Hawaii is a well-known paradise, home to colorful nature, breathtaking landscapes and an all-round laid-back attitude. With postcard-worthy scenes at every turn, it’s no surprise Hawaii is a constant top destination for adventure and relaxing breaks alike. With so many activities and sights to see, we’ve narrowed down the top 5 things to do in the Aloha State.
Discover the wildlife on Molokini
Declared a Marine Life Conservation District, the islet of Molokini is home to a whole spectrum of wildlife, both underwater and on-the-ground. The volcanic calderas—when a volcano collapses into itself, forming a crater—is one of three in existence in the world, adding an extra special charm to the islet. Molokini’s crystal waters provide optimum conditions to see an array of bright organisms and it is a fantastic place to go scuba diving or snorkeling. You can see unparallelled nature in the form of multiple bird species, reefs, fish and aquatic life. Don’t forget to make your way across to Turtle Town, which is swarming with Hawaiian green sea turtles. Swimmers can float alongside the reptiles or take advantage of the photo opportunity from the coast.
Haleakalā National Park
Translating as ‘the house of the sun’, the centerpiece of Haleakalā National Park is the dormant Haleakalā Volcano, which towers over Maui. Visitors can look out from the crater across the 30,000 acre space, over waterfalls, rock gardens and desert-like landscapes. The diverse terrain provides remarkable views stretching out across the red volcanic rock plains. Aim to go for sunrise, when the light casts a breathtaking shadow across the landscape and illuminates the colors of the rusty-streaked rocks.
The National Park is a haven for hikers and geologists and it’s packed with unusual vegetation and lavish trail routes. Spend a day hiking through the breathtaking setting, guided walking and horse tours are available, or if you’re feeling particularly energetic, go mountain biking along the bumpy contours.
Watch Humpback Whales in Maui
Get up close and personal with the North Pacific Humpback whale on the island of Maui, where the ocean comes to life in a flurry of fin splashes. Maui’s tranquil shorelines and variety of whale-watching cruises are ideal for any animal-lover attempting to catch a glimpse of the gentle giants. It’s one of the best spots for whale sightings and visitors to the island have even reported seeing the whales from airplane windows. Gaze on from land or sea as the amazing mammals glide through their natural environment, spraying mists of water and arching above the water’s surface. November through to May is whale season, when the annual winter migration takes place, bringing an estimated third of the complete population of North Pacific Humpback Whales with it.
Be sure to check out the Maui Ocean Centre to learn about the history of the creatures, as well as conservation efforts across Hawaii.
Go tubing through the rainforest in Kauai
There’s nothing like the exhilarating thrill of whizzing down the open canals of Kauai on an inflatable ring. Rushing through dense forest, caves, tropical vegetation, and underneath canopies filled with wildlife, tubing in the rainforest is a true experience of nature. Coast along the water with the incredible backdrop of the Waialeale Crater (standing at 5,148 feet) and the mountains—all the picturesque sights from the comfort of sitting down. The calm flowing waters make for a gentle ride, and each person is given a headlamp to help guide them through the darker patches of the journey.
Suitable for ages 5 and over, tubing is a fun activity for families, groups, or as a solo explorer. Remember to bring your swim costume, then simply sit back, watch the world go by and be prepared to get wet.
Tuck in to a fresh catch
You’re sure to work up an appetite from all the activities on Hawaii, and luckily there’s a wide selection of fresh seafood restaurants, serving up traditional Hawaiian dishes. Sample some ‘ono grinds’ meaning ‘good food’ in Pa’ia. The small surf town has eateries that will make any traveler salivate. Try the Opakapaka steamed with ginger and drizzled with peanut oil at Mama’s Fish House, or chow-down on cajun-style salmon at Pa’ia Fish Market.
Eat like a local and try Poke—raw octopus or tuna, finely chopped and seasoned, a surprisingly refreshing snack on a warm day. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Shaved Ice is thin bits of ice topped with different flavors of syrup on top of coconut or vanilla ice cream, drench in condensed milk. The desert is unique to Hawaii and is utterly delicious.
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Grace Brennan is a writer and copywriter from the U.K. She’s had the pleasure of living in 5 countries, combining her two loves: language and travel. She currently lives in Medellín, Colombia.
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