Monday, January 26, 2015

No Worries Hawaii: Does the groundwork so you don't have to!

No Worries Hawaii is a vacation planning guide for all the islands. A self test lets you pick through things to do in the Islands (below is one of 38 categories), and gives you specific details. The guide is also full of money-saving tips (room, flight, car, freebies), as well as safety precautions every visitor should read. From visualizing a trip to making it happen: The authors have combed Hawaii for more than 20 years, and this books sums it up.

A few sample pages from our vacation planning guide for Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. 

NWH is packed with information will be helpful for an upcoming trip to Hawaii. Buy a copy on Amazon or order directly from us at  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oahu's unlikely Eden: Wahiawa Botanical Garden.

You could spend a month or more touring Hawaii's tropical gardens, which include four National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and still be impressed by this 27-acre offering hiding in the middle of Oahu. Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, just a little off the main drag that is an appendage of Schofield Barracks, is far superior to the amped-up tourist trap of Dole Plantation, just a few miles down the road on the main way to get from Waikiki to the North Shore.

Walkways and staircases weave about a stream valley. The gardens were planted in the 1920s, as an experimental arboretum for sugar growers.

Wahiawa is overgrown and profuse,  a place to wander without getting lost. Admission is free, and during the weekdays you will have the place pretty much to yourself.

The upper portion of Wahiawa is stately and parklike. As with any botanical garden, try to stay still awhile and notice how long it takes to see the details emerge.

Kaukonahua Stream, the longest watershed in Oahu, really rips after big rains—exciting to view from the garden's suspension bridge. Oahu Trailblazer has more details on the rest of the island's county-run gardens, as well other private offerings.

Friday, January 23, 2015

#LetHawaiiHappen: Hawaii Convention and Visitor Bureau's New Campaign

Trailblazer guides for KauaiOahuMauiMolokaiLanai, and Hawaii Big Island reflect the thousands of miles and the many years we've spent in search of the real Hawaii. 
In order to 'Let it Happen' when you reach Hawaii, first 'Make it Happen' by checking out a Trailblazer before you leave. Then spend your vacation having fun, rather than searching for it.  Find our books at

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Waihe'e Ridge: Maui's best tropical ridge hike.

Maui ranks last among the four major islands when it comes to venturing high-and-wild into tropical flora to obtain vistas. But it still has several outstanding mountain hikes outside of Haleakala National Park, and enough hiking to occupy an adventuring vacation. First-timers will want to try the Waihe'e Ridge, excerpted below from Maui Trailblazer. MT also has details on several lesser known routes into the West Maui Mountains, including treks near Lahaina and the north coast.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Honolulu: Walk through living history

Only a few miles from the tiki torches of Waikiki sits downtown Honolulu, one of the best walk-around cities in the U.S.A. The Ali'i Hale (a.k.a Judiciary History Center) is a freebie, where you are greeted by a life-sized (the guy was larger than an NFL lineman) King Kamehameha I. Across the street is Iolani Palace. Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, was imprisoned in her own bedroom here after the unlawful overthrow of the nation in 1893 by U.S. business interests. The Royal Hawaiian Band (together since the 1800s) plays a free concert every Friday at noon.

Aloha Tower, near the bay, is a good place to start a visit, and has been since it was built in 1926. The elevator ride to the top is another freebie.

The city if full of historic buildings amid sleek skyscrapers and plazas with swaying palms and fountains. Its Chinatown is a trip-within-a-trip, to exotic fresh produce markets, inexpensive restaurants, film-noir bars and shops. Several art and history museums are also packed in, including the Honolulu Academy of Art, with a world-class collection. 

Oahu Trailblazer has all the details for a full-day in Honolulu. There's a lot to see on Oahu, but to really know the place, you need to pound the pavement downtown. Shuttle buses connect with Waikiki.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wild: Places you may not see Reese Witherspoon in Hawaii

Reese Witherspoon is no stranger to Hawaii, logging beach time on Oahu near Kualoa Ranch and riding a surf board at Hanalei Bay on Kauai. But in between her outdoor outings, the star of the hit movie Wild hangs at some of the Islands' most luxurious resorts. Logging beach time in Hawaii is a good idea, but so is taking a walk into the wildnerness. Here are places to escape into adventure, without have to do a alot of planning.

1. KAUAI  Thousands of people hammer the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile trek into a remote valley on the Napali Coast—so the first few miles are more like an amusement park than wilderness. For the getaway, head up to Waimea Canyon on the west side, and try the Alakai Swamp Trail, Awa'awapuhi Trail, or—to truly strike out on your own—take one of several trails out the lesser know cliffs, like Polihale and Miloli'i. Kauai Trailblazer has description for dozens of wild walks.

2. OAHU  With a million people on a fairly small island, Oahu  surprisingly has the most jungle-ridge hikes in the state, into the Ko'olau and Wainae ranges. Many of the treks begin in neigborhoods but launch quickly into the deep green. For the most out-there experience, head for the Mokuleia Coast on the north coast. Parking can be tricky for some of these trails. Oahu Trailblazer has details.

3. MAUI  Haleakala National Park—both the peak and the lower Pools of Oheo section near Hana—offer popular trails into wild lands. And for good reason: awesome. But to get away from the tourists, head for the desertlike south side of the volcano, and take the Kaupo Trail. Or, on the extreme north coast, two roads climb toward Eke Crater and other green crags in the West Maui Mountains. Get directions in  the Maui Trailblazer.

4. BIG ISLAND  Twice as large as the other islands combined, the Big Island is the ticket to ride into the wild. On the north end, where it's cliffy and green, trails lead into Waipio Valley and Pololu. On the south end, Mauna Loa (by far the most massive mountain on earth) has many trailheads into the backcountry, both along the coast and up at 13,000 feet. From Saddle Road, you can drive up to the world climate observatory at 11,000 feet. You can also reach the peak from the Mauna Loa Lookout, up from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer has directions to a dozen more jaunts into mother nature.