If I had to name three reasons why Hawaii ranks at the top of my list of vacation destinations, it would have to be: location, location, location. Okay, technically that’s only one reason, but when picking a place to spend your hard-earned dollars, one should never underestimate the importance of location. In the case of the islands of Hawaii, their location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is exactly what makes them such an enchanting place to visit.
Not surprisingly, some of the most memorable Hawaii activities involve water. However, this doesn’t mean Hawaii is bereft of activities for land-lovers-far from it! Here are just a few of the many, many ways to enjoy the islands of Hawaii.
Snorkeling is perhaps one of the best things about a Hawaii vacation. The islands offer some of the most diverse and spectacular underwater experiences in the world, with crystal clear water, swarming schools of tropical fish, exotic marine life and uncommon but exquisitely beautiful living coral reefs. The horseshoe-shaped Hanauma Bay on Oahu is a popular snorkeling destination, offering some of the finest fish viewing and prettiest coral reefs of all the islands. The island of Kauai offers plenty of interesting natural wonders for snorkelers to explore, such as sea caves and waterfalls. On Maui, you can check out shipwrecks off the coast or tool around Olowalu Turtle Reef and the Molokoni Crater Nature Preserve.
A Hawaii Dinner Cruise is another highly popular activity, with good reason. This unique maritime experience provides a relaxing way to take in the stunning scenery while enjoying delicious food and fun on-board entertainment. Maui’s Sunset Dinner Cruise ferries diners all around the Islands for an unforgettable and highly romantic experience. As the sun lowers into the horizon, the sleek ship glides along on smooth waters offering up a visual feast of mountains and city skylines that complement the cuisine. If you’re visiting Kauai, Captain Andy’s Dinner Cruise is an intimate four-hour tour on a 55-foot vessel that takes you around many of the islands and reefs in the Hawaiian Island chain. On the Big Island, few cruises rival the experience of a sunset sail along the Kona coastline, with the towering Mauna Loa volcano providing a breathtaking backdrop as you enjoy your meal.
On Waikiki, journey to the bottom of the ocean aboard Atlantis XIV, the world’s largest hi-tech passenger submarine. Being in a submarine and descending 100 feet underwater is a thrilling adventure, but you also get to see lots of marine life up close. The Atlantis dive site is home to numerous Hawaiian fish, coral reefs and turtle species as well as sunken shipwrecks, and the spacious, air-conditioned submarine features comfortable seating and large view. This tour is a must for intrepid sailors of all ages!
Kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, parasailing, whale watching and underwater photography excursions are also popular water-based activities. But there are bound to be times when even the most ardent water-lover might want to come ashore. For those days, Hawaii has plenty of enjoyable “dry” activities to choose from.
A leisurely horseback ride along a panoramic trail is a delightful way to experience the natural wonders of Hawaii. You’ll hear the sounds of chirping birds, whistling winds and the beat of your horse’s hooves. You’ll be able to smell the crisp island air and see many sights and drool-inducing views that are missed by those who travel by car or bus.
If horses are not your cup of tea, exploring Hawaii by bike is another slower-paced way to experience island life. Guided bicycle tours are available on all the islands, and the more adventurous travelers can rent a bike to explore at your own pace. From single track and dirt paths to glassy smooth paved roads, there’s an exciting excursion that will suit every cyclist.
Hawaii’s pineapple industry is not what it once was, but at the Dole Pineapple Plantation on Hawaii, this prickly fruit is still “king.” Visitors can take a walk through the two-acre Pineapple Garden Maze made from 11,000 colorful Hawaiian plants, or hop on The Pineapple Express, a two-mile narrated train tour which provides interesting tidbits about plantation life and the story of pineapple pioneer James Dole. The visitor center offers pineapple-related souvenirs and treats, along with informative displays.
Though neither a land nor water activity, a Hawaii helicopter tour is perhaps the ultimate sightseeing adventure. An exhilarating helicopter ride offers you a chance to experience a birds-eye view of Hawaii’s majestic beauty. You can see landmarks and island scenery that is only accessible from the air, or fly into remote valleys past cascading waterfalls, pineapple fields or pristine beaches. A flight-seeing tour by air lets you see volcanoes from a safe distance, Oahu’s awe-inspiring Sunset Beach at dusk, and night flights provide sensational views of Honolulu’s city lights and
No matter which Hawaii activities you choose, one thing is for certain-your island getaway is sure to be remembered forever!