'Aloha!' is the spirited greeting you'll likely hear upon arriving in the lively yet laid-back state of Hawaii. An ecological wonderland made up of islands filled with lush rain forests, shimmering lagoons, towering volcanoes and much more. Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic group of islands in the Central Pacific. Exotic beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Active travelers have an endless array of water and land sports at their fingertips -- ATV touring, hiking, biking, camping, canoe-paddling, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and parasailing are just some of the popular activities.
Tee off at one of many championship golf courses sprawled across the islands or learn how to hang ten in the birthplace of surfing. Traipse around the smoking craters and lava fields at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, watch for humpback whales on the beaches of Maui, gaze at the dimming sunset from atop the sacred Hawaiian summit of Mauna Kea, or learn how to hula on the shores of Waikiki Beach. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor's. Whether you seek adventure, romance or relaxation, Hawaii has it all.
Nicknamed the "Magic Isle," Maui enchants visitors with world-renowned beaches, emerald rainforests, soaring volcanoes and enthralling diversions. The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands with a population of just over 117,000. Maui has a thriving tourism industry and is one of the most popular islands to visit, featuring alluring attractions like the massive Haleakala volcano, the bustling whaler village of Lahaina, the magnificent humpback whales, the infamous stretch of road to Hana and its numerous family-friendly resorts and inviting white-sand beaches.
Oahu is a U.S. island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian island chain and home to the state capital, Honolulu. As the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is a bustling city set along pristine beaches and beautiful tropical vegetation. The city is made up of a unique mix of both old and new, and visitors will be treated to modern businesses and trendy hipsters, as well as a good dose of ancient Hawaiian culture. Known as the “gathering place,” the island of Oahu is the third largest island of the Hawaiian chain.
It certainly lives up to its nickname since majority of Hawaii’s population resides here and the island is visited by travelers from around the world. Oahu is also a melting pot of diverse ethnicities evident in the island's culinary traditions, entertainment, art and even languages.
Home to the world's tallest mountain and the world's most active volcano, Hawaii is an island of extremes and superlatives. Where else can you go skiing on a mountain top in the morning and snorkel in a tropical sea in the afternoon? The southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago, the Big Island is also the largest island in the chain — bigger than all of the other islands put together — and is the largest island in the United States. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the state's most popular attraction, which is pretty impressive considering just how many attractions Hawaii boasts.
Kauai is an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. It's nicknamed "the Garden Isle" thanks to the tropical rain-forest covering much of its surface. Although the island itself is fairly mountainous, about half of its shoreline is made up of sparkling beaches, making it a popular place for visitors who want to enjoy beautiful scenery while lounging on the sand. Kaua`i is the oldest island in the Hawaiian island archipelago, as it was formed as a result of volcanic activity in the Pacific Ocean. Accessible only by hiking, boat or helicopter.
The Napali Coast is a 17-mile stretch on the North Shore of the island that features vast cliffs, valleys and waterfalls right up against the Pacific Ocean. An outdoor enthusiasts’ dream awaits with plenty of activities from kayaking, zip-lining, mud buggies and ATVs. Opaekaa Falls, one of the most accessible significant waterfalls, is on the east side of the island and features a roadside lookout for picture-perfect viewing. The island also features Wailua Falls, another easily accessible waterfall located just north of Lihue that has been a popular location for big and small screen filming.
Lanai is one of the smaller and more deserted islands within the Hawaiian archipelago. With only a little over 3,000 people who call the island home, Lanai is certainly not similar to the bustling cities of some of the more populous Hawaiian islands, but does offer three luxurious resorts for visitors. Most of Lanai's attractions, beaches and sites are only accessible by off-road vehicles. Travelers who wish to venture beyond the resorts often rent jeeps or other types of four-wheel-drive vehicles to bounce around the dusty roads in search of some of the island's best beaches, exotic natural wonders and secluded hiking trails.
The Munro Trail offers a popular off-roading adventure that passes along the Lanaihale volcanic ridge offering panoramic views of the area. The island was once known as Pineapple Island because it was the leading exporter of pineapples in the world when the president of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company James Dole, purchased the entire island to develop what would become the largest pineapple plantation.
Although the Hawaiian island of Molokai is tiny, it boasts a wealth of attractive features, including beautiful beaches, lush forests, tons of local culture and history and, of course, that quintessential laid-back island lifestyle. Molokai was formed by two volcanoes, known as East Molokai and West Molokai, remains of which are still visible today. The volcanoes left behind some of the island's most recognizable geographical features. Molokai has been able to preserve its pristine beauty and most of its ancient cultural artifacts, including fascinating burial grounds and religious temples.
The island has also been recognized as one of the most sustainable islands in the world, thanks to its unspoiled landscape, environmental preservation efforts and visitor-friendly atmosphere.