Whaling ships first arrived in Hawaii in 1820, the same year as the missionaries – and had an equally dramatic impact. Whales were never actually hunted here, but Hawaii swiftly became the centre of the industry and was such a paradise that up to fifty percent of each crew deserted here, to be replaced by native Hawaiians. Decline came with the Civil War – when many ships were deliberately sunk to blockade Confederate ports – and an 1871 disaster, when 31 vessels lingered in the Arctic too long, became frozen in, and had to be abandoned. Ironically, the waters off western Maui now rate among the world’s best areas for whale-watching and between roughly December and April, humpback whales are often visible from the shore, although whale-watching trips can take you much closer. Operators include the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation (pacificwhale.org).

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The glamour, surf beaches and…

22 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

A vast expanse of stunning desert scenery, the Southwest is arguably the USA’s most spectacular region. For splendour and sheer scale, the landscape consisten…

06 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

We asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to vote for the most beautiful locations in the USA. Now the results are in. This gallery showcases the top ten most…

31 May 2017 • Lottie Gross camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month