By Patricia Doherty
While there are more than a hundred islands, five are popular vacation destinations: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi and Lānaʻi.
Each has its own unique environment, geography, weather, style and attractions, but all offer stunning beaches, natural beauty, a warm ocean and activities from water sports to hiking, golf, cultural experiences and just about everything a vacationer could ask for.
Relaxing poolside is also just fine, but here are a few examples of other memorable things to do on each island.
Hawai'i “Big Island”
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes - Kīlauea and Mauna Loa - extending from sea level to nearly 14,000 feet. Visitors can experience the park on a variety of hikes, scenic drives or helicopter tours. Volcanic eruptions occur occasionally, and current activity can be found on the park’s website.
At Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, families and kids of all ages love King’s Pond, a 1.8-million-gallon aquarium where visitors can snorkel among thousands of diverse tropical fish. The Marine Activity Center and onsite marine biologists offer a touch tank, educational programs and interactive activities for fun and learning. Other amenities include childcare and supervised games. Golfers will enjoy the championship course, practice facility and Top Golf Swing Suite.
Maui “Valley Isle”
Haleakalā National Park is home to the dormant Haleakalā volcano, a favorite place for viewing spectacular sunrises and starry night skies. Hiking trails, a variety of landscapes, waterfalls, wildlife, natural beauty and scenic views make Haleakalā a must visit spot on Maui. Ranger-led activities, camping and bike riding are other ways to enjoy the park.
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea offers a “Fire & Wine” experience on an estate that dates to the time of King Kamehameha III. It begins with a helicopter flight over waterfalls, rainforests and the rugged north shore coastline.
On the grounds of Haiku House, a former sugar plantation, guests will have a private tour and multi-course meal of locally sourced ingredients. In an interactive blind wine tasting, wine pairings for dinner are selected.
The evening ends with dessert prepared by the resort’s pastry chef and a return by private car service. Group maximum is six guests for $28,500 USD.
OʻAHU “THE GATHERING PLACE”
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and home to famous Waikīkī Beach, Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor and other cultural treasures that include ʻIolani Palace (the former residence of Hawaiian monarchs) and Bishop Museum, where visitors can see artifacts, documents and photos about Hawaii’s history and culture.
On Oʻahu’s north shore, known for its major surfing events, Turtle Bay Resort offers the Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience where guests of all skill levels learn the art of riding waves from the island’s best surfers. The personalized surf lesson, among world famous north shore swells, includes GoPro videos to document the unique experience.
KAUAʻI “The Garden Island”
Green and lush, Kauaʻi benefits from its moist tropical climate and the rainfall in its mountains. On the west side of the island, Waimea Canyon - called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” - is a favorite with hikers for panoramic views.
The island’s beautiful and pristine Nā Pali coast is largely inaccessible except by boat or by a challenging hike along the eleven-mile Kalalau Trail. Hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of the coast, waterfalls and lush valleys.
LANAʻI “THE PINEAPPLE ISLE”
Once home to pineapple and sugar plantations, Lānaʻi now features nearly 90,000 acres of countryside, secluded beaches and miles of four-wheel drive trails, perfect for off-road exploring. A favorite hike to Sweetheart Rock (Puupehe) takes hikers past tide pools and along rocky cliffs for romantic views of Hulopoe Bay.
At the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi, guests enjoy lagoon-style pools, a spa and world-class golf. In the mountains of Kōʻele, the art-filled Sensei Lānaʻi, A Four Seasons Resort is an adults-only property offering extensive wellness programs, hiking, biking and horseback trails, as well as lush gardens with private onsen soaking tubs.
Wherever you spend your Hawaii vacation, you’ll find the warm Aloha Spirit, hospitality and natural beauty that have made the islands a beloved holiday destination. The suggestions we offer here are just a few of the many ways to enjoy Hawaii. You’re sure to come away with memories of your own favorite moments—the ones that will bring you back to the islands again. ✈
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, Four Seasons Resort Maui and Four Seasons Lānaʻi.
Stunning beaches, warm ocean and natural beauty are closer than you think.
Non-Stop Private Jet Access to Hawaii*
Kahului Airport (OGG)
- from Victoria (YYJ) = 5 h 38 m
- from Vancouver (YVR) = 5 h 46 m
- from Kelowna (YLW)** = 6 h 00 m
- from Calgary (YYC)** = 6 h 36 m
Daniel K. Inouye Intl. Airport (HNL)
Honolulu, Big Island
- from Victoria (YYJ) = 5 h 43 m
- from Vancouver (YVR) = 5 h 50 m
- from Kelowna (YLW)** = 6 h 07 m
- from Calgary (YYC)** = 6 h 41 m
Kona International Airport (KOA)
- from Victoria (YYJ) = 5 h 44 m
- from Vancouver (YVR) = 5 h 52 m
- from Kelowna (YLW)** = 6 h 08 m
- from Calgary (YYC)** = 6 h 42 m
* Embraer Legacy 450/Praetor 500 flight times above are approximate - times are weather dependent and should serve as reference. Variables/Assumptions used for the calculation: 4 passengers @200 lbs. (91kg) each, 85% annual airport temperatures, 85% annual winds, ISA en-route and NBAA IFR 200nm reserves. Great circle distance +3%. ** Stops may be required depending on passenger capacity and weather conditions.
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