Before you zip-up that suitcase headed for Hawaii, make sure you leave enough room for a guidebook (or two). Or, better yet, take it with you to read on the plane. You won’t regret taking the time to “read-up” on Hawaii!

1. The Ultimate Guidebook Collection: Author Andrew Doughty has written an entire series to Hawaii, and he devotes an entire book to each island (except Lanai and Molokai). Each of his books received either four-and-a-half or five stars on Amazon, and they are the website’s best-selling Hawaii guide books.

His Hawaii travel guides offer a candid, humorous guide to everything there is to see and do on the islands. Best-selling author and longtime Hawai’i resident, Andrew Doughty, unlocks the secrets of an island so lush and diverse that many visitors never realize all that it has to offer. Explore with him as he reveals breathtaking trails, secluded beaches, pristine reefs, delicious places to eat, colorful craters, hidden waterfalls and so much more. Every restaurant, activity provider, business and resort is reviewed personally and anonymously.

Price: Around $13.93 on Amazon

the bishop museum

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Many people use Hawaii guide books to help them find out about museums in Hawaii.

2. Fodor’s Hawaii (2016): $15.84 on Amazon. Fodor’s correspondents highlight the best of Hawaii, including Honolulu’s urban vibe, Maui’s Road to Hana, Kauai’s beaches, and the Big Island’s volcanoes. Local experts vet every recommendation to ensure you make the most of your time, whether it’s your first trip or your fifth. The book includes:

  • Attractions: from Pearl Harbor to Napali Coast
  • Hotels: for every budget
  • Restaurants: to satisfy a range of tastes
  • Features: on hula, luau, lei, snorkeling, and surfing
  • Tips: on when to go and ways to save
  • Insider Perspective: from local experts
  • Color Photos and Maps: to inspire and guide your trip

Price: $15.84 on Amazon.

3. Lonely Planet Hawaii (2015):  This is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Learn to surf or lie in the sun on a sugary tropical beach, hike across ancient lava flows and up craggy peaks, or curve down Maui’s lushest coast on the Road to Hana, all with your trusted travel companion.

  • Full-color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips-hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets-eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience – including history, politics, arts and crafts, cuisine, landscapes, wildlife, and island customs
  • Free, convenient pull-out sheet-map (included in print version), plus more than 83 color maps

Price: $17.36

people eating at a buffet

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

Many guide books help visitors find out which restaurants are considered worth their time and money.

4. Frommer’s Hawaii 2015: Written by three outspoken, authoritative experts, Frommer’s Hawaii 2015 shows travelers how to plan and execute the adventure of a lifetime in these legendary islands. This classic Frommer’s series includes:

  • Exact prices
  • Reviews of the best beaches
  • Restaurant
  • Attractions
  • Outfitters and hotels in every price range (from hostels to glamorous resorts)
  • Dozens of detailed maps

Price: $16.22 on Amazon

5. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Packed with culture and activities for travelers to enjoy, our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Hawaii includes the best attractions and unforgettable sites including beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and insider tips for everywhere from Honolulu to Waikiki. The book includes a guide to great restaurants and cafes featuring island cuisine, or check out the best restaurants, clubs, and bars. It features the best hotels for every budget, plus fun activities for solitary travel or for families and children to make the very best of any visit to Hawaii.

  • Detailed itineraries and “don’t miss” destination highlights at a glance
  • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights
  • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums
  • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area
  • Area maps marked with sights
  • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights
  • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations

Price: $16.71 on Amazon

It’s worth the effort to educate yourself with Hawaii travel guides before heading to the islands, especially if your trip is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. With these trusted guide books in tow, you can skip what you want, hit the sites you want, and make the most of your trip!


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