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Dream Destination: Hawaii

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Map of the Hawaiian Islands

A friend of mine asked for help planning her dream vacation to Hawaii. Tara wrote, “We are looking at planning a trip to one of the Hawaiian islands. We love Maui but would like to try somewhere new. Any recommendations on the other islands?”

Tara, I asked my friend Jennifer who lived in Hawaii for many years to help me answer your question, because when I went (not during the rainy season), we got hammered with 35 inches of rain in five days! It wasn’t the Hawaii I dreamed of, but I did discover how very kind Hawaiians are. I’m still waiting on a do-over. Hopefully soon!

Get to know the Hawaiian islands

Kauai is a laid back island, offering more wilderness options than the others. If you visit Kauai, you can entertain the family with ziplines through the rain forest, luaus and mountain climbs. The Kalalau Trail which begins at the end of the road at the north end of Kauai offers breath-taking views of the Pacific as you trek up the mountain. The first couple miles of the hike is fairly manageable, but the full trail is more suited toward experienced climbers.
The Island of Oahu offers big city entertainment geared toward guests. The North Shore offers great surfing. Pearl Harbor is located here with several different tours related to Pearl Harbor and World War II. Opened last year, Disney’s Aulani Resort offers that Disney experience, Hawaiian style. Of course, other accommodations are available across the island, including private rentals at a variety of price points.
The Big Island (Hawaii)
The Island of Hawaii, known as The Big Island, might offer the best of both worlds. Tourist friendly resort accommodations abound. Tourists can experience luaus and swimming with manta rays, but the Island of Hawaii also offers Volcanoes National Park and other more laid back adventures.
In short, each island offers a unique experience, so there’s something for everyone!
Perhaps the best tip Jennifer had to offer is purchasing Hawaii Off the Beaten Path, 9th: A Guide to Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series). She does caution not to let the locals see it: “hide it in your trunk or cover it or something. The locals don’t like for the tourists to know all of the good places to go on the islands.”
This post doesn’t cover everything there is to see and do in Hawaii, but hopefully it gives you a great place to start! Tara, please write a guest post about your Hawaiian vacation once you go!

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