Tag - HI

Hawaiian Paradise: Which island is right for you?

    Hawaiian Paradise

Hawaiian Paradise

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, six of which are accessible to tourists. While Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, tropical climate and abundance of public beaches make it a popular tourist destination, few venture beyond Hawaii’s most popular island of Oahu. This article explores the highlights of six Hawaiian Islands: Oahu, The Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

Oahu is the tourist epicentre of Hawaii, attracting thousands of tourists daily. Home to the state capital of Honolulu and the majority of Hawaii’s population, the highlights of Oahu include Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour, Ala Moana Shopping Complex, Diamond Head and Aloha Tower. Oahu offers tourists a selection of inexpensive hotels, lots of shopping and world renowned beaches.

The Big Island, built from five separate shield volcanoes – three of which remain active – is larger than all of Hawaii’s other islands combined. Places of interest encompass Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Akaka Falls and Mauna Kea Observatory. The majority of Big Island visitors stay in Kona due to its sunny weather, variety of shopping and dining options, and wide array of accommodation.

Maui is home to what many believe are the best beaches in the world, delivering more surf and sand than Hawaii’s other islands due to an abundance of beaches lining its lengthy west coast. Maui is sometimes called the playground of the wealthy due to its broad selection of luxury accommodation. Maui’s attractions centre around its beaches, encompassing Makena Beach State Park, whale watching at Lahaina and Haleakala National Park.

As the oldest and northernmost island of Hawaii’s Island chain, Kauai boasts spectacular natural beauty, including a variety of uncrowded and secluded beaches. Although sparsely populated, the area is home to excellent infrastructure as a result of tourism, including a variety of dining and shopping options. Places of interest encompass Haena State Park, Makaleha Mountains, Moir Gardens and Wailua River.

National Geographic Traveller i>magazine rated Molokai as the 10th most sustainable destination worldwide, citing the island’s pristine tropical landscape, environmental stewardship, rich Hawaiian traditions and visitor-friendly culture. The former leper colony of Father Damien de Veuster at Kalaupapa National Park is a frequently visited site, a testament to the fact that Molokai is not home to many typical tourist attractions.

Lanai is the smallest publicly accessible and inhabited island in the chain. It is home to two golf courses and two resort hotels managed by Four Seasons Hotels. However, it lacks traffic lights and shopping malls, and most landmarks can only be visited via dirt roads, requiring an off-road vehicle. Popular activities on the island include hiking, four-wheel driving, snorkelling and horseback riding. Molokai and Lanai are not recommended for first-time visitors to Hawaii.

Discover which island is for you by answering 24 questions at the following hawaiigaga.com/best-hawaiian-island

Sources:

Choose your Hawaiian Island

The Hawaiian Islands

10 Things Everybody Ought to Know Before Traveling to Hawaii

 Hawaii Beaches

Hawaii Beaches

Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, if not the world. And with good reason. The beautiful beaches, awesome volcanoes, and breathtaking scenery are second to none. But, as with any trip, planning a holiday to the Hawaiian Islands can be tough if you do not know much about them. To help get you started on creating your dream vacation, here are 10 things that you ought to know before you go.

Information about the Islands

You cannot go to Hawaii without knowing about the makeup of the state. It is made of a chain of eight islands. The biggest is the island of Hawaii, or Big Island, but the most populated is Oahu. Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, is located on Oahu.

Best Seasons to Go

    More Hawaii beaches

More Hawaii beaches

Hawaii is usually warm year-round, but there is a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season is from April to October, and the rainy season is November to March, but there is not much difference between the two. Although you can surf year-round in Hawaii, the best waves vary from island to island, depending on the season. So if you are going to surf, make sure that you plan ahead.

Best Times to Buy Tickets

There are popular times to travel, and some that are less popular. Because of this, it is also cheaper during the less popular travel times. If you want the lowest rates, avoid the summer, as well as December through February. It is also recommended that you don’t leave it too late to buy tickets, as the price goes up when you get closer to your travel time. The best thing to do is check regularly for the cheapest flights.

Weather

Although there is a dry season and a rainy season, there is not a huge difference in weather. It can rain year-round, but never more than a couple of days in a row, and the difference between the two seasons is rarely more than 10 degrees.

Don’t Miss

There are so many things to do and see in Hawaii, it can be hard to fit it all into just one trip. But Hawaii is a vacation made up of unique experiences, so just make sure that you get each one. No trip to Hawaii would be complete without at least one of each of the following: a trip to a beach, a visit to a volcano, a hike, a visit to a waterfall, and a meal that includes Spam.

How to Avoid the Crowds

    More Hawaii beaches & sun

More Hawaii beaches & sun

Again, the best way to avoid crowds is to travel in those less popular seasons. It is also a good idea to avoid the last week of April/first week of May, as Japan celebrates many holidays at this time, leading it to be called Golden Week. It is the most popular travel time for Japanese people. You can also avoid crowds by visiting less well-known islands, such as Kauai or Molokai.

Ways to Save Money

There is a common misconception that a trip to Hawaii has to be expensive. This does not have to be true if you are smart about it. Booking certain things in advance can save you a lot of money. This can be surfing lessons, helicopter tours, and of course your accommodation. If you plan and book ahead, it allows you to look for better deals online.

Best Kept Secrets

There are some cool parts of the islands that you might miss if you don’t do your research beforehand. Some of the best kept secrets of Hawaii include the Green Sand Beach on the big island, and the Diamond Head Hike that lets you see Honolulu from the top of an extinct volcano.

Money

Hawaii uses the US Dollar, and most places will accept most major credit/debit cards. There are also ATMs located in most places.

Time Zone/Travel Time

Hawaii is UTC-10, and most flights between islands last less than an hour. If you are traveling to Hawaii from mainland USA, it is usually about six hours from the west coast.

Author: Vincent Stokes is a Portland native and world traveler.  He also is a freelance writer for Summit Pacific.  If visiting beautiful Hanalei Bay is a dream of yours, Summit Pacific can help make it a reality.  You can also connect with Vincent on G+ or twitter (@TravelingGlobal).

Top Ten Highways to Choose For A Road Trip with Friends

The summers call for great time out on the open road. Driving on the highway brings immense joy for people who love driving. There are many highways in the U.S that lead to well-known destinations. Some of these highways have historical significance, whereas some depict conventional architecture. In this article, we will tell you about the top ten highways to choose for a road trip with friends.

1. Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California, Credit- Pinterest.com

The Iconic Route 1 is spread throughout California; however, the best route for road trips is through the way of Big Sur. It constitutes 90 or even more miles and stretches from the Central Coast from San Simeon to Carmel. The beauty of this place is indescribable as you will see the redwood groves and rocky beaches alongside while you drive on the highways.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC and VA

Blue Ridge  parkway, redit gosoutheast.about.com

Blue Ridge parkway, credit- gosoutheast.about.com

This highway stretches at least 469 miles with the southern Appalachian Mountains and connects two well known national parks namely North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains and Virginia’s Shehandoah. The place is covered by picnic spots and wonderful hiking trails that are filled with tulip, dogwood and red maple trees. Many people especially make trips to the highway to spend great times with their friends and loved ones.

3. Sun Road, Montana

Sun road, Montana, Credit-Wikipedia

Sun road, Montana, Credit-Wikipedia

The awesome beauty of Sun Road Montana cannot be overlooked. The glaciers in idyllic northern Montana give a breathtaking view. The road goes up to 50 miles from east to west in the Glacier National Park. The parks remains open throughout the year, but some parts of it are kept closed from the mid of September to the mid of June.

4. Hana Highway, Hawaii

Hana Highway, Hawaii Credit Bing images

Hana Highway, Hawaii- Credit Bing images

Hawaii is well known for its sleepy surf and wild beauty from the olden days. Driving through the route gives the similar feel of the rural east part of the beautiful island. The road is well known for its natural beauty. It is also known as the Road to Hana. It begins in the town of Paia which is about a forty minute drive from the Maui’s well constructed southwest area. This place is definitely worth going if you have the passion to delve into the wild beauty of the old Hawaii.

5. Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

The Million Dollar Highway-Credit-Openroadtrip.com

The Million Dollar Highway – Credit-Openroadtrip.com

This highway is located near the Telluride. It draws the attention of thousands of travel enthusiasts every year form different areas. It connects the very old, yet beautiful mining towns of Quay and Silverton in the San Juan Mountains located in southwestern Colorado. The highway passes through the Uncompahgre Gorge towards the peak of the magnificent Red Mountain Pass that is also a great place to visit.

6. Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona

Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona, Credit Pinterest

Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona, Credit Pinterest

The city of Sedona is well known for its commercial sprawl. The enthralling rock formations of the scenic city still stand tall on the Red Rock Scenic Byway. It is a great place to drive even though it is just a small 7.5 mile road. Many people still are not aware of the fact that the place is also known as Route 179. It begins from Sedona and straightaway runs towards the south and ends at Interstate 17.

7. Sea Islands, Georgia

Sea Island Highway, Credit Shermantravels

Sea Island Highway, Credit Shermantravels.com

This also a great place for people who experience natural beauty and want to spend quality time out with their friends. The scenic islands that run along the Georgian coastal barrier islands offer a view at the momentous blue-blood enclaves that have fascinated naturalists and travelers for a long time.

8. Seward Highway, Alaska

Seward Highway, AK, Credit -country-magazine.com

Seward Highway, AK, Credit -country-magazine.com

The best way to enjoy the massive beauty of Alaska is to go through the Seward Highway that stretches around 127 miles. The highway also connects Anchorage to the small portside area of Seward at the wonderful Resurrection Bay.

9. Sonoma and Napa Valley, California

Scenic byways in the winre country, Credit-.lifecycleadventures.com

Scenic byways in the wine country, Credit-.lifecycleadventures.com

For drivers, road trips from the neighboring valleys of the beautiful Napa and Sonoma give a thrilling experience. However, there are also different historic areas and serene nature besides just the luxurious spots.

10. U.S Route 1, Maine

Maine Scenic byway

Maine Scenic byway

Route 1 becomes a parking lot in the month of August when a large number of people are vacationing. Road trips to the area in early summer offer an open view of the hardy coastal beauty of the state. You should start your tour of this area beginning from Maine in the south and go through Ogunquit before you reach Kennebunkport.

Conclusion

These are the top 10 highways in the U.S that are great spots for drivers to spend time with friends and family. These places are frequented at different times of the year. Not only have these places attracted local people, but millions of tourists from around the world as well.

Author Bio: Angie is a travel writer and writes for various travel magazines. In her spare time, she loves writing and reading non-fiction. She believes that only Eclipse Leisure offer an easy way to book a stag weekend abroad with their all inclusive packages.

Great family vacations during the fall

    kohala coast beach, Cr-incrediblejourney.net

kohala coast beach, Cr-incrediblejourney.net

By Morgan Medeiros

It’s no mystery why Hawaii and the Caribbean are popular family destinations, regardless of varying vacation budgets. Miles of sandy beaches, a plethora of outdoor and aquatic sports, stunning natural beauty and luaus: A tropical retreat to Hawaii or the Caribbean offers an unforgettable vacation for every family.

Located along the breathtaking Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, The Hilton Waikoloa Village is the height of tropical luxury. The resort features canals and boats in the interior of the hotel to transport its guests to and from its award-winning restaurants, three freshwater swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, sport clubs, and spas. The Hilton also offers Dolphin Quest for an up-close encounter with the animal so iconic to the Hawaiian Islands. If the Hilton Waikoloa Village is out of your budget range, the Royal Kona Resort offers stunning oceanfront rooms and restaurants in the heart of the Kailua Village at a very affordable rate.

No matter where you stay, a Luau is accessible at any price range, and is a treat for anyone visiting Hawaii. Hula and fire dancers will delight and impress children and adults, and the native cuisine of Hawaii is pure culinary bliss. Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Catamarans, Kayaking, Boogie boarding, and surfing offer glimpses into the unique Hawaiian ecosystem, and are available at a variety of price ranges, so be sure to shop around before making a decision.

The Caribbean offers many of the same activities of its tropical cousin, but its location adds an international flair. The sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean gained popularity with honeymooners, but have steadily become family destinations, teeming with friendly islanders and the guarantee of a spectacular cultural experience.

Puerto Rico is a popular family destination-no passport required! Although Puerto Rico carries the same promise of stretches of beach and enthralling outdoor activities, Puerto Rico’s waterfalls and jungles make this island a standout among the various Caribbean destinations. Hotel El Convento, a member of the Historic Hotels of America, sets the standard for luxury and service. The hotel offers fine dining both in the hotel and nearby, as well as a pool and fitness center. Although more affordable, Casa Del Caribe features a welcoming and helpful staff, as well as gardens, verandas, and complimentary breakfast.

Your quest for an affordable escape that the whole family will enjoy will undoubtedly be found in either Hawaii or Puerto Rico- the hardest part will be choosing between the two!

Cruising Out of Southern California Ports

Disney Cruise Ships

Disney Cruise Ships

Cruising makes for a great vacation, and what makes it even better is finding a great port city to sail in and out of that offers fun things to do before and after the cruise. Southern California offers three ports to choose from for cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Cruise lines are also coming up with new ideas to draw vacationers to the West Coast such as Coastal California tours that focus on the ports of California with some even including wine tasting tours. For example, in the fall of 2012, Disney Cruise Line (800-951-3532) will be doing new California Coastal cruises featuring Pixar characters. To hear more about these ports, listen to our radio show by [clicking here]. Cruising out of Southern California ports gives you many options. Here are highlights for each of the three ports.

Long Beach:

The Port of Long Beach is a port for Carnival Cruise Lines and the area has made an amazing transformation over the past 10 years. (800-452-7829) Shopping and entertainment areas such as The Pike at Long Beach and Shoreline Village offer lots of great dining, shopping and activities, and are easy to get to from the cruise terminal.

Port of Los Angeles:

This port located in San Pedro (310-SEA-PORT) is incredibly busy in terms of container shipping, but also is an important embarkation point for cruises. The Port of L.A. is undergoing numerous long-term changes to its waterfront, with two new attractions, the U.S.S. Iowa ( 877-4-IOWA-61) and a craft market called “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles” (310-732-1270) giving cruisers two new things to check out before embarking or after getting back from a trip.

San Diego:

The beautiful city of San Diego is full of great things to do, and its hard to think of a city where the port () is so near to so much to do. It’s easy to spend a day going to the Gaslamp Quarter for shopping, dining or a Padres game, or visit the many other attractions near the port, and still make it on your boat before San Diego port embarking, or make your flight home after a trip.

Southern California offers three different port cities that all have their own distinct character, and each one has attractions that make it a great place to start or end a cruise.

Have a Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas in Hawaii

Merry xmas, cr- hubpages

Merry xmas, cr- hubpages

Snow on the pumpkin?  Really??  A surprise October blizzard last month turned carved-out Halloween gourds into jack-o-sicles, left a lot of people shivering through power outages and got some of us wondering just how cold will it be this winter?!  According to Farmers Almanac, pretty cold: they’re  forecasting a season of “Clime and Punishment” for 2011-12!

That is enough to turn anyone’s dream of a white Christmas blue!  Then again, there’s  nothing wrong with wishing for a blue Christmas…if it’s set in the warm state of Hawaii.  In fact, the Aloha State (did I mention warm Aloha State?)  is the perfect place to share in the Christmas Spirit: Aloha means “joyfully sharing life”.

Christmas Traditions with a Tropical Twist

225 years ago – on December 25th, 1786 – the captain and crew of the good ship Queen Charlotte raised their glasses to family and friends back home in England and toasted the  holiday with grog made from rum and coconut milk.  Anchored at Waimea Bay, Kauai, in what were then the Sandwich Islands, Captain George Dixon and his men celebrated Hawaii’s very first Christmas.  76 years later King Kamehameha IV officially decreed the Christian feast day a Hawaiian holiday.

Hawaiian-style Christmas observances incorporate Polynesian practices and allow for the lush locale: Christmas dinner might be a luau, Christmas bells are ‘rung’ on slack-key guitar and choirs sing Po La’i E (Silent Night).  The Clement C. Moore classic gets a pidgin retelling as children are read “Wuz da Nite befo’ Christmas” .  And the Big Man himself – Santa Claus –  arrives on a beach wearing shorts and flip-flops, flashing a shaka sign and shouting “Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to all!”  He trades his sleigh for a red canoe and dolphins – not reindeer – lead the way! Hohoho!

Spreading Christmas Cheer Island Style

Yuletide merrymaking can be found on every island of the archipelago during the month of December.   A calendar of events posted on Hawaii’s official tourism site The Hawaiian Islands lists 36 holiday happenings state-wide:

  • On Kauai: there’s the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, featuring beautiful handmade decorations created by the late artist Josie Chansky, 12/02/11-12/31/11; Rice St.; Lihue, HI 96766
  • On Lanai: The “http://www.gohawaii.com/lanai/events/internal/1014111434”>LANAI ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL & TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY  is held on the front Lawn of the Dole building.12/03/11-12/03/11 2:00pm – 7:00pm  Dole Administration Building 730 Lanai Ave, Lanai City, HI 96763
  • Molokai has the CHRISTMAS LIGHT PARADE & HOOLAULEA  12/03/11; Kaunakakai Town, Kaunakakai, HI 96748
  • While Oahu hosts The HAWAII STATE BALLET’S “THE NUTCRACKER” , directed by John Landovsky. 12/10/11-12/18/11 at the Mamiya Theatre, 3142 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
  • And a celebration of Jesus’ birthday takes place on the Big Island, at Hawaii’s first Christian Church with the MOKUAIKAUA CHURCH CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE , 12/24/11-12/24/11 8:00pm – 10:00pm  Mokuaikaua Church; 75-5713 Alii Drive; Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

From community parades to outdoor concerts and more…so many reasons for the season!

This winter take a  break  from the cold and escape to the Paradise of the Pacific!  Spend your  holidays in Hawaii where “peace on earth and goodwill to men”  is more than just a Christmas wish – it’s way of life.   Mele  Kalikimaka!

Hawaii Family Vacation Ideas

family vacation in Hawaii, cr-eHow

Family vacation in Hawaii, credit -eHow

Great Hawaii Family Vacation..Here we come! What can you do on the Big Island of Hawaii to make it a perfect family vacation?

The answer is: Just about Anything. The weather and beauty of Hawaii and the surrounding islands is the perfect setting for dozens of outdoor activities. There are also hundreds of shops, restaurants and other attractions for the quieter moments that you want to share, lots of great family vacation spots too. You need a base of operations while you are visiting and there are plenty of hotels and condos from which to choose your accommodations.

Rental homes are one of the best ways to enjoy the real Island experience, and may be something for you to consider when you are planning a family vacation. You should look at the features and special amenities that are offered by each before making your final selection.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a popular tourist draw, and both kids and parents can go on a tour of these natural wonders. Kilauea is one of the volcanoes that you will have the chance to see, and as the most active in the world, eruptions are ongoing.

You can take a driving tour or go for a hike that will take you up to the rims of some of the volcanoes. Your family will even be given the opportunity to get a close-up view of active lava as it flows to the sea. This is a must-see Hawaii family vacation idea! Rainforests in Hawaii are majestic and magical sights that will interest the entire family. You can sign up for a tour that will take you on an exciting ride through the less traveled areas. Guides will be happy to make this a trip to remember. If you aren’t afraid to splash through shallow streams and a little mud now and then, you might want to put this activity on your list.

Hawaii family vacation will not be complete without the beaches! The beaches are the playground of Hawaii and this is where your kids will be begging for you to bring them. They can learn how to surf at one of the surfing schools or have fun snorkeling and swimming.

The temperature of the water is warm enough to please the most sensitive swimmers. Seashells litter the beaches and there are many more that can be found as you swim and explore underwater.

Punalu Beach has black sand that will be interesting to both kids and parents, and this beach also is known for its population of Green Sea Turtles. Hawaii family vacation planning must include Dolphin Quest. Dolphin Quest and Dolphin Swim are some of the favorite activities presented in Hawaii. This gives you the chance to get to meet some of these mammals up close and personal.

While there are special programs that let you sign up your kids and teens at Dolphin Quest, the adults must enter a drawing for a chance to participate. Everyone can enjoy the Dolphin Swim at Sea Life Park Hawaii and for a wild dolphin swimming adventure check out private guide, Roberta Goodman.

A luau will be something that the family can enjoy together in the evening. There is dancing, singing and lots of tasty food available. This is an outdoor activity that never fails to attract large crowds.

Kids will be happy to know that there are plenty of fast food establishments available on the Island, and parents will have a chance to enjoy some private moments and upscale dining at 5 star restaurants. For parents a trip to the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens at Onomea Bay can be a great stop. This is where you can wander winding trails and see many of the Island’s native plants and flowers. You are also going to see waterfalls during your walk.

There are over 2000 species of plants that are contained in the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens. If you have never seen mango, coconut or monkeypod trees, now is your opportunity. These gardens are open to all ages, but generally adults are more interested in exploring this natural setting.

Mauna Kea Summit Tours are another Hawaiian attraction that is more suited for adults, or parents with kids who are teenagers. This is because the hike to the top of this natural landmark requires endurance and patience. It is worth the effort though, because the views from the top of Mauna Kea are breathtaking.

Waipo Valley is a culturally and historically significant area of Hawaii that you can explore. Parents and teens may prefer to saddle up a horse and enjoy one of the trail rides through this region. If you have smaller kids there are wagon tours that are also available. Now you know most of your Hawaii family vacation must do lists, Pack you bags for a great Hawaiian family vacation!

Published by Amazing  Family vaca ideas