How to step off the beaten track in Hawaii

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They say the best way to experience a new holiday destination is to live like a local, and quite frankly, we’d have to agree.

Hawaii is no exception to this rule. Away from the bustling beach resorts and tourist traps there’s a world of hidden beauty and adventure waiting to be explored. Thankfully, we’re here to help you unlock the archipelago’s potential.

Here’s how you can step off the tourist track when travelling around Hawaii.

Get your hiking boots on in Hawaii

What better way to get off the beaten track than by physically getting off said track? With its extensive and breathtaking landscapes, Hawaii is brimming with a plethora of walking trails away from the hustle and bustle of tourist-packed places. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • Hanakapi’ai Falls: Located on the island of Kauai, in Haena, is the remarkable Hanakapi’ai Falls. This four-mile hike meanders along the Napali coastline, through lush greenery, and over rocks and rivers, before rewarding you with the waterfall itself.
  • Makapu’u Lighthouse: If you’re on Oahu island, lace up your boots and check out Makapu’u Lighthouse. This particular walk is perfect for all the family, as it’s only about an hour one way. Best part is, amongst the stunning coastal views, the waters below are humpback whale territory – so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Koko Head Crater: Ready to feel the burn? Koko Head Crater is another Oahu hike worth completing, but it’s not for the faint hearted. Walkers must head up 1,000 steps to reach the summit – but the panoramic views are worth it!

Photo credit Getty/M-Kojot

Eat like a local at independent food trucks and eateries

While they may be one of the easiest and ‘safe’ options, you’re never going to get a true taste of Hawaii by eating at franchise restaurants. Instead, eat like a local at the following eateries:

  • Rainbow Drive In: After more than 50 years in the biz, Rainbow Drive In is one of Oahu’s oldest and most famous local eateries. Here, diners can enjoy feasting on local Hawaiian delights such as pork cutlets, curry stew and hamburger steak plates.
  • North shore shrimp trucks: On the north head of Oahu, visitors can enjoy sampling the area’s world famous shrimp at the various trucks that reside around the shore. The pick of the bunch is Giovanni’s. While the lines can get long, the fresh shrimp is worth the wait. However, there are others such as Macky’s that still deliver on the wow factor, but boast smaller wait times.
  • Uncle Bobo’s: Just off Kaaawa Beach lies Uncle Bobo’s. This beachfront eatery specialises in serving up hearty Hawaiian fare to locals and visitors alike. Think barbequed meats, chilli plates and even more meaty goodness.

Conduct your own snorkelling excursion

With its clear waters, abundant marine life and postcard-perfect beaches, Hawaii is a snorkelling-lover’s dream. However, hopping onboard a tourist-crammed boat can soon turn that dream into a nightmare. Thankfully, there’s no need to succumb to the tourist tours, as it’s incredibly easy to find your own secluded snorkelling spot that has just as much – if not more – appeal.

Take Keawakapu Beach for example. This sheltered snorkelling spot can be found on the west side of Big Island, near Kailua Kona. The fish here are known to be very comfortable around humans. If you’re lucky you may also spot sea turtles swimming in the shallows!

Photo credit Getty/M Swiet Productions

Stay at an Airbnb instead of a large resort

Nothing beats that home-away-from-home feeling. So why not do just that and choose to stay in Airbnbs around Hawaii? Say goodbye to tourist-clad resorts and all-inclusive meals, and aloha to cosy homes that are situated in some of the more peaceful and out-of-the-way spots.

Just take Moloka’i for example. Whilst it’s Hawaii’s fifth largest island, Moloka’i is only 38 miles of pure rugged coastline in length. Known for its beaches, water and and land activities, it’s the perfect place to kick back and relax. Thankfully, there are a host of Airbnb options around this idyllic Hawaiian island to ensure you get the right accommodation for you.

Photo credit Getty/Ejs9

Shop up a storm at local markets

What better way to live like a local than to shop like a local? Thankfully, Hawaii is adorned with an abundance of farmer and flea markets to grab some traditional treats. However, some such as KCC in Honololu have become fairly tourist-orientated. Therefore, it’s best to stick to those more out of the way such as Napili Farmers’ Market in Maui and Hanalei Farmers’ Market in Kauai. Here you can pick up fresh produce, handcrafted gifts and drinking coconuts!

No trip is complete without adequate protection. Thankfully the team at Travel Insurance Direct can ensure you’re covered with the right policy for you and your needs. Give us a call today!


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.


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