Lady Bird Lake in Austin

The greatest attraction Austin has to offer is the stretch of the Colorado River called Lady Bird Lake, where by taking just a few steps you can go from bustling, urban downtown to an alternative world that’s peaceful, beautiful, and natural. You can also find hike-and-bike trails that are some of the best urban trails in the country, plus crewing, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.

View of Kauai's coast from the Kalalau Trail.

Na Pali Coast State Park, Kaua‘i

Nature’s wonders all join together in the heavenly and harsh Na Pali Coast State Park. Day-use permits are required past a certain point even if you’re not staying overnight, while camping is strictly regulated. Most areas are accessible only by foot or boat, and more than the basics are needed to camp out here.

Aerial view of Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

Snorkeling Charters from Ma‘alaea Bay

If you want to snorkel the amazing underwater world of Molokini Crater, you’ll need to charter a boat from Ma‘alaea Bay. You’ll have plenty of choice in your experience, from low to high-priced trips, snorkeling or snuba, sailing or power catamarans, and excursions that incorporate other good snorkeling sites.

Rocky shoreline of Three Tables Beach in Oahu.

Diving and Snorkeling O’ahu’s North Shore

During the summer, from May to September, when the ocean is flat, O’ahu’s North Shore beaches are an amazing place to snorkel. With a mix of rocks, reef, sand, calm waters, and favorable winds, just about anywhere you jump in the water will have some interesting underwater topography, coral, and marine life. For the best snorkeling and diving experience, try these locations and outfitters.

A cyclist on the last leg of the 2007 Ironman in Kona.

Hiking and Biking in Kona

Hiking and biking in Kona are two vastly different experiences. There are a lot of moderate trails that are almost always the means to getting to some awesome beach, but as home to the famous Ironman World Championship, Kona takes biking seriously.

Kamaole III Beach is home to ‘u‘au kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters).

Bird-Watching in South Maui

If there were a bird to be associated with South Maui it would be the Pacific golden plover, or kolea. For the opportunity to sight this migratory bird and other native species, there are a few locales to check out, some well-known and one often overlooked gem.

The Waikamoi Ridge Trail takes you just far away enough from the road that the only sound you can hear is the call of native birds and the creak of bamboo as it sways in the wind above you.

Hiking Maui: Hana and Vicinity

Hiking in Hana consists of calm, easy trails, most of which are a nice short break to stretch your legs or a moderate workout. There are a few trails less traveled with rewards such as peaceful picnic areas or pristine waterfalls, and plenty of costal views.

Bathed in the scent of eucalyptus and pine, the “topside” of central Moloka‘i is where you truly feel as if you’re in the mountains.

Moloka‘i’s Hiking Trails

Even for Maui locals, the hiking trails of Moloka‘i are shrouded in mystery. Often the trails require either four-wheel drive access or permission from private landowners, although there are still a number that are accessible to the public. You’re rewarded for your effort with sweeping views of the entire island.

The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail system stretches over half the island.

Following the King’s Trail in Kohala

A conglomeration of several trails, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail system stretches over half the island. The National Park Service is working on improving the usability of these trails even more, but for now, there is about a 15-mile section that one can easily follow, with various access points depending on how long you wish to explore.