If you’re itching to get away from your daily life, but can’t take a week of vacation this early in 2016, why not plan a short weekend trip? From hiking trips to a girl’s spa weekend, there are various destinations throughout Hawaii that are either right in your backyard – or just a short flight away to a neighboring island. Now, depending on where you live, you might need – or want – more than two days for some of these trips, but all are totally do-able within the confines of a traditional weekend.
1) Hike the Kalalau Trail.
Along Kauai’s fabled Na Pali Coast, this strenuous hike is approximately 11 miles long, and stretches from Ke’e Beach to the Kalalau Valley. Most hikers opt to camp along the trail, as only expert hikers can complete the 22-mile round trip trek in one day. Note: this is an extremely dangerous hike, and should only be completed by extremely experienced hikers.
2) Head to Molokai.
If you’re looking to get away from it all and immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, history, and unspoiled natural beauty, look no further than a weekend getaway to Molokai. Favorite activities include touring Kalaupapa, a former leper colony, seeing the world’s tallest sea cliffs, and hanging out at Papohaku Beach, one of Hawaii’s largest beaches.
3) Relax in Kaanapali.
With several luxury hotels and resorts, this Maui beach destination is the perfect place to treat yourself to a relaxing weekend full of laying in the sun, mai tais on the beach, and maybe a massage? This Maui resort destination is a picturesque backdrop from a girl’s weekend, or romantic getaway.
4) Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Perhaps Hawaii’s most famous park, everyone should experience Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in their lifetime. Stay at the nearby Volcano House, and don’t miss Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Drive, Kilauea Caldera, and the stargazing at the summit of Mauna Kea.
5) Drive Maui’s famous Road to Hana.
This infamous 64.4-mile stretch of highway between Kahului and Hana features 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide, and 620 curves through lush, tropical jungle. The Hana Highway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, and while it only takes two and a half hours to drive the entire road, you could easily make several stops along the way and make it either a day, or two day, adventure.
6) Hop on a plane and visit Lanai.
As Hawaii’s sixth-largest island, Lanai is home to approximately 3,000 residents and is the perfect place to get off the grid for a weekend. Just be sure to rend a four-wheel drive vehicle, as many of the island’s landmarks are accessible only via dirt roads.
7) Check out Kauai’s Coconut Coast.
The east side of Kauai is affectionately referred to as the coconut coast for the groves of coconut trees near Kauai’s resort areas. Home to Wailua and Kapaa, this area offers incredibly hiking at Sleeping Giant, stellar views at Opaekaa Falls, kayaking down Wailua River, and plenty of amazing beaches.
8) Play tourist in Waikiki.
Waikiki draws more tourists than any other place in Hawaii, and with world-class beaches, luxury resorts, high-end shopping and some of the best food around, it’s hard to argue with them. If you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, indulging in an expensive Waikiki weekend can be just what you needed: drinks on the beach, spa treatments and shopping followed by dinner, drinks and a night on the town.
9) Spend the weekend hiking in Haleakala National Park.
With 33,200 acres of land, countless miles of stunning trails, campsites, cabins, and a great deal of Hawaiian history and culture, you could spend weeks exploring Haleakala National Park. The name Haleakala in Hawaiian translates to “house of the sun,” so you better make time to catch one of the stellar sunrises or sunsets over the summit.
10) Scuba dive at Molokini.
This crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater is located between the islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe, and is a killer snorkeling and scuba spot. This may only be a day trip, but trust me, it is perhaps one of the coolest experiences you will ever have.
11) Immerse yourself in Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast.
Nestled between the jet black and rust red lava fields are a variety of world-class resorts, hotels, fine dining and arguably some of the state’s best golf courses. With less than nine inches of annual rainfall, your days spent at Hapuna Beach Park – one of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches – will never be interrupted.
12) Go camping on the beach.
The budget-conscious nature lover can secure a camping permit at any number of beaches throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Pack up your car with camping supplies and head to the beach for a weekend of waking up late, sipping your morning coffee on the beach, and hanging out in the water.