When I first visited Hawaii back in 2007, I had a great time on the island of Oahu. My friend and I went to the beach plenty, exploring different beaches all across the island and in Honolulu, and even some cultural exploration such as Iolani Palace (the only palace on U.S. soil) and the Pearl Harbor memorial. But since then, I’ve discovered that there is so much more to the many islands of Hawaii than the gorgeous beaches… not that there’s anything wrong with gorgeous beaches, that is.
These days, Hawaii is growing like crazy. You’ve probably already tried some of the food, which is currently very trendy, but you might also be dreaming of going there ASAP — so perhaps a solo trip sometime this summer is in order? What you’ll really want to know, though, is that Hawaii is teeming with new and absolutely AH-mazing things to do in 2018. Ready to explore? Yes, we thought so. Here are 10 incredible (and new!) reasons you should visit at least one of the Hawaii islands this year. Start packing!
1. Visions of the Future is launching at the Honolulu Biennial Foundation.
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Sun’s 🌞out and FLOODED is open at noon! Stop by on your way to the beach! No shoes, no problem! 2124 Kalakaua Ave. . . . . . . #flooded #visionofthefuture #waikiki #sunsoutgunsout #barefoot #contemporaryart #beachday #photography #betweenbiennials #5womenartists #hawaiiart #artexhibit #artgallery #free
Recently, the Honolulu Biennial Foundation announced their launch of Visions of the Future, an Oahu-based art initiative. Their first pop-up exhibit will be the public debut of “Flooded,” a collaborative photography and multimedia exhibit featuring photography by Heami Lee, art direction by Allie Wist, food styling by C.C. Buckley and prop styling by Rebecca Bartoshesky. They’ve also got BIG plans for 2019… so stay tuned!
2. Iron Chef Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia is ready for deliciousness.
Are you as obsessed with Iron Chef as I am? Then you probably know and love world-renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto, who recently opened Morimoto Asia in the newly renovated Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. The 250-seat restaurant is open for dinner only, but you’ll want to make reservations ASAP thanks to the incredible menu that integrates traditional Asian and Western ingredients.
3. Say hello to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort after major renovations.
What does a $50 million renovation get you? The Hapuna Beach Resort has been transformed into The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, opening soon. All of this includes several new restaurants and dining concepts, including Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill, Ikena Landing and Piko Coffee+Bar, an adults-only pool, plus wellness-inspired guest experiences, such as CrossFit studio, Westin Workout, Westin Kids’ Club and Hapuna Spa. Get ready to check in and relax the minute you walk in.
4. The Lantern Floating Hawaii is the place to be this Memorial Day.
This memorial Day, head to Oahu’s Ala Moana Beach Park to participate in the Lantern Floating Hawaii festival. If you’ve never experienced this, then you are seriously missing out. Head out and watch as the sun sets while residents and visitors float more than 7,000 lanterns on the beach’s calm waters. Each of these carries a special message for a loved one who passed away. The best part? This event is free and open to everyone!
5. Get there even quicker from SoCal on Hawaii Airlines.
If you’re near Los Angeles International Airport, then you’re already able to enjoy the current daily flights from Hawaii Airlines… but guess what?! On May 31st, they’re going to begin daily nonstop flights between Long Beach, California, and Honolulu. The best part is that you’ll be able to fly on their new Airbus A321neo aircraft, which is a pretty luxe way to get to the islands. So, like, what are you waiting for now that it’s even easier to get there?
6. Check out the deep history and culture at the Kauai Museum’s new interactive tool.
Going to a museum may not be the first thing you think of when you head to Hawaii, but you definitely have to stop by the Kauai Museum’s recently unveiled Multimedia Table, which is an interactive tool that showcases its home island and their incredibly deep history and culture. Just don’t head there to check out history of the island on a Sunday, since the museum is only open Mon-Sat, 9am-4pm.
7. Don’t miss the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival in June.
Held at Maui’s Kapalua Resort on June 7-10, you won’t want to miss the 37th annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival. There will be winemakers from around the world to delight your senses, plus Maui chefs and celebrity chefs, including Hubert Keller, Nancy Oakes and Nancy Silverton, for a weekend of tasty dinners and vino. But the golden ticket is probably a champagne and caviar wine seminar and tasting… YUM!
8. Try creative cuisine at the Ondine inside of Hotel Wailea.
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The table is set. This evening's menu: Maui Venison Tartare with Smoked Brioche and Black Truffles Hirabara Farms Cabbage with Shio Kombu, Green Goddess, and Buttermilk Opah Wellington with Sea Beans and Japanese Sweet Potato Big Island Lamb with Confit Squash and Lamb-Fat Vinaigrette Pastry Chef Mimi Mendoza’s Tribute to Hawaii's Heather Ho, Windows on the World Pastry Chef . #ondinewailea #hotelwailea #beardhouse #relaischateaux
Opening later this fall in the Hotel Wailea on Maui, you will NOT want to miss out on the new dining concept from famed Hawaii chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush. Ondine will include a private chef’s kitchen with a tasting counter for those that want a truly unique dining experience, plus a garden with a view of the kitchen and private tree house. With a focus on Maui regional ingredients, this might just be a foodie’s dream (I certainly know it’s mine!).
9. Stay like QUEENS at the fully renovated The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.
The Maui property of The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua recently announced that they have completed a property-wide renovation that includes transformed guest rooms, suites and residences, an enhanced lobby and pool, and a new food and beverage outlet, Kai Café. It’s their 25th anniversary, which is perfect since there will be plenty of celebrating to do when you stay in this world-class resort.
10. Take your kiddos to learn golf at the Kapalua Golf Academy.
Golfing might initially seem like it’s a sport just for old folks and Tiger Woods, but the truth is that anyone and everyone can get into the game at the Kapalua Golf Academy. They’re now offering a golf camp for kids that is designed to improve their game and help them to develop athletic ability through the development of their fundamental-movement and golf-specific skills. Who wouldn’t WANT to do the Junior Development Camp on your vacay?! (Don’t forget you’ll have some much-needed free time while your little ones are in classes… and that’s a win-win for all.)