Visiting Hawaii For The First Time
Aloha! Hawaii might be the youngest member of the United States, but these sun-soaked islands contain an unbelievably rich history. Visitors can expect to witness a vast display of incredible cultural diversity. Not forgetting world class beaches, stellar adventurous opportunities and an endless temperature climate. Below, you'll find some friendly pointers aimed at maximizing your time in this tropical paradise.
Hawaii consists of hundreds of islands. Hundreds. Tourists tend to visit one of five: Oahu (Honolulu), Maui, Molokai, Kauai or Hawaii aka The Big Island. Research (or consult with your travel agent) which destination suits you best. You don't want to stay in Oahu only to find our your idea of heaven on earth is in Maui. Waikiki Beach on Oahu is absolutely stunning, but it's not worth spending all your time there. In fact, if beaches are your thing, consider Kauai island. Here you'll find the gorgeous Kalapaki Beach, Hanalei Bay, Poipu Beach Park and Kalihiwai Beach. Less populated, more space.
If you plan to do some serious exploring, rent a car. It's honestly the easiest way to get around. Public transportation options aren't the best. Without a car, you're pretty limited in what you can squeeze in. Uber and Lyft are available, however extremely expensive.
June to November can be muggier than usual. This is hurricane season, so if you're sensitive to humid heat, consider visiting at a different time of year. Tropical storms are not uncommon and temperatures can drop to chilly levels. Packing layers isn't a bad idea.
Pack your hiking boots, too. With such a rugged, varied landscape encompassing volcanic craters and valleys, Hawaii offers some of the most scenic hikes in the world. Most popular trails include the Diamond Head Summit, the Waahila Ridge Trail and the Lanikai Pillbox Hike; all located on Oahu.
Visit Pearl Harbor even if you're on a budget, This Hawaiian naval base was caught off guard with a deadly attack from the Japanese in December 1941. Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is free but you must have a ticket. Reserve online or try your luck on the day. Tickets are first come, first serve.
Treat yourself really well and avoid eating at chain restaurants. Do not travel thousands of miles to dine at a McDonald's, Burger King or Red Lobster. Hawaii boasts a distinctive cuisine unlike anywhere else. Traditional Hawaiian dishes include chicken long rice, kalua pork and lomi lomi salmon. You can grab a Big Mac, Whopper or Ultimate Feast when you get home.
Last but not least, wear sunscreen. Seriously! Especially if you're going in the water. Even if it's cloudy or you plan to stay indoors. Nobody wants to sit at the luau, nursing a Mai Tai with a crispy face that's shedding flakes of skin. Due to Hawaii's proximity to the equator, sun rays are much more dangerous. Protect your skin with a higher SPF and reapply like crazy.
Visiting Hawaii isn't a hop, skip and a jump away. A little research can do a lot to ensure traveling thousands of miles is worth it (it's definitely worth it LOL). Hawaii is a dream of a destination and deserves to be tackled properly. Have fun in the sun, take it easy and again: don't forget your sunscreen.