Escaping to the Islands

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Why here: No matter the age, kids and adults seem to always have a non-stop roster of activities to enjoy in Maui. There are the miles of beaches, of course, but also a ride on the Sugar Cane Train, which travels between Lahaina and Kaanapali; horseback rides on the island’s highest peak, Haleakala; underwater exploration while staying dry at Maui Ocean Center; and even the sight of thousands of humpback whales migrating to its waters from December through May.

With loads of complimentary extras such as 18-hole putting greens, a seasonal kids’ program, daily activities, barbecue areas and fitness room access, Napili Kai Beach Resort and its swimmer-friendly beach is a favorite in Maui. The philosophy of “no nickel-and-diming our guests” at Napili Kai Beach Resort continues through the year with its Value Season—April 14 through June 15 and Aug. 18 through Dec. 13—when the resort offers a fifth night free with four consecutive paid nights. There is also a 7th Heaven Special with a sixth and seventh night free when booking five paid nights in select categories.

In addition, if they stay at least five nights the resort will deduct the cost of clients’ airline baggage fees off the total cost of their stay for up to $125 per reservation if they show their checked-baggage receipt once they check-in. Kids 12 and under staying through Dec. 13 get a free children’s entree with the Keiki Eat Free menu. Rates during Value Season start at $260 per night.

touring the islands

For a sampling of some of Hawaii’s most tantalizing landscapes, there’s Insight Vacations’ value-filled Hawaiian Dreams tour, a 10- or 12-day escape to the islands that “…feature luxury hotels, fine dining, fascinating guided tours and, I am pleased to announce, all have definite guaranteed departures,” says Marc Kazlauskas, Insight’s president. “Guests can make their arrangements knowing their plans are solidly in place.”

In Oahu, clients stay at the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa in Honolulu and take a guided tour of Iolani Palace, visit the USS Arizona Memorial and engage in a “talk story” session with a local surfer, with plenty of time for shopping or a surfing session. In Maui, they’ll tour some of the area’s most famous boutique farms—the aromatic Alii Kula Lavender Farm for lavender tea and scones, the Surfing Goat Dairy for award-winning cheeses and Kula Country Farms for a bite into the island’s renowned sweet onions—and stay at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas. Once on the Big Island, they’ll visit Volcanoes National Park, home to Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, and Kilauea, one of the most active; they might even get the chance to look down on the Kilauea Caldera. They’ll also stop at Jaggar Museum to learn about the beginnings of the Hawaiian islands, go on a guided walk through coffee and macadamia nut orchards and a cacao farm, explore the town of Kailua and learn about ranching in historic Anna Ranch, while retreating in the evenings to the Fairmont Orchid.

The tour also offers an optional extension to Kauai for a lesson in lei making, a drive under the island’s “Tunnel of Trees” and visits to Opaekaa Falls, Waimea Canyon and Hanalei Bay, spending the night at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. Hawaiian Dreams starts at $3,750 land only, dbl for the 10-day tour and $4,595 when including Kauai.

getting there

American Airlines offers nonstops from Dallas and LAX to Honolulu and Maui, as well as flights from Honolulu to the Big Island, Maui and Oahu. From the east coast, United Airlines offers a nonstop from Newark to Honolulu. Other major carriers that fly to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland include Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines, while Island Air offers inter-island flights.

contact information

Aloha Music Camp:
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach: (808) 922-3861;
Insight Vacations: (800) 582-8380; or
Keauhou Beach Resort: (808) 324-2515;
Napili Kai Beach Resort: (800) 367-5030;
Turtle Bay Resort: (808) 293-6000;