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When it Rains

Kauai, HI

Storm Clouds at Kauai's Na Pali Coast by jeffgunn via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Since she sits out there in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles from the mainland, it’s not that surprising that Hawaii gets blasted by a tropical storms now and then. If you’ve got your heart set on nothing but sunshine for your visit, you might be disappointed when the clouds roll in and it starts to rain. Typically, those tropical rains are transitory, but every now and then you’ll get a run of bad weather. There’s no reason this has to ruin your trip. There’s plenty to do when weather forces you off the beach or out of the rain forest in search of drier pursuits.

Visit a museum: On Oahu, The Bishop Museum has the glorious Hawaiian Hall, plus, there’s a whole hands on selection of science exhibits. The Hawaii State Museum of Art has changing exhibitions of work by Hawaii’s artists — and bonus, the restaurant downstairs is excellent. ‘Iolani Palace, the former seat of the Hawaiian monarchy is a perfect place to learn about the history of Hawaii and to see where Hawaii’s last queen was held prisoner.

See the stars: On the Big Island, the ‘Imiloa astronomy and science center is a fun place to learn the importance of astronomy to the Polynesians that first arrived in the islands by sailing canoe. There’s a sparkly planetarium and plenty of science fun. And it’s not just for kids — we spent a rather diverting afternoon there learning about the sky, electricity, all kind of things.

Peek underwater: Of course, the best way to see Hawaii’s marine life is to strap on a mask and get in the water, but that’s not always practical. Maui Ocean Center is a lovely little aquarium with beautiful tanks full of the island’s marine residents. Waikiki has an aquarium too, it’s one of the oldest in the nation and is home to a few nautiluses, the oddest crustacean you’ll ever want to see.

Go the the mall: Sure, you can shop, but that’s not the point. Often, there’s free entertainment — hula dancers, musicians… all kinds of Hawaiian cultural events take place at the shopping malls throughout the islands. And hey, if you happen to pick up a plate lunch at the food court before trying on some new aloha wear, well, that’s okay too.

Take a lesson: Speaking of getting some culture, you can get involved first hand. Some of the Outrigger hotels offer Hawaiian cultural activities for their guests — games, ukulele lessons, crash courses in Hawaiian language, lei making… check the program where you’re staying or ask the concierge what’s on for the day and join your fellow guests in learning something new.

Do nothing. Ideally with a view. It’s not going to last. So get another cup of coffee — or a cocktail, it’s your holiday! — and watch the sky. Listen to the wind in the coconut palms, the rain on the roof. Take a nap with the windows open. Let your eyes wander out across the horizon of the Pacific. Hawaii wants you to sit still, chill out, take a back seat while Nature drives. Enjoy it.

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