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Honolulu Vacation Travel Guide By Shane Perry

Honolulu is located on the Polynesian island O'ahu, in the middle of the North Pacific ocean. It is the capital of Hawaii: The 50th, and youngest, American state. In tropical Honolulu, the surf is always up and the weather always warm. Hawaii's biggest city offers the perfect mix of nature, culture, sports and shopping all in the one place. With America's only royal palace at its core and Pearl Harbor just around the corner, there is also a lot of history to discover. Visit the Bishop Museum to learn about the Polynesian voyagers who came here hundreds of years before captain Cook dropped anchor in 1778. The native Hawaiians and first Europeans were drawn to the majestic profile of the Diamond Head volcano, which is still an attraction today. Wherever you are in the city, the backdrop of Lēʻahi, as the locals call the crater, is a constant reminder of Hawaii's explosive beginnings. Climb the short trail to its circular rim for commanding views over the island and its picture-perfect coastline. Go to the top of the Aloha Tower to see how Honolulu has become a modern urban center. The capital is the gathering place where residents of Hawaii do business, but tourists mainly come here for its beaches and watersports. Honolulu means "sheltered bay" and any day of they year you can go swimming, stand up paddle boarding and sailing in the harbor. Ala Moana Beach Park is the quieter alternative to popular Waikiki. Laze on the beach, or, if you start feeling active, get surfing lessons or rent a canoe to explore the bay. Stroll over the boulevard to buy everything from up-scale fashion to flowery local garments to brighten up your wardrobe. Downtown, you can't miss the statue of the fearless warrior King Kamehameha, who unified the Hawaiian islands in the late 18th century. Admire the American Florentine architecture of Iolani Palace and visit the Halekoa barracks. For lunch, try a Japanese fusion dish. The largely Asian American population of Honolulu has left its mark on the cuisine and culture of the island. Visit Kapi'olani Park with its ancient Banyan trees and attractive beachfront. The park is home to the historic Honolulu Zoo, so take the kids to see friendly giants and exotic birds. Set aside a day for Pearl Harbor to see the remnants of the U.S. Pacific Fleet that was crippled by an air raid

Maui Vacation Travel Guide | By Shane Perry

Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii, but fewer than 150,000 people call it home and you can drive from one side of the island to the other in less than three hours. Many say that Maui is Hawaii's most beautiful island and when you tour around you soon see why. In this North Pacific island paradise, Polynesian heritage and the modern American lifestyle go hand in hand. Book a helicopter ride to get a birds-eye view of this lush landscape that sprouted up from the fertile lava soil. People call this "the Valley Isle" because most of Maui sits in a bowl between the East and West Maui volcanoes that shaped the island. Thanks to the tropical climate, and more than 80 beaches, you can enjoy watersports all around the sunny island. When the trade winds pick up, there are plenty of bars, shops, galleries and museums to keep you entertained. Maui's capital city, Wailuku, combines history with soul. Rent a car to enjoy the famous drive to Hana, which can be a return trip or the start of a spectacular journey around the island. The winding road will take you past some of Maui's most striking natural wonders. Stretch your legs at a waterfall and pick up a Hawaiian treat along the way. Cast a line and see surfers compete to steal the show at the Ho'okipa Beach Park. Spend an hour in the Garden of Eden Arboretum, a bamboo forest with great vistas. On the other side of Hana is the Haleakala National Park, with the highest peak of the island. It is a hotspot for hiking, so put on your all-weather gear and follow the trails past impressive cinder cones. To avoid the steep climb, drive straight to the lookout to enjoy the views. The dormant volcano slopes down to the sunny beaches on the west coast of Maui. Big Beach, in Makena Beach State Park, is the perfect spot to try wake boarding. At sunset, the Molokini Island Preserve is painted dark against the evening sky, and when the sun comes out the water surrounding it is amazingly clear. Book a boat tour and dive into a spot with Hawaiian green turtles, feeding on the coral of Molokini Reef. You can also see these gentle marine creatures from Maui's shore at Turtle Town, as Maluaka Beach is often called, or find a spot in the

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