Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

5 Experiences That are Uniquely Hawaii

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, Hawaii’s charm is sure to captivate you. Where else on earth can you experience fireside luaus, visit active volcanos or try your hand at conquering the surf? Hawaii is unique and these five experiences will give you a taste of authentic aloha. 

1. Visit the only Royal Palace on American soil: Iolani Palace

Before Hawaii became part of the U.S. in 1959 it was a self-governing country complete with its own monarchy. Residence to the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Iolani Palace acted as home to historical figures such as King Kamehameha III and Queen Liliuokalani. Today the palace is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most iconic buildings in Hawaii. Travelers can experience the royalty for themselves on a guided or solo tour of Iolani Palace Monday through Saturday.

2. Discover the beauty of Waimea Canyon on Kauai

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Referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is an epic gorge that sprawls nearly ten miles long and 3,600 feet deep. The canyon is famous for its picture-perfect red, brown and green hues and has no shortage of waterfalls, rainbows and challenging hiking trails. There is no admission to visit Waimea Canyon and the park is opening daily during daylight hours.

3. Learn Hawaii’s history as told by the Bishop Museum

Hawaii’s State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Bishop Museum is one of Honolulu’s top attractions and is a must-visit for tourists who are looking to learn more about life on the islands. Here travelers can explore Hawaiian culture, learn about local wildlife and discover the origin of surfing, Hawaii’s favorite pastime which the Bishop Museum refers to as, “a culture, an art, a science, and a way of life.”

4. Watch out for lava at Volcano National Park

Encompassing two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s Volcano National Park is a must-see for travelers. The landscape at Volcano National Park is always changing and the last eruption was in 2018. Activities within the park include scenic drives, daytime hikes and ranger-led programs for people of all ages.

5. Taste the pineapple goodness at the Dole Plantation

For some of the juiciest pineapple your taste buds will ever experience head to the Dole Plantation, Oahu’s famous “Pineapple Experience.” Originally operated as a fruit stand in 1950, the Dole Plantation has grown massively and is now one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions, welcoming over one million visitors each year. Tour the Plantation Garden, ride the Pineapple Express Train, get lost in the Pineapple Garden Maze and shop ‘til you drop in the plantation country store. Whatever you do, don’t miss a sample of the world-famous DoleWhip at one of the refreshment booths.

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