Trip Finder
Hawaiian Islands
Information for Enrolled Students

Packing List

Keep in mind that June and July stay pretty warm. Keep this is mind as you prepare for your Moondance Adventure!

Base Layer Top

Synthetic, non-cotton, light-weight long sleeve top

Qty: 1
Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Long-Sleeve Tee or Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoody


Minimum 2 synthetic, non-cotton t-shirts, other shirts may be cotton & okay to get dirty

Qty: 4
Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily T-Shirt, Marmot Windridge

Lightweight Top or Hoodie

Synthetic, non-cotton. This can be a fleece pullover, sweater or a full-zip jacket

Qty: 1
Patagonia R1 Fleece or Moondance Hoodie

Rain Jacket with Hood

100% waterproof rain jacket with a hood - no ponchos!

Qty: 1
Patagonia Torrentshell or Marmot Precip

Sports Bra

For girls

Qty: 4

Required Clothing Items

Quick-dry Shorts

Synthetic, non-cotton shorts

Qty: 5
Patagonia Baggies

Bathing Suits

Boys: your quick-dry shorts can double as your bathing suit

Qty: 3
Patagonia Baggies

Lightweight Bottoms

Capilene bottoms or yoga pants (for girls, if you prefer to wear them)

Qty: 1

Hiking Pants

Synthetic, lightweight pants

Qty: 1


Synthetic, non-cotton are best (but a couple cotton pairs are permitted)

Qty: 6

Required Clothing Items

Baseball Hat

A Baseball Hat or Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat for Sun Protection

Qty: 1

Warm Hat

Wool or fleece, non-cotton beanie

Qty: 1

Required Gear

Tennis Shoes

A pair of comfortable, closed-toed, sturdy shoes

Qty: 1

River Shoes

These can be open-toed, but do need to have a back strap

Qty: 1
Chaco, Teva, or Keen

Flip Flops/Crocs

Backless, comfortable shoes that can get wet

Qty: 1


Non-cotton, lightweight hiking socks + regular socks

Qty: 4 Pair
Smartwool or Darn Tough

Required Shoes

Duffel Bag

70 liters

Qty: 1
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 70 Liters

Day Pack

20 – 30 liter school backpack to carry your rain jacket, water bottle and snacks

Qty: 1
Patagonia Refugio Pack 26 L or Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Day Pack (For a lighter option)

Mesh Bag

For storing dirty clothes & gear

Qty: 2

For carrying all of your gear

Sleeping Bag Liner

silk, cotton, or synthetic

Qty: 1
Sea to Summit Expander Travel Liner

Sleeping Bag

Synthetic sleeping bag rated 40° – 50° Fahrenheit with a compression stuff sack

Qty: 1

Ground Pad

Insulating ground pad

Qty: 1
Therm-a-rest RidgeRest or Therm-a-Rest ProLite

Your duffel bag needs to be able to fit all of your belongings. Your sleeping bag & ground pad will take up a lot of the room in your duffel, so we encourage you to pack light around those bulky items.

Dopp Kit

Contains: toothbrush, toothpaste, prescription medication, travel shampoo & soap, deodorant

Qty: 1
Patagonia Black Hole 6L-M

Prescription Glasses + Contacts

If your child wears glasses and/or contacts, please bring at least one spare pair of glasses/ lenses. Contact lens wearers should bring a pair of glasses as backup in addition to contacts

Qty: 2 pair

Reef-Safe, Non-Spray Sunscreen

Travel size

Qty: 1

Required Hygiene Items. *Please keep in mind that you will be carrying all toiletries with you on the plane, so make sure they are travel-sized!

Water Bottles

32oz Water Bottles

Qty: 2
Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth Water Bottle


With Fresh Batteries + 2 Sets of Spare Batteries; This is very important!

Qty: 1
Black Diamond Spot or Black Diamond Storm


With 100% UV Protection

Qty: 1

Sunglasses Holder

Qty: 1
Croakies or Chums

Nylon Stuff Sack

Extra Nylon Stuff Sack (Sleeping Bag Size)

Qty: 1
Sea To Summit Stuff Sack

Cup With Lid

Sturdy plastic or metal; thermal plastic mug is best

Qty: 1
16oz Nalgene Wide Mouth

Bowl With Lid

Qty: 1
Tupperware or Nalgene

Plastic Spork OR Spoon & Fork, + Plastic Knife

Qty: 1
Light My Fire Spork, Sea to Summit

Camp Chair

Packable chair for camping

Qty: 1
Crazy Creek

Required For Your Trip

Camp Chair

HIGHLY recommend

Qty: 1
Crazy Creek


Personal Wallet with $150 spending money and valid identification

Qty: 1


Absorbent & quick to dry, large or extra-large works best, No Cotton!

Qty: 2
Sea to Summit Drylite Towel

Bandana or Buff

For additional sun and wind protection. Buffs are tube-like and can be worn up to 12 different ways providing versatile sun protect. Can also be worn as a headband.

Qty: 1

Additional Required Items


With charger, extra battery, and 32-64 GB memory card

Qty: 1
Canon Powershot G9 X


With charger, extra battery, and 32-64 GB memory card

Qty: 1
Used GoPros available for purchase on Moondance Gear Store

External Charger

Portable charger/power bank to charge camera and GoPro

Qty: 1

A Good Book

Paperback books are less bulky

Qty: 1

Notebook with Pen

For journaling

Qty: 1

Long Sleeve Rash Guard

For sun protection and comfort in the water

Qty: 1
Patagonia Unisex Long-Sleeved Rashguard

Sleeping Bag Liner

Silk, cotton, or synthetic; for those warmer nights

Qty: 1
Sea to Summit Expander Travel Liner

ENO Hammock

A great option for downtime on the beach!

Qty: 1

Backpacker's Pillow

A luxury to have while traveling or camping

Qty: 1

Swimmer's Ear Drops

If prone to swimmer's ear

Qty: 1

Fins + Snorkel

We encourage you to bring fins + a snorkel or extra cash to rent them for free time swims

Qty: 1

Not required but highly recommended. Since we don’t allow cell phones during our trips, you may not use your phone as a camera. Leaders will take photos that will be shared at the end of the summer

Packing Tips

In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost in transit, we want you to be prepared. Therefore, wear tennis or hiking shoes on the plane. Plus, pack the following items from this packing list in your daypack / school backpack carry-on:

  • A change of clothes (underwear + t-shirt + shorts or pants)
  • Your rain jacket
  • Prescription medications & toothbrush
  • ID, money

These items are already included in the packing list – they are not additional items!



4-person, single gender tents at front country campsites.


Please bring all personal eating utensils listed on the packing list. Moondance will provide all group cooking gear.

If you have any special dietary restrictions / considerations, please contact the Moondance office for further information.


Please check your parent dashboard for your child's flight information. Flight information is listed in the "Forms" section in the "Travel+Flight Information" section. 

Please check your parent dashboard for your child’s flight information. Flight information is listed in the “Forms” section underneath the “Travel+Flight Information” section.

If you’d like to book your travel through our partnered travel agency, Exito, please follow this link to start the booking process. They are familiar with all Moondance flights.

• Keep in mind the group travels to and from the airport together, so arriving and departing within the specified windows below is very important.

• Remember when booking your child’s flight to allow at least a 2-hour layover in any connecting airport to avoid missed connections or baggage delays• If your child flies as an unaccompanied minor, please remember to pay the unaccompanied minor fee for both legs of the trip when booking travel. We will contact you in the Spring to give your child’s trip leader’s names and contact information for the unaccompanied minor contact. In the meantime, please give the airline your information.

• If your child flies as an unaccompanied minor, a leader wearing a Moondance t-shirt will meet your child at the flight’s arrival gate. All other students will meet their leader at the Delta baggage claim.

• Ideally, fly direct and depart early to prevent any problems with flight changes and delays.

  • Geographic Isolation: Hawaii is the most isolated population center on Earth, located about 2,400 miles from California and 3,850 miles from Japan.
  • Volcanoes: The Big Island of Hawaii is home to Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base on the ocean floor. It’s also home to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet.
  • Unique Language: Hawaiian is an official language of the state, alongside English. It has only 13 letters, including five vowels and eight consonants.
  • Lei Tradition: Giving a lei, a garland of flowers, is a traditional Hawaiian gesture of welcome, affection, or respect. It’s customary to accept a lei graciously.
  • State Fish: The official state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, also known as the reef triggerfish.
  • Pineapple Industry: While Hawaii is famous for its pineapples, they are not native to the islands. Pineapples were introduced in the early 19th century.
  • No Daylight Saving Time: Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time, keeping its clocks the same year-round.
  • Surfing Birthplace: Modern surfing originated in Hawaii, and the sport holds a significant cultural and historical importance.
  • Hula Dance: The hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance accompanied by chant (oli) or song (mele). It’s an important part of Hawaiian culture and storytelling.
  • Protected Marine Life: Hawaii is home to the Hawaiian monk seal, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.
  • Coffee Cultivation: Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee commercially. The Kona coffee region on the Big Island is particularly famous.
  • No Snakes: It is illegal to own snakes in Hawaii, and the state has strict laws to prevent their introduction.
  • Royal Palace: Hawaii has the only royal palace on U.S. soil, the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, which was the residence of the Hawaiian monarchs.
  • Rainbows: Hawaii is often referred to as the “Rainbow State” because of the frequent and vibrant rainbows that appear due to its weather conditions.
  • Island Diversity: The Hawaiian archipelago consists of 137 islands, but only 7 are inhabited: Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, and Niihau.

Hawaii, an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, has a rich and diverse history. The islands were first settled by Polynesians around 1,500 years ago, who developed a complex society with advanced navigation and agricultural skills. In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook arrived, marking the beginning of significant Western contact. The islands were united under a single kingdom by King Kamehameha I in 1810. Throughout the 19th century, Hawaii’s economy grew with the establishment of sugar plantations, leading to significant immigration from Asia. The monarchy was overthrown in 1893 by American and European settlers, and in 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the United States. It became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. Hawaii’s unique culture is a blend of its indigenous heritage and the diverse influences of its settlers, making it a vibrant and culturally rich destination.

  • Gateway Cities/Airport: Kona (KOA) or Lihue (LIH) – depending on trip session
  • Capital: Honolulu, Oahu
  • Area: 10,931 sq. miles
  • Highest Point: Mount Kea (13,796 ft.)
  • Time Zone: 5 hours behind CST Population: 1,433,336 (2022)

Manta Rays

  • Manta Ray Night Dive: One of the most famous dives on the Big Island where divers and snorkelers can witness these gentle giants performing their graceful underwater ballet as they feed on plankton.
  • Size and Behavior: Manta rays can have wingspans of up to 18 feet and are known for their acrobatic flips and glides through the water.

Sea Turtles

  • Honu (Green Sea Turtle): Commonly spotted resting on the reefs or swimming gracefully in the waters. They are protected under Hawaiian law and can be observed in their natural habitat.
  • Hawksbill Turtle: Less common than the green sea turtle, these turtles can occasionally be seen and are known for their beautiful shells.

Reef Sharks

  • White-tip Reef Sharks: Often found resting in caves and under ledges during the day, these sharks are relatively small and pose no threat to humans.
  • Black-tip Reef Sharks: Known for their distinctive black-tipped fins, they are frequently seen patrolling the reefs.

Tropical Fish

  • Humuhumunukunukuapua’a: Hawaii’s state fish, also known as the reef triggerfish, is colorful and has a unique shape.
  • Parrotfish: Known for their bright colors and beak-like mouths used to scrape algae off coral.
  • Butterflyfish: These small, brightly colored fish are often seen in pairs and are easily recognizable by their patterns and shapes.
  • Angelfish: Larger and more solitary than butterflyfish, angelfish are also colorful and add to the vibrant underwater scenery.


  • Moray Eels: These eels can often be seen poking their heads out of crevices in the coral. They come in various colors and patterns.
  • Dragon Moray Eel: Known for their distinctive, dragon-like appearance and bright colors.


  • Day Octopus (He’e): These intelligent and curious creatures are masters of camouflage and can often be spotted by observant divers.


  • Spinner Dolphins: Often seen during surface intervals, these playful dolphins are known for their acrobatic spins out of the water.
  • Bottlenose Dolphins: Larger than spinner dolphins, they are occasionally spotted around dive sites.


  • Humpback Whales: Seasonal visitors to the Hawaiian waters, typically seen from December to April. While not a common sight on dives, their songs can sometimes be heard underwater during this period.
  • Pilot Whales: These smaller whales can sometimes be spotted in deeper waters around the Big Island.

Coral Reefs

  • Hard Corals: Form the structure of the reefs, providing habitats for a myriad of marine life.
  • Soft Corals and Sea Fans: Add to the diversity and color of the underwater landscape.



One of Hawaii’s beaches is named “Plastic Beach” because of trash that washes up on shore.Welcome to the Hawaiian Islands! The Big island is home to 8 of 13 climate zones in the world– and the big island is smaller than New Jersey! Thanks to the diverse ecology of the islands, the Hawaiian big island provides a habitat to a number of animals like whales, dolphins, sea turtles, Manta Rays and the Hawaiian Monk Seal. While Hawaii houses spectacular landscapes and rich biodiversity, it also houses one of the dirtiest beaches on earth.Kamilo Beach, on Hawaii’s Big Island, has been named one of the most plastic-polluted areas on the planet. Hawaii sits in the center of swirling ocean currents, which causes trash and plastic to accumulate in the ocean, eventually washing up on the shoreline. This ocean current catches plastic from all over the world, and some of this trash is even decades old. In fact, Hawaii is one of the most plastic-polluted areas of the ocean. It is estimated that for every 50 grains of sand on the beach, 21 plastic bits can be found. That is a lot of plastic! Not only does this trash affect the beaches, but the trash also poses a harmful threat to the wildlife. To help mitigate the effects of plastic pollution, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund promotes many different projects like beach clean ups and promoting awareness for alternative methods to plastic use. Each year, volunteers pick up between 15 and 20 tons of trash just on Kamilo Beach. While you are exploring Hawaii’s beautiful beaches, there are a few things you can do to help the environment like picking up trash and leaving the beach better than you found it!

Hawaii sits at the center of swirling ocean currents, just east of the Great Pacific garbage patch. As a result, its shoreline catches plastic from all over the world, some of it decades old

  • Hawaii is one of the areas of the ocean hit hardest by plastic pollution from the ocean. It is estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year.
  • After last summer’s lava flow created a pristine beach line at Pohoiki on Hawaii Island, National Geographic pointed out that the beach may not be as clean as it should be. The publication stated that for every 50 grains of sand on the new beach, 21 plastic bits can be found.

Kamilo Beach, located on the south-eastern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, has been dubbed one of the most plastic-polluted spots on the planet. On a bright day last summer, Larson and fellow members of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF), a team of conservation volunteers, collected 1,400lb of it.

CLICK HERE for an interactive map of where in the world we will be on our Hawaiian Islands trip!