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Sunrise in Hawaii awakens all the senses with the sound of morning songbirds, the taste of salt in the air, the smell of tropical flowers and the views of multicolored skies. While island sunsets get all the hype, greeting the first light in a peaceful place can set an idyllic tone for the rest of the day.
U.S. mainland travelers to the 50th state tend to wake up early due to the difference in time zones, creating a perfect excuse to seek out the sunrise. But like so much in Hawaii, proclaiming the best sunrise-watching spot is a subjective call.
Following are a few favorite destinations for catching the sun as it makes its debut, magically turning a black night sky to shades of red, orange and pink over the land of aloha.
Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkPick a spot near Halemaumau crater and hear native iiwi birds tune up as day breaks over one of the most active volcanoes on earth.
Liliuokalani GardensLocated on Hilo’s Banyan Drive on the island’s east side, this tranquil oasis offers pre-morning vistas of Hilo Bay and Coconut Island.
Pololu Valley LookoutCome daybreak, this North Kohala perch provides front-row seats as the valley’s magnificent cliffs and coastline dramatically come into focus.
Ke Ala Hele Makalae TrailTracing the island’s eastern coast, this seaside path presents a picturesque venue for launching another beautiful day in paradise.
Kealia BeachStretching one-half mile, Kealia’s soft crescent of sand invites early risers to meditate, stroll, sip coffee and marvel at the sun’s rays spreading across the sea.
HaleakalaThis 10,000-foot-high volcano is so famous for its sunrises that folks drive two hours to get there and huddle in blankets at the summit. The payoff is worth it.
HanaFor an invigorating start to the day, walk 20 minutes up the steep paved road to Fagan’s Cross. The reward: a breathtaking panorama of the Hana coastline.
Lanikai BeachThe two offshore Mokulua Islands create a postcard-perfect backdrop for celebrating the dawn from this quiet east-Oahu waterfront.www.kailuachamber.com/beaches
Makapuu LighthouseAn uphill hike to the historic south shore sentinel leads to a heady sunrise in Hawaii and, in winter, a spectacular spot to see humpback whales.
Hawaii State Parkswww.hawaiistateparks.org
Hawaii Tourism Authoritywww.gohawaii.com
National Park Servicewww.nps.gov