Hawaii is hiking sculpted cliffs or diving coral-reef cities in the morning and drinking mai tais to slackkey guitar at sunset. It’s slurping juicy papayas with hibiscus flowers in your hair; it’s Pacific Rim cuisine, fiery volcanoes and cavorting whales.
By serendipity and design. It’s an enchanting multicultural society with roots in Polynesia, and it’s an expression of nature at its most luscious and divine.
About seven million visitors come to experience paradise annually, but the islands are not as crushed with sun-baked tourists and cooing honeymooners as that sounds. If you want a cushy resort vacation, head for Oahu’s Waikiki or Maui. For something cheaper or more adventurous, aim for the Big Island. If time is short, stick to one island and make the most of it.
When to Go
All the islands have similar climates: southwestern coasts are sunny, dry and lined with sandy beaches, while the ortheastern sides have lush rain forests, cascading waterfalls and pounding surf. Hawaii enjoys warm weather year-round, with coastal temperatures averaging a high of 28°C and a low of 20°C. Summer and fall are the driest seasons, winter the wettest.
Our top pick for Hawaii
1 Oahu - Relive history at Pearl Harbour.
2 Big Island Hawaii - Get up and close to Kilauea's fresh lava flows in Volcano's National Park.
3 Maui - Snorkel at Molokini Marine preserve.
4 Big Island Hawaii - Star gaze at the top of Mauna Kea.
5 Hawaii Learn to surf.