It's often referred to as a little bit of paradise and it's not hard to see why: Hawaii boasts spectacular natural scenery and you'll be hard pressed to choose a favorite amongst the islands. There are six in total: Kauai
and Hawaii Island.
Weather/ when to go:
The weather is warm throughout the year so your summer wardrobe is generally the way to go. You may want to wear a jacket or light sweater in the evenings, and warmer clothes are advisable if you're planning to visit some of the more elevated attractions that Hawaii has to offer.
Unlike most destinations, there aren't any particularly bad times to visit Hawaii but generally speaking, April to November is warm and dry while things cool off a little in winter.
If you're hoping to spot some whales during your stay, the whale watching season starts towards the end of December and runs through to early May. Peak whale watching times are between January and early April so these are good times to visit for that purpose.
Do & see:
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without a trip to these attractions!
This area of coastline boasts spectacular scenery with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, lush green cliffs and waterfalls. The downside is that you can only get there by hiking, boat or helicopter but don't let that stop you from taking a trip here. Even if you don't fancy hiking, take a boat trip, guided kayak tour (in the summer) or even a helicopter trip for a bird's eye view of the more remote parts.
Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", the Waimea Canyon is over 14 miles long and a mile wide. It's not as old as its Arizona counterpart but it's a stunning sight.
Here you'll find Waioli Mission House, once the 1837 home of early Christian missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox and now on the National Register of Historic Places after restored in 1921. In front of this is the Waioli Huiia Church, which dates from 1834. Also here are art galleries containing Kauai art and carvings and Hanalei Pier, built in 1892 and featured in the 1957 film "South Pacific". When you're done exploring, relax and watch the sunset over Hanalei Bay.
At the south end of the Wailua River, you'll find this stunning water feature. It's accessible by road so you don't need to be a hiker to reach it.
At another of the island's prominent waterfalls, the roadside lookout provides breath-taking views and picturesque photo opportunities.
Built in 1913 as a navigational aid for ships, the lighthouse and its surrounding area offer picture perfect photo opportunities of the Pacific Ocean. Here you'll also find the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which is a seabird sanctuary.
Famed for its beaches, Waikiki is also home to Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium and the Waikiki Historical Trial, which offers an insight into Waikiki's history through surfboard markers.
Leahi (Diamond Head State Monument)
Dominating the Honolulu skyline, this crater is a famous landmark in Hawaii. It formed over 1000 years ago and is now a National Natural Landmark. With views of Waikiki and the south shore, it's a popular destination for hikers.
The site of the infamous attack on the United States which prompted their entry into World War II is now a National Historical Landmark. The USS Arizona Memorial pays tribute to the 1,177 crewmen who died when the ship was targeted and sunk, while the USS Oklahoma Memorial commemorates the 429 crewman who lost their lives when the ship was hit nine times and capsized. Also here is the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowtin Submarine Museum and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Kalaupapa National Park
Kalaupapa is one the most remote areas of Hawaii and was once home to the sick, who had been exiled here due to its isolation. You can visit the grave of Saint Damien (a Belgian missionary who spent much of his time trying to treat them) in the St. Philomena Roman Catholic Church. The National Park cannot be reached by car and one of the most memorable ways to get there is by mule ride.
Take a trip back in time to 'old' Hawaii with a trip to this town, which has barely altered since the early 1900s. Some of its charms include Ala Malama Avenue (the main strip), Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove and Church Row, seven small missionary-style churches.
Also known as "Three Mile Beach", this is one of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii.
White beaches and stunning blue waters are just two of the reasons to seek out Hulopoe Bay, which fronts the luxury Four Seasons Resort Lanai. It's a hotspot for snorkelers and swimmers for much of the year but it's not so kind to swimmers during the winter months. On the eastern side of the bay are large tide pools carved out of volcanic rock which are home to hermit crabs, sea stars, limpets and small fish but if you go exploring here, be sure to leave everything as you find it -- Hulopoe Bay is a protected site. If you're lucky, you might be able to spot spinner dolphins in the bay and humpback whales often visit in the winter.
Shipwreck Beach (Kaiolohia)
It gets its name from the ships that have been wrecked through the shallow, rocky channel and there's even the rusting hull of a 1940s oil tanker still beached on the coral reef. You'll need a 4-wheel drive to get here.
Sweetheart Rock (Puu Pehe)
Between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay (the main boat harbour on Lanai island) is Puu Pehe, known as Sweetheart Rock. This eye-catching natural landmark can be reached by hiking past the tide pools of Hulopoe Bay. Spinner dolphins are known to visit the spot.
The town of Hana is a tranquil part of Hawaii that hasn't yet been spoilt. Its location doesn't make for the easiest of journeys -- the 52-mile road from Kahului involves hairpin turns and narrow one-lane bridges but stunning views are a constant companion.
Haleakala National Park
At 10,023 feet above sea level, the park contains the highest peak on Maui and it can be seen from all over the island. The park is home to many endangered species. You can hike by yourself or sign up for a guided hike to learn more about the area. For early birds, drive up and watch the unforgettable sunrise at Haleakala Visitor Center.
There are spectacular beaches on the south-west part of Maui, one of which is Makena Beach. It's known as "Big Beach" and its gold sands last for almost two-thirds of a mile. Despite its beauty, it's less of a hit with tourists compared to Kaanapali and Lahaina beaches so you can enjoy a more relaxing time.
Hawaii Volcanoes Natural Park
Here you'll find the Kilauea volcano, which is one the most active in the world and has been erupting for over 20 years. It's now a UNESCO World Biosphere site and a World Heritage site. Stop off at the Kilauea Visitor Center for an introduction to the park before you take the Crater Rim Drive, which takes you to the main features of the park: The Kilauea overlook, the Jaggar Museum (dedicated to volcanic study), the Halemaumau Crater (known as the home of Pele, the volcano goddess), Devestation Trail, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube.
Known as "Paniolo" (Hawaii cowboy) country, Waimea has little in common with the rest of Hawaii Island. Visit the Kahua Ranch, a working sheep and cattle ranch that tells more about the paniolo way of life that is still prominent in this part of Hawaii.
Hamakua Heritage Corridor
Take a trip along the Hamakua Coast and take in the stunning views as you travel. En route, you'll also come across old plantation towns, spectacular waterfalls and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which contains 2000 species of tropical plants. At Akaka Falls State Park, you'll find the most well-known of the waterfalls on Hawaii Island (Akaka Falls) and the Kahuna Falls.