Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii

Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls are impressive falls located on the east side of the Big Island north of Hilo. It at the end of Hawaii State Route 220. The trail has many steps and is about a third of a mile long. You get to see 2 different falls while hiking the trail in this area. Akaka Falls is the most dramatic but Kahuna Falls, although not as spectacular as Akaka Falls is nonetheless, worth the hike.


Renting a Car in Hawaii

Depending on the time of year, you can get some good prices on rental cars in the Hawaiian Islands. The biggest rental car companies in the islands are Avis, Hertz, National, Alamo, Dollar and Budget. Enterprise also offers service in some locations and can be a good choice for travelers under 25. Be sure to check around for specials that can save you money. While the rental may be a good deal, gas is expensive in the islands. Expect to pay as much as fifty cents to a dollar more than the going price on the mainland when you go to get gas in the islands. Be sure to budget enough money for gas in your vacation budget. If you are a Costco member, try to hit the local Costco gas station while in the islands. It is usually one of the cheapest options for buying the lowest price gas when available.
Many travel packages include rental cars as part of the package particularly outside of Oahu so be sure to check on package possibilities when you book. If you only plan to stay in the Honolulu area, you can easily get around via taxi or city bus however, you will be missing much of the richness of the rest of the island if you do not rent a car for at least part of your stay. Be sure to check the rental contract careful however, because there are often parts of each island where rental cars are not allowed to drive due to rugged conditions.
If you travel to Kauai, the Big Island or Maui, a 4-wheel drive vehicle such as a jeep can be a great choice if you intend to access the more remote beaches or mountain areas of the island. These vehicles are popular choices on these islands so if you want a 4-wheel drive vehicle, be sure to book early as they can go quickly.  If you just want to go to the beaches, the hotels, and the more easily accessible areas, a car will do just fine on these islands. For this reason, make sure you have identified the types of activities you will be doing on each island before you select the vehicle for your Hawaiian vacation.

Exploring the Hawaiian Beaches

No matter where you go in the islands, you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While it is hard to choose only 10 beaches, you will find some of those listed below some of the most inviting and fun beaches in the world:

    •  Of course, the most famous of the Hawaiian beaches has to be Waikiki Beach in the heart of the Honolulu resort area. Starting in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach extends for a .7 of a mile stretch to where the sand beach ends in front of Kapiolani Park. Sheltered and mild, this beach is always filled with happy , sun-tan lotioned  beach-goers and offers every possible water sport you could imagine except snorkeling. Since the ocean bottom is fairly sandy with occasional lava rocks, snorkeling is best done from other beach locations. While crowded and commercial, Waikiki Beach s definitely a must on every tourist’s list of top Hawaiian visitor spots.
    • Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai is another great beach pick in the islands. Consisting of several beach parks and lush waterfalls and tropical foliage, this bay is a great place to see the Hawaiian Monk seal. Although this beach can be rough and dangerous in winter due to rip-tides and high surf, it often is the perfect place to snorkel or go surfing. Kite surfing is also a common activity in this part of Kauai.
    • A not-to-be-missed beach on the Big Island of Hawaii is Honaunau Bay. Located near the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park and historic refuge spot, you can often see huge Hawaiian sea turtles basking in the gentle waters of the bay. Take in a bit of history, see the marine life and snorkel in this great beach location.
    • After Waikiki Beach, the second most famous beach in the islands is probably Kaanapali Beach in Maui. Also known as Black Rock Beach, this stretch of Maui coastline contains many of the major Maui resorts. On good days, you may also see Manta Rays looking for plankton in warm seas off the coast here as well.
    • One of the more unique beaches is Punalu’u Beach, the black sand beach on the southern part of the Big Island. This beach, ground fine over the years from volcanic deposits sits in a sheltered bay. During the winter months, the seas may be a bit rough on this end of the island and the wind may blow pretty strongly here but the beach is well worth a look and offers easy access to the road.
    • The northern beaches on Oahu such as Waimeia Bay offer some interesting scenery and perhaps some good swimming when the seas are calm during the summer months. Be prepared though for some high action in this area during winter months as it is also home to surfer’s dream, the famous Bonzai Pipeline, where waves can reach 30 feet or more.
    • If a trip to Lanai is on your travel plans, a visit to lovely Manele Bay, located in front of the Four Season’s Hotel is a must. Warm sands and gentle breezes are common in this area of the Pineapple Island.
    • Hookipa Beach on the north shore of Maui is a great location to either watch or if you are an expert, participate in Windsurfing. This beach can be rough so it is not for people new to windsurfing but it is definitely the spot to see experts in action if that is your interest.
    • Another good swimming beach where the waters are generally calm and the sands soft is Poipu Beach on the south shore of Kauai. A large sandbar protects the shoreline and keeps the waves more gentle than on many island beaches. The area also offers good snorkeling as well as nice park facilities.
    • One of the favorite beaches of Big Island residents is Hapuna Beach State Park. Located along the north Kohala coast, the gentle slope of the sandbar makes this island beach a favorite for locales and their guests. The park offers picnic facilities and beach facilities. Although it can sometimes be rough in winter months, in summer months, it is often crowded and busy. Be aware that there is a fee for entering this park.

Choosing the Perfect Rental Property in Hawaii

As the global travel industry continues to expand, more and more people are looking to go on vacation while spending the least amount of money possible. One of the newest trends in travel destinations is to rent a vacation property, rather than staying in a traditional hotel. Some vacationers prefer the home-like feel of a vacation home to the temporary, transient feel of a hotel. For those looking to travel to Hawaii, a wide assortment of vacation rental properties are available to fit your personal preferences and budget.
Vacation rental properties exist in virtually every setting on every island in Hawaii. From vacation homes to condos, apartment rentals, cottages, and villas, you’ll find that there are many options to choose from.

Beachfront properties are ideal for the traveler who would like the convenience of hitting the beach without having to walk long distances, while not having to come back to a cramped hotel room.
While more expensive, beachfront rental properties give you the entire experience of living and vacationing in Hawaii: a pristine view of the aqua-blue Pacific Ocean, sandy, pearl-white beaches, lush mountaintops, and rugged, rocky volcanoes peek in through every window view. Most properties in Hawaii also feature patios, decks, or terraces, so that you can experience the warm sun and cool trade winds without even having to leave the house. Rental properties also give you significantly more room and offer more amenities than a common hotel room. You’ll have access to a full kitchen, a driveway or garage for a rental car, a sitting room, and multiple bedrooms if needed.
Opting for a rental property in Hawaii can also help you save considerable money as well, depending on your vacation needs. For large families that would normally require more than one hotel room in order to accommodate everyone, a two or three bedroom house or condo will allow the entire family to stay together for less money. Also, having access to a kitchen means that a large family can cook some or all of their meals at home, thus saving tons of money on not having to eat out in restaurants all of the time. The roominess of a rental home also gives a larger family the option of spending more time at the home, as opposed to a hotel room, which is really only conducive for sleeping and bathing. To be sure, certain amenities might be missed: only the most expensive Hawaiian rental properties feature pools, and none of them will offer kind of service that you receive at a hotel. But for many people who are seeking to maximize their vacation budget, renting a vacation property in Hawaii makes the most sense.