Bucket List: Hawaii


Just because you’ve checked “hanging loose” off of your list doesn’t mean you’ve experienced Hawaii at its best. Here are the five absolute best things do in the absolute best place to be.

By Alex Darlington

While there are infinite places to vacation in this fascinating world, there are really only two kinds of vacations: The “To-Do” and the “To-Be.”

To get the most out of destinations like Paris, Rome, and New York, you’ll want to bring your running shoes, plenty of energy, and a long list of things to take in. How can you fly home out of JFK, for instance, without having seen the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty, Rockefeller Center, and a Broadway show? When you get in New York, you’ll want your cab driver to keep his foot mashing the gas pedal. Most visitors to The Big Apple have too much to see and too little time to see it.

That’s the To-Do vacation.

But when you visit Tahiti, or Curaçao, or certain cities in Mexico, a busy, crowded agenda is the last thing you want.

Hawaii is like that: A To-Be place. When you land in Kona, or Kauai, that’s it. You’re as “there” as you’re going to be. You take a breath and relax on the way to your hotel knowing you’re already having the adventure. You feel right away why the byword on these eight magical islands is “hang loose.”

Even the best postcards don’t do it justice. Just being there is to taste a little bit of heaven. To lose sight of that is to cheat yourself.

Now, that said, there are enchanting activities that will deepen the already wonderful glow of being in the Aloha State. Each is on a different island, each is geared toward people who are less than world-class athletes but not totally sedentary either. If your fitness level allows for a moderate amount of movement, these experiences will linger in your memory years after you’ve returned to the mainland.

MAUI: Bike down Haleakalā

Imagine taking a leisurely bicycle ride along the winding roads of one of the largest, most awe-inspiring mountains in the world, just as the sun is coming up — and doing it all downhill!

Two hours before sunrise, a van takes you to the top of Haleakalā, a dormant volcano 3,000 feet above sea level. You’re provided with a bike and safety equipment. You coast down at your own pace, through tiny towns and lush open vistas, stopping for a restaurant breakfast if you feel like it.

Several companies offer pretty much the same package, so shop around and read reviews to pick the one that best suits you. Here are two options: Maui Sunriders (mauibikeride.com) and Haleakala Bike Company (bikemaui.com).



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