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Dive into the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, sink into multi-coloured sands and glide over towering sea cliffs on dreamy holidays to Hawaii
Hawaii holidays have been capturing the hearts of travellers for years. Imagine ocean views from barefoot beach shacks, sunset mai tais bejewelled with purple orchids and snorkelling through a whirlwind of tropical fish. There’s banana pancakes in bohemian cafes, famous garlic shrimp on the beach and Polynesian luau feasts with hula and fire dancing at twilight.
With over 400 beaches and 800 miles of stunning coastline, you’re spoilt for choice. But Hawaii also has a wild edge. Chase the scent of eucalyptus through Maui’s Kula slopes, grab a long board on Waikiki Beach paddling out to catch the surf or hike Big Island’s Akaka Fall State Park. There’s exhilarating helicopter rides over Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast, your first peek of lava flows and an unending horizon of bright blue swells.
Follow crater trails and serpentine jungle hills through lush greenery and waterfalls or, surrounded by the scent of yellow hibiscus and pikake blossom, float your cares away in the pool of a pink palace resort or out on the ocean amongst a dazzling world of marine life. Try paddleboard yoga for the first time, join beach-lined crowds to watch world-class surf competitions or catch the Great North Pacific humpback whales on their annual migration to Hawaiian waters.
- Oahu is the place to go if you want a taste of all of Hawaii’s highlights
- In Maui you'lll find the Haleakala Observatory – possibly the best place in the world for stargazing
- Kauai is known as the ‘Garden Isle’ and here you can discover the largely unspoilt Napali Coast
- For budding volcanologists, Big Island is a dream destination – home to Volcanoes National Park
- Of course you can stay on more than one island – just speak to one of our Personal Travel Experts
Best time to visit Hawaii
• Hawaii enjoys a good climate all year, especially in coastal areas with warm seas
• Summer (April to November) is warmer and drier while winter (December to March) is a little cooler
• Whale-watching season is from late December to early May.
Hawaii holiday highlights
Head to Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu for iconic Waikiki Beach escapades, whether you come for the winter swells or the tranquillity of the North Shore. Expect Polynesian flavour, luxury high-rise hotels, laid-back beach vibes, vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches. It’s the place to come if you want to learn to surf, fancy hiking the legendary Diamond Head Walk or to go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Lanikai Beach is a glorious stretch of golden sand perfect for families looking for kid friendly swimming and a more secluded spot where kayaking and paddle boarding is the norm. On Oahu there’s also a sombre reminder of Hawaii’s part in the Pacific War – travel west of Honolulu to visit the active military base of Pearl Harbour and see the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Arizona Memorial. It’s also possible to visit the National Memorial Cemetery and the American-Florentine style Iolani Palace.
The Island of Hawaii (Big Island) is the largest of the archipelago and alongside a perfect palette of white-sand beaches and blue seas lay hidden gems of black cliffs and volcanic landscape, green ferns and cascading waterfalls, gunpowder sands and white-capped mountains. Come here for the famous Hawaii Volcanoes Park, for stargazing under clear night skies on the summit of Mauna Kea (where astronomy students with telescopes will help you search out the constellations) and the wild forests of the Kohala coast. There’s the incredible olive-green sand beaches found at the end of South Point Road, sunset picnics overlooking the lava glow from the Kilaue Iki crater and the coffee scented hills of Kona’s Honaunau plantations. And there’s also championship golf courses and world-class scuba diving.
The Valley Isle of Maui is where sunsets and sunrises meet in a whirlwind of majestic beauty over the iconic Haleakala Crater – the world’s largest dormant volcano. Take the winding road to Hana for verdant rainforests, head to the west side for lavish resorts and fantastic golf courses and make for the North Shore for an authentic taste of island life. Dive alongside sea turtles in Molokini’s underwater volcanic crater, head to the Iao Valley State Park for spellbinding views of the 1200-foot-tall ʻĪao Needle and follow the locals to Ho’okipa State Beach Park for world-class windsurfing, paddle boarding and snorkelling.
Rising 4000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Kauai’s Na Pali Coast is the jewel of the Garden Isle. The choice of location for the filming of Jurassic Park, its rugged sea cliffs, white-sand beaches and extraordinary sea caves can be explored by boat, kayak and helicopter. Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest island and its natural wonders include Waimea Canyon, the Spouting Horn and the tropical valleys of Limahuli Garden and Preserve at the foot of Mount Makana. Kauai is an extraordinary island for honeymooners and couples with an enchanting mix of beautiful beaches and lush scenery.
Where is Hawaii?
Hawaii is the 50th state of the USA and the only one made up entirely of islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean 2400 miles south west of California, only seven of its 132 volcanic islands are inhabited – Oahu, Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai and Niihau. Its nickname is the Aloha State and its capital is Honolulu.
Transport varies from island to island and depends largely on what you would like to do. If you’d like to explore further afield, you can hire a car or enjoy one of our hand-crafted tours taking you across the islands. If you’re just enjoying the beach and ocean, then relying on shuttles and taxis is the best option. The main islands have plenty of taxis with metred fares. On Oahu, TheBus takes you everywhere from downtown Honolulu to Pearl Harbour and the Waikiki Trolley will take you to most of the main sights. If you opt for a twin-centre holiday you can fly between the islands, and there’s also the option of taking a helicopter over coastline and volcanic landscape on both Kauai and the Big Island.
Oahu Home to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the most American of the islands, Oahu is the most busiest and vibrant island where you’ll find iconic Waikiki Beach, the lush Winward Coast and the best surfing spot on the island, North Shore. Visit Pearl Harbour, pineapple plantations and famed surf beaches, and expect urban high-rise buildings combined with beautiful sands.
Hawaii (Big Island) On the east you’ll find Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and on the west, spectacular coastline and golden beaches. Inland is clad with jungle hills, cascading waterfalls and the island’s highest peak, Mount Kea. Expect wet tropics, molten lava, slate-coloured sands and volcanic pools. The Big Island is a great place to come if you want to learn how to surf.
Maui The verdant Valley Isle is Hawaii’s second largest island, home to the seasonal whale migration, world-famous beaches, the spellbinding upcountry Haleakala Crater and lush rainforests. South Maui has fantastic golf courses and beautiful beaches and West Maui has an incredible stretch of coastline along Kaanapali Beach.
Kauai The oldest island of Hawaii is an emerald green delight, with rainforests, waterfalls and rivers beings the biggest draw. Some are only accessible by sea or air, and there’s plenty of adventure, whether you want to kayak, canoe or snorkel.
Food and drink
Expect refreshing shave ice, famous Hawaii poke bowls and North Shore garlic shrimp and fresh Pacific Ocean seafood everywhere you go. There’s a generous amount of fresh fruit and vegetables on the islands, as well as side dishes of poi and the sweet dessert of Haupia. There are plenty of surf-inspired hot spots, award-winning restaurants, farm-to-table cuisine and candy coloured shrimp trucks lining the beaches. And you can’t leave Hawaii without experiencing a legendary luau feast. Drink plantation iced tea by day and mai tais by night and don’t forget those refreshing acai bowls to chow down on while at the beach.