Tourist-free vacations in the Hawaiian Islands

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 24-30, 1997
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Tourist-free vacations in the Hawaiian Islands
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Tourist-free vacations in the Hawaiian Islands
Question: If you were looking for the most wild, most adventurous, and most remote places in Hawaii, where would you go? I am looking for a place without the typical tourist fare like leis and McDonalds. Does something like that even exist?

Caitlin Maynard
Cincinnati, OH
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Believe it or not, Hawaii has plenty of lei-lacking, people-free stretches of canyons, craters, valleys, and beaches. If you can wait to get your Hawaii fix until late March, early April or even June, the odds are even greater that you'll be spending your precious vacation far from the crowds.

Of all the islands, I'd suggest Kauai. Not only is it farthest geographically from the rest of the islands, it also has nearly vertical mountains along the Na Pali Coast, a desert, a 10-mile-long canyon at the island's western end, and the longest, sunniest, and most remote beach in the state, Polihale.

Suggestion number two is Hana, Maui, where George Harrison, Beatles recluse extraordinaire, has a house. Besides being very close to Haleakala National Park, where it's tradition to get up at 2 a.m. to watch the sunrise, Hana is also beach central with abundant surfing, snorkeling, and swimming opportunities. Or if you want to explore inland, you can pick up a mountain bike at the Hana Service Station and go for a spin on the coast-hugging Old King's Highway. Other Maui highlights include the Poli-Poli/Kula Forest Reserve where you can bike on singletrack through redwood and eucalyptus forests.

Molokai, the least visited of all the major Hawaiian Islands, is where you'll find true harmony. There are no stoplights, no malls, and no fast-food restaurants. It's so remote there's even a former leper colony with a few residents hidden on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. Though Molokai is remote, you'll still find plenty of outfitters willing to rent you a bike, take you horseback riding, scuba diving, sea kayaking, or hiking.

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