Honolulu Beach, Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii

Part of the US since 1898 and an official American state since 1959, the Hawaii islands have retained much of the relaxed Polynesian culture that makes them so alluring. Here the welcoming locals tend to remain close with their families, and respect the spectacular nature that is so symbolic of this destination.

Hawaii is made up of over 100 islands, with eight main islands, and each one boasts incredible beaches with crashing waves perfect for surfing, lush rainforests made for hiking, and clear waves packed with wildlife like whales, dophins, turtles and rays – all of which you can try to spot from one of the many boat tours that run. You can also try snorkelling, or climb up to watch an active volcano spitting lava in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Of course, holidays in Hawaii don’t have to be all adventure – with black sand beaches, museums, art galleries and plenty of local shopping to be had (especially if you stay in Honolulu, the sophisticated capital of Hawaii), you can easily while the days away without breaking a sweat (although the temperatures remain warm all year round).

Although Hawaii lies in the Pacific, over 3,000 miles from the US mainland, it's still possible to visit both on a trip – holidays to San Francisco and Hawaii take in the best of both worlds.

Although not the largest Hawaiian island, O’ahu is home to the state’s most iconic highlights. This is where you’ll find Iolani Palace, the Hawaii State Capitol building and the Arts District in Honolulu as well as waves in Waikiki, WWII memorials in Pearl Harbour and pineapple plantations further inland. And if you’re looking to experience some underwater action, head to Hanauma Bay State Park for the best coral reef snorkelling this side of the South Pacific.

Making the most of Maui can be as simple as kicking back under a palm tree on Ka’anapali Beach for a few days. This is where you can enjoy your Hawaiian holiday at a slower pace. Alternatively, if you’re looking to explore, Maui also has some super exciting scenery to discover with the hairpin bends and single-lane bridges on the Hana Highway leading to some of the island’s most beautiful waterfall filled rainforests and the towering 10,000-foot form of Mount Haleakala.

Considering the compact nature of Kauai – you’re never more than 20 kilometres from the sea – it’s remarkable how diverse the natural landscape is. This is a wild side to Hawaii that the majority of holidaymakers in Honolulu will never see. Kauai has distinct Jurassic Park vibes with the ginormous Waimea Canyon and the bird filled Koke’e State Park just a couple of highlights to head to on a hiking trip. Alternatively, you could always splash out on an unforgettable helicopter ride and see captivating Kauai from above.

Hawaii’s largest island – which is also, rather confusingly, known as Hawaii – is where you’ll find two of the most active volcanoes on the planet, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Situated side by side in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, these iconic twin peaks reach higher than 13,600 feet to present a staggering centrepiece surrounded by unique lunar-like scenery. The smoking caldera of Kilauea is quite a sight and made all the more enjoyable once you’ve returned to a west coast spa resort for a night under the stars.

Hawaii is blessed year-round with a consistent temperature of 23°C-30°C; however, the months between March and September are the best time to visit Hawaii. These spring and summer months bring high temperatures and very little rainfall.

The cuisine here is a fusion of all the ethnic groups who have immigrated to Hawaii over the centuries. A lot of food in Hawaii is imported from the US, but the islands notably grow tropical fruits and nuts like macadamia, papaya, banana, guava and avocado. Given the islands’ location, seafood is also popular, along with pork and beef. Carbs include rice, sweet potato and taro.

There are no direct flights from the UK to Hawaii, so you’ll have to factor in the stopover time, but usually the flight from London to a Hawaii airport takes around 17 hours, including one or two stops.

The UK is 11 hours ahead of Hawaii in the spring and summer, then when the UK clocks go back in autumn, the difference is 10 hours.

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