By Jason Heidemann for the Orbitz Travel Blog
If there's one thing you'll see in the Aloha State more than surfboards, it's mopeds. These tiny two-wheelers seem to strike the perfect balance for visitors seeking a relaxed way to see the sights. They're efficient, affordable and widely available, and they're fairly safe if you drive at a safe speeds, follow the rules of the road and wear a helmet. And be sure to lock your bike everywhere you go. Here are five awesome island itineraries via Vespa.
Waikiki to Hanauma Bay: Oahu
Ringing the island of Oahu are several state highways that easily match the splendor and beauty of California's Pacific Coast Highway. You could circumnavigate all of Oahu by moped if you had a couple of days, but if you're pressed for time try taking the Kalanianaole Highway to Hanauma Bay, a protected cove that is a snorkeler's paradise. The drive will take you past Diamond Head, through some pretty neighborhoods and onward to the Bay itself.
Estimated one-way time: 45 minutes.
Waikiki to Pearl Harbor: Oahu
This excursion will take you through the heart of Honolulu. Fuel up first at Leonard's Bakery--an island icon--with a made to order malasada, which is like a sugar doughnut. Next, breeze your way through the city via Dillingham Blvd and Nimitz Hwy which will take you around 'Aiea Bay, East and Middle Loch and onward to sobering Pearl Harbor--a must see monument. On your return trip, don't miss excellent food at the Pig and the Lady in Chinatown.
Estimated one-way time: 90 minutes.
The Road to Hana: Maui
Given its many one lane bridges and hundreds of hairpin turns, it might be safer and more fun to attempt Hana with a tour group such as those offered by Island Motion Maui. Regardless, start in the town of Kahului and go east past iconic Mama's Fish House and onward to the breathtaking Hana Highway. Don't miss the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park, steaming hot banana bread at Aunty Sandy's and a cool dip in a waterfall.
Estimated time: all day.
Lahaina to Big Beach: Maui
Pretty Lahaina is a former whaling village that now serves as a tourist hub and with a population of 11,000 is the biggest "city" in Maui. Follow pretty Front street right out of town and follow Hwy 30 along the ocean--be on the lookout for dolphins and whales--until you reach Kihei where you'll want to stop at Coconut's Fish Cafe for amazing tacos. Admire the impeccably manicured surroundings of upscale Wailea before arriving at family-friendly Big Beach.
Estimated one-way time: 3 hours.
Kapaa to Hanalei Bay: Kauai
Arguably ambitious, a vespa adventure from laid-back Kapaa to Hanalei Bay is filled with the kind of tropical splendors for which Hawaii is justly famous. Sun yourself at Kealia Beach before following the pretty Kuhio Hwy all the way to the North Shore where the real adventures begin. Spy spinner dolphins from the lighthouse at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, grab lunch in pristine Princeville and end with a day of surf, sand and endless sun in heavenly Hanalei.
Estimated time: all day.