Most people assume island life in the middle of the Pacific will
be slower than where they come from, and for most, that is the
case. Of course, visitors can stay in high gear if they want to,
and the islands of Hawaii provide the opportunities for both
ongoing activity and simply kicking back. Just ask Samantha Campos,
associate editor for the alternative newsweekly, Maui Time Weekly,
who sorts through the best arts and entertainment events for
Each week Campos selects the newspaper’s entertainment “Picks of
the Week” for Maui.
“Some weeks are better than others,” she admitted. “We try to skip
over the obvious, like the Eagles concert. Mainly we say check out
this band you may have missed that plays every week.”
Campos’ base of comparison is San Francisco, where she moved from
in 1997. By contrast, Maui, and most of Hawaii, is a place of small
towns. Still, the islands are fortunate to have lots of live music
and talented, local artists.
So what does a Hawaii arts and nightlife columnist recommend
visitors do to soak in the local scene and scenery? Her first tip
is to slow down.
“Initially, my recommendation is simply to relax, kick back and
smell the plumeria. ‘Lo-fi’ activities like walking on the beach,
taking a leisurely drive or merely eating as much sushi as possible
should not be overlooked.”
The sheer beauty of the sleepier islands of Molokai, off Maui, and
Kauai can be enjoyed with scenic drives or Campos’ personal
favorite, helicopter rides.
“I believe the greatest charm in these islands lies within the
people who inhabit them,” Campos said. “On Molokai, take a break,
shoot some pool and share a cold beer with the good folks at the
Paddlers’ Inn. On Kauai, head over to Stevenson’s Library (at the
Grand Hyatt Kauai), where you can enjoy a cigar and live jazz
nightly or Friday’s popular sushi and martini night.”
Her first pick on Oahu is the popular Polynesian Cultural Center,
both for its family-geared entertainment and its “excellent insight
into Hawaiian culture.”
Otherwise, visitors should head to the island’s North Shore and
visit the town of Haleiwa. Its surf culture can be experienced in
its galleries, boutiques and the North Shore Surf & Cultural
No one should skip Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big
Island, and few visitors to Hawaii do.
“What other chance would you have to witness in person the dramatic
flow of hot, molten lava?” Campos asked.
Visitors can also unwind and replenish after the long drive to the
park with a side-trip to the neighboring Volcano Winery.
On her home turf of Maui, the Maui Film Festival showcases
high-quality films every Wednesday on the big screen at the Maui
Arts and Cultural Center. Visitors can also mingle among the locals
over dinner or desserts on the grounds. In June, the Film Festival
heads to Wailea and is the annual event not to be missed on
“Here, legions of film industry bigwigs, visitors and locals alike
gather under the stars or on the sand to watch the best in movies
for the year in the highest quality outdoor theaters, with a
whirlwind of accompanying parties and promotional events,” she
Sometimes, Hawaii is anything but low-key and feels like the center
of the universe.