Hawaii for many is a
retirement paradise although you'll find fewer organized
retirement communities here than in many of the larger
continental states. The last of the US states,
Hawaii contains a chain of volcanic islands that stretch
hundreds of mile west from the "big Island" of Hawaii. Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park includes an active volcano - Kilauea.
Lava flows can be seen - currently this takes a hike of a few
miles or a helicopter ride - and sometimes even spectacular
eruptions will occur at Kilauea. Night lava flows down the side
of the mountain into the sea are an awesome spectacle.
Mauna Loa towers 14,000 feet above the sea. It is an inactive volcano that crowns the big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea on the north side is sometimes considered the highest land mass in the world if you count the elevation - 33,500 feet from the base of the mountain below on the sea floor to the top of the peak.
The island of Maui is a very popular destination for tourists though it is not heavily populated. Two volcanoes have created this "Valley Island" with many canyons and steep lush terrain. Kapalua Bay on Maui is famous for snorkeling. 10,000-foot Haleakala, Haleakala National Park, and the scenic drive on the Hana highway are also major attractions of Maui.
The small island of Lanai is west of Maui. Lanai offers its few tourists lush plant life and white sand beaches. The Garden of the Gods is on Lanai's north side and is a large natural rock garden.
Molokai is sometimes considered the friendliest of all the Hawaiian islands. Once home to a leper colony Molokai is now known for dense rainforest, open beaches and beautiful island scenery. No malls, stop lights or tall buildings here.
Oahu Island is by far Hawaii's most populous and popular Island. Honolulu is here with world famous Waikiki Beach, over a mile of white sand often filled with tens of thousands of tourists. Pearl Harbor is also on Oahu. The USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor museum are "must see" attractions during your visit to Honolulu. Also consider the USS Missouri where the US and Japan signed papers to end WWII.
Kauai Island is rugged and mountainous and considered by many the prettiest of the islands. Here, natural forces have worked for thousands of years creating a more mature landscape than that of the Big Island which even now is adding new land at the rate of many acres per day thanks to lava flows.
Kauai includes Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast, and the north shore is home to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.
Coconut Coast is to the east. Lihue is the the county seat and the main business district of the isla