If youve never been to Hawaii, you may only be picturing the Hawaiian Islands as just another beach destination. I was once guilty of that same assumption. In fact, I was reluctant to visit Hawaii in the first place. However, after just one visit, I discovered that Hawaii was far more than just another beach vacation!
So, you might be wondering what changed my mind about Hawaii? What does Hawaii have to offer beyond beaches? Oh, theres plenty! Ill share some of my favorite reasons why Hawaii is really something special.
Incredible Landscape Diversity
Did you know that 11 of the worlds 13 climate zones are found in Hawaii? In fact, there are as many different climate zones on the Big Island of Hawaii as exist along the entire coast stretching from Alaska to Costa Rica!
In Hawaii, youll find rainforests and waterfalls in contrast with fields of dry grasslands and beaches in contrast with snow-capped mountains. You can also go from sea level and a pleasant 80 degrees to nearly 14,000 above sea level and a chilly 30 degrees in less than a couple of hours. Its truly amazing!
With this sort of varied landscape, Hawaii offers just about any adventure you seek. If you enjoy hiking like I do, Hawaii is a hikers paradise, filled with many miles rewarding hiking trails. You can bike down volcanoes, kayak rivers and oceans, and snorkel some of the cleanest water on earth.
Of course, Hawaiis volcanic origin adds to its diverse terrain. From crescent-shaped beaches flanked by lava rocks, to tall mountains dotted with cinder cones, to an active volcano where Hawaiis volcanic distant and current history is evident.
When you visit Hawaii, its easy to feel like youve arrived at a remote and exotic location. Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the earth. How remote is Hawaii? Its 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan and 4,900 miles from China. In other words, Hawaii is really out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With Hawaii being so far away from major land masses, youll find many plants, birds and fishes that are unique to Hawaii and found nowhere else in the world.
Trying local food, dancing and listening to music are some of the quickest ways to dive into a new culture. Hawaii offers a real treat in all three.
I also love Hawaii regional cuisine. Its a blend of cuisines that borrow from all the ethnic influences you find in Hawaii–including Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese to name a few. The flavors dance on your tongue as you enjoy some of the freshest fish and produce you can find.
Hawaii was first settled by Polynesians who brought their skills and culture with them. Over time, that Polynesian culture evolved into a culture thats unique to Hawaii. For example, though there are many styles of Polynesian dance, the hula dance was created by Hawaiians.
Hawaiians created unique musical instruments and sounds like slack key and steel guitars, and of course, the ukulele. If you havent already, you will fall in love with these sounds when you visit Hawaii. You will discover that they are almost magical in that they can whisk your cares away. When you visit Hawaii, I hope youll embrace opportunities to learn more about Hawaiian culture. You should find the opportunities present themselves when visiting historic sites, spending an evening at a luau or grabbing a shave ice.
The warmth and friendliness of the people of Hawaii is practically noticeable from the moment you step off the plane. The aloha spirit welcomes you to Hawaii with a sincere kindness. It makes you feel relaxed and at home right away.
So, these are some of the reasons I fell in love with Hawaii and why the islands of aloha keep calling me back. I do hope youll have the opportunity to discover your own reasons for loving Hawaii and agree that its more than just a pretty beach!
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Sheila Beal enjoys sharing her love of Hawaii at her award-winning Hawaii travel blog, GoVisitHawaii.com. Check it out for a daily slice of aloha. Or follow her on Twitter @SheilaBeal.
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