The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Hawaii: Paddling canoes, literally and virtually, into the past

A canoe trip on Oahu or Maui gives you insight into Hawaii's rich history

When you visit Oahu and Maui, you can relive the experiences of the islands’ early settlers who arrived in large ocean-going canoes.

On Oahu, Hawaiian Ocean Adventures offers experiences in hand-built sailing canoes along the island’s windward shore. During the two-hour journeys, crew members share the rich history of Polynesian sailing as guests look for marine life.

The tours begin from Kualoa Ranch in Kaneohe and cost $114 a person. They can be booked online or by calling (808) 224-4487.

On Maui, guests staying at Travaasa Hana resort can get a workout as they paddle into the past aboard a custom-made outrigger canoe. Giant sea turtles often swim alongside, and in winter and spring, humpback whales are often seen.

The 1 1/2-hour experience is designed for two people and costs $75 per person. Rooms start at $350 a night. For more information, call (808) 359-2401.

Landlubbers can virtually hop aboard a sailing ship at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum. At 1:30 each afternoon, guests navigate their way from Tahiti to Hawaii during a planetarium program called “Wayfinders: Waves, Winds and Stars.”

The 45-minute program, included in the price of admission, was produced in collaboration with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which replicates early ocean travel without the help of modern navigation instruments.

Also on Oahu, visitors can see Iosepa, a 60-foot, double-hulled voyaging canoe at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The vessel, launched 10 years ago, is the centerpiece of the “Voyage of Discovery” show 1 and 4 p.m. daily. Inside the halau waa (canoe house), Hawaiian villagers explain how their ancestors used similar boats for long, deepwater trips centuries ago.

The presentation is included in the cost of admission. Various ticket packages are available. Info: (800) 367-7060.

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