Some of you will be visiting Hawaii for the first time ever this year. I envy you! You are about to see what I consider to be the most amazing place to live on the face of the earth. Really, no exaggeration. I have tried many times, and I just cannot come up with anything that approaches the natural beauty and the magical feeling Hawaii gives me. I think most people that visit the Hawaiian Islands for the first time ask themselves if they too could afford to make the massive change required to move from the mainland, or even from another country, to Hawaii.
Though this site is primarily focused on providing resources for people considering moving to and living in Hawaii, there are plenty of articles that will be of interest to you. Here is a link for over 160 articles you can choose from.
As you visit Hawaii for the first time I have a couple of suggestions that you might want to follow. Up to you, I just think that you might want to see the following on your first trip. Seeing the following places will give you a good overview of what Hawaii is like, and help you plan your return visit. There is always a return visit!
First I strongly recommend you see Waikiki. This is the major city area of Hawaii and it has its own unique flavor and style. If you like nightlife where there are hundreds of others in the clubs, Waikiki is the best spot for it. If you like to eat and stay in the best places possible – Waikiki is one place you can accomplish that. Waikiki has miles of beaches and usually slow, safe waves ideal for families or first time bodyboarders or surfers. You can learn to surf right by the Duke Kamehameha statue on Waikiki beach, and I suggest you do just that. Lessons are affordable and the waves are ideal for learning to ride a longboard. You can learn to ride within an hour. Most can!
Another thing you should probably do is see the North Shore of Oahu. If it’s winter, the North Shore is a must-see because the waves can be very large, sometimes fifty-feet high or more at Waimea, the big wave beach of Oahu. As you drive over the mountains and on the way into Haleiwa, you’ll be able to tell right away if the waves are going off because there will be a misty salt spray covering the North Shore near the water, and sometimes just all over the entire place! If the waves are not extreme, you can probably find world class surfers at Pipeline break, the world’s most incredible wave. Some say anyway. I can’t dispute it, it is quite amazing to watch people attempt to ride it.
Hanauma Bay, Makapu’u Beach, Chinaman’s Hat, Diamond Head Volcano, all of these are spots you should see if you have the time. If not, definitely see them on your next trip.
Rent a car and take it around the circumference of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, wherever you end up. It’s well worth it to explore the islands in this way because you’ll be able to see areas the tourists stuck in tour vans and buses never get to see. You will also get away from the crowds and see Hawaii from an insider perspective. See if you don’t find yourself asking whether or not you could make the move as you drive around and see the natural beauty of the place.
If you have enough time to fly to one of the other islands for a day or two, I’d recommend you see Kauai, and then Maui in that order. Why Kauai first? Kauai is the most remote, beautiful island in the Hawaiian chain. At least of the islands tourists can visit. When you land at the mini-airport in Kauai, you’ll marvel at how small it is and wrapped in natural beauty even the airport is. It’s a lush island full of waterfalls and greenery. If you see anything on Kauai, make sure you go over to Waimea Canyon, aka the Little Grand Canyon. If you’re the adventurous, hiking type, you can take the trail down the valley and along the coast – the most amazing hike you’ll probably ever take. Here is the most awesome video I’ve ever seen of Kauai by Devin Graham.
If you’re considering living in Hawaii, I mean seriously considering it, you must see Maui. Personally, this is my first choice for living with my family. We’re currently planning on returning there in two years. Maui is great for retirement, but not so great if you’re looking for work. Move to Maui if you already have an income from a pension, online business, or whatever it is – but don’t move to Maui to work and try to make a go of it. Move to Oahu instead.
On Maui there are many things to see. The Road to Hana is highly recommended. Drive yourself, and drive slowly! You’ll understand when you’re there and doing it. The west side of Maui has some of the best beaches I’ve found in Hawaii. Most times they are deserted in the morning, so get there for sunrise and you probably won’t see anyone for hours. Even so, at their peak you’ll only see too many people on West side beaches when there are great waves for surfing on that side of the island. If you’re a hiker there are many trails on the island, most of which are easily accessible and all of them are well worth the effort because fantastic views are your reward!