Cheers for excellent post Mel!
I know there are so many cool places to go in America but right from the beginning I had my heart set on heading straight to Hawaii after working at summer camp. Not being the most worldly of people I hadn’t even researched it I just knew it sounded amazing and it didn’t take much convincing to get Kate, my partner in crime, to travel there with me after camp. I thought it was just one place but I soon realised it was actually made up of lots of islands. This meant it had more beaches than I knew what to do with, so it sounded good to me! We flew into the the main Island aka the ‘Big Island’ and after working at summer camp it was the perfect place to go. These are my top ten things to do in Hawaii in September.
1) See an active volcano
The Volcanoes National Park is an absolute must! I will admit I was a tiny bit scared to learn we were heading towards one of the most active Volcanoes on earth but we survived it and it was brilliant. I’m not a massive fan of walking and neither is Kate but we did a fair bit that day seeing two active volcanoes, lots of volcanic craters and we got to walk through a lava tube. We ended up camping there for the night with a cheap tent we brought from Walmart for $13! The stars were incredible.
2) Chill out after camp on a beach with black sand
This is an odd one and it feels weird to! After a busy few months working at summer camp it’s nice to chill out under a palm tree with some sun, sea and… black sand. It’s black because of the volcanoes and it’s just below the national park. It’s not ideal for swimming but we paddled and we saw a turtle so keep your eyes peeled.
3) Visit the Naha Stone
Don’t bust a gut to visit this one but if you are still on the Big Island with nothing to do it’s quite nice to make a connection with the Hawaiian history. It’s easy to get to but you have to read the story behind it first otherwise it’s just a big stone haha. Kate wasn’t overly impressed.
4) Snorkel, snorkel and snorkel some more
We snorkeled a lot in Kona (Big Island) and the water is amazing for seeing all sorts of things. Over the few weeks we were there we saw Green Sea Turtles (amazing), Spinner Dolphins (amazing), Moray Eels (uuuuuuugly) and loads and loads of tropical fish. I had an underwater camera but it didn’t do it justice.
5) Working at summer camp meant we needed… Kona Coffee!
They loooove coffee in Kona and so does Kate, so it was a match made. We did a Kona coffee tour which involved walking around, being shown how it was made etc. It was a nice day and it’s made me look differently at coffee. Kate said there wasn’t enough coffee for her liking!
6) Surf like a local
I’m not very good at surfing so I certainly didn’t look like a local haha. Hawaii in September is a good time for amateurs like me to give it a go because the main surf season is in the winter so the swells are just getting started. It suited me fine, the waves were plenty big enough as they were.
7) Celebrate Queen Liliuokalani’s birthday
Hawaii in September is a great time for festivals. The one in Kona is a two day canoe race and the atmosphere was pretty awesome. People come from all over the world so it’s a great party and a perfect thing to do after camp.
8) Visit Honolulu baby!
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii which may be why it got given such a cool name and you’ll find it on the island of O’hau. It’s a great place to visit anyway but especially good after camp as they are also celebrating the Queen’s birthday. We found ceremonies, processions and hula’s and the festival all kicked off with a floral parade through the town. You can’t get much more Hawaii than that.
9) Island hop
With loads of them to explore we thought we’d best get started. O’hau is easy to get around by bus but the others not so much and on some we had to hire a car. True, after a while every beach looked the same and every sunset was beautiful but you’ve got to hop at least a few of them. Flights between them were so cheap (approx $30/40) it would’ve been rude not to.
10) Avoid a hurricane
We were travelling to Hawaii in September… smack bang in the middle of hurricane season. It was a bit of a concern However all we really got were some heavy rainy days and some strong winds. Mostly the hurricanes go past at a distance but if ones coming it creates a buzz among the tourists. It’s also a good story to tell… surviving a hurricane makes you the coolest traveller around!