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If you’re staying on Oahu, take an easy bus ride to Makapu'u and check out its stunning white sand beach. Makapu'u Beach is nestled in a cove-like bay and is defined by its cascading drifts of sand, with a lighthouse to explore on the cliff side.
Surfers of course must head to Waimea Bay on O`ahu’s North Shore – the birthplace of surfing.
Our third favourite beach resides on Maui. Offering a whopping 5km of white sand, Kaanapali Beach is seemingly never-ending, and with bountiful snorkelling opportunities, plentiful resorts and nearby golf courses, the activities are endless too.
Oahu’s famed North Shore food trucks are not a tourist trap. Repeat: are NOT a tourist trap. These wagon-style food trucks have been a Hawaiian institution for decades, no more so than the renowned shrimp trucks, but you’ll also find an entire smorgasbord of international flavours, from southern soul food to malasadas.
Keep an eye out for Giovanni’s – one of the original and best – they serve their shrimps with a simple blend of butter, garlic, lemon and salt which will certainly leave your taste buds in a tiz. The towns of Hale‘iwa and Kahuku on O`ahu’s North Shore are heaving with tantilising food truck options.
Maui has it all. Especially for families. As well as plenty of beach fun, the outstanding Maui Ocean Center is a state-of-the-art aquarium, complete with fully immersed sea-tunnel and educational displays that focus on ocean ecology, whale life and Hawaiian culture.
For outdoor shenanigans, take the kids for a surf lesson, you can even book private lessons so they feel extra safe and comfortable. Then there are waterfalls to swim in, dormant volcanoes to hike and parasailing above the sapphire coloured sea.
However, the absolute Maui must-do is definitely the ziplining at Maui Zipline Company. With five ziplines to choose from, soaring through tropical plantation at heights of 300-900 feet has never so easy. Particularly good for younger children because they can accommodate lighter weights, there’s also a coffee shop next door for parents who don’t have the same energy levels as excitable pint-sized zipliners.
Kauai. The Garden Island; a mecca for travellers whether you’re socialising with many or seeking pure, unadulterated solitude. If you’re going solo, fear not, you’re guaranteed to make friends, and if you’d really rather not, there are plenty of isolated spots to appease your inner hermit too.
It would be borderline criminal to visit here and not partake in a kayaking adventure along the fifteen-mile stretch of rugged Ne Pali coastline. Defined by towering cliff side that’s cloaked in colour; as imposing as they are grand, lava formed sea caves and thundering waterfalls, take the all-day tour and you’ll spend up to six hours navigating Kauai’s finest natural wonders.
HOT tip: After some solo pampering that’s a little less strenuous? If you’re in Kauai on a Friday, definitely check out Hanapepe Town’s Art Night. As the island’s art capital, the plantation-style village boasts plentiful art galleries, many of which open their studio doors on a Friday night to celebrate local artwork.
Hardly any tourists visit Molokai, so it must be rubbish, right? Wrong.
To the contrary, it’s a little under-discovered treasure and although it’s not the easiest of Hawaii’s islands to get to, its fierce preservation of traditional Hawaii and with the world's tallest sea cliffs looming like verdant giants and waterfalls that have been falling for thousands upon thousands of years, it's the exact reason to visit.
HOT tip: Send yourself a Hawaiian coconut. You think we jest but we don’t. Hoolehua’s US Post Office is home to ‘Post a Nut’. Turn up (with your coconut) slap on a stamp and it’ll be waiting for you in the mail box on your return.