Picture a trip to Hawaii, and you’ll probably imagine swaying palm trees, black-sand beaches, and sipping cocktails out of a coconut. But when Go Ahead Operations Specialist Haley visited the 50th state on tour, she discovered a whole new side of paradise. Read on to hear about all the different ways to enjoy a vacation in Hawaii.
Learning about Hawaiian history
From the Polynesian Cultural Center to the Arizona Memorial, there are plenty of chances to dive into Hawaii’s past on tour. “Learning about the different Pacific Island nations was really interesting,” Haley said. The Bishop Museum, with its exhibits on everything from Hawaiian wildlife to ancient navigation techniques, topped Haley’s list. “Our Tour Director took us to a short presentation at the museum where we learned about the old wayfinders—it made me really appreciate how the first Polynesians discovered Hawaii.”
Checking out the volcanoes
There are five different volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii, three of which are considered “active”—that means they’ve erupted at least once in the last 200 years. In fact, Kīlauea is the world’s most active volcano, and it has been constantly erupting since 1983. At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’ll have the chance to peer into Kīlauea’s crater and explore the surrounding lava fields. “There are big clearings where trees can’t grow because the ground is too hot, and the landscape is very craggy from the lava flows. It’s so different than what you’d expect!” Haley said.
Exploring the great outdoors
Feeling active? Hiking to the waterfalls along Maui’s Hana Highway was one of Haley’s favorite experiences from the trip. “The falls are really beautiful, and you can bring along a swimsuit so you can jump in the water if you want to cool down!” Another spot on Maui, the Haleakala Volcano, is a popular place for outdoorsy types.
Hawaii’s natural beauty doesn’t end at the beach—just head underwater to admire the region’s incredible marine life. On an excursion to Kealakekua Bay, Haley and her group got to do just that. “Kealakekua Bay is a famous snorkeling spot because it’s in a very protected cove.” To get to the bay, the group hopped aboard a catamaran and sailed up the Hawaiian coastline. “There were dolphins that swam beside our boat, and we got to see them while we snorkeled, too!”
The verdict? “I really liked the tour, because it felt like a ‘what you wouldn’t think to do in Hawaii,’” itinerary, Haley said. And while beach-lovers can enjoy free time for lounging on Hawaii’s famously beautiful shores, for Haley, it was the opportunity to uncover Hawaii’s other wonders that made the trip extra special.
Is Hawaii on your travel wish list? Tell us how you’d spend your Hawaiian vacation in the comments!