Volume 4 No.3 Fall 2008 800.688.2254 

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Top Hawaii Day Trips

One of the great things about the Hawaiian Islands is how different each one is from the others. You can explore an erupting volcano on the Big Island or a red sand beach on Maui.

But what's the best way to spend a day on each island? Read on to discover the top day trips we recommend for each island.

Maui - Road to Hana

If venturing though a bamboo forest, discovering a red sand beach and seeing more waterfalls than you ever thought possible sounds like a good time, then head to the nearest ABC store, grab some snacks and begin the magical journey that is the Road to Hana.

You'll want to leave your hotel early in the day (regardless of whether you're staying in the Kaanapali or Kihei/Wailea area) as the drive takes two hours each way without stops. But if you're not stopping, you're not enjoying it. There are so many places to pull off and see magnificent sites that if you're not careful you'll have blown through

the majority of your day before you even reach Hana.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Road to Hana is that you need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to actually make the trek. Nothing is farther from the truth. The roads have been fixed (and pretty well maintained) to the point that even a compact car shouldn't have any trouble making the journey. Between 8:30am-10am is the busiest time in Kahului, so try to pass through Kahului either around 8am or 11am (though the latter option will obviously give you less time to take it all in).

We strongly recommend picking up a guide book (Maui Revealed by Wizard Publishing is great) as they can offer some great tips and areas you don't want to miss along the way. Our personal favorites are the red sand beach in Hana and the towering oceanside waterfall known as the Blue Pool. If you've ever wanted to swim under a waterfall the Blue Pool is your chance.

Kauai - Waimea Canyon

Mark Twain once called Kauai's Waimea Canyon "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific". He wasn't kidding. The canyon is much like it's "big brother" in Arizona, only it's a lot more green with some amazing waterfalls. It's about a 40 minute drive to the bottom of the canyon from Poipu (an hour and 45 minutes from Princeville) and the drive up into the canyon itself is much shorter than the Road to Hana (it's only about 36 miles roundtrip vs. the Hana Highway's 70+ miles). The drive is less harrowing than the Road to Hana's, too. Much less in the hairpin turn department. Again, a guide book will come in very handy here. The view you get at the top as you gaze out over the Napali Coast to the ocean is one you'll never forget.

Big Island - Volcano National Park

There aren't many places on earth where you can watch the land being created. The erupting volcano in and around Volcano National Park is one such place.

There are some really amazing things to see in the park other than just flowing lava, though. For example, the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive takes you past some beautiful sites as you encircle the summit, including desert, a lush tropical rain forest and steam vents. Currently the lava is flowing just outside of the park, so visit the National Park's website to find out the most recent information about current flows and weather conditions.

If you're staying in the Kailua-Kona area you can

count on about a two hour drive to the entrance of the park. If you're coming from the Waikoloa or Mauna Launi it'll be about 3 hours. The park entrance fee is $10 per car.

Oahu - Pearl Harbor & Hanauma Bay

On Oahu your day trip is a two-for-one deal. Why? Because the island is small enough that you can do several things in one day and still make it back to your hotel in time for dinner.

If you start your day early enough (around 8am) you can make it to Pearl Harbor before the crowds get bad. The Arizona Memorial visit includes a 23-minute film about the attack, a short boat ride and a few minutes at the memorial. All told it'll take a little over an hour, but that's just for the USS Arizona. If you'd like, you can also spend some time at the Pearl Harbor museum, USS Missouri Battleship and USS Bowfin Submarine. If you plan on visiting these areas as well you'll probably be leaving Pearl Harbor around noon.

You can then head to the North Shore to see the Bonzai Pipeline (a world famous surf spot) and grab some lunch. Then continue your trek down the picturesque East Coast of the island stopping at Hanauma Bay, one of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu. Here the fish are so used to people they'll actually swim right up to you and hang out for a bit. Once you're done here it's about a 30-minute drive back into Waikiki.

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