Hang Ten, Drink Up, and Dance Like a Local in Hawaii

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Hawaii has always been on my “must-visit” list. While the tropical state is part of the US, the exotic elements of the island make it seem much farther away. I’ve come up with a list of things to do for the first time traveler to Hawaii (myself included).

Unsure of where to stay? Try one of these Waikiki hotels.

Learn to Surf

I’ve always wanted to learn to surf and since I have yet to do so, Hawaii seems like an ideal place to start. In many ways surfing is synonymous with Hawaii so finding group or private lessons takes little effort on your part. With so many surfers around, water traffic is inevitable so watch out for those around you. Another thing to note is sharks. My Mom actually learned to surf in Hawaii and very nearly had a run-in with a huge Tiger Shark, so keep this in mind before doing something borderline dangerous.

Dance at a Luau

If you are shy about dancing I suggest you test your limits in Hawaii. Luau’s are held throughout the island and seem like the perfect way to have fun while learning about the Polynesian culture. These performances are all throughout the island and usually accompanied with some sort of dinner or drink special. If you want to learn more about the art of the luau, taking a hula class might be just the thing to feel more local.

Explore the Island

I remember my Dad telling me how many residents get “Island fever” after a year of living in Hawaii because it doesn’t take too long to explore the whole Island. For the rest of us who don’t live here, there’s never a shortage of things to do and see. While Hawaii is the “Big Island”, there are other smaller and equally interesting islands including Maui (the Valley Isle) and Molokai (The Friendly Isle). Oahu (the Gathering Place) has hiking trails that will give you the ultimate reward – an amazing view.

Drink your way to Exotic

If surfing scares you and aren’t the most talented dancer in the world, I suggest you head straight to the bar. I generally order wine or champagne in my everyday life but when I travel, trying a few local drinks is a boozy way to feel exotic. These are some of my favorite tropical drinks and ones I’d definitely taste in Hawaii: Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Blue Hawaiian, Hukilau and Aloha. You can order these at any bar or make them yourself if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

See Art After Dark

As an avant-garde traveler, it’s not just the sporting and cuisine of Hawaii that is of interest. The Honolulu Museum of Art hosts a monthly ArtafterDark art party which takes place the last Friday of each month from 6-9 pm. If you miss this during your time in Hawaii, make sure to check out the museum during the day or try stopping by Kailua’s Second Sunday art gallery walk. The Honolulu Academy of Arts has an extensive collection of Asian paintings and Buddhist statues.

Image via USFWS Pacific’s flickr stream

*This post made possible by Aqua Resorts.

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