Hawaii is the America’s 50th and smallest state. Made up entirely of islands, it is a paradise lost if not visited. If you are thinking of learning the language, its alphabet consists of only 12 letters. Many of us associate Hawaii with smooth sandy beaches, palms trees, grass skirts and the soothing tones of the Hawaiian guitar, so let us explore 3 Hawaiian experiences to see what really is on offer.
- Waikiki Beach, on the suburbs of Honolulu, is described as an oceanfront beach and considered Hawaii’s biggest tourist attraction. The Waikiki Historic Trail features markers that have been made from surfboards. The inspiration for these comes from Waikiki’s Duke Kahanamoku, who has won Olympic gold for swimming and is a keen surfer. The Waikiki Beach Walk features a line of entertainment venues and café Kuhio and KalaKaua Avenues, however, are where the majority of this region’s restaurants, and indeed boutiques, can be discovered.
- If you have never seen a volcano in person, Hawaii’s National Park provides you with plenty of opportunity. The park was established in 1916 and offers some breathtaking sights. The park includes two very active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. A volcanic eruption from the Kīlauea volcano in 2018 changed the face of Hawaii for the future. Lasting from May until August of that year, extensive lava flows could be observed over the land to the southeast of the park. These destroyed 700 homes in the Puna District. It is a reminder that volcanos can erupt anytime. Despite the devastation they cause, the hot fiery mass is a spectacle to see, as the rocky structure of the volcano itself.
- Pearl Harbour can be considered a National Landmark for Hawaii and is an active military base. In history, 1,177 service personnel traveling on the USS Arizona were killed in action there. World War II attractions here include the USS Arizona Memorial, found floating above what remains of this sunken ship. No charges are made for visiting this attraction, although it is essential to book in advance due to its high number of visitors. Another free admission is the Pearl Harbour Visitor Center. A tour from here includes being transported to Ford Island and the Pacific Aviation Museum, where Word War II aircraft and various artifacts can be seen. For an opportunity not to be missed here, you will be given the chance to experience, first-hand, albeit through a simulator, landing for yourself an aircraft on an aircraft carrier. For those that have lost loved ones during this time, the memorial is a beacon of support for all of those who have lost their lives or did not come home after the war. Some families who do not know where their siblings, uncles, fathers, etc. went afterward can now go onto websites like https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/obituaries/all/usa/minnesota/minneapolis/star-tribune to see where they ended up and celebrate their bravery in the face of war and separation.
More on Waikiki
Waikiki was where the Beachboys first appeared when they featured in a revival of Hawaiian watersports. They earned a living from providing surfing instruction and canoe rides. They made a lifestyle from everything that was linked to beaches and the ocean. It was 1901 that they first arrived when the Moana Hotel was opened. In 1934, the Waikiki Beach Patrol was formed. Perhaps more familiar to many of us from pop history are The Beach Boys who performed hits such as: ‘Surfin’ USA’ and ‘Good Vibrations’ during the 1960s. With regards to traditional Hawaiian music, at the time of writing, the places in Honolulu where you can listen to it include: Chiko’s Tavern, Duke’s Waikiki, Hula Grill & Bar, Imua Lounge, Nico’s Pier, Off the Hook Poke Market, Ono Seafood Hawaii and Tikis Grill & Bar. It was the Hawaiians who made popular playing a guitar in a horizontal position as opposed to a vertical one. This style of playing begun with Joseph Kekuku in 1890, and then became widespread internationally.
So, Hawaii can offer not just the paradise associated with its beaches, but also an experience for the geologist, the wartime historian and the musician.