Hawaii

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When it comes down to planning your day-to-day list of things to do, ShermansTravel experts have you covered. To make sure you get the most out of your vacation, we recommend the can't-miss museums and attractions, as well as the off-the-path activities and unique local experiences that will make your trip truly memorable.

Things to do in Hawaii

Lahaina Gallery Walk

There are reportedly more art galleries per capita in the bustling town of Lahaina than any other US town. Every Friday night, the galleries keep their doors open until 10pm, hosting art openings and showcasing artists at work. Many also hold special events and serve free refreshments between 7 and 10pm. A walking map is available at the Lahaina Visitors Center located in the courthouse adjacent to the harbor.

Downtown Lahaina, Maui, HI, 808-667-9193, www.visitlahaina.com
Tags: nightlife | great value | art | things to do | gallery

Snorkel off Lanai

Tour operators take every opportunity to bombard Maui visitors with discount snorkel trip offers. Predictably, you get what you pay for. The excitement of floating above a dazzling coral reef is quickly deflated when you’re joined by hundreds of other snorkelers from dozens of other dive boats. Instead, opt for Pacific Whale Foundation’s $80, half-day, Lanai dolphin-snorkel adventure. Naturalists explain the behavior of the dolphins and toothed whales that you may encounter as you sail to the pristine waters off Lanai’s rugged coastline. There, they lead an underwater reef tour, showing you more than would meet the untrained eye.

300 Ma'alaea Rd., beside Maui Aquarium, HI, 800-942-5311, www.pacificwhale.org
Tags: family | snorkeling | smart splurge | things to do | tour | whale watching

Surf Waikiki

It’s the quintessential Hawaii daydream – swaying palms, seaside mai tais, and turquoise water, with picturesque Diamond Head as the backdrop. Learn how to catch a wave from the charismatic “beach boys,” who first started teaching visitors how to surf in the '20s. Check in at one of their booths on the beach for a 1.5-hour lesson (prices start at $40 per person).

Oahu, Kuhio Beach, HI, 808-352-2882, www.waikikibeachservices.com
Tags: beach | surfing | editor pick | smart splurge | trendy | things to do

The Old Lahaina Luau

No trip to Hawaii is complete until you’ve tried poi at a traditional luau. The pounded taro paste is accompanied by other Hawaiian favorites: kalua pig, lomi salmon, haupia. The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the most authentic, with live hula performances. Reservations required.

Maui, 1251 Front St., HI, 800-248-5828, www.oldlahainaluau.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | culture | culinary

Try a bowl of kava

Kava, or ‘awa in Hawaiian, is the ceremonial, medicinal, and recreational beverage indigenous to South Pacific island culture. The root of the ‘awa plant, a species of Piper mesthyticum (intoxicating pepper) is pounded or ground into a muddled tea that serves as a natural antidepressant and relaxant. Acquire a taste for this mouth-numbing beverage at Kona’s Kanaka Kava, which serves certified organic ‘awa grown on the Big Island’s Hamakua coast, as well as a tasty medley of Hawaiian dishes.

Kona’s Kanaka Kava; Coconut Grove Plaza, 75-5803 Alii Dr., HI, 808-883-6260, www.kanakakava.com
Tags: nightlife | dining | things to do | culture

Visit Kalaupapa by mule

One of Hawaii’s most exceptional tours is a trip to the former leper colony of Kalaupapa on Molokai’s remote central north coast. Visitation is by invitation only, and Damien Tours offers a chance for the public to access this historical village, which provided sanctuary for the 8,000 patients who arrived between 1866 and 1969. Mules carry visitors three miles down to the town, where an informed guide gives a comprehensive tour that relates stories about the lives of the outcast residents and the healing work of Father Damien and the nuns who dedicated their lives to caring for the patients. The tour costs $175 and participants must be at least 16. Book at least two weeks in advance.

Hwy. 470 (Kalae Hwy.) at mile marker 5, HI, 808-567-6088, www.muleride.com
Tags: smart splurge | things to do | culture | history | tour

Visit Suisan Fish Market

This century-old fish market remains a primary source of fresh fish for restaurateurs and wholesalers. Here you can buy low-priced, high-quality seafood – fresh tuna and numerous varieties of reef and bottom fish, as well as specialties like sakuraboshi (marinated tuna or marlin), dried fish products, Suisan's fish jerky, and several kinds of delicious poke (marinated raw fish). The market is open from 8am-5pm Mon-Sat.

93 Lihiwai St., HI, 808-935-9349, www.suisan.com
Tags: great value | dining | things to do | culture | history | market

Volcanoes National Park

Walk through a lava tube, peer into steam-hissing craters, and marvel at how the Hawaiian islands were created. Go at dawn or dusk to see the glow of the surface flows.

Big Island, Volcanoes National Park, HI, 808-985-6000, www.nps.gov/havo
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | outdoors | national park | volcano

Waimea Canyon Downhill Bike Tour

The glimpses of Waimea Canyon, with its crested buttes, deep gorges, and red rock outcrops are indeed breathtaking. Instead of seeing them through the car window, however, find more freedom from the saddle of a cruiser bike. Outfitters Kauai takes guests on half-day downhill rides, coasting from 3,600 feet to sea level. The tour is $98 for adults and $78 for children 12-14.

Check in at Poipu office at 2827A Poipu Rd., 1.3 miles south of Koloa, HI, 808-742-9667, www.outfitterskauai.com/bikedown.html
Tags: biking | things to do | history | adventure

Watch a pro surfing contest

Each November and December, Oahu’s North Shore hosts the Triple Crown of Surfing, the finale of surfing’s professional world tour. Watch the best surfers on the globe drop into monster waves at Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, and Pipeline to compete for the prestigious Triple Crown title. It’s a thrilling spectator sport in a gorgeous arena with free admission – just another day at the beach.

Haleiwa Alii Beach, Sunset Beach, Ehukai Beach, HI, 808-596-7873, www.triplecrownofsurfing.com
Tags: beach | surfing | great value | things to do

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