A rainbow is caught mimicking the bridge in Hilo's Wailoa River State Park.

Hilo’s Wailoa River State Recreation Area

The Wailoa River State Recreation Area, a huge area encompassing a spring-fed lagoon, is used by locals for picnics, pleasure walks, informal get-togethers, fishing, and launching boats. For visitors, the Wailoa Center is also an excellent cultural stop, with historical and local artist exhibitions.

Kayaks on the beach of Moku Nui, with the ocean and O‘ahu in the background.

Best Kayaking in Kailua

Beautiful views and calm waters make for excellent kayaking in Kailua; you’ll want to make sure you have your camera along in a dry sack. Along with outfitters, guided excursions, and lesson providers, here’s where to go for the best day on the water.

A Hawaaian sea urchin in a coral crevice.

Ocean Safety in Hawaii

More people drown in Hawaii than anywhere else in the world. But don’t let the statistics deter you from enjoying the ocean! Use common sense along with these tips for respecting both the ocean and the creatures that live in it to stay safe.

Ulua Lagoon, the first of the four Ko Olina Lagoons. Photo © Leigh Meeks/123rf.

O‘ahu’s Leeward Beaches

If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind an hour’s drive across the island, the beaches of leeward O‘ahu offer wide swaths of white sand under clear, sunny skies. As the trade winds blow across the island from east to west, the leeward coast’s waters remain calm and protected. Here are beach highlights, amenities, and the best activities for each.

Ancient pines gnarled by the wind dot the upper elevations. Photo © Jenna Blough.

Hiking Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Highest Point

A true Death Valley classic, if you can only choose one hike in Death Valley, put Telescope Peak in the running. The sweeping 360° views make it worthwhile and give a sense of Death Valley’s vast scope, and if you’ve been exploring the canyons and valley floors, this is your chance to have a personal travel retrospective.

A woman snorkels amid boulders under Virgin Gorda's blue skies.

Snorkeling 101: Tips and Tricks

Everyone should try their hand at snorkeling. It is a simple, low-tech, and easy way to explore the wonderland of reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests, and sandy bottoms that exist around the coasts of many popular vacation destinations. These tips will help you enjoy a successful and safe snorkel experience.

Notch-leaved phacelia (Phacelia Crenulata), along 190 north of Furnace Creek.

Plan a Visit to Furnace Creek and the Amargosa Range

Furnace Creek is the hub of Death Valley National Park, an outpost of comfort and civilization with a visitors center, accommodations, campgrounds, restaurants, and even gas. Here’s helpful advice on planning a trip to the area, including when to go and where to spend your time.

A woman walk down a caged pathway in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Exploring Amargosa Valley in Death Valley

The Amargosa Valley stretches north of Death Valley Junction along Highway 124 and crosses the state line into Nevada. Here the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge offers a lovely side trip and pleasant oasis refuge from the desert.

Old brick smokestack in Death Valley, California.

Hiking Surprise Canyon in Death Valley

A good hike through Surprise Canyon averages about four hours. Many people go far over that and trek into Panamint City, but the canyon is well worth the time to explore on its own–picture relaxing with your feet in the splashing creek and a nice picnic in the shade after a good workout. Use these detailed directions and trail tips to experience all the canyon has to offer.