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The Hawaiian Vacation: Leis, Luaus, And Luscious Landscape
Nothing says tropical paradise quite like an excursion to the Hawaiian Islands. The volcanic archipelago lost in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean stretches northwest from the Big Island of Hawaii in the south through Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau, each with its own identity and topography. Eleven more islands, reefs and atolls comprise the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and are all uninhabited.

Get As Far Away As Possible, Really

Travel to Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S.A., is the ultimate getaway. The island-chain situated 2300 miles from the mainland is the exposed top of an enormous undersea volcanic mountain range known as the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain and is commonly known as the most remote and isolated island outcropping on Earth.

Geographically, the islands are more subject to tropical weather, large waves and storms on the north/northeast side, know as the windward side. The leeward side of each island, to the southwest, is drier and thus home to the majority of resort towns. The incredible blend of Polynesian, Tahitian and European cultures makes for a dynamic adventure from the traditional luaus and serene Shinto shrines to the hippie-surfer culture abundant in the less touristy locales.

Kauai: A One-Stop Hawaiian Experience

The westerly island of Kauai is one of the lesser inhabited islands and claims many of Hawaii's most stunning natural features. The blend of a more prominent local population with the southern resort region and a priceless backdrop makes Kauai the ultimate escape within an escape.

The north shore offers world renowned surfing and windsurfing next to the wealthy community of Princetown. The dramatically plunging Na Pali Coast State Park in the northwest draws backpackers and nature lovers to its 11-mile Kalalau Trail, the only land access to this rugged and isolated coastline.

Sea cliffs and lush valleys alternate along the route that ends at Kalalau Beach. Stone terrace walls and sacred burial grounds of Hawaiian tribes still dot the valleys, while there is a growing naturalist community tucked away at the end of the trail. The wettest place on earth, averaging 460 inches of rainfall per year, is near the peak of Kauai's Mount Wai'ale'ale. From this point, plunging rivers have carved out the fantastic expanse of Waimea Canyon, coined "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain. The views are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Resort or Adventure, Pick your Pleasure

Maui is the most popular resort destination in Hawaii. The lush island boasts the spectacular and riveting Hana Highway, which is more about the wondrous journey than the secluded destination, and Mount Haleakala, where a hike into the Haleakala Crater will land you in the center of the world's largest dormant volcano. The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest island and nearly entirely comprised of Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano on Earth. Lounge and snorkel on the Kona side of the island or venture out across lava fields along the eastern coast.

From the bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki on Oahu to the tranquil serenity of Lanai's sandy beaches, a journey to the middle of the Pacific will certainly prove to you that Hawaii is more than just pineapples and coffee.
About the Author
Author of this article is Frank Johnson. For more information on international travel and discounts visit www.cfares.com, your source for cheap airfare on the web.
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Comments
Jul 28th 2008, by miket:
One of the best ways to see Hawaii i think is with princess cruises you'll see some of the larger islands as well as have a place to stay while traveling.
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