Introduction to Hawaii

'After all, Hawaii is the best land.' So says a Hawaiian proverb, long repeated by locals who continually beam with pride over their homeland. And it's not hard to see why. As the 50th state of the USA, Hawaii couldn't be further from the mainland, both physically and culturally. An archipelago of over 19 distinct volcanic islands lying somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the birthplace of modern surfing, the hula, America's 44th president and the ideal summer vacation.

Where welcome leis work their good-mood magic on arriving tourists, surfers enjoy the fruits of a never-ending summer and the natural beauty that surrounds never seems to fade. Think lush rainforests, sprawling beaches, glittering waterfalls, vibrant sunsets and you'll soon realise why so many holiday here. While its beauty may be far from secret (you can thank Elvis and the Beach Boys for that), with popularity comes experience. The main six islands are well equipped with a wide range of accommodation, tried-and-tested attractions and all-ages fun. Restaurants range from the kitschy plate lunch diners all the way up to 5-star affairs while the nightlife sees many nursing a Mai Tai induced hangover the next day. And where better to do so than in Hawaii, the best land.

Must Do

Though the islands have plenty to offer, a Hawaiian holiday is essentially a beach holiday, and the most famous beach is of course Waikiki. Made legendary by Beach Boy lyrics, Waikiki is the popular beachfront that lines Honolulu in O'ahu, and where much of Hawaii's beach accommodation can be found. Further afield, Hanalei Bay Beach on the island of Kauai is an idyllic stretch of white sand surrounded by a backdrop of emerald mountains and shimmering waterfalls. Below the water, Hawaii's best snorkelling can be found at Molokini, a volcanic caldera marine sanctuary located off the coast of Maui. For more water action, Hawaii is home to a great range of waterfalls, the most spectacular of which is the 400-feet high Waimoku Falls in Maui.

While water fun is a huge part of the Hawaiian experience, there's more to the islands than sea and sand. The active volcano Kilauea on the Big Island for example has long attracted travellers seeking a thrilling hike and a spectacular outlook. The volcanic tuft Diamond Head is another famous hiking spot beloved for its views of Waikiki. And while many travellers to Hawaii will seek out the island's culture via a very tourist-friendly luau accompanied by hula dancers, Pearl Harbour is another spot worth visiting for its memorials and museum documenting World War II.

For more must-dos in Hawaii, check out our things to do page and start planning your Hawaii holiday.

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