The islands of Hawaii
Posted on 02/01/2012
The Hawaiian chain is made up of 6 islands: Oahu (most popular- Honolulu and Waikiki are located here), Kauai, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Big Island (it was originally know as Hawaii). See map here.
Now that you are familar with the islands let's talk about each one.
Oahu is the most popular vacation destination. Hawaii's major airport is located here in Honolulu HNL. The cityscape that you see in travel brochures is of Waikiki which is located about 15 minutes from the airport. The famous Diamond Head volcano is in the background. If you want evening entertainment this is the best place to stay. Don't be afraid to choose a hotel that is not directly on the beach. Many are a short walk to the beach from anywhere in Waikiki. The trolly is convenient transportation as well.
If you want to go off and explore the island you'll need car rental. That's real Hawaii. Take the H3 around to the windward side to visit famous Lanikai beach in Kailua. Then head up around the island to the Northshore and the famous surf town of Haleiwa. In the winter the big action on the waves is at Waimea Bay, Pipeline, and Sunset beach.
Kauai is the garden state. It's for lovers. The quiet little village towns have small cafes and shops. Most of the island will close down by about 5 pm. The highlights to see are the Wailua River, Napali Coast, Poipu Beach, and Waimea Canyon.
Molokai is the place for the Hawaiians. If it's untouched raw beauty you seek, this is your island. It's traveling back in time with no traffic or traffic lights. It's said to be the birthplace of hula. To do here - not much; however, you can take a mule ride, go sports fishing, and enjoy the macadamia nut farm. It's all about sitting on the beach and enjoying the sunset.
Lanai is a luxury get away. There are a few resorts here but again it's all about sitting on the beach and enjoying the sunset.
Maui is a popular island for weddings and visitors. I recommend the drive to Hana. It's a twisting two lane road - for the brave! The tropical lushness is amazing and views are simply breathtaking. Afterwards make your way over to Lahaina to the historic whale town. It's a small street of galleries, cafes, and people watching. Top off your visit to the Haleakala volcano at sunrise for an unforgetable view.
The Island Hawaii is also known as the Big Island - with a big attraction! Volcanos! You'll need a rental car to see everything here. Start off at the Volcano National park (see website for erruption details) for black lava flows, steam vents, and history. Watch the island being born. This island is so vast that 11 of the world's 13 climactic zones from beach to snow can be seen here. Take a trip to the top of Mauna Kea to see the stars at the observatory. From green sand to black and back to white this is an island of adventure. If you are planning a spring trip be sure to get your tickets early for the Merrie Monarch Festival. It's a world famouse hula competition with groups from Japan, the US mainland, and of course Hawaii.
No matter which island you choose for your visit. You'll always have a reason to return!