You’ve booked a trip to paradise, otherwise known as Hawaii. With images of white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, sunny rays and lazy beach days floating around in your mind, you think you’ve got all you need for the perfect trip. Think again. And say aloha to the best week ever.
Climb the Coast
Treacherous? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. The Hanakapi’ai Napili Coast Hike traces the lush coastal landscape of Kauai. You can choose to dedicate yourself to the 10 miles to the waterfall (an all day adventure), or to a 4-mile hike through the lush river valley to the beach (a half day). Along the hike, you’ll experience beautiful beaches, ruggged coastlines, native tropical plants and natural waterfalls. Traveling the narrow paths high up along the oceanside cliffs can be challenging but, with views so breathtaking, it is well worth the sweat equity.
You came to Hawaii for relaxation, and the St. Regis Princeville is the place to get it. This king-size pool lines up to with a gorgeous beach and looks out onto the unbelievable volcanic landscape of Kauai. The hotel is the legendary St. Regis brand’s first Hawaiian resort and embodies serenity and sophisticated elegance. If you’re a beach bum, spend the day at the pool and beach. If you’re a golfer, welcome to your ideal award-winning seaside golf course. However you choose to spend your perfect day in the sun, be sure to head up to the patio at sunset to watch the incredible champagne sabering ceremony while you enjoy a cold glass of bubbly.
Black Rock, located at the tip of Ka’anapali Beach in Maui, has some of the best snorkeling on the island. Home to the Sheraton Maui, this beautiful tip of the beach boasts some very friendly turtles. A perfect day spent in Maui is spent swimming among this beautiful coral reef teeming with the tropical fish.
Fresh-caught fish dinner at Mama’s
Located pretty far away from the main tourist areas of Maui, this iconic seaside restaurant is well worth the drive. The menu is contemporary Polynesian, putting a modern twist on Hawaii’s culinary history, and it is delicious. Do not miss out on this restaurant. Take one look at the menu and you’ll see why. Fresh caught swordfish sauteed in coconut milk over coconut rice? Crispy kahlua duck? Taha’a Island vanilla seared ahi? Take a sip of Mama’s famous Mai Tai, watch the sunset over the Pacific, feel your fresh caught mahi-mahi melt in your mouth and boom: You’re in paradise.
Pearl Harbor, the site where hundreds of Japanese planes attacked the US Navy base in 1941, is now a memorial commemorating the end of WWII. A visit to the USS Arizona memorial, honoring the heroes and survivors who served our nation, is an amazing and touching way to spend your day in Oahu.
Jimmy Buffet was right. There is nothing quite like a cheeseburger in paradise. Kick up your sandy feet, sip on a tall, tropical drink and sink your teeth into a 5-napkin-necessary cheeseburger at Cheeseburger in Paradise on Waikiki Beach. We like ours with lettuce and tomatoes … and a grilled pineapple. Because, Hawaii.
Enjoy breakfast overlooking the white sandy beaches of Maui at Gazebo. Take in the sites of Napili Bay, where you can even see humpback whales breaching in the wintertime. Many people argue Gazebo serves up the best pancakes on the island, which you can get with pineapples, bananas, macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips and even homemade coconut syrup.
Once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom in the early nineteenth century, Lahaina was also a historic whaling village in the mid 1800’s. Many sailors, including the author Herman Melville, who wrote about the era in his iconic novel Moby Dick, were based out of Lahaina. Today, Lahaina’s oceanfront scenery provides the setting for a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries and entertainment.
Did you know that the Hawaiian islands were originally just supposed to be the peaks of an underwater mountain range? Lucky for us and thanks to volcanic activity and plate tectonics, we now have the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Even if you’re more of a “drop me on a beach with a bikini and some magazines and pick me up in 7 days” kind of vacationer, you should definitely visit the majestic Hawaiian volcanoes. How many times in your life can you say you’ve actually seen HOT LAVA?!
Let loose at a luau
Hawaiian luaus, a big dinner/dancing/drinking cultural celebration complete with a pig roasting, are definitely a must-do on your trip to Hawaii. Throw on your hawaiian party shirt (Kenny Flowers are a favorite) and go and have a great time. Your hotel will most likely host their own, and they don’t differ too much from luau to luau, so just sign up for your hotel’s and enjoy your celebratory evening on the beach.
P.S. Sometimes, hotels will also offer hula lessons for the kids. A great night to remember for the little ones.
Swim with Dolphins
Frolic around with the ocean’s most playful and fun animals: Swimming with dolphins is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. We recommend signing up for the Dolphin Quest experience at the Hilton Waikaloa Village. This family-friendly resort is so huge, that you even have to take a boat to get around it. The Waikoloa Village prides itself on being “a destination in itself,” boasting 62 oceanfront acres, its own snorkeling lagoon, huge pools with slides and waterfalls and, of course, its renowned Dolphin Quest facility. This is the Atlantis of Hawaii. Between snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, the spa, the award-winning dining, first class shopping, golf and tennis, you will have the perfect vacation here.
Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikaloa 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Dr., Waikoloa Villagem HI 96738