Best of Hawaii
Best Moments in Hawaii
Feeling history come alive at Pearl Harbor, Oahu. Standing on the deck of the USS Arizona Memorial -- the eternal tomb for the 1,177 sailors and Marines trapped below when the battleship sank in just 9 minutes following the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 -- is a moving experience you'll never forget. Also in Pearl Harbor, you can visit the USS Missouri Memorial, where World War II came to an end when the Japanese signed their surrender on September 2, 1945.
Watching North Shore's big waves, Oahu. Just an hour's drive from Honolulu, the North Shore is another world: a pastoral, rural setting with magnificent beaches and a slower way of life. During the winter months, stop and watch the professionals surf the monster waves.
Seeing the sunset atop Mauna Kea, Big Island. The Hawaiians thought the gods lived on Mauna Kea, the world's tallest mountain at 33,476 feet when measured from the ocean's floor. Don't miss the opportunity to see the sun sink into the Pacific and watch the stars slowly come out of the inky black sky. The summit is so clear that the world's largest telescopes are located here.
Watching a volcano erupt, Big Island. Some call the 3-decades-long eruption of Kilauea the Eighth Wonder of the World. It's an awe-inspiring sight at any time, but especially dramatic at night, when you can watch the glowing red lava snake down the side of the island.
Winding along the road to Hana, Maui. The Hana Highway is much more than a way to get from point A to point B. Stop along the way to plunge into icy mountain ponds filled by cascading waterfalls; gaze upon vistas of waves pummeling soaring ocean cliffs; inhale the sweet aroma of blooming ginger; and take a walk back in time.
Greeting the rising sun from Haleakala's summit, Maui. Bundle up in warm clothing, fill a thermos full of hot java, and drive up to the summit. Standing at 10,000 feet, breathing in the rarefied air, and watching the first rays of light streak across the sky is a mystical experience of the highest magnitude.
Riding a mule to Kalaupapa, Molokai. Even if you have only a day to spend on Molokai, spend it on a mule. The Molokai Mule Ride trek to the Kalaupapa National Historic Park (Father Damien's world-famous leper colony) is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The cliffs are taller than 300-story skyscrapers, and the narrow 3-mile trail includes 26 dizzying switchbacks, but Buzzy Sproat has never lost one of his trustworthy mules (or any riders) on the difficult trail.
Taking a day trip to Lanai. From Lahaina, in Maui, take the Expeditions Lahaina/Lanai Passenger Ferry from Maui over to Lanai and rent a Jeep. It's a two-for-one island experience: Board in Lahaina Harbor and admire Maui from off-shore, then get off at Lanai and go snorkeling in the clear waters, tour the tiny former plantation island, and catch the last ferry home.
Taking a helicopter tour of Kauai. Don't leave Kauai without seeing it from a helicopter. It's expensive but worth the splurge. You can take home memories of the thrilling ride up and over the Kalalau Valley on Kauai's wild North Shore and into the 5,200-foot vertical temple of Mount Waialeale, the most sacred place on the island and the wettest spot on earth.