Hidden Hawaii – Vacationing in Hawaii is synonymous with sunbathing on the beach and also climbing mountains. But what happens if you go on vacation with your Mom when she won’t swim, hates lying on the beach, and can’t climb volcanoes because she’s not very mobile? How and what can you do if you take it to Hawaii for an 8-day vacation?
A week in Hawaii Means Beaches and Adventure Activities
Contrary to what many people might think, there are plenty of things to do in Hawaii that don’t require you to break a sweat. That means your mom can have fun even without the standard Hawaiian tourist entertainment. For example, adventure and beach activities.
You didn’t say which island you were planning to visit, so we’ve put together a sample of activities on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. By mixing and matching. You can find many activities to fill your weekend.
It is recommended that you do some research on these possible itineraries, as many activities may require advance booking. Also, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a good travel agent may be able to help you make more customized travel plans.
First hidden Hawaii is Big Island. Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park, also known as the City of Refuge. This park offers protection for lawbreakers in old Hawaii. Today, the park offers self-guided walking tours, fishing, and picnics, as well as cultural seminars on basket weaving, traditional Hawaiian games, lei making, and the like. Check out the wooden images of the gods, royal lands (formerly only accessible to the King and his people), and temples. The park is about 25 miles outside of Kailua-Kona, and it costs 5 USD car entry to get park access for all in your party.
If your mother enjoys coffee, consider visiting a coffee plantation. The Big Island has more than 600 coffee farms, and some open their doors to tours, tastings, and more. Kona Lea Plantation offers free tours and tastings; other possibilities include Hula Daddy, Mountain Thunder, and Perke Plantations.
The Big Island is also home to hundreds of farms. Hawaii AgVentures partners with 450 island gardens for on-site excursions and tours. Options include visiting orchid nurseries, organic vegetable farms, lavender fields, and native Hawaiian farms.
Kauai (Hidden Hawaii)
A boat ride around Na Pali Beach offers a less strenuous way to enjoy the beautiful scenery (versus hiking). Na Pali Catamaran and Captain Sundown are two options. If you prefer to take to the skies for a bird’s eye view of the coast, there are helicopter tours as well.
You can also enjoy the lush tropical island atmosphere at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. See the lava rock terrace, tropical fruits, flowers, and more. Guided and self-guided tours are available, costing from 15 USD to 25 USD per person. Umbrellas and walking sticks are also provided.
After enjoying the outdoors, you can indulge in a variety of spa treatments at Princeville Health Club & Spa on Kauai’s North Shore. Options include a plethora of massages, facials, and body wraps. Many variants of the contents of the wrap, including local products such as seaweed and Hawaiian vegetable oil.
The next hidden Hawaii is Maui. The scenic drive on the way to Hana is unmissable. This scenic winding road weaves from Kahului to Hana, a small town in eastern Maui. The 68-mile journey usually takes about two and a half hours to three hours. Mainly because of all the curves (there are over 600), bridges, and (sometimes) wide one-lane narrow roads. You can rent a car and travel on your own or book a local tour company to do the driving for you. The Maui Information Guide offers great tips for this popular trip. Once in Hana, many love this small town so much that they spend a few days here, relaxing in silence.
The Old Lahaina Luau provides a culturally accurate look into this authentic Hawaiian tradition. Enjoy a traditional Hawaiian dinner by the ocean with live music, hula dancing, arts and crafts. Advance reservation is required. It costs 95 USD per adult and includes all meals, drinks, and entertainment.
Do you think that U.S. wine can only be found on the West Coast? Think again! Head to the tasting room at the Maui Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch to sample red, white, and sparkling wines. You can even try some fruit variations like raspberry and pineapple. The tasting room is open daily, and there are three free tours each day. 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3pm too.
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Oahu (Hidden Hawaii)
The other hidden Hawaii is Oahu. If you’ve ever wondered where Dole pineapples come from, it’s no further than Dole Plantation. It’s about 40 minutes outside Waikiki in Wahiawa, Central Oahu. Both train and walking tours of the plantation are available here, and there is also the Pineapple Garden Labyrinth. Tickets range from 4 to 10 USD, depending on what you choose to see. There are also free activities including pineapple cutting demonstrations, fish feeding, and the like.
The Hawaii Polynesian Cultural Center takes visitors to seven native villages. Provides a first-hand look at the Hawaiian people, Polynesians, customs, and traditions. Located about an hour from Waikiki, this cultural center features daily activities, live demonstrations and seminars, dining, and more. A little or a lot, depending on what interests you. This cultural center has also put together a variety of reception packages tailored to suit different tastes.
If your mother is interested in military history, consider visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, also known as Pearl Harbor. The visit includes a documentary screening, a boat ride, and a guided tour of the memorial area. Admission is free, and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
And believe it or not, these suggestions only scratch the surface of all that Hawaii has to offer. Hope this provides enough inspiration for your unforgettable trip! For more resources, see the official Hidden Hawaii Tourism website.