If you only have one week for your island getaway, you still have time to experience two islands. The following islands complement one another like fine wine added to a great meal.
O‘ahu and Maui
O‘ahu and Maui are located in close physical proximity, yet offer two distinct versions of island living. O‘ahu offers fast times due to the bustling pace of Honolulu, with dozens of attractions, both cosmopolitan (Honolulu Museum of Art) and historic (Pearl Harbor, Bishop Museum), as well as the deluxe resort experience of Waikiki. The North Shore on O‘ahu is another hotbed of activity, whether you’re into snorkeling or surfing. Slow things down on laid-back Maui, where swimming, sunbathing, and a long stroll down a sandy beach are considered a busy afternoon. Get away from it all at a B&B in Maui’s sleepiest town, Hana. Tour beautiful farmland in the upcountry and add some physical exertion with hiking or biking on Haleakala.
Maui and the Big Island
Combining Maui and the Big Island makes the perfect getaway for nature lovers. Maui is the go-to for ocean sports, with ample snorkeling and diving sites both on Maui itself and its small neighbor islands, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i. Divers won’t want to miss Molokini, a small half crater in the channel between the smaller islands. Moloka‘i and Lana‘i also offer off-the-map escapes from modern life and a glimpse of Old Hawaii. Jump over to the Big Island for hiking and mountain activities. Instead of seaside accommodations, stay in Volcano, the small village just outside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. You’ll be minutes away from the raw origins of all the islands. Hike through a native Hawaiian forest, across barren lava fields, and along the caldera of an active volcano. Other hiking opportunities on the Big Island include the lush Waipi‘o Valley.
O‘ahu and Kaua‘i
Island-hopping between O‘ahu and Kaua‘i gives you both a civilized vacation and a true backcountry getaway. On O‘ahu, soak up the nightlife, award-winning cuisine, and highrise hotels of the Waikiki enclave. Explore the art scene in Chinatown and the restaurant scene in Kaimuki. O‘ahu also offers structured ocean activities, with guides to teach you surfing and stand-up paddling and charters and tours devoted to kayaking and whale-watching. Leave the tall buildings of O‘ahu behind and get back to nature on Kaua‘i. Trek along the gorgeous Kalalau Trail, hiking to remote beaches, magnificent waterfalls, and unparalleled views from sheer coastal cliffs. Hiking opportunities also abound in Waimea Canyon State Park. There’s an art scene on Kaua‘i as well, but it’s much more grass roots. You’ll find it in small towns like Waimea and Hanapepe.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.