• Lanikai Beach (Oahu): Too gorgeous to be real, this stretch along the Windward Coast is one of Hawaii’s postcard-perfect beaches—a mile of golden sand as soft as powdered sugar bordering translucent turquoise waters. The waters are calm year-round and excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Two tiny offshore islands complete the picture, functioning not only as scenic backdrops, but also as bird sanctuaries. • Hapuna Beach (Big Island): This half-mile-long crescent regularly wins kudos in the world’s top travel magazines as the most beautiful beach in Hawaii—some consider...
Taking the Plunge: Don mask, fins, and snorkel to explore Hawaii’s magical underwater world, where exotic corals and kaleidoscopic clouds of tropical fish await you—a sea turtle may even come over to check you out. Can’t swim? That’s no excuse—take one of the many submarine tours offered by Atlantis Submarines ( 800/548-6262; www.go-atlantis.com) on Oahu, the Big Island, and Maui. Check out the “Watersports” section in each island chapter for more information on all these underwater adventures. Snorkeling in Hawaii.
Feeling History Come Alive at Pearl Harbor (Oahu): The United States could turn its back on World War II no longer after December 7, 1941, when Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor. Standing on the deck of the USS Arizona Memorial ( 808/422-0561; www.nps.gov/usar)—the eternal tomb for the 1,177 sailors and Marines trapped below when the battleship sank in just 9 minutes—is a moving experience you’ll never forget. Also in Pearl Harbor, you can visit the USS Missouri Memorial, where World War II came to an end.
• Creeping up to the Ooze (Big Island): Kilauea volcano has been adding land to the Big Island continuously since 1983. In 2007, the volcano goddess Pele blew smoke and plumage into the air from the main crater of Halemaumau. If conditions