It's easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise - just look at those sugary beaches and Technicolor coral reefs. Sunrises and sunsets are so spectacular that they're cause for celebration all by themselves, while after-dark stargazing from Hawaii's volcano summits is unparalleled.
Thousands of gems fashion the archipelago's necklace, but only six islands welcome visitors. Each is as different as the multi-ethnic complexions of the local population, who talk story and share their passion about Hawaii as if you're long-lost pals.
Maui consistently lands atop travel-magazine reader polls as one of the world's best, most romantic islands. Why? How about a wealth of glorious beaches, luxe resorts, gourmet cuisine, fantastic luaus, and world-class windsurfing, whale watching, snorkeling, diving and hiking? Maui is known as the 'Valley Island' because of its two large extinct volcanoes divided by a tropical central valley. It's the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands and the most developed of the Neighbor Islands. Its windsurfing and surf spots are some of the best in the world.
Oahu is home to Honolulu, the biggest city in Hawaii; Waikiki, the Pacific's leisure-and-pleasure capital; North Shore, home to some of the world's biggest surf; Pearl Harbor and its evocative WWII memorials; and a relaxed multicultural mix that gives a memorable flavour to its streetscapes and restaurants.
If you're looking for super scenery, here it is. Kauai's central volcanic peak, Mt Wai'ale'ale, is allegedly the wettest place on earth, and the island is richly green and spectacular - so spectacular that parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark, South Pacific and Jurassic Park were filmed here.
Hawaii - aka the Big Island - is nearly twice the size of all the other Hawaiian islands combined. Geographically it's the most diverse island of the archipelago, with deserts, rainforests, volcanoes and, surprisingly, snow-capped mountains.
The mountains create a barrier that blocks the northeasterly trade winds, making the western side of the island the driest region in the archipelago. This coast has the best beaches and water conditions. The eastern coast is rugged, with pounding surf, tropical rainforests and majestic waterfalls.
Lanai is the place for travelers who seek its singular blend of absolute luxury and unique experiences. In the north, adventures abound for those who trek unpaved roads to secluded beaches and natural wonders. To the south, luxury resorts provide ultimate relaxation and renewal on this quiet, intimate island.
Sparsely populated Moloka'i is the last surviving piece of the old rural Hawaii. It exists in a kind of time warp: no packaged Hawaiiana, no high-rises, and more farmers than tourists - and locals are fighting to keep it that way, protesting and picketing against the Molokai Master Plan, which is eyeing beguiling La'ua Point for luxury homes.
Aulani, A Disney
Resort & Spa
5-Night Average Price / Person: $1,532*
Average price for Island Gardens View room category on 9/20/17.
Kids 17 & younger stay FREE!
Welcome to a whole new world of family fun. Welcome to Aulani. This beachfront paradise, set on the white sandy shores of Oahu in Ko Olina, was created with families in mind, by the people who know families best-Disney. Maybe that's why Aulani is a Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2014 Winner for Top Family Hotel in the U.S.
If it's ocean life you love, there's Rainbow Reef, the private snorkeling lagoon. And if you need a bit of pampering, there's Laniwai Spa, featuring O'ahu's only outdoor hydrotherapy garden.
Aulani also features a host of amazing dining options that will please every palate. There are the local flavors of the signature restaurant, 'AMA'AMA, cocktails with a side of live music at Off The Hook and The ‘Ōlelo Room and so much more. Put it all together and Aulani is a whole new world indeed.