An Insider Guide to Hawaii

Hawaii is the Aloha State; a remarkable archipelago of big waves, beautiful beaches and remarkable mountainous scenery which tops bucket lists around the world. Here’s our guide.

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The Main Attractions

Picture the word ‘paradise’ and a lot of people dream up Hawaii - but not so many people know about Hawaii beyond the hula, beach and surf stereotype. The 50th State of America is made up of eight main islands in the sunny North Pacific, but two of those (Niihau and Kahoolawe) are more or less off-limits to visitors. That leaves Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, Lanai and Hawaii Island, all of which have their charm. So, where to start? Honolulu is the obvious place. The capital of Hawaii, on the south shores of the island of Oahu, Honolulu is the “heart of Hawaii” and Oahu the most metropolitan of the islands. Don’t go thinking it’s some built-up city though, this is still Hawaii after all. There are over 125 beaches on Oahu alone, including the legendary Waikiki Beach. It may be a tourist hotspot, but there’s a vibrant local community built around Waikiki Beach. With the skyline of Honolulu backdropping the half-moon beach and the university nearby, it makes for a bustling and easily accessible area to relax and enjoy the views. Over on Maui, you’ll find some routes a little further from the tourist gaze. The Road to Hana drive is famous for winding through the wild nature of Hawaii, and for the one-lane bridges of the remarkable highway. Make a day of it and break the drive up with stops at the beautiful Twin Falls waterfalls, take on the short Waikamoi Ridge Trail, or watch some serious surfing at the Ho'okipa lookout. It’s well worth exploring the Haleakalā National Park before leaving Maui - the stark, volcanic landscapes starkly contrasting with much of the rest of the island. For the truly remote though, head to Hawaii Island, the largest island of the archipelago, where you’ll find the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and hidden gems like the beautiful Makalawena Beach, or to Kauai, a lush, green island and home to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Molokai is a smaller and quieter island, rural and rough with high sea cliffs not often visited by travellers.

Cities

Neighborhoods in Hawaii