As rain pours down in Vancouver and the temperature dips into the single digits, a vacation to the Aloha state has never sounded better. With 48 weekly scheduled trips this winter to Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, getting to Hawaii from YVR with Air Canada and WestJet has never been easier.
So which island should you choose? Each of the four Hawaiian Islands offers something more than just sunshine, and any would make for a memorable family or romantic vacation.
Oahu is home to the Hawaiian state capital, Honolulu. If you’re looking for a vacation that offers more than just a beach, both Honolulu and Waikiki offer great restaurants, nightlife and culture in addition to beaches and nature.
Island highlights: Bronze that body at Ehukai Beach Park, home of the famous Banzai Pipeline, which in the winter months can see 30 to 40 foot waves and some of the world’s most daring professional surfers. While it’s not recommended to begin your surfing career here, many other areas – such as Lahiana - offer gentler waves and lessons for beginners. For an activity that won’t induce sea sickness, tackle the elevation at Diamond Head State Park, a volcanic tuff cone that offers a moderately challenging hike with sweeping views.
Maui is one of the most popular islands for travellers vacationing in Hawaii. Long stretches of sand, water sports and hiking are just a few of the activities that attract millions of vacationers each year. Known for its romance, Maui is often known as the Honeymooner’s Island.
Island highlights: If you have access to a rental car, be sure to drive the Hana Highway, a lush, tropical, 109 kilometre stretch of curving highway that takes you over one-lane bridges and past picturesque waterfalls and black-sand beaches. If you’re looking for something a bit more active, Haleakala National Park, Maui's highest peak, offers spectacular sunrises and hikes through a volcano crater. This park is rich with flora, fauna and volcanic rock; in fact, on the two-hour drive to the summit, visitors pass through as many ecological zones as they would on a drive from Canada to Mexico.
Hawaii (The Big Island) (KOA)
Hawaii, or better known as the Big Island, is a work in progress. In fact, the island grows by 42 acres ever year thanks to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. The Big Island is the perfect escape for those drawn to the power of volcanoes and Hawaiian culture.
Island highlights: Don’t miss Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, featuring 240 kilometres of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests as well as a museum, petroglyphs, a walk-in lava tube and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa and Kilauea. If active volcanoes don’t provide enough of a buzz for you, check out Holualoa, the heart of Kona coffee country with roughly 600 coffee farms, many of which offer tours to the public. Visit thriving coffee orchards and learn about the meticulous harvesting process. Finish your visit with a cup of freshly brewed 100 per cent Kona coffee.
If you’re looking to truly relax, Kauai may be the island for you. It features more kilometres of beach per coastline than any other island in the Hawaiian Islands and a law that states that no building may taller than a coconut tree (four storeys).
Island highlights: While we recommend lazy days on Kauai, if you want something with a bit of height, check out Waimea Canyon, described as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Stretching 22.5 kilometres long, 1.6 kilometre wide and more than 1,100 metres deep, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges.
Have you chosen your perfect island for escape? Get this most out of your trip with YVR’s Get More Hawaii promotion, taking place in November.