For the "Hawaii Revealed" feature in the March 2009 issue of ISLANDS, features editor Matthew Miller island-hopped across Hawaii for 18 days. His mission was to explore the islands through the expertise of locals and find how all the aspects of Hawaii -- the culture, the nature, the luxury -- come together. Here is the travel information from his trip if you'd like to trace his route. And to see his full story, click here.
Stay along the road to Hana in the Hotel Hana-Maui, with spectacular views of famed Hana Bay, hotelhanamaui.com. On the north shore, the Pa'ia Inn is a boutique hotel that puts you at the center of the surf scene. paiainn.com
Eat at Moana Bakery & Cafe, and when the chef comes to say hi, ask how he thought up the dish you're eating, 808-579-9999. For the freshest fish, try Makawao Sushi. 808-573-9044
Visit the jet-black stone beaches of Wai'anapanapa State Park along the eastern coast, hawaiistateparks.org. Nearby, you'll find Kahanu Garden, which has an amazing collection of Hawaiian plants in one of the largest untamed native hala (pandanus) forests in Hawaii. ntbg.org
Eat and get your luau on at Kona Village Resort's buffet-style aha'aina (luau banquet), the perfect chance to sample poi and other island foods, on Wednesdays and Fridays. konavillage.com.
See manta rays doing barrel rolls off Kona with Bottom Time Hawaii, bottomtimehawaii.com. On the south coast, visit Volcanoes National Park, where steam vents and lava flows erupt almost continuously. Don't bring back any lava souvenirs; legend warns that Pele curses those who do. nps.gov/havo
Fly into the Lihu'e Airport (LIH), located on the southeastern part of the island. hawaiianair.com
Stay at Waimea Plantation Cottages, Waimea, where an 1800s sugar plantation meets modern oceanfront resort luxury, waimea-plantation.com. On the north side of the island, down seven one-lane bridges, try Hanalei Colony Resort, which offers renowned sunset views and secluded beaches. hcr.com
Eatahi tacos, freshly made salsa and a horchata at Shaka Tacos in Kapa'a. 808-823-0012
Hike with the knowledgeable Peter Artley of Kauai Eco Tours. For a challenge, try the 10-mile Na Pali rim loop or, for a more gentle hike, try the 4-mile rainforest trek to Kuilau Ridge. kauaieco-tours.com