We began on the Big Island. We spent three nights in Volcano Village, enjoying sights on the windward side (east). The land around the volcano is amazing. On Chain of Craters Drive, a scenic drive within the National Park, you could stop every ew minutes and see something else amazing. We drove five minutes from a 93 degree desert of lava, where we walked to the petroglyps, to a 72 degree rain forest, where we entered a lava tube.
We left the windward side, and traveled across island to the Kona region, stopping at a coffee plantation to learn how coffee is grown. Rachel relaxed in the spa on Christmas Eve, while I took an amazing helicopter tour, seeing some of the most astounding sights I've ever dreamt of.
We flew to Kauai on Christmas, and spent some time with our cousin who lives there. We did two whale watch tours, seeing over 30 whales, inclding a calf who breached 10 feet from our hands. We visited the beautiful Waimea Canyon, and I even went snorkeling for the first time in my life. Plus, of course, a luau.
We had a single half-day on Oahu, and were unable to get tickets to the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, so instead did a LOST and movie loations tour, which was a fun way to see a lot of the northern side of the island.
We then visited our friends in LA, stopping at Warner Bros. for a studio tour, and the next day visiting the Tournament of Roses Parade. We had a wonderful and inspiring trip!