|by Robert Firpo-Cappiello||Beaches, Mountains, National Parks, Trip Ideas, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui||0|
If you visited Hawaii recently, you're not alone. The 50th state is on a pace to set a record for the number of visitors in 2012, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
With the number of visitors up by nearly 9 percent in October, and with those visitors spending nearly 13 percent more money during their stay, the tourism authority is predicting that Hawaii will exceed the target of 7.89 million visitors it set for 2012, the most ever to visit in one year. Tourists will likely spend $13.9 billion for the year, also a record. Reasons for the increase include a rise in seats on flights to Hawaii, increased service from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and a big increase (more than 15 percent) in visitors from Japan.
Each of the Hawaiian islands saw an increase in visitors in October:
The Big Island, home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and 14,000-foot Mauna Kea, with the massive telescopes of the Mauna Kea Observatories, saw an increase of 14.1 percent. Don't miss: Kilauea volcano and views of Halema'uma'u Crater.
Oahu, home to capital city Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, and the pro-surfer mecca, the North Shore, saw an increase of 7.6 percent. Don't miss: The Pearl Harbor and U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
Maui, where visitors can explore endless beaches, the 10,023-foot-tall dormant volcano Haleakala, and ultimate Hawaii road trip on the Hana Highway, saw an increase of 5.4 percent increase. Don't miss: Ka'anapali Beach.
Kauai, known for Waimea Canyon (the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"), the secluded cliffs of Na Pali Beach, and Wailua Falls, saw an increase of 2.7 percent. Don't miss: Waimea Canyon Overlook.