Hawaii is one of my favorite places. I have been to Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai. Picking a favorite island is nearly impossible since each island is so different and each has such a different vibe. When visiting the islands be sure to NOT act like a typical tourist. Do NOT race from one place to another and try to see everything. Take your time, savor the flavor and feel of the islands, talk with locals (really take time to enjoy their company), and take time to do nothing but enjoy the tranquility. Above all, be respectful of the land and of the people. Here are some of my favorite Island spots and memories.
The Big Island (full article) has something for everyone. There are sandy beaches, trails, spectacular views, mountains, rugged coastline, volcanoes, wildlife, cities, dining, and wonderful people. The Big Island has all climate zones from desert to snow. If you could vacation on only one island I would suggest the Big Island because of its diversity.
Kauai (full article) is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and is the garden island. Some of the main features on Kauai are the spectacular beaches, zipline tours, snorkeling spots, and the Waimea Canyon.
Oahu (full article) has many famous sites including Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, etc. I particularly enjoyed the sites and history at Pearl Harbor. This is a “must see” place. I also enjoyed the climb to the top of Diamond Head and the spectacular views. Another favorite was the trail to the Makapu’u Lighthouse.
Here is a short list of some of my favorite places on the islands. Click the links to read full articles about the individual locations.
- Spencer Beach (Big Island) is a small, quiet beach and campground
- Waipeo Valley (Big Island) contains spectacular views and waterfall
- Pololu Valley (Big Island) is a coastal valley with impressive overlook and dark sand beach
- Volcanoes National Park (Big Island) is just seriously cool
- Place of Refuge (Big Island) is an ancient walled, self-contained community
- Tropical Botanical Garden (Hilo, Big Island) is a seriously impressive garden that must be seen to be believed
- Waimea Canyon (Kauai) is called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii
- Kilauea Point Lighthouse (Kauai) has spectacular views and a bird sanctuary
- Diamond Head (Oahu) provides you with impressive view of the coastline and lighthouse
- Pearl Harbor (Oahu) is a must-see destination
I highly recommend the Blue Book. These books give details about the places and sights and tell about the lessor know sights. Costco carries the Blue Book and the major islands have a Costco. Above all, experience the Islands and learn about the culture, customs, kapu, and take the time to absorb the atmosphere of the Islands. Do NOT take home pieces of the Islands such as sand, rocks, coral, etc. It is said that items removed from the Islands will carry a curse with them. I don’t know if that is true but taking things from the Islands is rude and disrespectful. Be sure to take photos and memories and thank you for reading.