Written by Jennifer Jones
Welcome to a thrill seekers paradise.
The islands of Hawaii are like no other places on Earth — especially when it comes to providing the perfect backdrop for a getaway packed with loads of adventure. Having long been a hotspot for adventure seekers across the globe, the Hawaiian Islands have an endless list of activities for nearly every age and skill level.
Each of the six major islands that make up the Hawaiian island chain has its own distinct personality and offers its own adventures, activities, and sights. No matter if you want to explore paradise on foot, under water, or by air, be sure to consult your Affluent Traveler Collection travel specialist at Lisell Travel to learn which islands best suit your need for adventure.
If you want to capture Hawaii’s true “aloha spirit”, consider spending some time on the gorgeous island of Oahu and setting out on foot to get up close and personal with the lay of the land by visiting one of Hawaii’s most recognized sights, Waikiki’s famous crater, Diamond Head. It’s only a one-hour hike up the side of this now extinct volcano, and well worth the trip. Hawaii is all about scenic views, and this is indeed the “granddaddy.” It’s hard to find a more spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach than the one from the 760-foot summit of Diamond Head.
Now, imagine peering into an active volcano 200 miles away and then climbing a 13,000-foot mountain, and carefully cat-walking atop cliffs that plummet into a deep blue sea below. It’s all in a day’s play at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii (also known as the “Big Island”). The altitude in the park ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth’s most massive volcano, 13,677-foot Mauna Loa. Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, offers visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes.
UNDER THE SEA
Any land tour of the Hawaiian Islands will provide you with a lifetime of spectacular scenery, but you’ll need to dive in to experience all the incredible life teeming just below the ocean’s surface. A day spent snorkeling or scuba diving should definitely rank high on your roster of activities. After all, they are the most popular outdoor activities the Aloha State has to offer those in search of adventure.
Clear waters off the coast of Hawaii make for some of the best marine conditions anywhere on Earth. So, grab your flippers and face masks because it’s time to glide along gentle currents, swimming through schools of brilliantly colored tropical fish, exploring exotic coral reef beds, twisting and turning through caves and caverns.
The Big Island is consistently rated the world’s number one dive destination and it’s ideal for beginner divers with its unbeatable shallow water snorkeling. Waikiki and the North Shore of Oahu boast some of the state’s most well-known spots. The island of Lanai is renowned as one of the world’s premier destinations and Molokini Inlet, off the shores of Maui, has crystalline waters and abundant sea life. And, with dive shops and operators located throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, you’ll be sure to find all the equipment you need and the certification necessary to dive right in.
Another great way to get a look at Hawaii’s underwater universe, without getting wet, is by plunging below the surface in a submarine. You’ll not only be face-to-face with the friendly denizen, but have a rare chance to have a close-up of a coral reef and investigate sunken shipwrecks.
IN THE SKY
While there are many ways to explore each of the Hawaiian Islands, taking to the skies on a helicopter tour will provide a very unique perspective of the land. An aerial tour will show you hidden secrets and exotic locations of each island that can only be seen from the air. From remote rainforests and unseen caves to vast pineapple fields and waterfalls, a helicopter tour gives you a birds-eye view of the islands’ most scenic spots.
Each island offers its own unique aerial adventure. You’ll hover right next to Maui’s majestic Haleakala Crater and get close enough to see the fiery sights of the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island (maybe even be lucky enough to see some real lava flows). Don’t forget, the flights are fully narrated by knowledgeable pilots and usually video recorded so you can relive the experience after you’ve come down.
Prefer an aerial tour that’s certain to get your adrenaline pumping? Then paragliding’s for you! There’s nothing like being strapped in and soaring high above the sun-kissed coastline. Take one of the kids or your partner up with you on a tandem ride and experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure side by side.