(This article was recently posted in Huffington Post)
Few places in the world inspire as much sheet wanderlust as the islands of Hawaii. Home to eight national parks, 400-plus beaches, and countless scenic hikes, the state is a goldmine of staggering natural beauty. But there’s more to the islands than Instagram-worthy views. From fresh food to world-class surfing to incredible wildlife, here are 5 reasons to start planning your next Hawaiian getaway.
1. The rugged, blissfully crowd-free region of Oahu’s North Shore.
2. Kauai’s unparalleled Nā Pali Coast, which can only be seen from a helicopter, catamaran, or rather grueling hike. But the deep valleys, towering waterfalls, and sea caves are well worth the effort.
3. The ubiquitous fragrance and vibrant colors of the plumeria flower, one of Hawaii’s most iconic symbols.
4. The sunrise over Maui’s Haleakala National Park, a phenomenon so popular that you have to make a paid reservation to see it.
5. Green sea turtles (or honu), a symbol of good luck in Hawaii (and a damn cute species to spot while snorkeling in Kauai).