There is a lot of news out there that telling people to avoid Hawaii completely due to the recent volcanic activity from Mt Kilauea. By no means are we suggesting that the damage it has caused should be dismissed. To date the eruption has destroyed 82 structures (including 41 homes) and has covered over 2200 acres since the beginning of May. That being said, all of the other Hawaiian Islands are perfectly safe to travel to.
Mt Kilauea is located on the South Eastern area of the big island of Hawaii. To date the eruption has only affected less than 1% of the 4000 square mile island. The states governor, David Ige proclaimed that the big island is still safe to travel to. Most of the resorts are located on the beach-front communities in Hilo, Pahoa, and the Kona and Kohala coasts are still open for business according to the governor. One of the concerns of residents around the eruption is the issue of Vog or “volcanic smog”. Fortunately, the tradewinds have blown most of the Vog out to sea and not affecting most of the island. Unfortunately the state of Hawaiian tourism industry has, and will continue to suffer the effects of the eruption. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was closed earlier this month and is expected to cost the state about $166 million tourist dollars from the park alone. Many jobs will be lost as well so it is vital to the local community for tourists to continue with their plans visiting the island.
If you want to travel to Hawaii but are still concerned about the implications of the volcano then consider any of the other beautiful islands for your next trip. Here is some of the best things to do on each of the other major islands:
Maui: The island of Maui is the closest and the second the most visited Hawaiian island in the chain with 2.4 million visitors last year. The best way to see the island is by taking a helicopter tour around the island. As beautiful as it is on the ground the areal views are out of this world and worth every penny. Everyone comes to Hawaii for the beaches and they are almost always crowded so we suggest Paako Cove, aka “Secret Beach”. It is a small, family-friendly beach on the south end of the island with nice gradual entry into the water and smaller waves making it easier to get in and out of the water. If you love to see ocean life but don’t want to get wet then consider a submarine tour with Atlantis Adventures. Here is a short video about them.
Moloka’i: Just northwest of Maui is Moloka’i, the island is home to the highest sea cliffs in the entire world. The highest cliffs, are the Kalaupapa Cliffs which reach 3,315 feet. Here is another great place to take a helicopter tour, you just can’t see it any better than from the air. Molokai is a hikers paradise. There are a variety of hiking trails of all levels on the island. One of the most scenic hikes is the Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike which according to their website is “The Most Authentic Hawaiian Cultural Adventure on Molokai” Water sports of all kinds are plentiful here. Snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, swimming, kayaking and fishing are all very popular here. You can read more about “the Friendly Island” in one of my previous blog posts here.
Oahu: Yes, there are plenty of beaches here, but for a change of pace take a drive around the island. Highway’s 72, 83 and 93 link up together and run just about the entire perimeter of the island. There are many great spots to pull over and take pictures or stop at the beach if you must. You can’t make a trip to Oahu without going to the Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri and USS Arizona Memorial. A very sobering trip and one of the most important historical landmarks in the entire country that marked the beginning of American involvement in World War 2. Your trip won’t be complete without a hike up the Diamond Head Crater trail. Diamond Head Crater has been seen in just about every Hawaiian picture ever taken!
Kauai: The western-most populated island other than the “Forbidden Isle” of Ni’ihau, is known as the Garden Island. If you love the outdoors then this is definitely a place for you. Take a Hike through the Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. The canyon stretches 14 miles long and is 3600 feet deep with amazing panoramic views of the deep valleys, gorges and buttes. here is another great place to take a helicopter tour around the coast. Na Pali Coast lies on the far northwestern side of Kauai and was made famous more recently by the Jurassic Park movies. Other great ways to explore the coastline are by boat or kayak during the summer months.
These are just a small sample of what the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. Rest assured that by no means is this eruption keeping other travelers from visiting the other islands or even the big island of Hawaii for that matter. Tourism is a huge part of their economy so make some plans to visit the islands and enjoy all the beauty, history and hospitality they have to offer.