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Hawaii Travel Tips

From romantic strolls on the beach to surfing lessons with the whole family and traversing fields of volcanic rocks, the Hawaiian Islands offer a lot beyond their famously beautiful sunsets and beaches.

We’ve collected some of our Deal Experts’ favorite tips and memories for traveling to America’s favorite islands.

1. Rent a car to delve into the islands’ most intimate settings:

  • It’s the best way to explore the island on your own time and the way you want to. We got a Jeep Wrangler so we could take the top off and have a bit more fun with it. Driving through Waimea Canyon is beautiful. You can see the canyon, ocean, waterfalls (tip: Go when the sun is rising and the sky is still a rainbow of colors – and bring your walking shoes).” -- Meghan Turner, producer, local deals
  • Driving on the islands is a lot of fun and you can cover a lot of ground.  I highly recommend renting a Jeep or some other convertible vehicle to take in the sights. -- Jessica Tilley, senior associate producer, travel

2. Spot marine wildlife in the winter months (December-March):

  • Spinner dolphins frequent the island in the winter and make for some great impromptu water shows. Lanai and the West End on Maui are great places for spotting wildlife: Lanai is better for dolphins and Maui is better for whales. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel
  • For cliff diving and nearly guaranteed turtle sightings spend an afternoon at Black Rock Beach, right in front of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa along Ka’anapali Beach. -- Blaire Constantinou, senior associate producer, travel

3. Feast on farm-to-table and ocean-to-table delights:

  • The Blue Ginger Café on Lanai offers great Hawaiian BBQ at very reasonable prices. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel
  • Go to Leonard’s Bakery in Waikiki for some Malasadas, or stop at a Shave Ice stand for a refreshing treat. -- Courtney Pierce, senior sales manager, travel
  • My favorite place to grab shave ice was Matsumoto’s on Oahu. I had never tasted anything like it. The contrast of the condensed milk and beans was so refreshing and tasty. -- Jessica Tilley, senior associate producer, travel
  • The Kauai Coffee Company is really cool -- they do tours and tastings. -- Eli Nemzer, production intern, travel
  • Watching the sunset over a cocktail at the St. Regis Princeville hotel bar that overlooks Hanalei Bay in Kauai. It’s a must-do! -- Lily Fu, producer, travel

4. From surfing to hiking, uncover adventure around every corner:

  • Between beach days in Kauai, plan for outdoor adventures like hiking the Waimea Canyon or the challenging Kalalau Trail to the Na Pali Coast (not for beginners). Helicopter tours are a great (albeit pricey) way to really appreciate the natural beauty of an island, from the capped peaks to the plunging waterfalls to the lush jungles to the steaming volcano. -- Andrew Young, editorial director
  • If you’re really into Windsurfing, the Paia area is the place with some of the best windsurfing in the world. There are some beaches on the Hana side that are maybe even better, but Paia is the best windsurfing that doesn’t require a day trip. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel
  • Haleakula Volcano is also a great day trip for adults.  Either get up really early and get there to watch the sunrise over the crater, or take the adventurous route and do the bike tour. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel
  • If you’re connecting to the mainland through Honolulu, but not staying on Oahu, the Pearl Harbor memorial is possible to do if your layover is 4 hours or more. Just make sure to buy tickets in advance for the boat out to the USS Arizona. -- Andrew Young, editor
  • I would recommend Trilogy cruises if they want to get out on the water. They have day trips to Lanai that include lunch and snorkeling, which I really like, and also sunset and whale watching cruises. The Lanai-Maui ferry is actually a pretty fun little ride, and Lanai is a great place to spend a day.  You can take the shuttle to one of the Four Seasons, and you can rent bikes to go to the old Lighthouse. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel

5. Ditch the tourist traps and explore the small towns:

  • Go to some of the smaller towns for a more authentic look at Hawaiian culture! I remember really liking one called Hanapepe. -- Eli Nemzer, production intern, travel
  • Molokai is really low key, but has some great Hawaiian culture.  If you get a chance, try to take a tour of the ancient fish ponds. -- Steve Clarke, senior producer and director of search, travel

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Los Angeles
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Mary Walker Baus