Take Your Pick
Captain Cook, HI
Fishing for Humuhumunukunukuapua'a
Captain Cook - Captain James Cook (1728-1779) a British explorer is said to have discovered Hawaii, but since there were already people here, Hawaiians take exception to that. So it is best said that he was the first European to have landed on the islands. In January 1778 Captain Cook landed in Waimea harbor, Kauai, then left for a year and returned to the Big Island near Kona at Kealakekua Bay. On February 14, 1779 a scuffle broke out between the islanders and Cook's crew. In the end Captain Cook was clubbed on the back of the head, a blow that killed him. There is a monument to the captain in Kealakekua Bay.
Eleele, HI
Sailing Around the Na Pali Coastline
Na Pali Coastline - The Na Pali Coastline is 15 miles of rugged hillsides draped in lush green vegetation. Tops of the fluted cliffs reach over 4,000 feet and descend down to pristine white sand beaches. Most of the over 6,000 acres are inaccessible by car so it is best enjoyed from the sea or air. This can be done on a cruise ship, sailboat or even a helicopter. While viewing the coast you will enjoy nearly every color in an artist's palette, rarely taking your eyes off the scenery.
Haleiwa, HI
Don't Bodda Me Bra, I'm Surfing da Nort Shore
Surfing - The North Shore is the coastal region between Kahuku Point and Ka'ena Point and is the location for all things surfing. Every December, when the waves are at their peaks, sometimes 20-50 feet tall, the surfing competitions come to town. It is an amazing spectacle. If that gets you interested in learning to surf, there are dozens of schools ready to give lessons from beginners to the more advanced. So put on your board shorts and start rippin' double-overheads on the Bonzai Pipeline bra.
Hana, HI
55 Miles to Heavenly Hana
Road to Hana - The Road to Hana, stretches 55 glorious miles from Kahului to "Heavenly Hana" through a thick tropical rain forest. Enjoy cascading waterfalls, rugged lava cliffs, and nature as it was meant to be. Along the way pay your respects at the grave of one the nation's greatest aviators, Charles Lindbergh (loacated on the grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church). Other stops include the Seven Sacred Pools, the Tedeschi Winery, and of course Hana itself. The trip is as much about the journey as it is the destination, so take your time navigating the over 600 curves and 50 bridges and enjoy the ride.
Hawaii National Park, HI
Sun, Smoke and Vog at Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park - There are few places in the world where you can see an active volcano with lava and Volcanoes National Park is one of them. The park is over 500 square miles and includes the 11 mile Crater Rim Drive around Kilauea, 36 mile Chain of Craters Road, Jaggar Museum, Thurston Lava Tube, and over 150 miles of trails. Of course we all come to see the red stuff which is kind of unpredictable. If the lava is flowing into the ocean, a boat or helicopter tour may be necessary. But even if lava isn't flowing the day you are there, Volcanoes National Park has a lot to offer.
Hilo, HI
A 420 Foot Waterfall
Waterfalls - Hawaii has some of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the country. The most accessible are both near Hilo; Akaka Falls, a 420 foot ribbon of water that pours into a deep pool at its base, and Rainbow Falls an 80 foot falls that cascades in front of an open lava tube. If you happen to be on Maui and feel like hiking a few hours, you will be rewarded with Wiamoku Falls, a 400 foot waterfall that tumbles down a sheer cliff lava wall into a pool of refreshing blue. Can't get enough? Head to Kauai for the double-stream Wailua Falls, to Oahu for the 1,100 foot Sacred Falls, or to the state's tallest waterfall on Molokai, the 1,200 foot tall Papalaua Falls.
Honolulu, HI
Kamehameha and Kamonkeymonkey
King Kamehameha - Hawaiian legend prophesized that a light in the sky would signal the birth of a great warrior chief. In 1758 Halley's Comet passed Earth, the same year in which Kamehameha was born. During that time the islands were ruled by independent chiefs, all at war with each other. Kamehameha, using his diplomacy, warrior skills, and modern weapons from Captain Cook, united all the Hawaiian Islands by 1810. There are four statues of the great King, one near the capitol building in downtown Honolulu, two on the Big Island in North Kohala and Hilo, and another in Washington DC.
Honolulu, HI
Waikiki from Diamond Head
Waikiki - Waikiki is a small section of Honolulu running from Diamond Head Crater eastward for about 2.5 miles. Although small, tens of thousands gather on the beach every day to soak up the sun, swim, longboard surf, and ride outriggers. Tens of thousands of others enjoy the high-end shopping malls, fine restaurants, and International Market Place. The area was once the playground for Hawaiian royalty and was popularized by the "father of modern surfing" and Olympic gold medal winner Duke Kahanamoku. A statue of Duke and his longboard grace Waikiki Beach.
Honolulu, HI
From Here to Eternity with Monkeys
Hanauma Bay - Located about 10 miles east of Waikiki is some of the finest snorkeling in the world at Hanauma Bay State Park. The park is an extinct volcanic crater that opens into the ocean and contains some of the clearest blue waters found on earth. Because it is so great you'll have to share it with the other one million people that visit there every year, but it's worth it. And just up the street are a few other interesting sights, the location of the beach scene in the 1953 film "From Here to Eternity" and the Halona Blowhole which erupts with every crashing wave.
Honolulu, HI
Hawaii State Capitol Building
State Capitol Building - The Hawaii State Capitol building began operations on March 15, 1969 replacing the Iolani Palace (the only royal palace in the USA). The building was designed with features that reflect the Hawaiian culture. The 40 columns surrounding the structure represent royal palm trees, the cylindrical shape of the chambers symbolize volcanoes, and the water pools surrounding the building stir visions of the Atlantic Ocean. The grounds of the capitol contain several monuments and statues including, Father Damien, Queen Liliuokalani, and an eternal flame.
Honolulu, HI
Barack Obama's First Boyhood Home
Boyhood Home of Barack Obama - In the August 13, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser was this one line birth notice: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway, son, Aug 4." This was the Boyhood Home of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America. From there Barack Obama grew up and went on to Columbia University, Harvard Law School, became a Chicago State Senator, a US Senator, and then became President in 2009. There are several houses in Hawaii where the future President lived and tours are available on the island. He continues to vacation in his home state whenever possible.
Honolulu, HI
A Date That Will Live in Infamy
Pearl Harbor - The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor sank or damaged 30 ships and took 2,350 lives, of which 1,177 were aboard the USS Arizona. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech after the attack stating: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." The attack drew the USA into WWII. At the site today, guests can visit the Arizona Memorial where the mighty USS Arizona lies beneath the waves. Also at Pearl Harbor is the USS Missouri on which the Japanese surrendered, the USS Bowfin a Balao Class Submarine, and the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island.
Honolulu, HI
A Monkey Head at Diamond Head
Diamond Head - The most recognizable feature on the Hawaiian Islands is Diamond Head, a 300,000 year old volcanic crater towering 761 feet over Waikiki. Diamond Head isn't just for looking at; a 1.5 mile round-trip walk through a series of trails, stairs and tunnels offers a fantastic vantage point to look from. Known as Laeahi (meaning fin of the tuna) to Hawaiians, the 350 acre crater is believed to have been formed during a single quick eruption. It has been used as a defensive fort and today is a State Monument.
Kaneohe, HI
In the Valley of the Temples
Byodo-In-Temple - Nestled at the bottom of the 2,000 foot Ko'olau Mountains in the Valley of the Temples is the Byodo-In-Temple. The structure is a full-scale replica of a 950-year-old temple near Kyoto, Japan. The distinguished red walls and curved roof houses a nine foot wooden Buddha - the largest of its kind carved in over 900 years. Upon arrival and for good fortune it is customary to ring the three ton bell outside the temple, which sounds a deep yet soothing "gong" that resonates throughout the grounds.
Kapaa, HI
Rock-A-Hula Monkey at the Coco Palms
Movie and Television Locations - If you love seeing Movie and Television Locations, Kauai has what you are looking for. Here you will find the Coco Palms where Elvis's "Blue Hawaii" was filmed and the Kauai Sands Hotel where scenes from "Tropic Thunder" where shot. Other movies filmed here include "Avatar", "Jurassic Park", "Dragonfly", "Six Days, Seven Nights", and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to name a few. Television shows include, "America's Most Wanted", "Baywatch", "Fantasy Island", "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and the pilot of "Gilligan's Island". Organized tours are available to these sites and they show clips from the original films.
Keaau, HI
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts - No visit to the Hawaiian Islands is complete without sampling some delicious macadamia nuts from the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. You can buy them at any ABC Store or get them directly from the manufacturer. While there take a self-guided factory tour, visit the plantation, enjoy some ice cream, and pick up a variety of nuts. A Socko favorite is the Mauna Loa Milk Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nuts. Delicious.
Kula, HI
World's Largest Dormant Volcano
Haleakala National Park - It is a long and winding road to the top of the 10,023 foot Pu'u'ula'ula summit in Haleakala National Park. Once there, the rewards are a top of the world view of the largest dormant volcanic crater filled with cinder cones and multi-colored lava rocks. Portions of the crater are almost other-worldly and reminiscent of photos sent back from the Mars rovers. Haleakala means "house of the sun" and is one of the best places to enjoy a fantastic sunrise or sunset. A word of caution, it does get cold and windy up here, so bring a light jacket with you.
Lahaina, HI
Lahaina Historic Trail
Art Galleries - Lahaina, a former whaling village, was originally named Lele which means "relentless sun". Yes, this monkey got a little warm walking around but I found a great way to beat the heat - just hit all of the fantastic air-conditioned Art Galleries. In these galleries some of the photography by Peter Lik and Thomas Barbey, paintings by Peter Max, and sculptures by Anthony Quinn were astoundingly beautiful. Of course art isn't the only thing in Lahaina, there are great seafood restaurants and dozens of interesting sites along the Lahaina Historic Trail.
Laie, HI
Huki Huki Huki Huki Huki Hukilau
Polynesian Cultural Center - The Polynesian Cultural Center has become the number one paid attraction in Hawaii with an average of one million visitors per year. So what is the big draw? Well, there are luaus, canoe rides, authentic Polynesian food, Hawaiian shows, an IMAX theater, and Polynesian villages from Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti and more. The best parts of this 42 acre facility are the hands-on activities. A monkey can learn to climb trees, start fires (using only sticks), throw spears, husk a coconut and get a temporary tattoo. You can even learn to do the hukilau dance, 'cuz ev'rybody loves a hukilau.
Lihue, HI
Tough Chickens
Chickens - You can be hiking the Na Pali coastline or on the 18th hole of any of the Kauai's fabulous golf courses and you will never be alone, there are chickens everywhere. Brought to the island as a food source around the turn of the 20th century, the chickens escaped their coops and multiplied rapidly without any natural predators. Then in 1992, Hurricane Iniki, a Category 4 storm, released even more chickens on the island. One of the questions often asked is, why not eat the chickens? To which the islanders give cooking instructions: boil water, add one chicken and one lava rock, when the lava rock is soft, the chicken is done. That's one tough chicken!!!
Lihue, HI
Fancy Fire Twirling
Kilohana Plantation - The 35 acre Kilohana Plantation and Estate was built by Ethel and Gaylord Parke Wilcox in 1935. The Wilcox family made their fortune from the Grove Sugar Plantation where Mr. Wilcox was President. A visit to the estate today is a feast for all the senses. Climb aboard the Kauai Plantation Railway for a tour of the working farm, enter the 16,000 square foot mansion, and enjoy dinner at Gaylord's Restaurant. But the real fun starts at dusk with Luau Kalamaku. This authentic luau includes a fantastic meal, pretty Hawaiian dancers and some incredible fire twirling.
Waimea, HI
Me at Wiamea Canyon
Wiamea Canyon - A massive earthquake that nearly split Kauai in half coupled with the relentless flowing Wiamea River carved out Wiamea Canyon, a twelve mile long, one mile wide and 3,500 foot deep chasm. Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", it does look like a slice of Arizona swam across the Pacific and decided to stay in Hawaii. There are several ways to enjoy the canyon; by air in the comfort of a helicopter; by car stopping at the various overlooks; or by foot traversing the numerous hiking trails. No matter your choice, you will enjoy the view.