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“Best of Hawaii” 2009: Our favorite Hawaii road trips

best_of_Hawaii_favorite_road_trips2. The Big Island of Hawaii’s Hamakua Coast

The Hamakua Coast stretches from Hilo to Waipio Valley along the Big Island’s northeastern coastline. It offers something for every road tripper. Folks with a fondness for scenic wonder love its lush, forested valleys, waterfalls, sea cliffs and incomparable views of the Pacific. People with an appreciation of the coast’s rich and storied agricultural history enjoy the rustic charms of its many former sugar plantation towns, and its rolling fields of prime farmland, which continue to produce some of the finest produce in the Islands. For the rest of us, who dig it all? We’re figuring out ways we can spend our retirement there.

best_of_Hawaii_favorite_road_trips3. Oahu’s Windward Side

Sure, a road trip through Oahu’s North Shore is great, but we prefer to drive along the island’s sleepy Windward Side. Hop across the H-3 freeway into the town of Kaneohe. While you’re there, tour the famed Byodo-In Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, or explore the lush grounds of the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens. You know of Mokolii island—commonly known as Chinaman’s Hat—in Kualoa, but how about Mokuauia—or Goat Island—further north in Laie? Sitting 200 yards off shore, the islet can be walked to or swam to, tide permitting. Or head south along Kamehameha Highway, through the rural town of Waimanalo, and trek up the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail to view the jagged Windward Oahu coastline and Molokai in the distance.

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