IN PUR­SUIT OF HAP­PI­NESS Hawaii – the world’s happy place. Book now

Is it the wild wa­ter­falls, epic beaches and spec­tac­u­lar vol­ca­noes that put Hawai­ians at the top of the hap­pi­ness league? LIZZY DENING goes to find out

ELLE (UK) - - Contents - Col­lages by GUS & STELLA

THE COOL FOR­EST POOL

is se­ri­ously tak­ing the sting out of the day’s heat as I launch into a lazy breast­stroke. When I’ve dried off, I’m go­ing to buy freshly baked banana bread from the stall up the road, and eat it while watch­ing the sun set over the wild sea with Ross, my fi­ancé. So far, so just-what-we-need. We got en­gaged in Fe­bru­ary, and all the wed-min was be­gin­ning to take its toll, so we es­caped for a stress-bust­ing pre-moon in Hawaii, sup­pos­edly the con­tent­ment cap­i­tal of the world, fly­ing be­tween Kauai, Maui, Big Is­land (AKA Hawaii Is­land) and Oahu.

Last year, it was all about look­ing to Scan­di­navia to give our mood a boost – from get­ting our hygge on to try­ing to live more ‘Dan­ishly’. But per­haps we’ve been look­ing for hap­pi­ness in all the wrong places. When it comes to con­tent­ment, the Hawai­ians are rid­ing high. They have ranked num­ber one in the US for well­be­ing six years run­ning, with cri­te­ria in­clud­ing a strong sense of com­mu­nity, fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity and phys­i­cal health*. We’re af­ter a bit of a hap­pi­ness boost our­selves, and we’ve clearly come to the right place.

Hawaii is made up of 137 is­lands, many of them small or tricky to reach. The main ones are Oahu: where you ar­rive on an in­ter­na­tional flight, and home to tourist-packed, vi­brant Honolulu; Kauai, the green­est (ar­guably most beau­ti­ful) is­land, and much qui­eter than the oth­ers. Then there’s Maui, packed with small, friendly hippy towns, and Big Is­land, the largest, and home to an ac­tive vol­cano. Can’t de­cide? They are all nat­u­rally beau­ti­ful, and great for surf­ing, snorkelling and eat­ing, so you can’t go far wrong. Most new­bies head for Maui, prob­a­bly the best mix­ture of town and country, but lo­cals rec­om­mend Kauai for its au­then­tic, calm vibe.

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