Many people choose Hawaii as a romantic getaway, honeymoon destination, or wedding location, and we agree; it is absolutely ideal for these types of vacations. But Hawaii is also extremely favorable to the popular, once-a-year type of travel, lovingly referred to as the annual Family Vacation. Whether you're a big family with lots of opinions, or a small family prone to indecision, the islands of Hawaii have something for everyone and frequently bring members closer as a family unit.

A popular vacation destination in the past has been Mexico, due to its close proximity to California, plus the affordability factor. However, Mexico has been known to be dangerous in some areas and also poses a language barrier that may affect some travelers. Although Mexico is a wonderful place to visit, it's hard to learn basic Spanish quickly enough to efficiently communicate in a foreign land (that is, unless of course, you already speak Spanish!) Although millions of foreign visitors travel safely to and from Mexico, crime and violence still remain serious problems in this country.

Hawaii, on the contrary, is extremely safe and exists within the United States. You can visit a completely separate culture from the mainland by traveling to Hawaii, without experiencing some of the issues that inherently rise out of foreign lands for travelers. Hawaii has low crime rates and minimal violence, with a downward trend for 2012. Parents can have peace of mind when traveling in and around Hawaii. However, this is not to dilute the fact that accidents and tragedies do occur, regardless of where you may be vacationing. We are merely stating that Hawaii tends to be one of the safer overseas travel destination options.

Another family aspect about Hawaii (that some folks may or may not be happy about) is that Hawaii is uncorrupted by gambling and casinos. You won't find restrictions on underage entrances to anything except nighttime bars and nightclubs, so parents can tote the whole family almost anywhere! Many restaurants are kid-friendly, offering coloring activities, keiki (kid) menus, and varieties of tropical juices and drinks for those under the age of 21. Hawaii is an extremely family-oriented travel destination, with tons of discounts and lower rates on activities for kids. And for the young adult or teenager, many hotels and resorts offer games, mingling areas, and game rooms that cater to their age group.

We also think Hawaii is a perfect place for family reunions; that once in a lifetime experience where the whole family gets together. Hawaii Aloha Travel offers fantastic deals on group travel packages, so large families can be accommodated just as easily as smaller ones. Hawaii not only offers hotel and resort deals on group travel, but also offers individual bungalow or home rentals that might be more ideal for multi-family trips. With so much activity in Hawaii, it truly is a destination that never gets old. And the day-to-day itineraries can be curtailed around family days, kid days, adult days, or anything in between.

A common package we create here at Hawaii Aloha Travel is the family-vacation-before-kids-head-off-to-college type of travel. Which is a perfect way to spend quality time with loved ones before the inevitable separation of adulthood kicks in. Hawaii is warm and friendly, inspiring families to grow closer and genuinely enjoy one another's company. You can partake in adventures like snorkeling, surf lessons, kayaking, hiking, or beach picnics and barbeques together, or dine out at fun restaurants as a family. Also, simply kicking back at the hotel is a great way to relax with family members, or playing card games around the table, horsing around in the pool, or having family movie night staying in. We believe Hawaii is an ideal destination for multi-generation families, because there is something for everyone in the islands. Whether you're a go-getter type of vacationer, or prefer a relaxing tropical getaway, Hawaii offers people of every age and at every stage something memorable and fun. We can't think of any better way to bring families closer then to experience the warm, aloha-spirited environment of Hawaii.

Hawaii Beaches Shine in the Rankings

It's no wonder why Hawaii consistently receives top rankings in accounts such as “Dr. Beach” and U.S. News & World Report. We have undeniably some of the most beautiful beachscapes in the world, with white sand, twisted palm trees, and turquoise waters to beat the competition. Kauai was voted #2 for Best Beaches in the world by the U.S. News & Travel Guide, with its unspoiled natural beauty and lush rainforest backdrops undoubtedly as factors. It was also voted #2 for Best Beach Honeymoon Destination and #2 for Most Relaxing Beaches, with Big Island coming in 3rd place, and Maui beating Kauai and coming in at #1 for Best Beach Honeymoon Destination.

Dr. Beach's (a.k.a Stephen Leatherman from Florida) 2012 Top Ten Beaches in America list was released this week, with three of Hawaii's beaches making the cut. Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu came in at #2, with Hamoa Beach on Maui placing 5th, and Waimanalo Bay Beach Park on Oahu finishing up at 7th place. Lucky we live Hawaii!

Cultural Program at Fairmont Orchid Receives Spotlight

Along the Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, you'll find a luxurious resort known as the Fairmont Orchid. Set along a beautiful beach paired with a world-class golf course, this 32-acre luxury resort is known for its top-notch amenities and accommodations in Hawaii. But did you also know that it encompasses a cultural program that exposes guests to the local lifestyle and culture?

Chris Luedi, Fairmont Orchid's General Manager states that, “quite often, guests come to a hotel for the obvious reasons: nice rooms, great restaurants and a beautiful beach, but unless we take it upon ourselves to expose them to the local culture in a very authentic way, they may miss the entire point of what Hawaii is all about.”

Umi Cabrera-Zuke, a local guide who works from the Fairmont Orchid, takes guests to locations such as the Puako Petrogylph Archeological Preserve, where they can visit the ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs. He also takes visitors fishing on a Hawaiian outrigger canoe, and teaches traditional arts and crafts. Cabrera-Zuke states, “people that visit the island are like a dry sponge when it comes to Hawaii. They’re willing to absorb everything, and they take that back to the mainland and talk with their friends and show them pictures.” He continues, "our culture is being preserved more today than it was 20, 25 years ago," and adds, "It’s getting spread worldwide, and that’s a great benefit for us."

The program ambassadors also offer resort guests the opportunity to experience stand-up-paddling, surfing, and snorkeling, along with canoe paddling and turtle sightseeing. "It’s important for me that we show travelers what they can find here on our island that they can’t find anywhere else in the world," says Luedi.

Bay Area Receives More Cruise Options Through Princess

A 2,600-passenger Grand Princess cruise vessel will call its homeport San Francisco, California. The first ship to offer year-round cruises from the city will operate Alaska cruises during the summer months and Hawaiian, Mexico, and California coastal sailing during the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014. Executive Vice President of Princess Cruise Lines states that, “Bay Area passengers and travel agents have long been asking for more cruise options from San Francisco.” Ask and you shall receive!
From just the addition of this single Princess ship, approximately 130,000 guests will visit the Bay Area and other Ports of Call, which is being predicted for 2013. Guests can expect a more elegant ship with greater amenities, nightclubs, new dining options, nightclubs, and a remodeled casino. The new cruise terminal is expected to be finished in 2014 and will dock at Pier 27. California residents looking to book a cruise to Hawaii should look into the Princess Cruise Line for upcoming vacations.

With more options for cruising, it's apparent this is becoming the more popular trend for traveling to Hawaii. Due to its affordability, all-inclusiveness, and accessibility, cruise ships are becoming more and more preferred over airplanes for vacationing.

Scuba Spear Fishing Proposed Ban
For Hawaii travelers who are involved with the spear fishing or scuba diving culture, this new ban in West Hawaii may affect you. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the only places in the Pacific that currently allows scuba spear fishing, but is quickly becoming more restrictive due to the need to sustain the reef fishes’ population.

Scuba spear fishing is popular among locals and visitors because of its easy ability to catch fish. Being able to comfortably breathe underwater allows fishermen the advantage of stalking prey for longer, and venturing into deeper parts of the ocean to catch larger fish.

However, scuba diving will still be legal, as well as spear fishing from the shore, and free diving. It will soon be illegal to possess scuba gear and spear fishing gear at the same time, with fines punishable of up to… probably a lot of money…

A public hearing will be held in the summertime, with the ban becoming effective in the fall. “The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the rules would only apply to nearly 150 miles of shoreline from South Point to Upolu Point in North Kohala” (Associated Press). The additional regulation of collecting aquarium fish in these parts are also up for debate, and may possibly become part of the ban as well.

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