The number one Hawaii experience is the same for a first-time visitor and a homesick long-time resident now living on the mainland. Each of them Tweeted this week about what they enjoyed/missed most about Hawaii — and it was the same thing.
The first-time visitor came for two days for a business meeting in a Waikiki hotel. If you visit Hawaii regularly, you know that is not an ideal combination. Not much time to recover from jetlag, no time to explore the island, time spent in the most commercial/touristy area of any of the islands. And yet, his Tweet upon first arriving was "This place is magical!" And later, "I have a break, pool or beach?" His friends and business associates on the mainland were envious of this most basic, least optimum Hawaii experience.
The former Hawaii resident now lives on the mainland. She is planning a return visit soon. After being away from the islands for quite some time, she is planning to relax, get in touch with old friends and meet new ones, including Twitter acquaintances. She knows the islands well, and has chosen a beautiful place for her return visit. What is she looking forward to most? "I plan to walk on the beach at least twice a day. I didn’t realize how much I would miss that until I moved to the mainland."
They both love the ability to access the beach easily and walk along the shore or splash, or swim in the ocean. Just being on the beach is restorative. I have compared the sound of waves to a massage from the inside out. The sound of the waves is deeply relaxing, especially when paired with the sunshine and often a light breeze. The other part I enjoy is the presence of other people on the beach. It is fun to watch small children hiding their toes from the lap of water, dogs chasing various propelled objects, or older family members chatting in the shade. The beach is a communal experience.
It doesn’t matter if you only have one afternoon to walk from your Waikiki hotel to the nearby beach, or if you are staying in a more exclusive B & B or hotel on a prime secluded patch of sand. The beach and all its magical powers are yours, free and easily accessible in Hawaii.
Posted by Cindy Scheopner Follow me on Twitter @Scheopner
April 16th, 2010
Dogs are a common sight on the beaches in Hawaii, even swimming or riding on surf boards. But getting them here is another matter.
The Presidential dog, Bo, stayed behind when the first family came to Hawaii for the holidays. Media coverage mentioned the state's strict animal quarantine laws. While it is true that Hawaii restricts animal visitors, it is a little easier than it used to be to bring pets with you on your Hawaii vacation
. There now is a five-day-or-less program that abbreviates the 120-day quarantine requirement and animals now may qualify for direct release at Kona Airport (Big Island), Kahului Airport (Maui), and Lihue Airport (Kauai) in addition to Honolulu. That said, it is still a detailed and somewhat expensive process.
Hawaii is the only state that is rabies-free and the pet quarantine law is designed to keep it that way. Because there is no rabies on the islands, resident pets do not have to be vaccinated. The accidental introduction of rabies in Hawaii would impact all domestic pets and other native animals, many of which are unique to the islands.
Animals from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand may qualify for an exemption, but owners must apply for it and provide the required documentation. All pet owners should plan months in advance if they wish to consider bringing pets along. The exact regulations are listed on the state website: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info
If your animal companion is a member of the family you can't imagine traveling without, do your homework and allow lots of time to comply with the quarantine law. It's not impossible but it cannot be done on the spur of the moment. After reading the regulations, you may decide, along with the Obamas, to share your memories and perhaps a special treat with your pet upon your return from Hawaii.
December 29th, 2009
Okay yes, it is rainy season in Hawaii, but it’s really not a big deal. When you plan your vacation, you probably take into consideration the natural phenomena that might interfere with your comfort. There are non-skiing areas where heavy snow is inevitable. There are hurricane belts and tornado regions; rainy seasons and times of draught; places that flood and parch.
In Hawaii, the “rainy season” is all winter long, but it occurs in spurts with plenty of sunshine interspersed. Some winter season weather in Hawaii seems to be wetter than others. For example, we had a spell a couple of years ago where
we went practically 40 days and 40 nights with constant rain. Last year it was pretty dry the whole winter with very little rain or problematic whether. You may have been hearing lately that we’ve had some inclement weather this year. So far this year (Dec. 2008) it’s been kind of a mixed bag, we have had a few days of continuous rain as a couple of weather fronts moved over the islands. Even during periods of bad weather in Hawaii, especially in the winter, it’s not nearly as severe as the weather in the cold in other parts of the country.
The national news has been reporting during President elect Obama’s Hawaii vacation that over the weekend Oahu experienced a weather-related island-wide blackout. This blackout they believe was caused by a lightning bolt which hit one of the main power plants and triggered an island-wide blackout. As a result practically the entire island had no electricity for up to 17 hours. While things can happen during your vacation, we don’t think that kind of scenario will ever happen again in our lifetime. That was one of those freak kind of accidents that will surely never be repeated.
We’ve had severe weather in the past just like anywhere else,including hurricanes, and we get minor earthquakes occasionally. The state is prepared. Currently, the state Civil Defense uses a World War I-era artillery battery in
Diamond Head Crater that was converted into a state emergency operations center in the 1970s. Now, there are plans for a larger, modernized emergency center near Diamond Head that could withstand a Category Four hurricane or a powerful earthquake, comfortably accommodate dozens of representatives from state and federal agencies in one control center and run on a generator for at least 15 days.
I tell a lot of visitors when they come to Hawaii in the winter season that they may get a few raindrops but it’s really not a big deal because there’s always something to do indoors and you never forget your in Paradise and remember
without rain there are no beautiful rainbows.
Obama Mania in Hawaii
Planning a Winter Vacation
Hawaii Vacation Decisions to make
Diamondhead full of Diamonds
Follow us on twitter
See our latest videos
Book your Hawaii vacation here
December 29th, 2008
These days you have a variety of ways to put together the elements of your Hawaii vacation on line. Basically, you can do a package or you can cherry pick the best deals you can find for all the elements.
In general, you’ll save money by booking a package because the airlines and hotels give the wholesalers generous volume discounts for booking those elements together. A lot of agents add discounts and incentives on top of the lower prices coming from the wholesalers.
A good agent who books Hawaii regularly will be able to help you figure out whether booking a package or buying a la carte is the way to go. One of the disadvantages to cherry picking is that you usually are buying published airfares that have very strict regulations and carry very stiff penalties. And you will have to pay for your trip in advance.
When we urge you to book a package, we are not trying to get you to buy more. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You win because the price will be right and the service is great; the agent wins because commissions are good; the suppliers/wholesalers win because they can sell their inventory in advance and see larger earnings in shorter periods of time.
All the agents at Hawaii Aloha Travel are Hawaii specialists and we all deal regularly with the suppliers and wholesalers who provide the inventory. That earns us some favoritism and gives us considerable clout. You benefit from both.
But the main reason to use Hawaii Aloha Travel is that your agent – or a backup — is with you 24/7. If anything goes wrong at any time of day or night, you contact us by phone or e-mail and we deal it. That simply won’t happen when you try to contact an airline, hotel or car-rental agency directly.
Try it out. Pick an agent from our Web site home page (hawaii-aloha.com) or call, toll-free, 1-800-843-8771.
December 22nd, 2008
You’re looking ahead, planning your next vacation (or is it your first?) You’re considering where to go: The U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Far East, South America, Africa, the South Pacific? Maybe you’re considering taking a cruise. You’re debating whether to take the whole family. You’re studying your finances.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Okay, you finally decide on Hawaii. But where? Oahu and Waikiki, the Big Island and the volcanoes, Kauai and its splendor, Maui and Haeakala and the super resorts, or one of the smaller islands with their isolation? You should even consider visiting more than one island.
Once you’ve decided on Hawaii, what kind of accommodations are best for you? Imagine, to begin with, traveling by yourself. Do you simply determine where you’re going to be and book a hotel room? The decision — especially if there will be more than one of you — takes more thought than that.
Do you want and appreciate the creature comforts of a nice hotel where the staff become familiar with you and anticipate your needs and all you have to do is pick up the phone and they “bring it”? Do you like being surrounded by an array of activities and attractions and upscale restaurants with imaginative menus? In Hawaii we have grand resorts and fine hotels at all prices ranges in great locations on all the islands with eager, professional staffs.
Or do you anticipate a laid-back, quiet, away-from-it-all vacation? You can keep to yourself, do what you want when you want, do most of your own cooking, have space among several rooms, bask in the ideal weather and recharge? There now is a huge inventory of condominium apartment vacation rentals where the accommodations are lovely, the included rooms are furnished according to the taste of the owners, the conveniences are at hand, but you pretty-much fend for yourself.
And there are compromises between those extremes. If you like the idea of sharing your vacation with some hospitable local people who gladly will offer advice and friendship as they put you up, consider a bed and breakfast. If you want to combine luxury hotel service with upscale apartment living, we have condo-hotel properties that offer both … at a price, of course.
That’s what we do at Hawaii Aloha.com. We help you with those decisions. We make suggestions, track rates and facilities for you, determine what you would enjoy seeing and doing, and put together a package for you that exploits all the deals, special offers, discounts and hidden bargains available. Then we book everything for you, keep in touch with you, and solve any problems you might encounter on your trip and while you’re in our islands. (Be sure there will be problems wherever you go in the world. Trying to get satisfaction yourself directly from an airline, hotel or car-rental company can be a time-consuming, frustrating adventure.)
So as you’re doing your vacation planning, pick an agent from our Web site home page (hawaii-aloha.com), or call 1-800-843-8771. You’ll have found a loyal friend with clout to be there for you every step of the way.
Follow us on twitter
See our latest videos
Book your Hawaii vacation here
December 19th, 2008
For a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is avoiding severe winter weather where you live, Honolulu is a lovely place to be during the holiday season.
"Honolulu City Lights,” now in its 24th year, is Hawaii’s premiere holiday event. Each year it draws hundreds of thousands of people to Honolulu’s City Hall and the Civic Center grounds. Its opening day – December sixth — kicks off the holiday season. Indoor Christmas trees and beautiful wreath exhibits will be on display in the City Hall lobby. Outside, the grounds are filled with giant illuminated displays. Companies all over the island sponsor bus and trolley excursions through the area, usually winding up at restaurants and bars for celebratory evenings.
Admission is free. It’s a month-long holiday celebration that includes the beautiful City Employee’s Christmas Tree Exhibit, a decorated 65-foot Norfolk pine tree, strolling musicians and entertainment, and nightly visits with Santa.
December 17th, 2008
If you’re planning to be on Oahu during your Hawaii vacation, check to see what might be going on at the Waikiki Shell.
The Shell sits in beautiful and spacious Kapiolani Park with Diamond Head as a backdrop and Waikiki Beach at the opposite end. The attractive (It looks a lot like the Hollywood Bowl), tropical outdoor amphitheater has been Hawaii’s place to see the stars, under the stars, since 1952.
The Waikiki Shell is a venue for outdoor concerts and other large gatherings in Waikiki. It seats 2,400 persons, but the lawn area has capacity for an additional 6,000 persons. Local residents seem to prefer the lawn. There are no seats, but we pack picnics, take the kids along and often just lie back and chill, gaze at the amazing sky above and listen to whatever might be going on up on the stage. It’s a terrific venue for concerts, and political rallies and corporate functions are held there. Virtually all of the top local entertainers have performed in the Shell, and world-class comedians, singers, rock groups and other performers appear regularly.
It doesn’t really matter what the attraction might be while you’re in Waikiki. Going to an event at the Shell is a great way to spend an evening in a place where Hawaii’s wondrous weather is shown off to its very best advantage.
Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-843-8771. We’ll advise you of the Shell schedule of events that will be taking place during your visit.
Posted by Jim Winpenny
Your Blogger’s Side Bar
It was back in the 70s. My boss Carlos Rivas had invited me and my wife Mary to be his guests at the Waikiki Shell for a performance by Cat Stevens, a British pop star who had sold over 60 million albums around the world since the late 1960s.
Mary and I had not yet been to the Shell and accepted eagerly. (Mary was a Cat Stevens fan.) Carlos said that he would take care of the food, I should take care of the booze, and he would meet us at the gate. We would not be in seats, but sitting on the lawn, so we should also bring a blanket. I bought a gallon of red wine. As it happened, I drove past the gate on my quest for a parking space and could see that security guards were frisking people as they entered, unrolling their blankets and examining their bags. Obviously, outside alcohol was not permitted.
Thinking quickly, I drove to a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken and bought a large bucket. I disposed of most of the breasts, legs and wings and replaced them with the jug of wine inside the bucket. The top stuck out from the remaining pieces a little too far so I covered it with a roll.
When we met Carlos at the gate, he was empty-handed. “What’s that?” he asked me. I explained. “Actually,” he said, “I was going to buy the food inside and you could have bought the drinks there. They have a full bar.”
I lugged the bucket in anyhow, once I cleared inspection, which was halfhearted at best. I still was a little wary, not wanting to get us busted, and was as surreptitious as possible when I poured the wine for us into the cups Mary had brought.
As the lights dimmed and the warm-up act readied, I became aware of a slightly familiar, distinctive aroma. Everybody around us was smoking pot!
It was a concert well-appreciated by all of us.
December 1st, 2008
You undoubtedly will have the opportunity to try poi during your Hawaii vacation. It’s served at all the luau, often appears as a breakfast staple (like home fries or toast), and is available at all the restaurants that offer Hawaiian fare.
True locals consider poi as their ”staff of life” — the equivalent of bread in the Western diet. It’s often the first prepared food given to infants, regardless of the family’s ethnicity, and those infants grow up without ever losing their taste for the tangy, slightly sour concoction. It becomes an indispensable accompaniment to the lau lau — steaming meat and fish served wrapped in ti leaves — that are the main dishes of the luau, and a lot of us eat it for breakfast in place of cereal, or use it as a dip for appetizers.
Most visitors leave it on their plates without even trying it. It is, after all, a light brown, viscous mass that looks something like wallpaper paste. First timers at least imagine it tastes like wallpaper paste, too, although the mild flavor has its own pleasant character.
Actually, the freshly made poi served at most commercial luaus is too bland for us locals. We prefer the stronger flavor of the pulverized root after it has been allowed to ferment for three or four days, then water is added to produce the right consistency.
The thickness of the mixture is a matter of individual taste. That viscosity determines whether it’s one-, two- or three-finger poi. No, we don’t use forks or spoons, even though you probably will at your luau.
Taro root, the solid ingredient of poi, is a good source of calories, calcium and iron, and it provides fiber. Poi’s greatest value as baby food is its hypoallergenic quality. It seems to cause no allergies at all.
Give it a chance while you’re here. We won’t be insulted if you leave most of it behind.
Posted by Jim Winpenny
November 28th, 2008
It’s pretty much a given that you’ll be hitting the beach on your Hawaii vacation, even if it’s just to have your picture taken. Some of our visitors are not fond of sun and sand, but wouldn’t dream of going back home without some semblance of a natural tan.
Our beaches rim all our islands, and all of them are accessible to you. (Even at the posh resorts and private estates, where the beaches appear to be private, the beaches are public.) Keep in mind that few of them are patrolled and you swim at your own risk. Never swim alone, and heed any warnings that may be posted. Not all beaches are suitable for swimming, but there’s plenty of other stuff that makes them appealing.
Among the islands, the Big Island usually gets a bad rap when it comes to “great beaches.” You’ll hear that the best beaches are on Maui and Oahu, but that’s like saying the best sunsets are seen from Kauai.
The Big Island actually has more than 80 beaches, and more than a few of those are spectacular and unique. Most are on the Kona (west) side, which is sunnier and where the weather is more consistently mild. (That’s where most of the impressive new resorts have been developed.)
The beaches listed here can be found around the island counterclockwise on the map, starting at the northernmost point. Remember, this is a BIG island! You won’t find it easy to hop from beach to beach on a given day.
Keokea Beach Park. This black-boulder beach is suited for fishing in the calm summer months, but heavy surf makes it a hazardous swimming beach. It has picnic tables, rest rooms, showers, drinking water, electricity and a campsite. (Off Highway. 270, near Pololu overlook. 808-961-8311.)
Mahukona Beach Park. Here in the Kohala District, where sugar was once shipped by rail to be loaded on boats, Mahukona Beach’s old docks and buildings are a happy find for photographers. Divers and snorkelers can view both marine life and remnants of shipping machinery in the clear water. Surf is heavy, often prohibiting swimming. The picnic area has rest rooms, showers, and a place for camping, but no sandy beach. Off Hwy. 270, Mahukona. 808-961-8311.
Spencer Beach Park. This spot is popular with local families because of its reef-protected, gently sloping white-sand beach. It’s safe for swimming year-round. You can snorkel with the sea turtles here (No touching!), and large shade trees hover over cooking and camping facilities. It has showers, empty tennis courts and a large covered pavilion with electrical outlets. The entry road is off Hwy. 270, uphill from Kawaihae Harbor. 808-961-8311.
Kauna’oa Beach at Westin Mauna Ke’a Beach Hotel. It’s a toss-up whether this or neighboring Hapuna is the most beautiful beach on the island. Kauna’oa unfolds like a white crescent, and it slopes very gradually. It’s a great place for snorkeling, but in winter the powerful waves can be dangerous. The beach amenities are hotel-owned and public parking places are limited. Enter through the gate to Mauna Ke’a Beach Resort, off Hwy. 19.
Hapuna Beach State Park. This beach, part of a 61-acre park, forms a 1⁄2-mile crescent of white sand guarded by rocky points at either end. The surf can be hazardous in winter, but in summer the gradual slope of the beach can stretch as wide as 200 feet to the ocean. This is a terrific beach for swimming, snorkeling, and body surfing. Find it between Mauna Ke’a Beach and Mauna Lani resorts, off Hwy. 19. 808-974-6200.
Holoholokai Beach Park. A rocky beach of black-lava formations and white-coral clinkers is fine for surfers and snorkelers, and a small grassy area is available to sunbathers. Bathrooms, picnic tables, and barbecue grills are nicely maintained. Just before the beach park, you can explore historic Puako Petroglyph Park: Malama Trail meanders [7//10] miles through brush and kiawe trees to an area of lava covered with the ancient etchings of Hawaiian figures and animals. Off Hwy. 19 at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows.
‘Anaeho’omalu Beach, at Outrigger Waikoloa Resort. This is an expansive beach is perfectly suited for swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling, and diving. Some equipment is for rent at the north end. Follow Waikoloa Beach Drive to the Royal Waikoloan Resort, then follow signs to the beach.
Ki’holo Bay. Be aware that your access via an unmarked road across a vast lava field requires a 20-minute hike, so take plenty of water. Private homes are built along the oceanfront. The huge, spring-fed Luahinewai Pond anchors the south end of the bay, and the three black-pebble beaches are fine for swimming in calm weather. At the northern end, Wainanali’i Pond (a 5-acre lagoon) is a feeding site for green sea turtles, off-limits to swimmers. You’ll find good swimming here, but no facilities. Hwy. 19, Mile Marker 81.
Kona Coast Beach Park (Kekaha Kai). This sandy white beach nestles in a bay whose surf is gentle. It has a few picnic tables shaded by coconut trees, but no drinking water. Portable toilets are the only additional facilities. You’ll see the sign about a mile north of Keahole-Kona International Airport, off Hwy. 19, then there’s a rough 1- 1⁄2-mile road to beach. 808-974-6200.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Just down the road from Honokohau Harbor, this is Part of a new 1,160-acre park. You’ll find two beaches, rich in archeology and good for swimming. Honokohau Beach, a 3⁄4-mile stretch with ruins of ancient fishponds, is north of the harbor. The park is being developed as a cultural and historical site. (For information about the park, visit its headquarters, a 5- to 10-minute drive away. The park is off Highway 19, at Honokohau Harbor; or use the park access between Mile Markers 96 and 97. Park Headquarters: Kaloko New Industrial Park, 73-4786 Kanalani St., #14. 808-329-6881.
Old Kona Airport Park. The unused runway — great for jogging or running — is still visible above this beach at Kailua Park, which has picnic tables, showers, bathroom facilities, tennis courts, and palm trees strung out along the shore. The beach has a sheltered, sandy inlet with tidal pools for children, but for adults it’s better for snorkeling than swimming. An offshore surfing break known as Old Airport is popular with Kona surfers. It’s at the north end of Kuakini Hwy. 808-327-4958 or 974-6200.
Kamakahonu Beach. The "King Kam" beach is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. This beach is conveniently tucked away between the Kailua pier and the King Kamehameha hotel, right on Alii Drive. The surf is calm, so this is a great beach for children. The sand is white, the trees are shady, and the snorkeling is good – especially outside on the cove. This is also a popular spot for SNUBA, dive instruction, and swimming.
Kona Magic Sands Beach. Also known as La’aloa Beach, White Sands, or Disappearing Sands Beach Park. Now you see it, now you don’t. Overnight, winter waves wash away this small white-sand beach on Ali’i Drive just south of Kailua-Kona. In summer you’ll know you’ve found it when you see the bodyboarders and surfers. A volleyball net, restrooms, showers, a lifeguard tower, and a coconut grove create a favorite and convenient summer hangout. This beach is officially called La’aloa Bay Beach Pak. 4-1⁄2 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Ali’i Dr. 808-961-8311.
Kahalu’u Beach Park. This is one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island, with a huge variety of fishes in clear shallow waters. The north end of the beach is where the waves break and is best for body boarding and surfing. Check the water conditions; with ocean swells, the water can be murky. Facilities include a pavilion, rest rooms, showers, a lifeguard tower, and limited parking. A narrow path takes you directly to the resort’s Beach Bar & Grill, which serves sandwiches and plate lunches. 5-1⁄2 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Ali’i Dr. 808-961-8311.
Napo’opo’o Beach Park. The best way to enjoy this marine preserve is to take a snorkel, scuba, or glass-bottom boat tour from Keauhou Bay. A 27-ft white obelisk indicates where Captain James Cook was killed in 1779. While this six-acre beach park has a picnic pavilion, the beach consists of rocks, making access into the water difficult. It’s Located at the edge of Kealakekua Bay.
Ho’okena Beach Park. When Mark Twain visited, 2,500 people populated the busy seaport village at the northern end of Kauhako Bay. You can still find gas lampposts dating from the early 1900s. This dark-gray coral-and-lava-sand beach offers good swimming, snorkeling, and bodysurfing. Rest rooms, showers, and picnic tables are available at the park. The access road is narrow and a bumpy two-mile drive by the remains of a stone wall off Hwy. 11, 23 miles south of Kailua-Kona. 808-961-8311.
Here’s a beach area where jumping into the surf isn’t the first priority. South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii is the southernmost point in the United States – reason enough for a visit. The drive through rural – and volcanic – Hawaii is unusual in itself, but the South Point area, where the first Polynesians are thought to have landed, is amazing. The cliff near South Point Park drops forty feet to the ocean‘s surface. The concept looks inviting, but don’t jump, even though there are ladders to return and you may see daring young people doing it. A swift current runs along the shore that could carry you straight out to sea.
Green Sand (Mahana) Beach. You need good hiking shoes — or a permit and a four-wheel-drive vehicle — to get to this truly green crescent, one of the most unusual and prettiest beaches on the island. The beach lies at the base of Pu’u o Mahana, a cinder cone formed during an early eruption of Mauna Loa; the greenish tint is caused by an accumulation of olivine that forms in volcanic eruptions. Swimming is dangerous in this windy, remote area, and there are no facilities, but in calm water close to the shore, the aquamarine surf feels great and you find yourself in a surreal grass plain landscape. You can get a four-wheel-drive permit from Hawaiian Homelands (160 Baker Ave., Hilo 96720, 808- 974-4250). They’ll give you a key to the gate for a $25 deposit. Follow the trail 2 to 3 miles along the shoreline. It’s 2-1⁄2 miles northeast of South Point, off Hwy. 11. 808/974-4250.
Punalu’u Beach Park. Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles nest in the black sand of this beautiful and easily accessible beach. Fishponds are just inland. At the northern end of the beach near the boat ramp lie the ruins of a heiau and a flat sacrificial stone. This used to be a sugar and army port until the tidal wave of 1946 destroyed the buildings. Offshore rip currents are extremely dangerous, though you’ll see a few local surfers riding the waves. There are rest rooms across the road. Hwy. 11, 27 miles south of Volcanoes National Park,
Ahalanui Park. This three-acre beach park with a 1⁄2-acre pond heated by a volcanic steam opened in 1993 to replace earlier beach parks that were lost to lava flows. The pond here is good for swimming, but the nearby ocean is rough. Drinking water and a few tables are available for picnicking, and there are portable rest rooms. The park is on the Kapoho coast, southeast of Pahoa, 2-1⁄2 miles south of the junction of Highways 132 and 137. 808-961-8311.
MacKenzie State Recreation Area. This 13-acre park shaded by ironwood trees is good for picnicking. You can’t swim here, but there are rest rooms. The recreation area is off Highway 137, 2 miles south of junction with Highway 132. 808/961-8311.
Isaac Hale Beach Park. The oceanfront park facilities here include rest rooms and picnic areas. It’s a good place for an afternoon nap, but it’s dangerous for swimming. The park is off Highway 137, north of the junction with Highway 132. 808-961-8311.
Leleiwi Beach Park and Richardson Ocean Park. Near Hilo, along the Keaukaha shoreline laced with bays, inlets, lagoons, and pretty parks, these two beaches are adjacent to each other. The grassy area is ideal for picnics. The beaches are rocky and dangerous for swimming, though you can dip your feet in the shallow areas. Follow Kalaniana’ole Avenue east along the water about 4 miles south of Hilo. 2349 Kalaniana’ole Ave. 808-961-8311.
Onekahakaha Beach Park. A protected, white-sand beach makes this a favorite for Hilo families with small children. Lifeguards are on duty year-round. The park has picnic pavilions, rest rooms, and showers. Follow Kalaniana’ole Ave. east. It’s 3 miles south of Hilo. 808-961-8311.
Reeds Bay Beach Park. With rest rooms, showers, drinking water, calm and safe swimming, and proximity to downtown Hilo, this cove is a great attraction on the east side of the island. Cold freshwater springs seep from the bottom of a nearby pond and rise in the saltwater. Banyan Dr. and Kalaniana’ole Ave., Hilo. 808-961-8311.For more information contact Hawaii Aloha Travel.
November 21st, 2008
Especially if you’re going to be on Maui during your Hawaii vacation, Haleakala will be among your plans. Please don’t consider this to be something you can just stop by and see, as you might Diamond Head on Oahu or Akaka Falls on the Big Island.
No place you have ever been will have prepared you for the experiences and feelings you will have on the summit of Haleakala. The landscape — sculpted, richly colored, and actually breathtaking — will be unlike any you have seen. There’s no way to anticipate its scale or dimensions ahead of time. (A popular comparison notes that the entire island of Manhattan could nestle within its confines.) The summit takes on another dimension at night, as the darkness reveals the brilliant night sky.
The Wilderness Area is 24,719 acres and the climate varies throughout. The elevation change from rim to the floor can be 3,000 feet. You can day hike, spend the night in a tent at one of the two wilderness campgrounds, or reserve one of the three historic cabins along the trail. As you walk, cycle or drive, you will encounter brown and red cinder cones that stretch hundreds of feet high in dry, cold desert air. You’ll experience cloud forests with red and green native ferns. Nene (Hawaiian geese) and endemic honeycreepers can be seen in the lower, wetter parts of the Wilderness area during the day. You’ll hear seabirds at night. Stars will fill the sky as you have never seen them before.
The Wilderness Area can be accessed by either of two mountaintop trailheads: Halemauu Trailhead at 8000 feet and Keoneheehee near the summit at 9740 feet. The two trails merge eventually and lead down the southeast side of the volcano to the relatively barren and unpopulated coast in the Kaupo district.
If you would like to camp overnight, you’ll need a permit. Cabins must be reserved, and it’s a good idea to stop by a Visitor Center before a day hike to discuss your plans. The unpredictable weather can be severe; water is scarce; altitude can be a major factor; and certain seasonal restrictions may apply.
The Kipahulu Area of Haleakala National Park can be accessed by driving ten miles past the remote town of Hana, on the famous Hana road that circumscribes the northeast coast of the island of Maui. The Kipahulu area encompasses both the accessible coastal section and the highly restricted, biologically precious upper slope reserve that is closed to all by limited research access.
Hiking is self-guided and rewarding. There are scheduled orientations and cultural demonstrations through the Visitor Center, and it’s a good idea to tune in.
Consider hiking the two-mile trail Pipiwai Trail, following the stream that runs through the Oheo Gulch. You can swim in the cool lower pools near the ocean, but the stream can be very unpredictable and flash floods are common. You’re responsible for your own safety and should not underestimate the risk. Obey all the caution signs and warnings from Rangers.
This area also offers a drive-up campground. Be advised that Kipahlu is wet and remote. If you’re going to camp, bring water. Shared grills, picnic tables and pit-toilets are available. You don’t need a permit here, but you’ll need to have paid the $10 park entry fee. (Camping is limited to 3 nights.)
Overall, the Haleakala climate is unpredictable. In any given day, the temperatures in the park can range from a high of 80° in Kipahulu to 30°.
As you can see, planning is essential if you are to appreciate even part of what Haleakala holds in store for you. Pick an agent from our Web site at (hawaii-aloha.com) or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll help you work a fulfilling Haleakala adventure into your vacation plans.
November 20th, 2008