Mauna Kea Beach Hotel located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The hotel is set on a beautiful ...
Hawaii Vacation Ideas
Hawaii Travel Guide - Tips for Visitors
The Hawaiian Islands with the Family
The Hawaiian islands are very nice for families - there are many sandy beaches, spas, golf courses and resorts with programs especially for kids. On the Big Island, the Mauna Kea Resort is home to two hotels - Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The resort offers golf, tennis and a children's program. Popular watersports include snorkeling, scuba diving, outrigger canoe paddling, sailing, kayaking and catamaran rides.
For families who like to visit museums, aquariums and historic attractions, hotels on Waikiki Beach offer rooms for all budgets. Two large Hilton resorts feature golf, spas and programs for the whole family. Hilton Waikoloa Village is located on the Big Island and Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu.
Adventure trips in Hawaii range from scuba diving and kayaking to mountain biking down Haleakala and hiking in Volcanoes National Park. Many vacationers rise early to watch the sunrise at 10,000 feet in Haleakala National park. If you are up for it, adventure companies offer mountain biking down the slopes of Haleakala in Maui right after the sunrise. There are also many scenic golf courses. Be sure to check for packages that include activities to save on your trip.
WaikikiWaikiki Beach is a two-mile stretch of sand located on Oahu which offers numerous activities, including snorkeling, surfing, canoeing and relaxing in the sun. Waikiki is lined with hotels, condominiums and vacation rentals where vacationers who do not mind crowds can step directly onto the beach.
Vacationers on Waikiki Beach can take surfing lessons, participate in a whale watching excursion, or simply relax in the sun. There are several restaurants featuring Italian, Japanese, Pacific Rim, Mexican, American and Continental cuisine.
Near the Diamond Head Crater side, there are several picnic areas. Kapiolani Park is a 170-acre public park with picnic facilities. The park is also the setting for concerts and other cultural events. Planning a visit to Waikiki: There are numerous hotels and condominiums to choose from. In fact, the whole 2-mile beach is lined with hotels.
Major Tourist Attractions in Hawaii
The Hawaiian islands offer many things to see and do, including famous vacation destinations like the Haleakala National Park, USS Arizona Memorial and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
What to See on Oahu
Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous and popular beach vacation destinations, is a two-mile stretch of coast fronted by hotels. Waikiki Beach offers warm waters and sandy beaches. You can enjoy snorkeling, surfing and relaxing in the sun.
Sunset Beach, located on Oahu's north shore, is a great surfing site during the winter with fifteen to twenty-foot waves. In the summer when the waters are calmer, you can swim and snorkel.
Visitors can learn about Pearl Harbor at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center and take a ferry to the USS Arizona Memorial. You can also go below the deck of the Bowfin, a World War II submarine.
Founded in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. It is home to over 2,500 animals representing more than 420 species. The Waikiki Aquarium is located in Queen Kapiolani Park, on the southern shoreline of the island of Oahu.
Restaurants, shopping and watersports attract visitors of all ages to Waikiki. Keiki Aloha Program at the Sheraton Waikiki is open to children ages 5 to 12 staying at any Sheraton Hotel in town (there is a fee). Parents and family members can participate on certain days. This children's program is available to guests staying at the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Surfrider, the Princess Kaiulani. Ten minutes by car from Waikiki, The Kahala Hotel offers families more seclusion, a children's program and six Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins.
The Big Islands
Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii features the 25,000-square foot Kohala Sports Club and Spa, complete with fitness facilities and spa services. You can sign up for one of their vacation packages or enjoy single treatments.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has several massage rooms, sauna and a steam room. The resort also offers packages.
Maui offers a selection of different activities, ranging from ultra-relaxing to adventurous. There are many luxury resorts, a dormant volcano and 39 beaches with public facilities. Some of the popular activities include shopping in the old whaling town of Lahaina and watching the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands.
The County of Maui includes Molokai and Lanai which can be reached by ferry from Lahaina. Whether you like exploring diverse bays, hiking in a dormant volcano, shopping or relaxing at a luxurious spa, Maui offers a bit of everything. Accommodations range from inexpensive condos to five star rooms and suites overlooking the Pacific. Be sure to look for packages.
Grand Wailea Resort has a luxury 50,000 square foot spa facility which offers a selection of massages, facials and Hawaiian baths. Travassa Hana is a secluded Hawaiian retreat located on 30 oceanfront acres. The Wellness Center offers a number of treatments and fitness classes. Services include traditional Thai massage, hot stone massage, Hawaiian Lomilomi, reflexology, Shiatsu, Polynesian body scrub, Reiki Therapy and skin care services. Fairmont Kea Lani Maui offers body treatments, facials, massages, as well as treatments just for men.
Haleakala National Park extends from the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano in the world, to the Kipahulu coast near Hana. Hike the national park, enjoying waterfalls and beautiful scenery.
A hot summer body surfing spot, Slaughterhouse Beach is located in northwestern Maui. Enjoy snorkeling and Hawaiian marine like including colorful fish and turtles.
The Big Island of Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two active volcanoes Mauna and Kilauea. Park visitors can enjoy hiking, bird watching, stargazing, wildlife viewing and other activities. Kilauea Visitor Center, located just inside the park entrance, offers visitor information and exhibits. Films and videos are shown in the auditorium throughout the day.
Located 3 miles south of Hilo Airport on Highway 11, Nani Mau Gardens offer 20 acres of gardens, including the European Garden, the Anthurium Hapu'u Fern Garden, the Orchid Garden, Water Gardens. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful collections of flowers.
Akaka Falls State Park offers a 0.4-mile self-guided walk through lush tropical vegetation and to scenic vista points. Enjoy views of the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free falling 'Akaka Falls.
Fern Grotto is a fern-fringed cave only accessible via the Wailua River.
The Na Pali Coast offers panoramic views, a tropical forest and rugged coastline.
Hawaii for Honeymooners
The Hawaiian islands are so diverse that you can spend your honeymoon on a secluded beach, or experience the excitement of shopping, nightlife and people watching in Waikiki on Oahu. The islands are home many great honeymoon resorts.
Navigate the famous Hana road along the east coast of Maui and you will end up at Travaasa Hana, a paradise for honeymooners who crave seclusion and luxury service. You can get pampered at the spa, eat delicious meals, head to the beautiful Hamoa Beach, or hang out next to one of the hotel pools.
For those who prefer a large resort, Maui offers many choices, including the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Grand Wailea Resort. If you are planning to play a lot of golf, Kapalua Resort on the West Coast of Maui offers two championship golf courses and luxury accommodations, including The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
A wide choice of activities can be found on Oahu where you can go shopping, scuba diving, visit a museum, take a surfing lesson and enjoy island nightlife. Waikiki offers several unique honeymoon hotels. If you like pink-inspired decor, stay at the historic Royal Hawaiian hotel. Or book a luxury room with a view of the ocean at Halekulani Hotel.
The Kohala Coast on the Big Island is another great spot for couples who can choose from a number of sandy beaches and accommodation options. The Fairmont Orchid is a luxury hotel located at the Mauna Lani Resort, complete with a spa, private beach and many water based activities. Book a couples' massage at the spa in one of the huts over the man-made waterfall. If you prefer, you can rent one of the condos in the area which often end up being more affordable. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is another romantic option.
The Hawaiian archipelago stretches for 1,500 miles in a line from southeast to northwest. Hawaii is the biggest island, followed by Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, family-owned Niihau and uninhabited Kahoolawe. Honolulu, located on Oahu, is the eleventh largest city in the U.S.
- Getting There: Most major US and international carriers fly to Honolulu International Airport. Neighboring islands are serviced by direct daily flights or via Honolulu, depending on your point of origin. There are also a few cruise and ferry services between the islands. Taxis and car rentals are readily available at the airports. From San Francisco, approximate flight time to Honolulu is 5 hours. If you are flying to Honolulu from the East Coast of the United States, you will probably have to change planes and total travel time will be from 11 to 16 hours. From Honolulu, flight times to other islands range from approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Best Time to Go: This is a year-round tropical destination with most visitors in the winter months from December to February. If you go in the summer, late spring or fall, you should be able to find relatively good hotel and airline deals. The waters are the calmest in July and August, great for snorkeling and diving.
- Getting Around: If you would like to explore the islands and look for that perfect secluded beach, you should rent a car, motorcycle or a bicycle. Although car rentals are readily available at the airportss, you should make a reservation before you get there. Properties often offer packages that include a car rental.
- The Weather: The weather is warm year-round with the average daytime high temperature at 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Rainfall varies by location - the windward shores receive more rain than leeward sides. The volcanic peaks serve as a natural barrier between the rainy and the dry side.
Beach Safety Tips
On any beach vacation you are going to be concerned with the weather, the water, and the crowds at the beach. Hawaii has many spectacular beaches. Some are tiny resort front beaches packed with sunbathers, while others are remote beaches five miles long without a single tourist. Your trip to the beach will be much more enjoyable if you remember to take several precautions when you go.
- Many of the beaches in Hawaii are in remote locations and have no lifeguards so you should be extra careful when swimming. If you do plan on going to a beach with no lifeguard, ask someone who has been there before about the beach.
- If you are at a remote beach that doesn't look very good for swimming (weather, waves and currents vary every day) then take plenty of pictures, have a picnic lunch, and get some sun but just don't swim.
- Check the signs at the beach for information on the currents, waves, and jellyfish.
- If there is a lifeguard at the beach ask them if there is anything you should know about the beach before you swim. (They can also tell you where the best snorkeling spots are.)
- Always snorkel with someone so that you can watch out for each other.
- Be aware of your position relative to the rocks. Very often people get stuck staring at the schools of fish below them and don't realize they're headed for the rocks.
- Never turn your back to the waves you may get clobbered.
- If you rent a little paddle boat or kayak from your resort, remember that the currents on Hawaii can be very strong so don't go too far out unless you are an experienced paddler.
- A rashguard will help prevent sunburn if you are going to be in the water for awhile. Rashguards are great for kids who usually spend all day running around the beach.
- Always wear plenty of sunscreen. (Especially on the first few days of your vacation.)