Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2016

Destinations: Hawaiian Islands

Island of Hawaii

The Island of Hawaii is nearly twice the size of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and it's still growing. Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, has added hundreds of acres of coastal land to the island since its latest series of eruptions began in 1983. Each day, thousands visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which houses roads to the volcano's summit, a lodge and the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The Big Island is home to a number of luxurious resorts, most notably on its sunny Kohala Coast.


Kauai offers more than 50 miles of white-sand beaches, more beach per mile than any other island in Hawaii. It also boasts luxury resorts and award-winning golf courses. Kauai's North Shore is home to the rugged Napali Coast, offering a 17-mile hiking trail and kayaking route, with views of its emerald green cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Movie tours are popular on the island, where more than 60 feature films have been shot, including the Oscar-nominated drama "The Descendents."


All but 2% of the island of Lanai was purchased in 2012 by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison for a reported $300 million, including its two luxury resorts, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai and the Four Seasons Lanai, the Lodge at Koele; an 18-hole golf course; several luxury home developments; and the island's utilities. Lanai is beloved for its lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo, the Garden of the Gods, golf and, of course, its famed beaches.


Maui attracts sun worshippers and golfers year after year. Its biggest towns are Kahului, Wailuku and Lahaina, an old whaling town with shops and art galleries. On the opposite end of the island from Lahaina, the road to Hana features waterfalls and mountain views. Maui offers all manner of accommodations, from luxury hotels and resorts to family-friendly condo properties. Among its principal resort communities are Kaanapali, Kapalua and Wailea


Home to Honolulu and the majority of Hawaii's population, Oahu is a mix of natural and cultural wonders. Pearl Harbor sits to the south, where visitors can view the exhibits at the USS Arizona Memorial and explore the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park and the new Pacific Aviation Museum. On the North Shore, they can see seven re-created South Pacific islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The Windward Coast has Sea Life Park and Kualoa Ranch.

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