Southwest Heads to Hawaii: New Travel Ideas

Haleakala National Park
Photo by StevenGaertner/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

With Southwest’s recent announcement that it will begin offering flights to Hawaii this month, the state’s marketing organization has outlined some new travel tips for returning visitors. With options on all six major islands, Hawaii Tourism United States’ suggestions include hiking the trails at a national park, visiting historic sites and eating at some of the local restaurants.

On the island of Hawaii, HTUSA has outlined several options for those who have been to Akaka or Waianuenue (Rainbow) Falls. For visitors in the Hamakua and North Kohala districts, it suggests they take a birding tour in the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, zipline at Umauma Falls, hike at Pololu Valley or go on a helicopter tour of the North Kohala sea cliffs and valleys. To those who have already explored Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it highlights the island’s four other members of the National Park Service: Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

On Kauai, HTUSA advises travelers to take a deeper dive into Waimea Canyon State Park if they only have ever gotten a cursory view from an overlook. Specifically, it mentions the Kukui and Iliau Nature Loop Trails, which extend to the canyon floor and follow the gorge’s west rim, respectively. Those interested in cycling can take Outfitters Kauai’s sunrise or afternoon downhill bicycle tour along the canyon-side Kokee Road. While visitors are on the island, HTUSA also suggests a trip to Allerton Garden or McBryde Garden.

For Oahu, the organization advises those who have already been to Diamond Head State Monument to take a trip to the volcano’s base for a meal at one of the area’s dining establishments. Specifically, it mentions Diamond Head Market & Grill, da Cove Health Bar and Café, Pioneer Saloon, Monsarrat Ave Shave Ice, South Shore Grill, Banán and Bogart’s Café. Visitors with a passion for history can explore some of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.

HTUSA also encourages those visiting Maui to spend some time at Haleakala National Park. On its summit, 30 miles of trails provide options for hikers of all abilities. Further down its slope, travelers can walk through the towering trees at Hosmer Grove. Like at Diamond Head, the organization recommends those who have seen the Iao Valley State Monument take some time to dine at one of the area’s nearby restaurants (Tiffany’s Bar & Grill, Sam Sato’s, Tokyo Tei, Stillwell’s Bakery & Café and Geste Shrimp Truck were all mentioned).

Finally, the organization suggests a day trip to Lanai and Molokai for those who have only seen them from afar. After a ride on the Expeditions Maui-Lanai Ferry, visitors can spend the day at Hulopoe or Polihua Beach or hike the Munro Trail to the summit of the island’s tallest peak. On Molokai, HTUSA advises starting off with a stop at the small town of Kaunakakai and then relaxing for the rest of the day at Papohaku Beach, one of the state’s largest white sand beaches.

Southwest Airlines will begin its Hawaii service on March 17 with travel between Oakland and Honolulu. Connections between Oakland and Kahului will follow on April 8, with flights from San Jose to Honolulu and Kahului beginning May 5 and 26. Southwest also expects to announce details on flights out ofSan Diego and Sacramento soon.

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