For information about traveling in Hawaii, contact the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau (HVCB), Waikiki Business Plaza, 2270 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 801, Honolulu, HI 96815 (tel. 800/GO-HAWAII or 808/923-1811; www.gohawaii.com). The bureau publishes the helpful Accommodations and Car Rental Guide and supplies free brochures, maps, and Islands of Aloha magazine, the official HVCB magazine. For information about working and living in Hawaii, contact the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, 1132 Bishop St., Suite 402, Honolulu, HI 96813 (tel. 808/545-4300; www.cochawaii.com).
Information on Hawaii's Parks
Hawaii has several national parks and historical sites -- four on the Big Island and one each on Maui, Oahu, and Molokai. The following offices can supply you with hiking and camping information (or check online at www.nps.gov):
- On the Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718 (tel. 808/985-6000); Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, P.O. Box 129, Honaunau, HI 96726 (tel. 808/328-2326); Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, P.O. Box 44340, Kawaihae, HI 96743 (tel. 808/882-7218); and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, 72-4786 Kanalani St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 (tel. 808/329-6881).
- On Maui: Haleakala National Park, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768 (tel. 808/572-9306).
- On Molokai: Kalaupapa National Historical Park, P.O. Box 2222, Kalaupapa, HI 96742 (tel. 808/567-6802).
- On Oahu: USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor (tel. 808/422-0561).
To find out more about Hawaii's state parks, contact the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl St., No. 130, Honolulu, HI 96813 (tel. 808/587-0300; www.hawaii.gov). The office can provide you with information on hiking and camping at the parks and will send you free topographic trail maps.
What to Pack
Hawaii is very informal. Shorts, T-shirts, and tennis shoes will get you by at most restaurants and attractions; a casual dress or a polo shirt and khakis are fine even in the most expensive places. Jackets for men are required only in some of the fine-dining rooms of a very few ultraexclusive resorts, such as the Halekulani on Oahu, the Big Island's Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and the Lodge at Koele on Lanai -- and they'll cordially provide you with a jacket if you don't bring your own. Aloha wear is acceptable everywhere, so you may want to plan on buying an aloha shirt or a muumuu (a Hawaiian-style dress) while you're in the islands.
So bring T-shirts, shorts, long pants, a couple of bathing suits, a long-sleeve cover-up (to throw on at the beach when you've had enough sun for the day), tennis shoes, rubber water shoes or flip-flops, and hiking boots and good socks, if you plan on hiking.
The tropical sun poses the greatest threat to anyone who ventures into the great outdoors, so be sure to pack sun protection: a good pair of sunglasses, strong sunscreen, a light hat, and a canteen or water bottle if you'll be hiking -- you'll easily dehydrate in the tropical heat, so figure on carrying 2 liters of water per day on any hike. Campers should bring water-purification tablets or devices.
One last thing: It really can get cold in Hawaii. If you plan to see the sunrise from the top of Maui's Haleakala Crater, venture into the Big Island's Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or spend time in Kokee State Park on Kauai, bring a warm jacket; 40°F (4°C) upcountry temperatures, even in summer when it's 80°F (27°C) at the beach, are not uncommon. It's always a good idea to bring at least a windbreaker, a sweater, or a light jacket. And be sure to toss some rain gear into your suitcase if you'll be in Hawaii between November and March.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.