10 of the best ways to explore America's 50th state

Chris Leadbeater
Hawaii boasts some baffling scenery - istock

From volcanoes and dinosaurs to golf and surfing, there are myriad ways to witness the ancient and modern magic of Hawaii.

1. Hawaii Six-O

It’s easy to think that the current shape of the United States of America has always been tattooed on to the map. But actually, the 50-state jig goes back just six decades. Thursday, June 27, marks the 60th anniversary of the day Hawaii chose to become the newest star on the national flag – by using everyone’s favourite conclusive and entirely frictionless way of resolving a major issue, a referendum – 94 per cent voted for statehood, and the decision was formally ratified on Aug 21 1959. Leap ahead to now and the mid-Pacific archipelago is a glorious place for a holiday – guaranteeing sublime scenery and even better weather.

More information is available on the official tourism site gohawaii.com or travel blog hawaii-aloha.com.

2. Big bangs

The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic combustion – and locals like to remind visitors of their hot origins. On Hawaii itself, “The Big Island”, Mauna Loa at 13,679ft is the world’s biggest shield volcano, and Kilauea may be the tetchiest, erupting as recently as last September. Both are part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (nps.gov/havo) and can be seen via the 13-day “Hawaiian Highlights” break sold by audleytravel.com. From £3,835pp, with flights.

Care to indulge in some lava tourism? Credit: getty

3. T-Rex treks

As well as the state capital Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, Oahu has dinosaurs – sort of. It was a key location for the “Jurassic Park” series. Kualoa Ranch (kualoa.com) pops up regularly on screen. It offers two-hour horseback tours from $135 (£107). A 10-night break at the five-star Kahala Hotel, departing Heathrow on July 27, starts at £4,533pp via virginholidays.co.uk.

4. Cliff riches

There is dramatic scenery on the Napali Coast on Kauai. Kauaihikingtours.com’s “Napali Clifftop Hike” tour is from $580. Ten nights at the four-star Koa Kea Hotel, leaving Heathrow on July 27, are £2,926pp on expedia.co.uk.

5. Pineapple Express

Spare a thought (because many don’t) for Lanai – which is only the sixth largest of the eight main islands, and often overlooked. This is a shame, because Polihua Beach is lovely, and the quieter vibe makes for holiday heaven. The 10-day “Hawaii Island Hop” sold by hayesandjarvis.co.uk spends three nights on the Pineapple Island, so-called due to its historic fruit plantations, from £5,649 a head, including flights.

6. Halawa Place

Molokai, the fifth largest of the islands, has verdant Halawa Valley at its heart. It features (along with Oahu, Lanai and the Big Island) in the “Summer Small Ship Adventure Cruise” sold by bon-voyage.co.uk – a 12-night break with seven days afloat. From £6,695pp with flights.

7. Afternoon tee

Hawaii’s tropical lushness has long made it a fantasy sketch book for golf course designers. And if whacking a little white ball along manicured grass is your idea of fun, then the islands have lots of spaces where you can play. Yourgolftravel.com sells a seven-night holiday to Maui that includes a round on three different courses, not least one at the professional-level Kapalua Plantation club. From £2,849pp, with flights.

8. It’s Maui time

With its mountainous north-west coastline peering happily into the sunset, Maui is a fine choice for a getaway of pure beach indolence – perhaps in one of the resorts at Lahaina or Kaanapali. Americansky.co.uk knows the drill here, offering a seven-night stay at the four-star Royal Lahaina Resort from £1,669pp – including flights.

Surf at your own pace Credit: getty

9. New wave

Hawaii has been a surf-holiday oasis ever since Elvis uh-huh-huhed through 1961’s “Blue Hawaii”. You can do something similar – without the peanut butter sarnies – via booksurfcamps.com, which sells a seven-day tuition camp at Waialua, on the north edge of Oahu. From a basic €1,040pp (£928), including accommodation (flights extra).

10. Splashout

Hawaii lends itself to active holidays. Exodus.co.uk runs its “Hawaii Islands Adventure” – 10 days of splashing and dashing, snorkelling in Kealakekua Bay (Big Island), cycling the Haleakala volcano on Maui and journeying to remote Hana. From £2,380pp; flights extra.

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