Explore Hawaii’s National Parks
Aloha! We love the Hawaiian greeting, meaning love and compassion. Most visitors fall in love with Hawaii at first sight, I know I did when I visited as a child.
Nearly every visitor will arrive in Honolulu’s airport or cruise terminal. This one-million-person city is the urban heart of Hawaii; three-quarters of Hawaiian residents live there. Hawaiian shirts, the region’s most famous export, are everywhere. Tourist shops sell colorful prints that make customers look like John Candy or Magnum PI. Most Hawaiians choose a muted version with the design printed on the inside of the fabric.
Pearl Harbor, a US naval base west of Honolulu, was attacked on 7 December 1941, “a date that will live in infamy,” according to President Franklin Roosevelt. A surprise Japanese attack damaged all eight battleships in the harbor and sank eight other ships.
Nearly 2,500 Americans were killed, and countless installations and buildings were destroyed. Before even declaring war. Eight decades later, Pearl Harbor’s centerpiece USS Arizona Memorial grew out of a wartime desire to honor Pearl Harbor’s victims.Visitors can also visit to Missouri and 1940s USS Bowfin submarine. In the middle of harbor is Ford Island which is the home to the Pacific Aviation Museum and where fighter jets were restored.
Plan spending a day here to do Pearl Harbor justice.
Now that we know a bit of the past, it’s time to hit the beach!
The 12 miles and one of the best in the world is Waikiki Beach. Walkable to Downtown Honolulu, Waikiki has many powder-white beaches just a few kilometers away from the boardwalk as well as from hotels and bars. Burn off calories with Fort DeRussy Beach, just beyond the waves and perfect for snorkeling, or visit Kuhio Beach for surfing lessons. Most Waikiki postcards show Diamond Head in the background.
This hill reminds of the volcanic origins of Hawaii with an extinct crater with solidified lava and many steps. Strong legs and a head for heights are needed, but the view of Honolulu and the Pacific is worth it. For those who reach the summit, it’s worth the burn. Those who’ve been from Honolulu and Oahu may find the pace of life slower but natural wonders are impressive.
On Maui Island, you may rent a car and drive to Hana. This 50-mile stretch winds along the coast and can be done in just a few hours but it is, however, best to take a day tour to admire the beaches and lush waterfalls along Koolau Forest Reserve. Honolulu (Big Island to the locals) is the largest in the archipelago.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the best place to see the islands’ beginnings. Enjoy the steamy show Kilauea, an active volcano by driving Crater Rim Drive. Thurston Lava Tube offers a unique underground view of a volcano. However, this is an active volcanic zone, so roads are often closed due to lava flows and eruptions.
Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast State Park on Kauai offer more adventures. Molokai was once owned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and had a leper colony and a traditional culture.
Enjoy Hawaii’s year-round sun, cocktails, and friendly people. Aloha State is best enjoyed with aloha!
The Forbidden Island
Niihau is the westernmost of Hawaii’s eight main islands. It was acquired from the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1864 by a Scottish widow whose descendants have fiercely protected the island from modernizing influences. Residents, their guests, and some military personnel have access. No alcohol, phones, internet, cars, or indoor plumbing are reported. Niihau is slowly welcoming outsiders. Visitors can now take a helicopter tour from Kauai that circles the island and lands on an undeveloped beach, away from residents and their homes. Boat tours also leave Niihau to anchor off for snorkeling and diving. For now, visitors can only glimpse the peaceful Forbidden Isle.