Hawaii travel offers a huge variety of possibilities from absorbing the active beach life of Waikiki, to pampering yourself in one of the mega golf and spa resorts in secluded sweeping beach locations, to enjoying the outstanding scenic attrcations by road, to exploring the rich wilderness by foot, kayak, horse or bicycle. Hawaii has something for everyone.
Hawaii Islands is a chain of over 100 islands in the empty north pacific ocean some 2000 miles off the west coast of North America. Only six of these offer tourist accommodation, and all others, except Niihau off Kauai, are uninhabited. Most of these uninhabited islands lie in a chain extending to the north west and are tiny coral atolls.
Hawaii has four main holiday destinations.
Oahu – Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour , surfing
Kauai – dramatic coastline and secluded beaches
Maui – beach and lifestyle resorts, whale watching
Big Island – volcanoes, mountains and mega beach resorts
Molokai and Lanai – culture and isolation
There are at least hourly flights (6am to 7pm) from Honolulu Airport on Oahu to Kauai in the north (35 mins), Maui to the south (35 mins) and to the Big Island further south (55 mins). Flights to Molokai and Lanai depart several times a day (35 mins). There are some flights connecting Maui and the Big Island, otherwise all connections go through Oahu.
Internal Flights and Car Hire
Sightseeing is most dramatic on Kauai, followed closely by the Big Island with its active volcano and dramatic waterfalls. Discerning travellers and those seeking adventure should also head to Kauai, followed by the Big Island. If you are after a Hawaii beach holiday, Waikiki Beach on Oahu has the liveliest atmosphere with lots of water activities, followed by Kihei Beach on Maui. For luxury beach resorts, Wailua and Kaanapali on Maui and the Kohala Coast on the Big Island have the nicest beaches, whilst the most dramatic beaches are on Kauai. For fine dining and bars, there is no better place than Old Lahaina Town on Maui with the added attraction of its art galleries. Golf holidays are excellent on all islands, with Oahu having the greatest variety of courses. Surfing is at its best in the winter months, particularly on the north shore of Oahu whilst the best scuba diving and whale watching is on Maui. The Big Island has the best game fishing and most impressive and interesting archaeological sites as well as the fascinating Volcano National Park.
Tourism peaks in the winter months from November to March – this is when mainland Americans, in particular retirees, take their extended winter break. In these months, accommodation can be booked well in advance. Winter is also the peak season for surfing and whale watching making the north shore of Oahu and Maui popular destinations. The summer months are drier and slightly warmer (about 30OC), the seas and surf are calmer and this is the Hawaii holiday season popular with families. The low seasons when hotel prices are most likely to be discounted is between April-May and September-October.
Our minimum recommended duration for a self-drive sightseeing holiday:
Oahu – 2 days based at Waikiki
Kauai – 4 days based at Kapaa, Poipu or Hanalei
Maui – 3 days based at Lahaina, Kaanapali or Kihei
Big Island – 3 days based at Kailua and 2 days at Hilo/Volcano