beach is known the world over for its almost perfect public beach and the Waikiki strand is loaded with fast food restaurants along with fine dining opportunities and shopping.
You should decide before you leave home if want to take various tours from your hotel or rent an automobile to cruise the island at your own pace. The car rental companies will give you maps and other information you will require to get around.
You definitely want to circle Oahu and stop off at various points suggested in the information you will receive.
One location that is a must is the Hawaiian Cultural Center, which is fascinating and describes some of the history of Hawaii.
Be sure to book a Pearl Harbor Tour. The tour company will pick you and your party up at your hotel and take you to this memorable area. You may recall from history that on Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese planes flew to Oahu and bombed the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, as well as a major airfield, beginning World War II for the U.S. The U.S.S Arizona was one of the ships sunk during the bombing and above it is a platform constructed to allow tourists to walk about and survey the area and results of the bombing. You can actually look down through the water and view the sunken ship. Thousands of U.S. service men were killed. The memorial is a tribute to the military personnel who lost their lives during the surprise attack.
You can also visit the Punchbowl National Cemetery for an impressive look at the graves neatly lined and displayed. From here, your tour will probably take you to downtown Honolulu to see the State Capitol, King Kamehameha’s Statue and the beautiful Lolani Palace, which was the former residence of Hawaiian Royalty.
Be sure to have a meal at the famed Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach. This landmark was originally constructed by the Matson Line, which began liner service from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu in the early 1930s with their first class Lurline and Matsonia. These magnificent ships began the tourist movement from the mainland to the islands. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel remains in perfect condition and is interesting to visit to see the interiors.
Another interesting event is the famous Hula Show at Waikiki Beach, usually presented with an old-fashioned Hawaiian luau. You may not like eating some of the dishes, but the experience is worth the time and money.
Many tourists just visit Oahu on their first trip to Hawaii. Others take in two and three islands. I might suggest Maui, one of my favorite islands in the group. Several great beaches grace this island. Kanapali is one of the more beautiful. Again, as in Oahu, there are many fine hotels here and you will not have a problem finding a good resort to suit your budget. The beaches are almost perfect for swimming and relaxing and sun bathing.
You should also plan to rent an automobile here. If you are a golfer, there are several fine courses and you may wish to book lodging in one of the resorts with a course on the property. On one day you could go horseback riding along the shore or perhaps take a drive up a volcano to view the entire island from the summit.
Beautiful flowers, trees and plants grow all over the island. Its fun to visit the various villages to snoop the shops and sample the tasty food and candies. If you don’t have a Hawaiian shirt, this may be the place to purchase one.
Kauai, the garden island, can be your next stop. It is so named because of the lush tropical landscape that you might recognize from such movies as South Pacific, Jurassic Park trilogy and many others. If a film is set in the South Pacific, chances are it was filmed on one of the Hawaiian Islands.
There is a fine selection of hotels and resorts to suit your taste and budget.
While in Kauai be sure to visit the famous “Fern Grotto” where you will be entertained by Hawaiian musicians and singers plus a short cruise up the Wailua River. On another day, drive to Waimea Canyon, which is a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. Take time here to simply drink in the grandeur of the area.
I also suggest taking a helicopter tour of the famous Na Pali Coast with the dramatic mountains rising high from the ocean’s edge. It is worth the expense and the photos you take will keep this special sight in mind forever.
If time permits, you may wish to continue visiting more islands such as the so-called Big Island of Hawaii. Here is a good opportunity to rent an automobile and drive around making visits to various scenic areas. The famous Volcano National Park is a must. My suggestion is to take an organized tour for this. The tour director will impart many interesting facts while you are there.
As we have suggested, Hawaii rarely disappoints and you should plan a trip here at least once in your lifetime.