While most visitors to the Hawaiian Islands enjoy the traditional type of vacation, including snorkeling, sightseeing and shopping, travel alternatives present an array of interesting variations on a vacation. Whether you want to work on an organic farm, stay in a treehouse or study an active volcano, you will find numerous opportunities to experience a different kind of Hawaii.
Volunteering for a charity or at one of the national parks in Hawaii offers an alternative to seeing Hawaii as a tourist. Whether you are interested in volunteering short-term or wish to take on a longer project, investigate opportunities with the Hawaii Sierra Club, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, USGS Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, Institute for Cultural Ecology and Malama Hawaii. You can also serve meals with a food bank, help count whales with NOAA or assist trail keepers with upkeep on numerous treasured Hawaiian trails.
Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an organization that pairs up workers with host farms on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Molokai. Most organic farm opportunities last from one to three weeks. If you want to get an up close and personal look at the workings of a Hawaii organic farm, and make some new friends in the process, consider joining WWOOF.
Skye’s Volcano Treehouse
In the heart of the Volcano area, Skye Peterson has built a solid, cozy genuine treehouse into the branches of five living ohia trees. Using giant picture windows he salvaged from his days in construction on Oahu, Skye has made a point to outfit the treehouse in recycled or natural materials. From the loft bedroom, guests can see the glow of the Kilauea volcano in one skylight and the spectacular constellations in the other.
Hawaii offers perhaps one of the only destinations in the world with oceanfront campsites available at a comfortable temperature year round. Enjoy spectacular views and communing with nature for free or no more than a few dollars a day. Most beach campsites (such as Hookena Beach Park on the Big Island) require a permit, but others, such as the campground at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, do not. Just roll in and pitch your tent. Camping cabins at most parks, which do not include bath or shower, are also available at a reasonable rate.
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