Hawaii is what dreams are made of but before you pack your bags, here is what you should know:
Hawaii is expensive.
Hawaii is one of the most expensive states in the U.S. The large number of tourists and the inflated costs of shipping products to the islands make prices almost uniformly high. While you can find cheaper flights depending on the time of year you visit. Eating out is expensive all year round, even at standard restaurant chains.
All Hawaii beaches are public.
Much of the land on the Hawaiian Islands is government-owned, which means there is plenty of space that is open to the public. On top of that, a law decrees that anything below the highest wave line (i.e. the line where sand gets wet on a beach) is public, making all beaches free and open to all. The only problem with Hawaii's public beaches is that they can be physically difficult to access: some stretches of sand tend to be cut off by out-of-control vegetation.
Hawaii has some dangerous places to swim.
If you've traversed the vegetation and hit a deserted beach, the temptation to throw yourself into the water will be strong. However, if you plan to visit a beach without lifeguards and flags, be sure to investigate its safety conditions first. Hanakapiai Beach on Kauai's Na Pali is an example where you should avoid water altogether.
It is important to follow the marked trails when hiking in Hawaii.
Hawaii has many hiking opportunities, from Oahu's Diamond Head Trail to Mauna Kea Alpine Climb. Due to thick vegetation, steep cliffs, hidden ravines and other hazards, hikers are advised to stay on marked trails. Getting away from marked paths also poses a risk to others, as getting lost or getting into trouble off the road often requires the search parties to be sent. A little research will help you determine which trails are safe to enjoy.
You can't surf anywhere
Hawaii is the birthplace of modern surfing. Whether you're a newbie or an experienced surfer, few tourists will be ready to surf the big waves there anyway. While some surfing spots are off limits, there is plenty of coastline for tourists to catch a wave. Big Island is a perfect place to start: Kahalu'u Bay on the Kona coast is ideal for beginners.
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