Our Essential Guide to the Hawaiian Islands

The summer months are upon us, which makes it the perfect time to hit up the beach! Luckily, that’s where a Hawaiian vacation comes to the rescue. With five main islands to explore, there’s a lot to consider when planning your trip. There are countless amounts of activities to do on every island. From visiting the Hawaii Volcanos National Parks to Driving along the Waimea Canyon, the beauty of Hawaii is calling your name.

KAUAI

Known as the “Garden Island,” Kauai is a must-visit for the no-muss, no-fuss kind of traveler. The oldest member of the Hawaiian Islands, it appeals to visitors with its seductive natural landscapes rather than the obvious tourist traps. Come with an adventurous spirit, and of course, a good pair of hiking boots. Whether you hike through Koke’e State Park’s Waimea Canyon or take in views of the Napali Cliffs from Ke’e Beach, this island is for nature lovers at heart.

MAUI

There’s much more to this island than simply a honeymoon destination. For many, Maui is the perfect sweet spot when it comes to accessibility and the range of activities available to visitors. Impressive wildlife and vibrant culture are just the tip of the iceberg on this island. Sandwiched between the Big Island and the tiny Molokai, Maui itself is divided into five distinct regions. Many vacationers tend to congregate in the south (home to the iconic Wailea Beach) or the west. However, the other regions are not to be missed. Drive along the Road to Hana to explore the island’s eastern coastline or explore Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano.

LANAI

Easily the most exclusive of the Hawaiian Islands, Lanai is the perfect destination for those looking to lounge in luxury and isolation. Polihua and Shipwreck Beaches are secluded stretches of sand perfect for a casual afternoon on the northern coast. While it’s tempting to spend your entire time on Lanai within the comfort of your posh accommodations, don’t miss sneaking in a round on the green of the Manele Golf Course or trying your hand at deep-sea fishing.

THE BIG ISLAND

Often passed over for its smaller counterparts, the largest Hawaiian island is not to be missed, especially by first-time visitors. Geographically diverse, this island boasts both black sand beaches and snow-topped peaks—and just about everything in between. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park gives visitors a unique glimpse into the process of how the islands were created, while the Waipio Valley’s verdant expanse can be explored on horseback. 

OAHU

This island might blend spectacular scenery and utmost luxury more than its neighbors. Honolulu’s cosmopolitan city is home to must-visit sites like the Iolani Palace and the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Put the high-rises of Waikiki in your rearview mirror and head to the island’s North Shore. This is where you’ll catch some of the Hawaiian Islands’ best surfing, as well as incredible hiking. For instance, La’ie Ridge Trail leads visitors to a 15-foot waterfall.

Covid Crash Course:

Beginning July 8, 2021, individuals fully vaccinated in the United States or its Territories may enter Hawaii on domestic flights without pre-travel testing/quarantine starting the 15th day after the completion of their vaccination. All other travelers must have their negative test results from a trusted testing and travel partner prior to departing as an alternative to Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine. As of June 15, all passengers who are not in quarantine are free to travel between islands without restriction.

Whatever island (or islands) you decide to visit, we’re here to help you navigate everything from COVID guidelines to the best beach to take surfing lessons.  

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