Hawaii, the nation’s 50th state, welcomed over nine million visitors in 2017. Travelers come from around the globe for the sugary white sand beaches, warm waters, natural beauty and rich cultural heritage found nowhere else in the United States.
A former retreat for Maui royalty, some of the island’s best resorts border this 3.5-mile, very popular beach. Waves break gently, a beach walk runs parallel to the warm sand and clear water permits snorkeling.
Don’t miss the daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock held at sunset on the north end of the beach in between enjoying the various restaurants and shopping at the waterfront Whaler’s Village entertainment area.
Best Family Attraction in Hawaii: The Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu
One of Oahu’s top attractions provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, Marquesas and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives, and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the spectacle and character of the past.
This luxury resort overlooking Waikiki Beach features 552 oceanview residences and guest rooms just a 5-minute walk from Honolulu’s Luxury Row. Guests can swim in an eighth-floor infinity pool, relax in a locally-inspired spa or dine at one of three onsite restaurants, including Sushi Sho and Dean DeLuca.
Best Poke in Hawaii: Kahiau Jerky Poke Provisions, Honolulu
The mission of Kahiau Jerky Poke Provisions is to highlight locally sourced ingredients while offering fresh food to the local community. The menu comprises six poke options, including a tofu option for vegetarians.
Best Restaurant in Hawaii: Monkeypod Kitchen (Multiple locations)
A meal at Monkeypod Kitchen is all about sharing a meal and cold beers with friends and family. The seasonal menu might include options like Kauai shrimp and mushroom potstickers, poke tacos, mahi mahi fish and chips or grilled ahi, served alongside dozens of beers on tap.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has been showing off the Hawaiian Islands from the air since 1985. Tour options include Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, with narration from the pilots (who are all State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guides).