Hawaii is a popular travel destination this time of year, especially for honeymooners and empty nesters. Its moderate Pacific islandclimate, gorgeous scenery and beaches make it a great destination any time of year. This link shows the average high temperature on Maui varies from 80° in February to 89° in September.
The first decision a Hawaii traveler must make is which islands to visit. Each has its own flavor. Oahu, population 905,266, over 60% of the state's population, is home to the capital and largest city, Honolulu and its famous Waikiki Beach.
A previous blog post gives some of the other sightseeing highlights for Oahu.
Maui is the third most populous island and also one of the favorites for visitors. Here is a website with all kinds of Maui information, run by Jon Blum, a retiree who has done this website as a hobby for 30 years. Here is a link to their restaurant reviews, updated annually.
Clouds typically roll in by midday, so the view is usually obscured in the afternoon from the summit. After viewing the sunrise, you can go hiking in the crater, keeping an eye out for the endangered Nene geese, similar to Canada geese but having partially webbed feet which allow them to walk more easily on lava.
Be sure to pack a sweatshirt and windbreaker, since the temperatures at the 10,023 foot summit are about 30 degrees cooler than at sea level. Be aware of adjusting to the high altitude as well as the cooler temperature.
Several companies run bicycle tours that will take you up to the summit in a van, and you can coast down from 6500 feet (the park exit) on bikes, but then you are on their schedule and not your own. Jon recommends against doing this for safety reasons (winding road with heavy traffic and no guardrails in many areas). Read his web post before signing up for one of these tours!
The Road to Hana is another all-day excursion. The spectacular views from the road make it worth the drive. Follow the link in the last sentence for some good information on this drive from 30-year Maui writer Jon Blum.
National Geographic lists this road in their book: Drives of a Lifetime, 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips. Paia and Hana are the only places to buy gas. It is 50 miles and two hours from Kahului Airport. Pack a picnic lunch and allow five or six hours on the way out for stops and sightseeing, and two hours on the way back. If you're a passenger and prone to motion sickness, sit in the front seat and wear "sea band" wrist guards for this twisty road, and/or take medication if you need it.
Hookipa Beach Park is popular with surfers and windsurfers. Each of the 56 one-lane bridges has a name: "Kolea" means "happiness that comes on the wind." Keep an eye out for rainbow eucalyptus trees (colorfully striped bark) and pick up some roadside guava, mountain apples and mangoes between Huelo and Kailua.
Waikamoi Falls is next, then the Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden, home to Puohokamoa Falls and more than 500 species of plants. Kaumahina State Wayside Park has spectacular coastline views. After Haipuaena Falls is the Keanae Arboretum, a good place to picnic and swim. A side trip down the Keanae Peninsula reveals meadows of taro, Hawaii's traditional food crop.
Back on the Hana Highway are overlooks with photo opportunities and Waikani Falls, a series of three cascades. Waianapanapa State Park has a beautiful lava shoreline with black cliffs, lava caves, and a black sand beach. From there, the road winds down to Hana.
If you have extra time, you can drive 40 minutes farther to the Pools of Ohe'o. It may be tempting to continue on the gravel road past there to see new territory, but highly not recommended: it voids rental car insurance, there is no help if your car breaks down or gets stuck and there is plenty of nice scenery to see retracing your steps!
It may be tempting to take pictures of every beautiful thing you see in Hawaii, especially with today's digital cameras. Don't miss out on the experiences of walking, tasting and smelling, though. Sorting through the pictures later also takes time, so they are not exactly free. Don't forget to spend time relaxing at the beach and swimming, and enjoy Hawaii's relaxed pace.
You'll learn some native words like 'mahalo", which means "thank you". The word itself has an interesting history, borrowed from another language (follow the link). Here's a list of ten Hawaiian words.
You can save money and time waiting in restaurants by buying food and eating picnic lunches or dinners occasionally. Restaurants are usually less expensive at lunchtime and some have early-bird discounts at dinnertime. But dining out is part of the experience of visiting any place you travel to. Enjoy your trip to Maui!
Descriptions of sights on the other islands may follow in future blog articles. Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii are the most visited.
Special thanks to Jon Blum for editing this article for accuracy and for supplying the sunset photograph above, looking west towards the island of Lanai from a condo building on the west side of Maui.. Jon's other photo is at Big Beach (at Makena State Park) which is Maui's longest undeveloped beach. It is far from any hotels or condos, so it is not crowded. Follow the links to see more information about Makena State Park and a video.
In previous blog posts, I began telling the story of my brain tumor and the depression which followed it. The second article in the series described my faith in God which sustained me through both trials.
Having recently started a word-by-word translation of Martin Luther's Bible from German to English, I introduced the projectand published Matthew Chapter 1 . Later I wrote commentary on it; my church background and theological training is in my USA Melting Pot bio.
Dale Murrish writes on history, travel, technology, religion and politics for the Troy Patch and USA Melting Pot club. You can help this non-profit club by making your Amazon purchases through the link on the left side of their website. You can also see over a dozen ethnic presentations from people with firsthand knowledge under Culture & Country (right hand side), and outdoor presentations (Hobby & Fun), including posts on bicycling, skiing and camping.