There are as many ideas about what makes the perfect Hawaii vacation as there are visitors to the island chain.

For some, it’s spending time on the beach. For others, it’s shopping. For others, it’s sampling the many flavors of the cultures that make Hawaii the melting pot that it is. And while there is no one “perfect Hawaii vacation,” there are a handful of activities that are essential to experiencing the things that make our Island paradise so unique. Here are 6 tips for a perfect Hawaii Vacation. Including these things in your Hawaii vacation is the surest way to experience your own Hawaii perfection.

Get on the Water Whether it be on an inflatable a kayak, a surfboard, a tour boat, or other means of aquatic conveyance, getting out on the ocean is a quintessential Hawaii experience. Away from landlubbers, traffic, and quotidian routine, being out on the ocean provides the opportunity for personal introspection. And being out on the water offers skyline and mountain views that you can’t get from any other perspective.

Get Under the Water Hawaii offers an almost unlimited range of options for exploring the undersea world of pristine coral reefs, exotic marine life, and the satisfaction of being completely alone with your thoughts and Hawaii’s natural beauty. From waist-deep snorkeling for novice swimmers to deep sea scuba diving for experts, there are myriad ways for swimmers of all skill levels to experience. No Hawaii vacation can be complete without experiencing the wonders of the deep (or shallows).

Run to the Jungle The biodiversity of Hawaii’s rainforests is stunning. White sand beaches and spectacular sunsets usually get top billing, but the vibrant colors of the flora and fauna of Hawaii’s forests warrant the same praise. There is no better way to experience Hawaii’s uniqueness than getting out into the rainforest and experiencing the lyrical calls of several species of Hawaiian Thrush, or sampling the tropical delight of picking a fresh guava or passion fruit. Whether it’s a short day hike or a full-on camping excursion, the vitality of Hawaii’s forests is among the things that make this island paradise so unique.

Visit More Than One Island Most of the rest of the world views Hawaii as a single destination, but Hawaii is, of course, an archipelago. And each of Hawaii’s six major islands has its own unique identity. It may be for difficult for visitors to experience all of Hawaii’s islands, but even a quick island-hop from Oahu for a night or two provides a glimpse into a lifestyle that is even more laid back than the relative bustle of Hawaii’s most populous island. Each island has its own defining characteristic. On Maui, it’s Mount Haleakala. Kauai boats the cavernous and impossibly colorful Waimea Canyon. Hawaii Island (“the Big Island”) is home to an active volcano that has been erupting for decades.

Visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Yes, it can be crowded. Wherever you may be from in the world, the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 has affected your life. The guided tour of the water-bound memorial provides context and perspective about Hawaii’s role in the historic and current geopolitical sphere. Solemn but not overly somber, the USS Arizona Memorial provides insight into the sacrifice made by those lost on that fateful day, and to the courage of the soldiers that went on to win World War II for the Allies.

Do Nothing! Finally, leave at least one day without plans. Resolve to let the day come to you. Sleep in. Order room service. Or have a sinful cocktail lunch at a beach bar. The point is to not feel pressured to pack in as many activities as possible. Part of what Hawaii residents enjoy most about living here is that sometimes it’s okay to do nothing but sit back and take it all in.


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