There's no place on earth quite like this handful of sun-drenched, mid-Pacific islands. The Hawaii of South Seas literature and Hollywood films really does exist. Here you'll find palm-fringed blue lagoons, lush rainforests, hidden gardens, cascading waterfalls, wild rivers running through rugged canyons, and soaring volcanoes. And oh, those beaches -- gold, red, black, and even green sands caressed by an endless surf. The possibilities for adventure -- and relaxation -- are endless. Each of the six main islands is separate, distinct, and infinitely complex. There's far too much to see and do on any 2-week vacation, which is why so many people return to the Aloha state year after year.

Unfortunately, even paradise has its share of stifling crowds and tourist schlock. If you're not careful, your trip to Hawaii could turn into a nightmare of tourist traps selling shells from the Philippines, hokey faux culture like cellophane-skirted hula dancers, overpriced exotic drinks, and a 4-hour timeshare lecture before you get on that "free" snorkeling trip. That's where this guide comes in. As a Hawaii resident, I can tell the extraordinary from the merely ordinary. This guide will steer you away from the crowded, the overrated, and the overpriced -- and toward the best Hawaii has to offer. No matter what your budget, the guide will help ensure that every dollar is well spent.