Author: Malia Yoshioka

10 Reasons to Visit Hawaii Now

BootsnAll has always been a resource for independent travelers, and we’re always  working to provide you with the best travel tips, advice, and inspiration to make the most of your travels.  In May we launched the BootsnAll Travel Writers Platform with five sites and writers, and now we’re kicking off another round of new sites, to help you plan your travels, and to continue our commitment to connecting travelers to passionate local experts and cultivating a community of like-minded people from around the world. This week, we’ll be introducing the team of four fantastic new writers. Today, we’d like you to meet Malia Yoshioka, who will be writing WhyGo Hawaii.

Malia feels fortunate to have been born and raised on the island of Maui in Hawaii, literally growing up in paradise. After school activities included hitchhiking to a nearby waterfall or taking a drive down to the beach for a swim. Today you can catch her soaking in the arts scene of the vibrant capital city of Honolulu, getting in an early morning run around Diamond Head crater, or taking a scenic drive up Oahu’s North Shore on a day off. In 2008, she packed up her belongings in storage and hit the road for a nine month trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe before making her way across two oceans and back to Hawaii.

Spending time traveling and exploring new places has given her a new appreciation for the world that surrounds her at home in Hawaii, and she can’t wait to share with you all that these beautiful islands have to offer. There are so many things to do, historical sites you can’t miss, beautiful beaches to explore, and of course, the best in island cuisine as well as local favorites. (Shave ice, anyone?)

Please check out the WhyGo Hawaii site, “like” us on Facebook and follow WhyGo Hawaii on Twitter.

Let’s face it, Hawaii is a bit of a cliché – picture perfect sunsets every single night, a predictable weather forecast of 80 degrees and sunny, just about year-round, white sand beaches for miles, palm trees swaying, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. But here’s the thing:

This Hawaii, the one you’ll find on the ABC store postcards, it really does exist. But to stop there would be such a shame, because Hawaii is so much more. Whether the cliché is exactly what you are seeking, or exactly what you hope to avoid, you will find reasons to love these islands. There are so many options that you can fill your days to the brim and never be bored. Or, do the opposite, and leave your schedule blissfully clear while you soak up the natural beauty that surrounds you. Either way, you’ve got to see it for yourself. Here are just a few of the many ways you can pass the time “island style”…

1. Get up close and personal with an active volcano.

The latest lava flow at Halemaumau on the Big Island of Hawaii has been going strong for more than two years, providing a dramatic natural evolution of the island’s geography right before your eyes. Here you have a chance to witness Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, in action. Part of the lure of the Hawaii’s active volcanoes is that they are ever changing, but at the time of this writing, you will find activity in both the summit crater (at the Halemaumau vent) and also in the East Rift Zone where lava entered the ocean in April of 2010.  It is even possible to go camping in Volcanoes National Park, if you are so inclined.

2. Dive into adventure: Hawaii by sea

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing, this is your chance! Hawaii is where the sport originated, so you’ll find tons of beginner surf spots where you can grab a board or take a lesson to get you surfing or body boarding in no time. Many can’t resist trying out the latest craze, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), or you can rent a kayak and paddle past rugged cliffs and scenic mountains. Try your hand at deep sea fishing, or check out what lies beneath with some of the worlds best diving or snorkeling spots.

3. Take a hike, literally: Hawaii by land

If you’re more of a land-lubber, Hawaii has no shortage of beautiful hikes and trails to run, walk, or stroll. Diamond Head Crater is easily accessible and rewards with a beautiful view of Waikiki Beach. Or for a real challenge, head to Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. If you’re looking to work off all those malasadas and tiki drinks, the Iron Man Triathalon takes place in Kona every October or you can run 26.2 beautiful miles of the Honolulu Marathon in December.

4. To the skies: Hawaii by air

Now that we’ve got land and sea covered, why not try your hand at soaring? Skydiving in Hawaii offers views unmatched anywhere else on the planet. Zipline tours give you the chance to fly through the trees of a tropical rainforest. Or get a birds eye view of the dramatic lava fields and the glowing red flow of the fresh volcanic action on the Big Island with a helicopter ride over Volcanoes National Park.

5. Nightlife with a tropical flavor

You didn’t think the only option after sunset was a luau did you? Night owls will delight to know that here in Hawaii, we know how to throw a great party. First Fridays start off as a downtown art gallery walk through Honolulu’s Chinatown district, where hip bars crop up in abandoned buildings with exposed brick, outdoor patios, and even a hidden “Opium Den” or two. Mix culture and cocktails at the Honolulu Academy of Arts on the last Friday of every month for Art After Dark theme parties. On Maui, try a pub crawl in Lahaina town, or get a taste of the latest island microbrews at the Kona Brewing Co’s Brewpub on the Big Island. Many bars around the islands feature live music and entertainment from traditional hula to reggae, rock, country, and everything in between. (And don’t worry, if you opt instead for the luau and a mai tai, you’ll be in good company, and I promise not to tell. You are in Hawaii, after all.)

6. Journey back in time

Historical sites in Hawaii abound and make it easy to get a glimpse into its multi-layered past. Visit Iolani Palace for a peek into the world of our last reigning Queen Liliuokalani or watch the graceful hula dancers at the annual Merrie Monarch Festival for King David Kalakaua. Pay homage to the lives lost in World War II at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. On Maui, you can see what life was like as a sailor when Lahaina was the whaling capital of the world. Or just visit the sleepy little island of Molokai where time seems to stand still and even stoplights are not necessary.

7. So many shades of green

Hawaii has a rich agricultural past; the primary crops were once those tropical giants of pineapple and sugar. Today, Hawaii is seeing a resurgence in demand from local growers and consumers who want to know that their food is locally sourced, and for good reason. Why import all of our veggies when we can grow them ourselves? And people, I tell you, it doesn’t get better than eating a fresh summer mango straight from the tree. Stop by an island farmers market to taste the difference for yourself. Many restaurants now highlight local ingredients on their menus, and some even create their own farms to bring local and sustainable food to a whole new level of delicious.

8. The Hollywood connection

Whether or not you were a fan of the Jack Lord classic, just about everyone recognizes the theme song from Hawaii Five-0. (You’re humming it now, aren’t you?) The newest incarnation of the classic crime series is generating quite a buzz around town. The recent red carpet premiere drew tens of thousands down to Waikiki Beach for a chance to spot celebs, introducing a whole new wave of fans to Hawaii Five-0. The truth is, Hollywood has long had a love affair with Hawaii, with history dating back all the way to the 1920s. From Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii (1961) to more recent blockbusters of both big and small screens – think Lost, Magnum PI, Jurassic Park, and even Pirates of the Caribbean – cameras love Hawaii’s beautiful imagery, and who can blame them? On your next trip to Hawaii, you may spot crews filming around town, or instead opt for a more purposeful run-in by taking a guided movie tour of filming locations on Oahu or Kauai.

9. It’s more affordable than you think.

Hawaii is often considered a pricey spot to vacation, but this doesn’t have to be true! While we definitely have our share of million dollar homes, the million dollar views are numerous and can be had for free. Let WhyGo Hawaii help you uncover the latest Hawaii airfare deals and vacation packages to Hawaii. Part of the beauty of Hawaii as a destination is that there are so many options for every type of traveler. Whether you’re here with your sweetheart in search of romance, with the kids in search of fun, or on your own in search of self-discovery, there’s honestly a corner of paradise made just for you. You can choose to take the tours and check all the sites off your itinerary, go off the beaten path and explore, or just sit back and take it all in. You can do as much (or as little) as you like. Which leads us to…

10. Kick back, island style

Even with all of the things to do and see on these islands, one of the most popular ways to spend a day or an afternoon is to head down to your favorite beach park, grab a picnic lunch or light up the BBQ, and chill out with friends, family, and loved ones. Give in to the slower pace and relax – you’re on island time, brah!

Still thinking about whether or not to plan your trip to Hawaii? What are you waiting for? Just book ’em, Dano! WhyGo Hawaii is your one-stop guide to paradise.

Photos by: 1 – {sara-ann}, 2 – jurvetson, 3 – AZAdam, 5 – smohundro, 6 – RUKnight, 7 – nguyenduong, 8 – hawaii9- laptack , 4 and 10 by the author and may not be used without permission.