Aloha, Hawaii: Exploring America’s Tropical Island

Discover Lake Waiau

Hawaii is not typically known for its large lakes, as its stunning landscapes are dominated by the Pacific Ocean and volcanic formations. However, one notable exception is Lake Waiau, nestled near the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Despite its relatively small size, Lake Waiau is the highest alpine lake in the United States, sitting at an elevation of over 13,000 feet. This unique and pristine lake is surrounded by the otherworldly terrain of Mauna Kea, offering visitors a rare opportunity to experience a high-altitude lake in a tropical setting. While its size may not rival mainland counterparts, Lake Waiau’s location and significance within Hawaiian culture make it a standout destination for those seeking a different kind of aquatic beauty in the Aloha State.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Three interesting facts about Hawaii


Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea, located on the Big Island, is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base at the ocean floor to its summit, surpassing even Mount Everest.



The “Aloha Spirit” is a cultural philosophy in Hawaii that emphasizes kindness, harmony, and mutual respect. It’s a way of life that extends warmth and friendliness to both locals and visitors alike.


Hawaiian Alphabet

The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W, and the glottal stop represented by the ‘okina.


Must See Attractions

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Waimea Canyon State Park

Nature & Parks

The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is an awe-inspiring red and green-hued landscape with deep gorges and cascading waterfalls, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike.

Iolani Palace

Speciality Museums

Iolani Palace, situated in downtown Honolulu, is a historic landmark and the only royal palace in the United States. Once the residence of Hawaiian monarchs, the palace is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the islands.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Speciality Museums

The memorial commemorates the historic events of December 7, 1941, when the surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor led to the United States’ entry into World War II, honoring the lives lost and preserving the memory of the pivotal moment in history.

Where to Sleep

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Lakes to Explore

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1. Wailua Reservoir (Kauai)

Wailua Reservoir offers calm waters perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding, surrounded by lush green landscapes.

2. Halulu Lake (Molokai)

Halulu Lake is a secluded freshwater oasis surrounded by tropical vegetation, ideal for a peaceful canoeing, paddleboarding, or kayaking adventure.

3. Lake Wilson (Oahu)

Nestled in the central part of Oahu, Lake Wilson is a popular spot for fishing and boating, providing a serene escape from the bustling island life.

4. Lake Waiau (Big Island)

Lake Waiau is a high-altitude alpine lake where you can enjoy the unique experience of paddleboarding at an elevation of over 13,000 feet.

5. Green Lake (Maui)

Tucked away in a volcanic crater, Green Lake is known for its crystal-clear waters, providing an excellent setting for snorkeling and exploring the vibrant underwater world.

6. Kapoho Tide Pools (Big Island)

These water pools on the eastern coast offer superb snorkeling opportunities, with colorful marine life in a unique geological setting.

7. Waimea Canyon Reservoir (Kauai)

This reservoir provides water activities such as boating and fishing, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Waimea Canyon.

8. Nuuanu Reservoir (Oahu)

This reservoir is a peaceful spot for canoeing and kayaking, offering a refreshing escape just outside of Honolulu.

Annual Events and Festivals

Sunday, March 31 – Saturday, April 6, 2024

Merrie Monarch Festival 

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a celebration of traditional Hawaiian hula and cultural heritage. Established in 1963 in honor of King David Kalakaua, known as the “Merrie Monarch” for his fondness of the arts, the festival has evolved into one of the most prestigious hula competitions globally. The event showcases the grace, storytelling, and rhythmic movements of hula but also emphasizes the importance of preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian culture. Beyond the competitions, the festival includes a parade, arts and crafts fairs, exhibitions, and cultural demonstrations.

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Saturday, October 26, 2024

Ironman World Championship

The Ironman World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance and athleticism, drawing elite athletes and enthusiasts from around the globe to the rugged terrain of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. The event comprises a 2.4-mile swim in Kailua Bay, followed by a demanding 112-mile bike ride through lava fields, and culminating in a marathon run of 26.2 miles along the hot and challenging coastal course.

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November 2024

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival pays homage to the island’s world-renowned coffee. This festival is a sensory delight for coffee enthusiasts and visitors alike. Amidst the lush coffee plantations of Kona, festival-goers have the opportunity to participate in farm tours, coffee tastings, and educational seminars that delve into the intricate process of cultivating and producing Kona coffee. The festival also features a lively street fair with local artisans, live music, and food vendors.

Top Hiking Trails

Kilauea Iki Trail and Crater Rim Trail

Kīlauea Iki Overlook Parking Lot, Volcano, Hawaii 96778

The trail takes hikers through volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. The Kilauea Iki Trail ventures through the heart of the Kilauea Iki Crater, providing hikers with a surreal experience as they traverse a stark, otherworldly landscape marked by hardened lava flows and steam vents. This trail, approximately 4 miles in length and takes 90 minutes to complete, guides adventurers across the crater floor and into rainforest surroundings, offering a striking contrast to the desolate volcanic terrain.

Visit their website for more information

Puna Trail

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii, 96749

The Puna Trail winds through the heart of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This trail immerses adventurers in a landscape shaped by ancient volcanic activity and abundant biodiversity. As hikers navigate the trail, they encounter dense vegetation, tree ferns, and wildflowers. The Puna Trail also provides access to lava tubes and ancient petroglyphs. The trail is 5.2 miles long and takes an average of 2 hours to complete.

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Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Ka’u, Hawaii

Nestled within the eroded cone of Pu’u Mahana, the beach owes its distinctive green hue to the presence of olivine crystals in the volcanic cinder that forms its sands. Accessible by a scenic hike visitors are rewarded with a secluded, crescent-shaped beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs and the vibrant blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The journey to Papakolea leads through rugged coastal terrain that enhances the sense of discovery upon reaching the secluded shore. The hike is 5.6 miles and takes an average of 2 hours to complete.

Visit their website for more information

Best Golf Courses

Kapalua’s Plantation Course

2000 Plantation Club Dr, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

Kapalua’s Plantation Course is renowned for its views and challenging design. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, this championship course is nestled amidst rolling hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, providing golfers with a scenic experience unlike any other. The course has generous fairways, undulating greens, and strategic bunkering creating an engaging and fair test for players of all skill levels. Enjoy panoramic view from the 18th hole, where the Pacific stretches endlessly before the golfer. Host to the annual Sentry Tournament of Champions, the course has welcomed some of the world’s top golfers.

Visit their website for more information

Manele Golf Course

1 Challenge Dr, Lanai City, HawaiI 96763

Perched atop the cliffs of Lanai, the course is a golfing masterpiece, offering a blend of challenging play and stunning natural beauty. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 18 hole championship course is renowned for its ocean views, lava outcroppings, and manicured fairways. The challenging layout demands strategic shot-making, with undulating greens and strategically placed hazards ensuring an engaging round for players of all levels.

Visit their website for more information

Ocean Course at Hokuala

3351 Ho’Olaulea Wy, Lihue, Hawaii 96766

Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, this 18 hole championship course presents golfers with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and tropical landscapes. Renowned for its thoughtful design, the Ocean Course offers a strategic challenge with undulating fairways, well-placed bunkers, and greens that demand precision. The layout takes full advantage of the coastal setting, with several holes hugging the shoreline, providing a sense of serenity as the waves crash against the rocks.

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Water Sports

Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventures


Snorkeling invites adventurers to explore the vibrant underwater world that teems with marine life. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and coral reefs, Hawaii’s snorkeling sites offer a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes beneath the surface. Popular spots like Hanauma Bay on Oahu (check out Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventures!), Molokini Crater off Maui, and Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island provide easy access to stunning coral formations and schools of tropical fish. Snorkelers may encounter sea turtles gliding through the water, colorful reef fish darting among the coral, and, if lucky, spinner dolphins. Enjoy exploring hidden sea caves, drifting over coral gardens, or simply the tranquility of the ocean..

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Surf N Sea


With its origins rooted in ancient Hawaiian traditions, the sport has evolved into a global mecca for wave riders. From the legendary North Shore of Oahu to the breaks of Waikiki and Maui’s Jaws, Hawaii offers a diverse range of surf spots catering to all skill levels. The North Shore attracts the world’s best surfers during the winter months when colossal waves, some reaching over 30 feet, challenge even the most seasoned riders. Be sure to check out Surf N Sea for all gear and lessons while on the North Shore.

Visit their website for more information

Parasailing Hawaii


Parasailing Hawaii offers an exhilarating and awe-inspiring way to witness the islands’ beauty from a unique perspective. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning coastal landscapes, Hawaii provides an ideal backdrop for this airborne adventure. As participants are gently lifted into the sky while tethered to a colorful parachute, they are treated to panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, green mountains, and iconic shorelines.

Visit their website for more information

Resorts to Explore

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Luxury, Couples
1571 Poipu Rd, Koloa, Hawaii 96756

Volcano Village Lodge

Family friendly, Retreat
19-4183 Kawailehua Rd, Volcano, Hawaii 96785

OUTRIGGER Kona Resort & Spa

Family friendly, Couples
78-128 Ehukai St, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

Tips on Vacationing in Hawaii

Respect Nature

Hawaii is home to diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife. Follow Leave No Trace principles, stay on marked trails, and avoid disturbing local flora and fauna.

Embrace Culture

Attend a traditional luau, try local cuisine, and participate in cultural activities. Hawaii has a rich heritage, and immersing yourself in the local culture enhances your overall experience.

Multiple Swimming Suits

Bringing more than one bathing suit to the resort ensures you’ll always have a fresh and dry option, allowing you to fully enjoy the sun and pool without waiting for swimwear to dry.

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Jet Skiing

Choosing the Right Island

Hawaii has diverse vacation rentals for all types of travelers. From beachfront homes to secluded tree-top bungalows, there’s something for everyone! Most offer amenities like pools, golf, and pet-friendly options. Vacation rentals are available on all major islands, but be aware of local laws for O’ahu. Expect a warm and welcoming “Aloha spirit” from friendly hosts and neighbors.

Evaluating Oahu Rentals

Oahu is the island that comes to mind when you think of Hawaii. It’s home to the bustling city of Honolulu, the famous Waikiki Beach, and the historic Pearl Harbor. If you enjoy a mix of city life, great shopping, and beach activities, Oahu might be just right for you. With a wide range of vacation rentals, you can find anything from luxurious beachfront homes to affordable condos in the city.

Maui Rentals: What to Expect

Maui is known for its stunning beaches, scenic drives, and various water activities. Would you love to try surfing, snorkeling, or whale watching? Maui has it all. When considering vacation rentals in Maui, you’ll find a mix of accommodations, from luxurious resorts to charming beachfront cottages. The island perfectly balances adventure and relaxation, and you will surely find a rental that suits your budget and preferences.

Exploring Rentals on the Big Island

The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest island, known for its active volcano, Kilauea. If you love nature and enjoy outdoor adventures, this island should be on your list. From experiencing the incredible Crater Rim Drive to exploring lush rainforests, there’s always something to do. As for rentals, you’ll find various apartments, condos, and private homes available, depending on your budget and the experience you are seeking.

Luxury Rentals in Kauai

Kauai, named the “Garden Isle,” is the place for a luxurious and serene vacation. It is known for its stunning coastlines, lush landscapes, and the scenic Hanalei Bay. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway and love to explore nature, Kauai might be your ideal choice. Regarding vacation rentals, expect luxurious beachfront villas, private estates, and beautiful condos surrounded by tropical gardens.

As you plan your dream vacation to Hawaii, you’ll want to explore some unique features that make Hawaii Vacation Rentals stand out from other destinations.

Lakes in Hawaii

While Hawaii is famous for its beaches, there are also beautiful lakes. Hawaii does have freshwater lakes. However, there are only five natural lakes in the state, and they are all relatively small. The largest natural lake in Hawaii was Green Lake on the island of Hawaii, but in 2018, it was unfortunately destroyed by a lava flow.

The four remaining natural lakes in Hawaii are:

– Lake Waiau on the island of Hawaii
– Halalii Lake on the island of Niihau
– Halulu Lake on the island of Molokai
– Wailua Reservoir on the island of Kauai

In addition to the natural lakes, Hawaii has over 260 freshwater reservoirs. These reservoirs have been created by damming streams and rivers, providing most of the state’s freshwater supply.

Some of the most popular freshwater reservoirs in Hawaii include:

– Lake Wilson on the island of Oahu
– Waita Reservoir on the island of Oahu
– Waiakea Pond on the island of Hawaii
– Kahaluu Pond on the island of Oahu
– Kanahā Pond on the island of Maui

These lakes are popular for fishing, swimming, boating, and birdwatching.

Beach Proximity and Views

One of the most sought-after features of Hawaii vacation rentals is their proximity to stunning beaches. You’ll have easy access to these world-renowned shorelines with rentals near white and black sand beaches. Moreover, many rentals offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii without even leaving your rental.

Rainforest Rentals
If you want a unique experience, consider staying in a vacation home in Hawaii’s lush rainforests. These rentals offer the chance to immerse yourself in nature, with the sounds of tropical birds and the aroma of vibrant flora surrounding you. This type of rental is perfect for those looking to experience all the islands’ landscapes.

Volcano-View Properties
Finally, for an unforgettable vacation, consider choosing a volcano-view property. Some Hawaii vacation rentals offer views of active volcanoes, providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests looking for something truly unique. Imagine waking up to the sight of a majestic volcano in the distance, creating memories you’ll cherish for years to come.

Tips to Secure the Best Vacation Home

Ready to book a dream vacation in Hawaii? Let’s dive into some tips to help you secure the perfect rental for your Hawaiian getaway and make it an unforgettable experience.

Research various reputable vacation rental platforms like Lake, Vrbo, Airbnb, and HomeAway™ to find the ideal vacation home. These websites offer protection policies and guarantees, making your experience smooth and hassle-free. Remember, nothing speaks louder than user reviews, so read them thoroughly to understand the property and the host.

Visual appeal is crucial when booking a vacation rental. Keep an eye out for high-quality or professionally taken images on the listing, as they clearly show what to expect during your stay. According to a report, professional photos can increase listing views by 309%, leading to an average of two extra monthly bookings.

When renting a vacation home, location is everything. Look for properties close to your desired attractions and activities, whether a beachfront house, a mountain retreat, or a luxurious villa in a prime neighborhood. Consider the convenience of neighborhood facilities, such as nearby grocery stores and restaurants.

Remember to factor in the amenities offered by the vacation home. If you’re looking for a relaxing escape, prioritize properties with features like infinity pools, stunning ocean views, or secluded gardens. On the other hand, if you need a family-friendly rental, ensure it has enough bedrooms, essential appliances, and Wi-Fi.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to contact the host. A responsive and friendly host can make all the difference in your vacation experience. Ask about the property, inquire about special arrangements or discounts, and get a feel for their communication style.

With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to securing a beautiful vacation rental for your dream Hawaiian vacation. Remember the importance of research, user reviews, amenities, location, and effective communication with the host to ensure an unforgettable stay.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hawaii Vacations

Some popular websites for booking Hawaii vacation rentals include Lake, VRBO, Airbnb, and HomeAway. These platforms provide various options to suit different budgets and preferences. Additionally, you can browse local real estate agencies that offer vacation rentals, such as Coldwell Banker Island Vacations.

It’s important to note that Hawaii has regulations for short-term vacation rentals (STVRs), which are dwelling units with no more than five bedrooms for rent. As of November 2018, the Hawaii County Council passed Bill 108, requiring all STVRs to be registered with the county. So, when booking your vacation rental, ensure it’s a registered property to avoid legal issues.

Luxury vacation homes in Hawaii can be found on all major islands—Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Each island offers its unique charm, natural beauty, and range of activities. Ultimately, the best island for your luxury vacation rental will depend on your preferences and interests.

The cost of Hawaii vacation rentals varies considerably based on location, size, amenities, and time of the year. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 per night for a budget-friendly rental to over $1,000 per night for a luxury property. Keep in mind that rates are usually higher during peak seasons and holidays.

Hawaii is a year-round destination, boasting warm temperatures and stunning scenery throughout the year. However, the best time to rent a vacation home in Hawaii depends on your priorities. For the best prices and fewest crowds, visit during the shoulder seasons (April to May and September to October). If you don’t mind higher prices and want the best weather conditions for outdoor activities, plan your vacation during the peak travel seasons (late December to early April and June to August).

Yes, there are long-term rental options for vacation homes in Hawaii. Many property owners offer monthly rental rates, which can be more cost-effective than nightly or weekly rates. Remember that long-term rentals in areas like Honolulu may require a minimum rental term of 30 days per tenant due to zoning restrictions.

Kauai and the Big Island are known for their luscious green landscapes and calm beaches. In contrast, the Big Island is famous for its active volcanoes, lava fields, and diverse climates, providing unique sightseeing opportunities. Both islands have various vacation rental options at different price points, so your choice should be based on which island’s attractions and activities appeal to you most.

Yes, it is possible to book a last-minute vacation rental in Hawaii. However, availability might be limited, and you may have to be more flexible with your desired location, type of accommodation, and the specific rental property. To increase your chances of finding an available rental, try searching across multiple platforms like Lake, VRBO, Airbnb, and local real estate agencies specializing in vacation rentals.

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