March drizzle fizzling your battery? Recharge six hours away in Maui. Since 2009, Alaska Airlines has flown Portlanders direct to Kahului Airport (OGG). Now there’s competition.
On January 18, Hawaiian Airlines launched a nonstop daily route that connects PDX to the Valley Isle—and in style. Fly on brand-new, 189-seat A321neo jet, marketed by the airline as sustainable thanks to turbofan engines designed to be the most fuel-efficient in their class. Inside the cabin, colors and textiles aim to mimic traditional aspects of island culture (bark cloth, fishing nets), while LED lights evoke the tropical sunrises and sunsets that last year motivated nearly 550,000 PDX travelers to head for Hawaii.
On Maui, the lucky ones stay at luxurious Travaasa Resort (rooms from $475) on the island’s isolated eastern edge. From here, head north along winding Hana Highway, stopping off at Wai'anapanapa State Park’s black sand beach before lunching at Coconut Café, a food truck on the fringe of Ko'olau Forest Reserve known for hefty tacos and freshly squeezed juice.
Next, stroll through the Garden of Eden Arboretum to hibiscus and heliconia-framed Puohokamoa Falls. Cap your day in the western harbor town of Ma'alaea, where guides like the Pacific Whale Foundation say aloha to some other seasonal islanders: North Pacific humpback whales wintering just offshore.
March round-trip tickets from PDX to OGG on Hawaiian Airlines from $400, hawaiianairlines.com