The Best Gaycation I’ve Ever Taken
By Jason Coleman
The combination of the soothing sounds of the ukulele, the beautiful yellow hibiscus, white kukui blossoms, and quiet, yet engulfing culture of Hawaii is enough to bring a tear to one's eye. It's as if you can truly feel the island in your bones when listening to the local Hawaiian Roots music. Add a panoramic viewing of the islands from one of the many National Park overlooks, and your soul instantly remembers peace and love. The serenity that is offered to a visitor feels like a true "Aloha." For a hard working 9 to 5'er it's a call to relax, for a sport enthusiast it's a call to snorkel or dive with wildlife such as the Green Sea Turtle, whose local Hawaiian name is Honu. There's no other place quite like the Hawaiian Islands. Many people have said it before and I will say it again, "Hawaii IS Paradise." A paradise that revels herself when a visitor lets go and truly opens to the experience. There are so many unique journeys to be discovered. Each individual island reflects itself in incomparable ways. For this reason, Hawaii is and always will be the best Gaycation I have ever taken.
I label Hawaii a "Gaycation" for the same reasons i label all my vacations as such. Basically, if my tail is on location, it's gonna be a gay ole time with some gay ole folks! No matter where I go on my travels nor what I see, I will always identify as a gay man. With this in mind, each place becomes an extension of me because of have chose those journeys as a representation of my being - a reflection of the life that I strive to create for myself. Hawaii stands out beyond the pack because like myself, it is a variety of things. Each island offers a completely different perspective. Let's review a few of the islands, a little history, and some of my travel experiences at each location.
The hustle and bustle of the largest city in the Hawaiian islands, Honolulu, and Waikiki Beach are gay Meccas. Beautiful tourists from all over the world, nightly hula shows, lots of bikinis, and bars brand the island in a specific Polynesian way. The quiet sport of surfing on the North Shore and the Dole Plantation to the west leave a visitor with the feeling of "hotspot city life," yet escapism. Diamond Head for hiking and the aforementioned North Shore and western island are just a short drive away from the big city lights of Honolulu. Using social media such as Grindr, Facebook, and GayTravel.com can provide a single person with fast new friends with whom to explore the island. Since there is a feeling of peace on the island, it's likely to meet up with someone new to go for a SUP (stand up paddle) adventure or side trek over to some of the less "commercial" places. Oahu has it all - city style.
Hawaii -The Big Island
A quick flight or ferry can jaunt you to another experience completely. The untouched, true roots of the islands, lie just beyond Oahu. Rainforest near Hilo, volcanic rock based Kona, black sand beaches near Waimea, and Volcanoes National Park all lend a special ambiance to The Big Island. It's almost disturbing to land in Kona and see the dark colored black desolate earth of the lava fields. Yet, equally as surprising is the way this particular side of the island is built up with amazing resorts. Just a few miles away from some of the most popular mega resorts near Kona are beaches 69 and 67. Beach 69 is a public beach connected strangely to a resort, yet teeming with locals. Beach 67, a more private and secluded beach that is almost impossible to find, is a tiny nude beach tucked away between Banyan trees and black rock volcanic cliffs. Absolutely worth a shot at discovering, and only 2 kilometers from the more popular beach 69, 67 is an haven. Each beach is named so for their location on the main road in kilometers. If that doesn't fly for discovery, the other side of the island, the green Hilo side is a lush rainforest. It's also possible to see the great Kialuea lava flow here. The natural wonder of the lava flow meets many highways and also the sea just south of Hilo near Kalapana.
Kalani Oceanside Retreat off highway 137 is a sort of commune set amid the rainforest, oceanside, and lava-meet-sea. Offering meditation classes, yoga, Hawaiian culture and dance lessons along with spa treatments is a special draw for this Eco feeling extremely gay friendly resort. Although not on my friend Luikia's "must see" list, it was a special favorite for me. Luikia is a local whom I met aboard a flight to NC this summer. Her hometown favorites, Punalu'u Beach Park, Waipi'o Valley Overlook, and Green Sand Beach. Summing up The Big Island with a few words, outdoor adventure!
Voted "Best Island" by readers do Conde Nast Traveler for 17 years, Maui takes the challenge on full steam. The Gold Courses, Humpback Whales, and warm waters entice thousands of visitors a year to this, second largest island. For the LGBT traveler, Maui offers Makena Beach Park, better known as 'Big Beach.' Just north of Big Beach over a few volcanic rocks is the more quiet cove of 'Little Beach'. This area is most famous for nude sunbathing and an assortment of people. Gays, straights, young and old all flock here for the best sun on the island!
Other special features of the island include, the view from Mt Haleakala and the town of Hana. Reaching 10,000 feet, the mountain is popular for sunrise and sunset viewings. Most famous of all, The Road to Hana. Hana is the site of Pi'ilanihale Heiau, fabled to be the largest of the ancient Hawaiian Temples! Perfect reason to visit this site and travel this wild and winding world famous road to the site. Maui is also the home to many LGBT businesses and wedding planning services focusing on our community!
The Island of Discovery, Kauai
There's river kayaking, a Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Botanical Gardens, and not a single building taller than a coconut tree. It's the islands, country style. It's also the oldest and most northern of all the islands. Nicknamed the "Garden Isle," it's incredible lush and green. Waterfalls, rain forests, and forking rivets are your to explore. Most likely the most romantic of all the islands. It's definitely the island for adventure. Snorkeling on Poipu beach, hiking the trails of Kokee State Park, and ziplining in the valleys are all on the menu for a sportsman. Or theses opportunities are perfect couple bonding time.
Overall, Hawaii is the perfect escape for a gay vacation. The islands are packed full of activities and you may just find an excellent activity partner along the way! With perfect weather, Hawaii is a must see for any traveler, especially those of us from the cooler climates. Even a warm drizzle of rain on the islands is welcomed by visitors. The music, the people, and the spirit of aloha are incredible souvenirs. Take a Gaycation for yourself and see Hawaii on your own terms. I guarantee you'll feel the same.