Right in the heart of the Pacific, the remote and beautiful archipelago of Hawai‘i is about as fabled a vacation destination as they come.
Its scenery—palm and pandanus beaches, knife-back ridges cloaked in tropical vegetation, otherworldly volcanic craters and lava fields—is dreamlike, and its indigenous Polynesian culture is alive, strong, and fascinating. It’s easy to feel like you’re at the ends of the Earth in this tropical wonderland, which makes it all the more remarkable how quickly you can reach it from the West Coast.
To help guide us through the fundamentals and highlights of Hawai‘i travel, we turn to Susan Gildart, a AAA travel advisor who needed only one trip to fall head over heels for the islands. “Hawai‘i is one of the most unique destinations in the world,” she says. “From volcanic mountains to the lush tropical landscapes, these exotic islands of paradise are just a flight away. No passport necessary!”