Maui is an island with hundreds of beaches including beaches of black sand, golden sand, red sand and white sand.
There are excellent beaches for swimming and snorkeling and great beaches for surfing and windsurfing. There are beaches that are fun for people watching and others where you can be almost totally alone.
Suffice it to say, that if you like beaches, Maui is the island for you.
Here are our picks for some of the best beaches on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
If your trip plans will be taking you from Honolulu to the island of Lanai and one of the two superb Four Seasons Resorts, a new full service airport lounge has opened at Honolulu International Airport's commuter terminal.
In this new lounge you'll be able not only to handle resort check-in and schedule activities and dining, but also rest in the type of luxury that you'd expect while staying at a Four Seasons Resort.
Check our the details in our feature Four Seasons Resorts Lanai Opens Luxury Airport Lounge.
Honolulu Festival Grand Parade
If your plans take you to Honolulu and Waikiki over the second weekend in March, be sure to consider attending one of the many great events included in this year's Honolulu Festival.
This year's Festival celebrates 20 years of bringing together the people and cultural diversity of Asia and the Pacific. The Honolulu Festival offers dynamic and fascinating dance performances, music and exhibits that you can enjoy for free.
Under the theme, "Jubilation, One Heart, One Pacific, One World," the Festival's weekend of activities also features the Honolulu Rainbow "Ekiden" relay race around historic Diamond Head crater, the Grand Parade through Waikiki, and spectacular Nagaoka Fireworks Show over Waikiki Beach.
Find our more details in our feature on the 20th Annual Honolulu Festival - March 7-9, 2014.
One of the best ways to see any of the Hawaiian Islands is by helicopter. From the air you'll see many things that can't be seen at all from the ground. You'll also see more of an island than you can in many days traveling in a car.
I often encourage visitors to schedule a helicopter tour early in their vacation. I do this for two reasons. First, it gives you a great overview of an island and helps you decide where you'd like to explore in more detail from the ground. Secondly, and just as important, if bad weather sets in, you'll still have time to reschedule your flight for later in your trip.
Two years ago I had the chance to take a circle island tour with Makani Kai Helicopters. They fly out of the Honolulu International Airport and the Ko Olina Resort in Leeward Oahu. It was a great experience to see such places as Pearl Harbor, Waikiki and the North Shore from the air.
It should be no surprise that the two questions that I get by email and in person are 1) Where should I stay in Hawaii (or specific island) and 2) What should I do in Hawaii (or specific island name?)
Neither of these questions are surprising. In the case of the first question there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotels, resorts, condominiums, B&B's and vacation rentals to choose from.
In the case of the second question, it's much the same. Visitors are inundated with free publications at the airport and in your lodging, all describing the seemingly endless array of things to do in Hawaii.
I hope that I can help you narrow down your choices with my picks for the best things to do on each of the Hawaiian Islands. These picks are ever changing as I experience new activities, but for now, here are my current choices:
Aunty at Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki Restaurant
The Ko Olina Resort is about a 45 minute to an hour drive west of Honolulu and Waikiki in a much quieter and usually sunnier area of the island. That being said, Ko Olina is home to four beachfront resorts, four beautiful man-made lagoons, a scenic beachwalk, a central shopping center, a championship golf course and a top island luau.
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa opened in August 2011 and has quickly established itself as one of Hawaii's top family resorts. The resort is part hotel and part home to Disney Vacation Club Villas. The resort has a fantastic central "valley" - the Waikolohe Valley with a 900-foot-long tubing experience, a 3,800 square-foot snorkel lagoon, a 2,200-square-foot interactive water play area for children, a large family pool and so much more. Aulani places a strong emphasis on Hawaiian Culture with a touch of Disney magic which the children will especially enjoy.
Find out more about the Ko Olina Resort & Marina.
Prince Resorts Hawaii has announced their 2014 promotions for the Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club on Oahu. Details on the special packages are:
The Romance Package offers guests deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast buffet for two, a convertible rental car, complimentary parking, a one-time $100 dinner credit, chocolate amenity, and a bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival. Rates start at $335 per night in an Oceanfront Prime room. Three-night minimum stay required.
Stay & Play Golf Package
The Stay & Play Golf Package, perfect for golf enthusiasts, includes deluxe accommodations and four rounds of golf for two. Rates start at $270 per night in an Oceanfront Marina room. Three-night minimum stay required with four rounds of golf at Hawaii Prince Golf Club.
Room & Breakfast
The Room & Breakfast Package includes deluxe accommodations and daily breakfast buffet for two. Rates start between $239 - $269 per night for an Oceanfront Marina room.
Room & Car
The Room & Car Package includes deluxe accommodations and compact rental car. Rates start between $239 - $269 per night for an Oceanfront Marina room.
The Prince Special includes deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast buffet for two, mid-size car rental, and free parking. Rates start between $275 per night for an Oceanfront Marina room.
Rates are per night plus tax and subject to change upon availability. Packages are based on single or double occupancy and third person rates will apply. Upgraded categories are also available. Some restrictions and blackout dates may apply. Romance Package dinner credit is not applicable towards room or tax and must be used during the stay. All rates, dates, and package inclusions are subject to change without notice. Valid travel dates are now through December 27, 2014 for Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.
Hawaii Island's hotels, resorts and vacation rentals have some great deals for travel in early 2014. Let's look at the latest deals being offered early this year on the Big Island. Be sure also to check out the new and exciting activities being offered on Hawaii Island already in 2014.
Ala Kai Bed & Breakfast
Until the end of April, Ala Kai Bed & Breakfast is offering the 5th night free when booking five nights or more. Ala Kai Bed & Breakfast is located at Kaloli Point in Puna. Stay at Ala Kai's bamboo room, aloha room, and aloha suite and enjoy daily breakfast with local fruit and beverages including Kona coffee. For more information, visit their website.
Aston Hotels & Resorts
Aston Hotels & Resorts is offering special spring "prepay & save" rates at three condominium resorts on Hawaii Island including Aston Shores at Waikoloa, Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas and Aston Kona by the Sea. Accommodations include a fully equipped kitchen, private lanai (balcony) and in-room washer and dryer. For reservations made from March 1 to June 12, 2014, save an extra 15 percent. In addition Aston is preparing to welcome spring with special rates starting at $179 a night at three Hawaii Island properties - Aston Kona by the Sea, Aston Shores at Waikoloa and Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas. All properties provide comfortable accommodations, convenient access to the top destinations, attractions and activities, and extra values such as the free Aston Aloha Book with up to $2,500 in savings. For more information on these specials, call (866) 774-2924 or visit their website.
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Diners at Hilton Waikoloa Village will discover a new menu this year at Imari, the resort's excellent Japanese restaurant and teahouse. The new menu includes their premier teppanyaki (iron griddle) dining, along with innovative sushi rolls and family style Óla carte dishes created with hint of Hawaiian twist, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Imari's Executive Chef Charles Charbonneau and his team displays unique Japanese culinary skills with dishes that include ogo (seaweed) crusted monchong, Kona Kampachi tataki and a volcanic eruption roll with spicy tuna and habanero masago. For more information, visit their website.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast offerss numerous keiki (children) and family-friendly activities. A year-round Camp Mauna Lani is available for children. Known for a dedication to the Hawaiian culture and preservation of the aina (land), Mauna Lani's keiki offerings are unique and interactive so that learning about the environment, native plant life or the music and dance of the islands is interesting for youngsters. A variety of complimentary activities are offered including fish and honu (turtle) feeding tours, lei (necklace of flowers) making and coconut frond weaving. Tours of ancient fishponds and petroglyphs allow families to take a walk into the past as they learn the history and culture of the islands with Hawaiian historian, Danny Akaka. For more information, visit their website.
Ohia House Bed & Breakfast
This spring, book seven nights and receive one night free at private Pahoa oasis Ohia House Bed & Breakfast. Enjoy a good night's sleep between the cool sheets in a comfortable queen-size bed at Ohia House. Tropical breakfast is served each morning at 8 a.m. on a private screened-in lanai. The innkeepers are always available for their Hawaii Island recommendations. For more information, visit their website.
Waikoloa Beach Resort
Golfers looking for convenience and savings on their next Hawaii Island vacation can book one of Waikoloa Golf's featured Gold Member condominiums within Waikoloa Beach Resort. In addition to luxurious accommodations and unparalleled amenities within the resort, Kings' Club Gold Members receive green fees as low as $50 per round on the Kings' Course and up to 50 percent off 2013 Nike Convert rental clubs. Complimentary golf shuttle service is also available upon request. For more information, visit their website.
Closeup of Manawaipuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls) in Hanapepe Valley
For everything there is a first time and my first visit to Kauai was in the fall of 1995, just three years after Hurricane Iniki had made landfall and did extensive damage to the island.
I visited on a day trip with Polynesian Adventure Tours from Oahu. It was that day, on that trip, that I fell in love with Hawaii. We had spent much of a week on Oahu, in Waikiki, attending an insurance convention. My wife and I decided that we needed to see what else Hawaii had to offer.
Much of the damage from Iniki was still visible, but so much work had also been done to restore what had been ripped apart by the power of the storm. We took a cruise on the Wailua River, visited Waimea Canyon, ate lunch at the clubhouse of the Poipu Bay Golf Course and visited Spouting Horn. It was a day to remember.
Over the years since, I've visited Kauai many times, but as I said, for everyone there is a first time. I hope you enjoy our tips for first time visitors to Kauai.
Every state has things that are unique, but Hawaii seems to have as many if not more than any other. It's partly due to its location, partly due to its climate and partly due to its unique multi-racial and multi-national culture.
So, with that in mind check out these 50 Things You Might Not Know About Hawaii.