As the 50th state of the United States of America, we may think of Hawaii as a tropical, island paradise where the natives wear grass skirts and the beaches stretch onwards forever. Whilst there is an element of truth in this, Hawaii as a vacation destination offers much more and there are rich tourist pickings to be enjoyed all year round. Here are some ideas about things to do, places to go and what to expect from a visit to this varied island state in the Pacific Ocean. To add on you can apply a US Visa Waiver ESTA before you plan your travel.
The natural beauty
If the success of a vacation is measured by the abundance of natural wonders on offer, then Hawaii should be considered an over-achiever. Pack an extra memory card for the camera because photo opportunities present themselves at every turn. Hawaii is the go-to hotspot for geological marvels and volcano watchers should visit the towering Mauna Loa, one of the most active on earth. The island landscape is scattered with volcanoes and also large swathes of rain forest containing beautiful waterfalls, especially on the island of Maui.
Known for a very long time as a surfing mecca, the giant waves of Hawaii attract board aficionados in their many thousands each year. The keenest surf dudes visit in wintertime when the rollers are largest.
One of the most famous beaches is Waikiki on the island of Oahu. Here visitors can walk barefoot along a two-kilometer stretch of white sand, and this is an ideal spot to enjoy the fabulous sunsets. Waikiki is a lively spot with fabulous hotels lining the waterfront. Establishments like the Sheraton Waikiki offer marvelous ocean views and are perfectly placed for beach activities. As well as surfing, other water sports such as cliff diving, paddle boarding and windsurfing are popular. The biggest waves are found at Pipeline on the north shore but they are not recommended for inexperienced board riders.
Hawaii is the home of Pacific fusion cuisine and visitors find a delicious array of locally sourced produce on their plates. As an island destination, the fresh seafood features heavily on the menu. Hawaii is also home to pineapple, coffee and macadamia nut plantations, which make fascinating and tasty places to visit.
Things to do
Golf fans can attend the first tournament of the 2013 PGA tour at The Sony Open Hawaii at Waialae Country Club in Oahu. For those who like their spectator sports on the tougher side, each year Kona hosts the Ironman World Championship. Other permanent family attractions include the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park in Oahu with rides for all ages and courage levels. History buffs head for the exquisite Iolani Palace, the only palace to exist on American soil and home to the last King and Queen of Hawaii.
Between January and April many visitors enjoy whale watching in the island waters. Swimming with dolphins is popular, and a rich marine habitat populated with turtles and rainbow colored reef fish can be viewed on scuba expeditions or from mini submarine vessels. Honolulu Zoo houses plenty of exotic species and Waikiki Aquarium has a huge range of marine life to be seen at close quarters.
Just five of the many reasons to say Aloha! to Hawaii next year.