If you're looking for a very special island holiday, there's no doubt that one of the best places to head is Hawaii. These beautiful islands have featured in many movies, from Elvis' Blue Hawaii to 2015 romcom Aloha. Hawaii is certainly a long-haul trip, but one that you'll never forget. Their remote location (a 5-hour flight from the USA's West Coast) ensures that you'll feel that you're in another world, perhaps even another time. It's the perfect destination for a trip of a lifetime, romantic island wedding or honeymoon, or simply to enjoy a delightful holiday experience. You'd probably do best to pick one island and devote your time to getting to know it well; as tempting as it may be to try to visit all of them in one go, you'll end up rushing round the islands instead of enjoying your trip. Besides, if you concentrate on one island this time, it's a great excuse to start saving for your next trip!
So what should the first-time visitor to Hawaii be sure to catch? If you want your island trip to be full of excitement, then Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is a must. The state capital has just about everything you could want, with cultural highlights such as the Bishop Museum (covering the history of Hawaii), plenty of nightlife, and enough shopping to enable you to fill a dozen suitcases with souvenirs! You should try to schedule your trip to catch one of the island's fascinating festivals, for a flavour of what makes these islands such a truly special place to live or visit.
The whole point of travelling to an island is to enjoy the beaches, so you could easily spend the majority of your trip lounging on the palm-fringed sand or enjoying sporting activities. If you're more into spectator sports, catch one of the surfing competitions, but if you enjoy active holidays then take a surfing course or learn to snorkel. There couldn't be a better place to dive or snorkel than the beautiful blue Hawaiian waters. You could also go on a whale-watching trip from Maui, kayaking, or a canoe ride.
It would be a shame to travel all the way to Hawaii and not experience the beauty of its landscape. The islands are a volcanic chain, and boast three active volcanoes. You can hike along many craters. The top visitor attraction on the islands is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island, which is a sacred place to native Hawaiians and a World Heritage Site. The park contains Kilauea, the most active volcano on the planet - heading here is a must if you want to experience the stunning power of nature. It's astonishing to learn that the island is actually growing in size, thanks to the continual eruption of the volcano (perhaps it might be wise to make an offering to Pele, the volcano goddess!).
Hawaii's abundant culture includes an impressive food scene, featuring award-winning chefs, local fish, and fresh ingredients courtesy of the rich volcanic soil. This combines with the influence of world cultures to create a standout cuisine. Surprisingly, one of the favourite foods of Hawaiians is Spam! But if you don't consider Spam a delicacy, then be sure to sample other, more typically Hawaiian dishes like Poi (made from the taro plant), Poke (raw fish salad) or Lau-lau (filling steamed in leaves). You'll find a lot of Asian influences in Hawaiian cooking.
Where to stay? Well, you'll be spoiled for choice. You can stay in a resort or hotel, rent a villa, or stay in a B & B. For a more authentically Hawaiian experience, you might prefer a small B & B run by a local resident. Look out for a beachfront property, or one with a spectacular view, if you want to spend plenty of time relaxing and simply gazing at the views. But wherever you stay, you're sure to have a fantastic time on these beautiful islands.
Have you ever been to Hawaii?