Hawaii is one of my favorite beach destinations. It has an abundance of beaches, which are the perfect places to relax and enjoy the sun. Whether you are island hopping or exploring the endless assortment of wonders on the Big Island, this enchanting archipelago will steal your heart.

It’s easy to find the perfect location to relax on a tropical island. Play tourist by sampling local cuisine, searching for exotic local sights and watching the sunset behind the horizon.

When visiting Hawaii, here are some useful tips for first-time visitors.

shave ice

Make Sure to Try the Local Food

Already in love with your local restaurant? That’s just the tip of the iceberg! From sweet treats like shaved ice to sounds-weird-but-is-amazing Spam Musubi Hawaii is a culinary wonderland.

Thanks to the diverse international influences of Japan, China, and beyond Hawaii’s famous “cool fusion” style of cooking is fully embraced by the many farm-to-table restaurants in these beautiful islands. The rich soil produces an extensive array of local fruit and vegetables that are fully embraced in the many farm-to-table restaurants.

Before you go, make sure to grab a copy of my guide to the ten essential Hawaiian foods you must try.

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The Big Island

Don’t try to visit too many islands in one trip. NOTES 1. The text of this message was taken from the “Your Subscriber Message Center,” a feature introduced by the University of Georgia in 2005. Reprinted with permission. 2. “The Secret Service is made

Hawaii offers many attractive destinations, but it’s important to take a breath and savor the moment. In this lush tropical paradise lives a unique lifestyle.

To take advantage of the true beauty of your surroundings, operate on island time.

The islands are much more beautiful than you think and many of their greatest treasures are hidden away. Plan on visiting only one or two islands during your trip. Forget about checking things off a to-do list and simply enjoy the little things that make Hawaii so special.

See my Which Hawaiian Island Should You Visit? guide to decide which island is right for you and your travel style. Each one of Hawaii’s islands has its own unique sights and activities.

Wear Reef-Safe Sunscreen

I’ve talked about the importance of reef-safe sunscreen before and I was thrilled to see that Hawaii has jumped on the bandwagon and banned oxybenzone and octinoxate. The state actually banned these chemicals because they cause such widespread damage to coral reefs.

You’re all set when you shop for sunscreen. Bring your own sunscreen if it contains ingredients that are harmful to the environment. If you love Hawaii’s seas, use reef-safe sunscreen.

Understand the Weather

While the weather in Hawaii can be amazing it can also change suddenly. Most of the storms that occur at night and in the morning disappear as soon as they appear, which is good because rainstorms are no fun to encounter.

That said, pay attention to the day’s forecast. Be aware that every island has a dry side and a wet side. When you’re out exploring by car, pack a breathable raincoat and change of quick-drying clothes.

Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Car

You should not leave anything in your car. Even though Hawaii is a safe destination, many tourists are guilty of leaving expensive camera gear, handbags, and other pricey items in their cars. Don’t make yourself a target for theft by leaving any possessions in the car.

If you must take valuable items with you, such as your camera, laptop computer, or other valuables, consider leaving them in the hotel room or at home. You can keep valuables in the trunk of your car and lock it when you pull into a parking lot.

Check Conditions Before Hiking

Take a look at the weather forecast before you head to the beach. You may also want to research tides for certain stretches of beach, as they can disappear during high tide.

Have Some Cash on You

When you are traveling, don’t forget to stop by some of the roadside stands that offer a variety of local fruits, vegetables, and artisanal treats. They are a great way to try these locally grown items.

Many small vendors don’t take cards, so always make sure you have some cash and small change on hand.

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Rent a Car

All of my best memories from Hawaii were exploring the island’s back roads and hidden coves. There were unforgettable hidden coves and breathtaking vantage points I shared with friends that could only be seen by car.

To rent a car straight from the airport, simply book your rental in advance. Booking early will ensure that you can get the vehicle you desire on short notice.

Learn About Polynesian Culture

Skip the tourist traps and head into authentic Hawaiian culture. This place is unlike anywhere else on the planet, and it’s an experience you’ll want to have.

Enrich your travel experience by discovering more about the local culture. Become part of a tour with a local who can show you a side of Hawaii you might never have discovered on your own. — POSTCRIPT: If you are planning to go to Japan, please pass on this book or any of my other books about travel to

Of course, go to the obligatory luau! They are a central part of Hawaiian culture and a prime opportunity to feast on incredible local food.

Helpful Tip:

When you are arranging tours and events, I’d recommend booking them for near the end of your trip. With the time change, you’ll be facing a bit of jet lag the first couple of days so operate on your own schedule until you become accustomed to local time.

Water shoes can save your feet both in and out of the water.

Water Shoes Can Be a Lifesaver

If you plan on taking a trip to the ocean, bring some water shoes. No matter if you are swimming or diving, sea urchins and sharp objects can be found in the water.