Driving on the Big Island of Hawaii

Laupahoehoe Point Park

If you want to see opposite sides of the Big Island (which you really must experience to appreciate the differences), the best way is to rent a car and drive.

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River kayaking on Kauai

After sightseeing around the Kauai by car, our muscles needed stretching: it was time for an excursion on the Wailua River. We rented a tandem kayak early one morning, launched, and paddled through flat water toward the Fern Grotto, a natural lava rock amphitheater used for musical shows. We arrived before anyone else, including the performers, docked, and went ashore to explore. Thick tropical ferns kept the setting dark, almost gloomy, but it wasn’t hard to imagine a performance enlivened with music, dance, and colorful costumes among the verdant vegetation.

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Take a catamaran along the Na Pali coast of Kauai

The 15-mile stretch off Kauai’s northwest shore is one of the most stunning and unforgettable coastlines in the world. Because no roads run along the rugged Na Pali coast, the best way to experience its beauty is from the ocean.

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Parasailing above the sea on Maui

Dangling 800 feet above the ocean in a sling chair didn’t appeal to my husband, but after learning we could go tandem, he agreed to try parasailing.

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Ride a bike down Maui’s dormant volcano

The van arrived at our resort at 2:00 a.m. to take our questionably sane group of 14 to the top of Mt. Haleakala, the highest peak on Maui and the world’s largest dormant volcano.

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Walking through paradise in Hawaii

Walking through the rainforest on Oahu

Shuffling bare feet on the sands of Waikiki Beach and eating Polynesian food at luaus was fine relaxation for a day or two, but it wasn’t long before my husband and I needed to challenge our bodies a little more—not to mention escape ever-present crowds around popular attractions. Fortunately, the weather is perfect most days year round, and hiking trails are abundant on Oahu.

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