You’ve already done yourself a monumental favor and ventured off the mainland to the lush, beachside rainforests of the Hawaiian Islands. With trade winds wafting the fresh floral scent, the azure sky reflecting off the rumbling waves and the vibrant spirit of the archipelago evident all around you, your Hawaiian vacation is sure to be unforgettable.
With all the Aloha State has to offer, how you choose to spend your vacation is the only difficult part of coming to Hawaii. Boasting over 750 miles of shoreline, Hawaii offers a multitude of active beach pursuits including surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving as well as opportunities for whale watching and seaside luaus. The many volcanoes provide breathtaking vistas and a sense of geological wonder, and the bustling international cities of Honolulu and Hilo offer the excitement of a vibrant culture, a unique selection of Hawaii hotels and world-class dining and cuisine.
One of the most rewarding and energizing ways to experience the islands is by hiking. Get a firm footing on raw nature by embarking on series of hikes, ranging in difficulty and duration. Start with a few easily accessible jaunts through the rainforest before working your way up to some daylong treks. From casual strolls through tropical foliage to exerting treks into ancient volcanoes and steep ascents that get your heart rate soaring, hiking in Hawaii will be an experience that lasts a lifetime.
Lunch Break Hike – Diamond Head, Oahu
As recognizable as Kilauea but far more approachable, the 750-foot cone of Diamond Head Crater is one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. Take the steep but moderate hike to the top and enjoy 360-degree views towards Waikiki, the Pacific Ocean and the verdant rainforests of Oahu. With its proximity to downtown Honolulu, this is a great hike to start your trip with. Relax after the rejuvenating trek at one of Waikiki’s numerous cafes or resorts, such as the Modern Honolulu, while you map out your next adventure.
Off the Grid in Halawa Valley Molokai
The most easily accessed of Molokai’s valleys, Halawa offers the shimmering splendor of two waterfalls, a sun-soaked beach and a lovely lagoon. A pleasant, easy walk from the ocean leads you to the foot of the waterfall, where you can swim beneath the spray in a sparkling natural pool.
Stepping it up with a Day Hike in Lanai
What better way to spend the day than by climbing to the top of gorgeous, rugged Lanai? The Munro trail traipses uphill along Lanai’s ancient caldera rim to Lanaihale, Lanai’s highest point, on an 11-mile round-trip through shady pine groves. Four miles in, Lanai City comes into view from above, signifying a turn-around point for those who’ve reached their limit. Those driven to press on continue to the top and be rewarded with a stunning view of Maui, the highest peaks of the Big Island, Molokai and even Oahu if you are lucky enough to beat the fog.
Taking it to the Limit with Maui’s Haleakala National Park
Maui isn’t all flowers and white sand beaches. Trekking into Maui’s dormant volcano offers an entirely different view of the island, with black lava flows and brick-red cinder cones. Know what you’re getting into: going the entire 11-mile descent to the valley floor takes about 9 hours, and the ascent return takes a day. Plan accordingly and gear up for a two-day camping experience you’ll never forget.
No matter what your fitness level or your time constraints, Hawaii offers hikes to all that provide awesome views, spiritual rejuvenation and a deep sense of connection to wondrous beauty of the islands.
Photo credit. This post has been brought to you in part by Aqua Resorts.