There's much to do, as you may know, in the archipelago of Hawaii state. Natural wonders, eco-tours, underwater adventures, ancient civilizations, historic sites, and cultural attractions abound on the six major islands. Hawaii also makes for an amazing senior trip destination and if you're looking at America's only island state for your graduation, class, or student trip, here are some ideas on what you can find on each of the Hawaiian islands.
Diversity on The Big Island
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Home to two of the world's most active volcanoes, Hawaii island is constantly growing from the incessant lava flows. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was built around this fascinating feature, highlighting Hawaii's rare and very visible construction. Either drive up through Crater Rim Drive or hike and view active lava flows up close while immersing yourself in the natural landscape of Hawaii.
Though today the historic temples, or heiaus, are mostly in ruins, Hawaii island has preserved and maintained many of these historic sites for visitors. Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Puukohola Heaiu National Historic Site, and Historic Kailua Village all have sites of religious and historic significance that uphold the legacy of ancient Hawaiians as well as spotlight the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Kona coffee, pure Kona, is rare and only grown on the Big Island. Several plantations open to visitors include Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, Kona Coffee Living History Farm, and the Hilo Coffee Mill among others. Tour the farms, see their process for making delicious coffee beans, and then sample some of their signature products without the cost of the high-end coffee shops.
Paradise on Oahu
Pearl Harbor Memorial
Located in central Oahu is the site of the terrible attack on Pearl Harbor and five historic memorials which commemorate those who lost their lives. Visit the USS Arizona Memorial, a floating memorial built atop the sunken hull of the battleship, and tour the Battleship Missouri Memorial upon the decks where General MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender. Also see the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
One of the top attractions in all of Hawaii, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve was once a volcanic crater and now a preserve dedicated to returning the landscape to its former glory. Take a tour of the Marine Education Center, spend a day on the beach, or swim out in the intense blue waters to experience some of the best diving in the world.
Dole Pineapple Plantation
Like the coffee plantations, Hawaii's agricultural industry brings in revenue from their pineapple production. Opened to the public in 1989, Oahu's pineapple paradise brings in thousands of visitors every year looking for a glimpse into the Dole institution. Taste the delicious pineapples grown on site, tour the world's largest maze, and explore the plantation garden tour among the other Dole experiences available.
Kalaupapa National Park
The site of a former leper colony, Kalaupapa National Park is administered by both the Department of Health and the National Parks Service, educating the public on the history of the colony as well as preserving the natural beauty of the land. Visit the collection of buildings, homes, museums, and cemeteries existing as reminders to the isolated community and take an ecotour excursion into the rolling green hills, sea cliffs, and view the abundance of wildlife living just off the coast.
Gardens of Kauai
Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is a gorgeous maze of colorful chasms, red and green cliffs, and natural beauty. Roughly ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep, Waimea was cut over the course of millennium by the Waimea River, so named for the red colored waters. The park itself contains several scenic hiking trails as well as observation points, fishing areas, and more.
PS: Also visit the Na Pali Coast via helicopter ride. Much of the island is impassable by foot or car so air or sea travel is the best way to experience the scenery.
Activity on Maui
Haleakala National Park
Originally created as part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala became a park in its own right in 1961, attracting visitors with its dormant Haleakala Volcano and beautiful landscapes. Travel to the top of the crater's summit and perhaps see the tranquil sunrise or sunset from the height. You can also visit the park's second section, Kipahulu, where there's an abundance of lush tropical forests, waterfalls, and exotic non-native flora and fauna in the fertile volcanic land.
Nature of Lanai
Garden of the Gods
Not to be confused with the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, Lanai's own rocky, barren landscape is an unusual but scenic attraction with historical significance. According to legend, the strange landscape was created in a magical battle between two Hawaiian priests who strove to keep their own fire burning, eating up all of the vegetation in the area which accounts for its barrenness today. See rock spires, eroded formations, and even the islands of Molokai and Oahu on clear days.
Once named America' s best beach, Hulopoe Bay is a pristine paradise of white sands, crystal clear blue waters, and palm frond shade. Complete with large tidal pools, excellent snorkeling in the summer months, abundant protected marine life, and scenic hiking trails, Hulopoe Bay is the perfect relaxing destination on Lanai.
Speaking of water based excursions, some of the best snorkeling and diving to be had in Hawaii can be found on Lanai's coast including spots like First Cathedral, Fishrock, Armchair, Monolith, and No Name Paradise. The clear waters, abundant wildlife, and underwater architecture make absolutely stunning underwater experiences.
There isn't enough room to give due credit to all of what you can find in Hawaii. If you enjoy activity, the great outdoors, learning new things, seeing new sights, and meeting fun, new people, then Hawaii is definitely the place for you. Let us at Adventure Student Travel build your perfect senior trip vacation and customize it to your wishes.