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Where the heck has the summer gone? It's hard to believe that next weekend is the Fourth of July. But you procrastinators still have some time to plan a kick-butt Fourth of July holiday weekend, so book your travel now...
· Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If fireworks and barbecue aren't your thing, escape the Fourth of July chaos with a trip to Punta Cana. This package includes four nights on the island as well as airfare starting at $585. Your beachfront vacay will be free of hot dogs and loud fireworks, but you'll want to sip a cocktail or two from your chaise lounge. We were just there ourselves recently, so be sure to check out all those special stories loaded with tips here.
If sitting on the beach and having an adult beverage in tropical paradise is too boring for you, then we’ve got an alternate adventure for your next trip to Hawaii. Parker Ranch on the Big Island welcomes one and all for a unique hunting opportunity. Just in case your true travel dream is to kill something in all 50 states. No ducks here, they are all about the big game hunting.
Year round hunters are able to chase after wild pig, wild goat, and wild cattle. Organizers claim they maintain a 98 percent success rate on these types of hunts, so if this is your thing you should be good to go. For those who prefer feathered friends, turkey and pheasant hunts are open during different times of the year. Gobblers are only available in the spring, so bringing a fresh one home for Thanksgiving isn’t an option.
You’ve done a good job sharing your travel plans this summer. Since one of the best travel deals has been to Hawaii, we’re thinking that you’ll need something to do when you arrive. If the Big Island is in your travel plans, and it should be, then you might want to take the time to check out the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournamentt’s their fiftieth anniversary.
The deal is, anglers from around the globe gather on the Kona Coast to head out in search of some huge fish. The biggest and the baddest is usually the Pacific blue marlin, and hooking one of these big guys will definitely provide an afternoon of excitement and exercise. You should probably skip the beer on this fishing trip and ensure that the cooler is stocked with Red Bull.
Things run throughout the week of July 20 and the tournament is open to 50 teams. Even if you don’t want to join a team and compete, you’ll definitely be able to cheer on the teams as they return from their three-hour tours. Best of all, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you’ll be able to snag a picture with a 600-pound fish and Miss Hawaii Billfish 2009. That's a way better picture for Facebook than you holding a Pina Colada with an little umbrella in it.
Related Stories: [Photo: Official Site]
·Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament [Official Site]
·Crazy Kiwi Man Teaches Us How To Deep Sea 'Heli-Fish' [Jaunted]
·Fishing coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Official Site]
If you’ve been paying attention to all the hype, you’d know that now is a great time to visit Hawaii. The state is hurting since a lot of tourist money has dried up, but that’s good news for budget-conscious travelers who've always dreamt of getting lei'd. With a little patience, scoring a great hotel and airfare deal is totally possible. If for some reason you need more urging to visit the Aloha State, consider that you might just get to see Kilauea getting a little feisty.
Over on the Big Island, things have been a little more active than usual for the last week or so at the Halemaumau crater, and the glow of lava can easily been seen overnight from the viewpoint at the Jaggar Museum. Scientists are pretty hot and heavy about what could happen next, but they’re unsure if lava will ever erupt in a fountain out of the crater.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has limited access to the summit vent, just in case things get a little too exciting a little too quickly. Right now, it’s estimated that molten lava is only about 300 feet below the crater flow—which, in relative terms, is extremely close. Although there’s always something cooking deep inside the earth, it’s been since October 2008 since Madam Pele has been this active. If you go at active times like this, there's no need to enter the dangerous zone in order to see volcanic action; so get there while the lava getting's good.
Related Stories: [Photo from 2008: NDomer73]
·Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park [Official Site]
·Scientists Eye Glowing Volcano Crater In Hawaii [AP, via Google]
·Halemaumau Lava Lake Bubbling Up? [KHNL]
·Jaunted In Hawaii coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo from 2008: NDomer73]
We quickly got hooked on snorkeling on Oahu, and soon it was the only thing on our minds when we were searching for a place to spend our time. Thankfully, the Big Island didn't disappoint. The snorkeling spots here were just as great as those on Oahu, if not even more impressive. Here's a look at three of our top picks:
Hikes are pretty much free, so we did a bunch. However, we didn't want to spend too much of our, uh, time budget, so we chose some that were pretty short and sweet. Our primary mission was to see one cool thing and then get back to exploring elsewhere. Here are a few of our favorites:
Long ago in Hawaii, the kapu system of laws was pretty strict when it came to what was and wasn't allowed, and many things were punishable by death. Guilty parties were wise to try their best to make it to a Pu'uhonua, a place of refuge, to avoid nasty consequences while paying their debt to the community.
One such place is the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, located south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island's western coast. Here the National Park Service has preserved the area, offering a chance to see a massive ancient wall that separated the royal grounds from the areas open to commoners and many ki'i, or wooden icons, that would hold the bones of the ancient chiefs to provide spiritual strength to the area.
We've already let you know where we found the best beach action on Oahu, but the Big Island also has some great strands. Don’t tell Oahu, but overall we liked the beaches on the Big Island better. Here are three of our favorites:
With our adventures on Oahu coming to an end, we set our sights on Hawaii’s Big Island. By the time we got there, we were a little tired of swimming and snorkeling--poor us!--so we went on a little road trip up to the North Kohala area of the Big Island in search of Hawi.
Paddle surfer CJ Kanuha isn't content to ride the waves just anywhere. So he tied himself to a jet ski and rode right up next to Kilauea on the big island of Hawaii.
The board rider got within 20 feet of the shore, but the molten rock sliding into the ocean didn't exactly make the ride pleasant:
I was tentative to get too close at first, and for good reason, the boiling water there is well over 200 hundred degrees in some spots, super hot, and it quickly melted the wax on the surfboard.
And that's not all: The water badly burned Kanuha's legs before he could paddle off. Maybe we'll stick to some other surfing spots for now.
If you love the Big Island of Hawaii and rubber duckies, then have we got a Fourth of July celebration for you: the 17th Annual Great Waikoloa Rubber Duckie Race. The whole day is filled with family fun including face painting, duck waddling contests and free-style quacking. There's even free popcorn and cotton candy.
The main draw of the event comes during the afternoon when the plastic ducks are released. The top 50 finishers are eligible for prizes, including a week-long stay at an Outrigger Villa or the Hilton Waikoloa Village. If your duck doesn't come in first, hope it comes in 17th, as that will get you 17 $100 bills.
Best of all, the proceeds from the event go to the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii. Last year the group was able to raise almost $40,000 for charity. Ducks start at $5 per bird, or get a $20 "quack pack" which includes three ducks and a shirt. If you didn't get up at the, uh, quack of dawn (sorry!), then you'll be able to stay up and enjoy the fireworks display around 9 pm.
Related Stories: [Photo: bitmap78]
· Fourth of July Revelers Can Find Family Fun at Waikoloa Resort [Star Bulletin]
· Waikoloa Beach Resort [Official Site]
· Fourth of July coverage [Jaunted]
The world's largest observatory rests atop the summit of a dormant volcano, Mauna Kea, in Hawaii. Astronomers from 11 countries operate the telescopes, and just next to the professional observatory, amateurs take advantage of the crystal clear skies. One enthusiastic guide company, Mauna Kea Summit Adventures, had this to say about the summit:
Since starting this outfit 25 years ago with an old Land Cruiser and a basket full of sweaters, my guides and I have had the enviable job of guiding nice folks, like you, to the beauty of Mauna Kea... We invite you to experience, what is, quite possibly, the most dramatic and stimulating scenery to be found anywhere, either on or off planet earth.
Did they say it's the best place in the universe? That's either hyperbole or we're not doing our job here by stumbling upon this place just now.