Hawaii is truly a unique place, filled with everything a traveller would want from a holiday. Whether you enjoy city life or enjoy the simpler pleasures of the natural world, Hawaii has it all amongst a dramatic landscape and a dense native culture. With lots to see and do, here’s our guide to the top three islands to visit.
Hawaii’s third largest island is possibly its most thriving, being host to Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu. This vibrant city is fantastic for shopping by day and partying by night, with a whole host of restaurants, bars and live music venues available. There’s also a magnificent cultural scene here with many sites to visit including King Kamehameha’s statue and Iolani Palace. Honolulu is also home to the iconic Waikiki Beach, whose white sand beaches are a true joy to spend time on. You’ll be able to surf here and maybe even find people hula dancing. Along the coast from Waikiki is Diamond Head State Monument which offers some great hiking trails and provides wonderful views over the beach.
Obviously there’s more to Oahu than the city. One of the most visited sites in Hawaii is the sombre Pearl Harbor and memorials, which is located near Waipahu. There are also natural beauties in Oahu, the Waianae and Ko’olau volcanoes amongst them. Hanauma Bay is a fantastic place to snorkel, with coral reefs, shoals of tropical fish and even sea turtles to greet you beneath the waves. If you enjoy watersports, head to North Shore which is renowned for being a fantastic place to surf with its huge waves especially during the winter months. Even if you’re a beginner, there are surfing schools based here to help you enjoy the waves.
If you’re looking for the quiet life and getting back to nature, then Kauai is the island for you. The island is filled with natural wonders that have been cultivated over millions of years. Kauai is home to impressive mountain peaks, sprawling cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls and beautiful beaches. There are many state parks across the island, especially along the northwest coast. I would highly recommend the Waimea Canyon State Park which is widely referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The park is perfect for some scenic drives as well as hikes. In Kauai, you can see the soaring cliffs on the Napali Coast which I would certainly recommend hiring a guide to help you hike.
Maui takes the very best of city life from Oahu and the natural world from Kauai and blends it together to make an amazing destination. It is the second largest island in Hawaii and is a major tourist destination which is frequently voted one of the best islands in the world. It is a fantastic destination for surfing and windsurfing as well as hiking through its natural world. I would definitely recommend making your way through Iao Valley State Monument and Mount Haleakala National Park.
Hire a car and take a trip on the Hana Highway for arguably one of the most scenic drives of your life. Stretching for 68 miles, you pass through lush rainforest and along roads that constantly twist and bend for arguably the drive of a lifetime. February is the perfect time to visit Maui as it plays host to pods of whales who visit at this time every year. There are many boats which leave Lahaina Harbor to take you out to the ocean to whale watch and whilst you’re here, you can also about Lahaina’s history of whaling which is thankfully behind them now as they focus on preservation instead.
Before you travel
In February, you’ll find all the Hawaiian islands quieter than the following months but that’s not to say the weather is any less glorious. Temperatures average 60 degrees fahrenheit and sunshine blazes throughout the day.
All Hawaii’s islands have access via airports which receive both internal and international flights. If you’re thinking of hiring a car to explore your chosen island, then the airport is an ideal place to choose to collect your car. Ensure you check your rental agreement, especially if you’re planning to take the Hana Highway as there are some points which you may not be allowed to take. When choosing your Hawaiian accommodation, you are truly spoilt for choice with hotels, bed & breakfasts, condos and resorts widely available.