Na Pali Coast © Jeff Kubina
Any 'Best Of' travel guide inevitably includes the Hawaiian Islands as the best place for sun, sand and natural attractions - the place to head for an idyllic beach holiday.
Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the United States, each unique in its dimensions, shapes and hues. These sandy stretches are fronted by crystal waters teeming with tropical fish darting through forests of coral. Some of the world's best surfing and watersport opportunities are offered here and for those intent on premium sightseeing it is hard to beat the thrill of watching lava flow from the world's longest erupting volcano.
Visitors who relish exploring different cultures and ancient civilisations will find the best of Polynesian relics in which to indulge their passions, as they soak up some of the Mana (spiritual power) with which the islands were imbued by the legendary gods and goddesses.
The state of Hawaii includes approximately 130 islands in the Pacific Ocean, many of which are uninhabited. The islands lie about 1,600 miles (2,600km) off the coast of mainland USA. The largest island, Hawaii, is known unimaginatively as the Big Island, but the state capital, Honolulu, and most of the population is located on the smaller island of Oahu, which is also the main tourist destination. The other main islands are Maui, Molokai and Kauai. Between them the islands boast an amazingly diverse geography providing endless recreation opportunities, from snowboarding on mountain summits to hiking through rainforests. It's no wonder that Hawaii is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States: the possibilities offered by a Hawaiian holiday are limited only by the boundaries of the imagination.