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I am saving the US’s last state for last, it seems. I have lived in or passed through the other 49 (even lived in Alaska for four months). But it is Hawaii that lies at the top of my bucket list and in the deepest part in America’s go-west-young-man soul.

I am not sure why it has eluded me to this point in my travels but I get pumped thinking about what that trip will include because Hawaii is something of a bucket list in itself, containing things I want to do while I am there: learn to surf, bike down a volcano, camp in the rain forest, stargaze on the beach and snorkel above sharks -- just for starters. I am hankering for this fantasy island of swaying palms, killer sunsets, grass skirts, ukulele strumming, lei garlands and outdoor adventure. It is paradise without a passport (if you are an American) and it calls my name on every cold winter's day walking around New York's distant archipelago cousin, where I live and work.

This week's stories are whetting my appetite for my eventual trip to Hawaii and will either do the same for you (if have also yet to check it off your list) or it will give you new reasons to return and new paths along which to follow your bliss. The best starting point is "Lonely Planet's top 10 Hawaiian vistas", a survey of the best spots across Maui , O'ahu and the Big Island where you will take the obligatory perfect photo and explore from there. If you surf, or want to learn or just watch and fantasize about what is arguably the coolest sport known to man, check out Jake Howard's "Top surf spots in Oahu". Then, alternatively, you can avoid the sand and surf altogether and find peace and nature on volcanoes and in national parks consulting Ali Lemer's "Hawaii for beach haters". If you really want to get away, the vacation-within-a-vacation is Moloka'i, profiled by Robert Reid in "Hawaii's hush-hush getaway". And to round out the perfect trip, make sure you give yourself at least a day in the state capital, following Rana Freeman's "A perfect day in Honolulu".

Aloha and have fun all week as we tempt you into heading into the middle of the Pacific for island hopping ecstasy.

Monday: Lonely Planet's top 10 Hawaiian vistas

Tuesday: Lonely Planet's top surf spots in Oahu

Wednesday: Hawaii for beach haters

Thursday: Hawaii's hush-hush getaway

Friday: A perfect day in Honolulu

 

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