Sightseeing is one of the top things to do in Hawaii. There are plenty of beautiful places to see in the area, so make sure to get your camera ready as each site offers Instagram-ready pictures.
The place is rich in natural wonders, such as towering sea cliffs, lava tubes, botanical gardens, and many more. Exploring the area should be on your Hawaii bucket list.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
One of the awe-inspiring wonders to visit is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The park comprises two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, rising 13,681 feet above sea level.
While in the area, tourists will be greeted with a dramatic volcanic landscapes.
For a more meaningful experience, schedule a eruption viewing at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Witness active lave dragged into seething fountains. The best eruption viewing locations are Uekahuna, Kaenakako’i crater, and Kupina’i Pali.
This park is awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its unique geological landscapes.
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
For tourists that are nature lovers, exploring Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a good place to start.
It is a non-profit national tropical botanical garden that provides over a mile of trails showcasing rare tropical plants and endangered flora from around the globe.
The garden itself is located in a scenic valley with access to Onomea Bay, waterfalls, streams, and other awe-inspiring views.
A 40-acre tropical plant garden and haven for nature lovers, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is home to over 2000 plant species.
Guests can access the lower garden pathways, waterfalls, and ocean by using a 500-foot-long landscaped boardwalk.
Their trails are well-maintained so guests can explore the gardens easily.
Waimea Canyon State Park
If you love hiking and exploring the mountains, then Waimea Canyon State Park is the ideal option for you.
Situated on the western side of Kaua’i, this large canyon is known for its red soil and is dubbed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
The canyon was formed when Waimea river paved its way through the basalt and lava formations of the area.
Considered a nature lover’s paradise, the park is filled with wild foliage, tropical cliffs, and mesmerizing waterfalls.
There are three known lookouts in the canyon that are popular among tourists. These are Waimea Canyon, the Puu Ka Pele, and the Puu Hinahina Lookout.
So take the time to explore these lookouts and discover mother nature at its finest. They have hiking trails for guests to follow.
Top Water Recreational Activities
The beautiful pristine beaches of Hawaii are one the popular places to visit among tourists.
Their amazing sunset views, romantic bays, and beach parks are among the common activities in the area.
However, with their amazing marine life, tourists are assured of more fun and exciting water recreational adventure.
Whale Watching Tours
Whales go to Maui every year to breed, and if you are lucky, you could see one of these amazing animals in its native habitat.
Humpback whales like traveling to the warm, shallow seas off the Hawaiian Islands. Two-thirds of the humpback whales in the North Pacific islands are thought to migrate to Hawaii for breeding, calving, and nursing.
It is a breathtaking image to see mother whales teach their young how to breach the surface of the sea.
Guests have the option to either take a large tour from Lahaina or go for a private excursion from Kaanapali Beach.
However, the best choice for seeing the whales up close are boat tours.
Make sure to book a trip for such an exciting whale watching tours as one of the things to do in Hawaii.
For tourists that are searching for ocean adventures, Oahu’s beautiful beaches are a genuine taste of paradise.
With Hawaii islands stretching 112 miles of coastline, tourists will surely discover beach conditions that are as unique as the islands themselves.
Two of the world-famous beaches, Waikiki Beach and Maui’s North Shore are found in this region.
North Shore beaches are known for its high-octane winter waves. The world’s top surfers flock to this notable surfing destination with its towering, crystalline waves.
Stretching more than 7 miles long, it hold the world’s top surfing events during the coldest winter months, particularly November and December.
Tourists that are new to surfing are advised to take on calmer water, particularly during summer.
Over 8 million tourists visit the Hawaiian Islands each year to enjoy the sun, snorkel, and explore the islands.
The Hawaiian Islands are regarded as one of the top snorkeling locations in the world.
There is almost nothing else like it, with its stunningly blue waters, an abundance of marine life, and weather that is perfect for a tropical getaway.
Some of the best places to snorkel is in Maui. The amazing and uncommon underwater volcano islet known as Molokini Crater is situated about 2.5 miles offshore of Maui’s south shore.
More than 250 kinds of endemic Hawaiian tropical fish can be found there, making it the ideal setting for feeding and breeding marine life. Aside from tropical fishes, you can also discover some manta rays in the area.
Turtle town is another good place for a snorkeling tour. Tourists get to experience Hawaiian green sea turtles in action. Their colorful marine life is surely worthy to discover.
Hearing the words “Hawaiian Islands” makes you think of magnificent beaches, jagged lava beds, colorful orchids and hibiscus blossoms, and lush tropical forests.
Swimming is one of the common water recreational activities of tourists visiting Hawaii. Regardless what island you choose to visit, a beautiful swimming beach is waiting for you, with stretches of white or black sand and clear waters.
Designed to be versatile and is great for swimming, Waikiki Beach is popular among locals and tourists.
The area is not only perfect for swimming, but also paddle boarding and kayaking.
Since there is an area that is walled off from waves, this beach is the ideal place for guests traveling with children.
Another popular beach to visit in Hawaii are Hapuna State Beach and Kua Bay, which are located in The Big Island.
Scuba diving is a tourists’ Hawaii bucket list. The popular place for such activity is found in the remote island of Lana’i.
Guests will take a ride from Maui to Lana’i. Discover the different species of tropical fish, corals, sea turtles, and dolphins. You can also explore the pristine waters of the Au Au Channel.
If you are a beginner in scuba diving, Honolulu offers lesson to newbies. Explore the marine life and learn from a professional diving instructor.
Top Outdoor Places to Explore
To visit Hawaii means to experience the best of everything. From ocean adventures, volcano tours, to outdoor adventures, the Hawaiian Islands are too amazing not to explore.
Haleakala National Park
Situated on the island of Maui, Haleakala National Park is a popular destination with over one million visitors each year.
Tourist can find a lot of adventures in the park and experience such an exciting day. The route up the mountain is somewhat winding but nicely kept.
The volcano’s peak, Haleakal Crater, and the region surrounding it all make up the summit area. It is the ideal go to place for adventurous tourists.
Guests can start their day by observing the amazing sunrise from the summit of Mr. Haleakala, then decide whether to spend the afternoon ziplining through the treetops or on a bike tour of the park.
There are also some hiking trails in the area for guests that prefers walking.
Diamond Head Crater
Renowned for its historic hiking trail, Diamond Head is the most famous monument in Hawaii.
Guests will be amazed with its breathtaking coastal views and military heritage.
This historic site stands out due to its distinctive profile that sits near the eastern edge of the coastline of Waikiki beach.
When touring the area, guests will discover bunkers and a huge navigational beacon that was built in 1917.
From Koko Head to Wai’anae, the coastline looks like something out of a postcard. During winters, guests may see humpback whales passing by.
Top Cultural Attractions
Tourists who crave to learn more about Hawaiian culture, will love exploring the area.
The state is an exotic paradise with stunning natural scenery, interesting historic sites, a vibrant culture, and rare discoveries.
Enrich your vacation and explore the beautiful landscapes the Hawaiian islands has to offer.
Visiting this cultural attraction should be included in your things to do in Hawaii.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center, a 42-acre cultural living museum with eight different recreated communities, is situated on Oahu’s north shore.
Voted as the number 1 paid attraction in Hawaii, this cultural center offers 6 Pacific Island villages and exhibits.
These are the island cultures of Hawaii, Fiji, Aotearoa, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga.
For each Polynesian culture, tourists will witness the natives demonstrate their arts, crafts, and traditions.
Guests can mingle and learn more about the history and culture of each village. The Polynesian Cultural Center also provide Dinner, through their royal Ali-i Luau feast.
Get to try their mainland dishes with authentic island entertainment. At night, experience their exciting evening show with fire, song, and dance.
Guests are really given a real treat of their amazing Hawaiian culture.
Kilohana Plantation, Kauai
Kilohana Plantation is among the best locations for experiencing Hawaiian culture.
Tourists can take the vintage train around the 14 hectares of native Hawaiian fruit and plant gardens.
After touring the area, a traditional luau dinner follows. Part of this traditional Polynesian cuisine dinner event is to witness the native torch lighting. After dinner, a captivating stage production follows.
It features traditional instruments, hula dancers, and Hawaiian music telling the tale of the Tahitian migration to Hawaii.
Top Historical Landmarks
After visiting some cultural attractions, try to visit some of their historical landmarks as well.
Get to learn more about the 50th state of the US. The Hawaiian Islands is not just about beautiful beaches and fantastic climate.
They also have notable landmarks that tells the story of Hawaiian history.
Each year, millions of people visit Pearl Harbor to learn about World War II and to see its monuments and historical landmarks.
There are 5 historic sites honoring the events that changed the course of history.
Hear from survivors as they describe the chaotic scene on Battleship Row in their own words.
Walk through the national historic landmark that still displays signs of that tragic morning.
The 5 notable sites of this national historic landmark are the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, home of the USS Arizona memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and USS Utah Memorial.
The second historic site is the Pacific Historic Parks, which operates the popular museum store.
The other sites are as follows; Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Kuamo’o Battle Site and Lekeleke Burial Grounds
Tourists that are interested to learn more about the Battle of Kuamo’o will find this historic site to be educational.
Fought in December 1819, this battle was the last fight among the Hawaiians. The battle was about keeping the traditional Kapu system and ancient Hawaiian religious beliefs or to abolish it.
More than 300 warriors perished during this battle. The warriors are buried in the lava rock hills that have been terraced, above the Lekeleke memorial plaque.
Pu-uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
To visit Hawaii does not only mean enjoying their beaches, but you get to learn about their rich history and culture.
One of their featured sites is the Pu’uhonua O Honaaunau National Historical Park. This is the only preserved Pu’uhonuoa in the island of Hawaii.
This site offers a breathtaking view of Hawaii’s spiritual and cultural heritage.
The Pu’uhonua O Honaaunau National Historical Park was designated as a National Historical Park in 1961. It was restored and open to the public for tours.
Top Beach Attractions
Visiting Hawaii will not be complete without exploring their beaches. Claiming to have the most beautiful beach in the world, they come in every, shape, and color.
Each beach caters to the preferred activities of their guests. From surfing, snorkeling, swimming, and other water recreational activities.
To know what are the popular beaches in Hawaii, here are some of the lists that you can explore with your family, friends, or love ones.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Since the early 1900s, tourists have flocked to Waikiki Beach. With its serene, golden, crescent-shaped stretch of sand on the island of Oahu, it is no wonder why tourists are amazed with what they have to offer.
It has a fantastic tropical environment and offers a ton of events and activities for people of all ages.
Waikiki Beach has several facilities that guests can avail of. They have a beach shower section, bathroom facilities, lifeguard stations, restaurant and food stalls, barbeque grills and tables, and a parking area.
Kailua Beach Park
Kailua Beach is the perfect location for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the warm water temperature, consistent offshore trade winds, and a protected reef.
The brilliant blue waters meet a three-mile crescent-shaped shoreline covered in very fine sand, which blends into the surrounding skyline.
Popular activities also include stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
Guests will also enjoy the view of Flat Island, Moku Nui, and Moku Iki. These three are the closest offshore island seen from Kailua Beach.
Punaluu Black Sand Beach
Because of constant volcanic activity, guests will discover both white and black sand beaches on the island of Hawaii.
It is made of basalt sand, which is produced when basaltic lava strikes the ocean and quickly cools, breaking into tiny pieces creating a jewel like shimmering beach. Panaluu Black Sand Beach is situated on the southeast coast of the island of Kau.
Aside from marveling the beauty of such an unforgettable site, guests can also discover Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the beach.
However, since the Hawaiian sea turtles are considered endangered species, guests are prohibited from touching them.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Extending two-mile along Kauai’s north shore, Hanalei Bay is backed by 4,000 foot emerald mountains and a heart-stopping bay.
It is a popular landmark and a favorite recreation spot for locals and tourists. Depending on your activity, guests are encouraged to listen to weather and surf forecasts.
For surfers, waves are more active in the winter. For guests that prefer to swim the area, summer is the best time to visit. The waters are calm and more inviting.
Top Camping Grounds
Tourists that loves the outdoors will love some of Hawaii’s notable camping grounds. The best known campground is located at Maui.
However, guests are advice to check with the camp site if permits are necessary in some of their designated campgrounds.
This drive-in camping site is situated between Haleakala summit and Kula. The grove got its name from Ralph Hosmer.
He was known to have planted a variety of exotic trees on the property in the early 1900s. This was in an effort to start a timber farming industry.
Hosmer Grove can accommodate 50 people. After sunset, the campground gets quiet as campers sleeps early. Most campers visit the area to witness the sunrise summit at 4 A.M.
Visiting Kipahulu is one of the list of Hawaii activities for most campers.
This string of freshwater pool is within walking distance from the campgrounds on the Kuloa Point Trail.
It is the go to destination for hikers to witness the beautiful coastal scenery, and to swim in the freshwater.
Guests are advised to visit the area early in the morning before the place gets crowded. While in the campground, guests will see rare birds and non-native Myna. Kipahulu can accommodate 100 people.
With all these things to do in Hawaii, tourists are assured to encounter lots of fun and exciting experience.
There are ton of great locations to stay if you are thinking about visiting the Big Island, Oahu, Kauai, or Maui.
Make sure to check out all their activities so as not to miss all the adventure that awaits you. So, what are you waiting for? Book a tour to Hawaii for your next vacation trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do on my first trip to Hawaii?
When planning a trip to Hawaii, it can be difficult to know where to start. With so many amazing things to see and do, it can be hard to narrow down the options. However, there are a few must-see attractions that should not be missed on any trip to the island state. First, no visit to Hawaii would be complete without seeing the iconic Waimea Canyon. This massive canyon is over 10 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, making it one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. Another must-see destination is the Haleakala National Park, home to the tallest mountain in Hawaii. This sprawling park offers stunning hiking trails and incredible views of the island. Finally, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without spending some time on the beach. With over 750 miles of coastline, Hawaii has no shortage of amazing beaches to choose from. Whether you want to relax on the sand or go for a swim, there is sure to be a beach that is perfect for you. So, if you are looking for things to do on your first trip to Hawaii, make sure to add these three destinations to your list.
How long should a trip to Hawaii be?
The length of your trip to Hawaii will depend on what you want to do and see. If you’re just looking to relax on the beach, a few days may be sufficient. However, if you want to explore the islands more thoroughly, we recommend staying for at least a week.
Which is better Maui or Waikiki?
There’s no easy answer when it comes to deciding whether Maui or Waikiki is the better destination in Hawaii. Both have their own unique attractions and activities that appeal to different types of travelers. Maui is known for its stunning natural beauty, with its lush green mountains, pristine beaches, and dramatic coastline. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, or simply relax and soak up the incredible views. Waikiki, on the other hand, is a bustling beach town with a lively nightlife scene and plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. It’s also home to some of the best surfing beaches in Hawaii. So it really depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. If you want to experience the best of Hawaii’s natural beauty, Maui is the place for you. But if you’re looking for a more active, vibrant atmosphere, Waikiki is the better choice.
What is the best time of year to go to Hawaii?
The best time of year to visit Hawaii depends on your preferences and what you want to do while you’re there. If you’re looking for great weather, the months of April, May, September, and October are typically the most pleasant, with temperatures in the low 80s. However, these months are also the busiest, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you may want to visit during the shoulder seasons of March and November. If you’re interested in surfing, the winter months are the best time to catch waves, with waves typically reaching up to 20 feet high.
Is Hawaii expensive to visit?
Hawaii is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world, and as such, it can be quite expensive to visit. However, there are ways to save money while you’re on the island. One way to save is to take advantage of free activities, like hiking in Hawaii’s many state parks or visiting one of the many beaches. You can also save by eating at local restaurants instead of tourist traps, and by staying in budget-friendly accommodation options like hostels or vacation rentals. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without breaking the bank.
What is the number one attraction in Hawaii?
The number one attraction in Hawaii is the Honolulu Zoo. The zoo is home to over 300 animals from all over the world, including lions, tigers, and elephants. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of shows and educational programs. The zoo is located in Kapiolani Park, which offers stunning views of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.
What is the best month to visit Hawaii?
The best month to visit Hawaii depends on your preferences and what you want to do while you’re there. If you’re looking for great weather, the months of April, May, September, and October are typically the most pleasant, with temperatures in the low 80s. However, these months are also the busiest, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you may want to visit during the shoulder seasons of March and November. If you’re interested in surfing, the winter months are the best time to catch waves, with waves typically reaching up to 20 feet high.
Which Hawaiian island is safest?
All of the Hawaiian islands are relatively safe, but if you’re looking for the safest option, Kauai is the best choice. The island has a low crime rate and is located away from the more tourist-heavy areas of Hawaii. Additionally, Kauai is home to many state parks and beaches, which offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
How do I not look like a tourist in Hawaii?
If you want to blend in with the locals, there are a few things you can do. First, avoid wearing touristy clothing, like Hawaiian shirts or anything with a lot of logos. Second, try to learn a few basic phrases in Hawaiian. Third, be respectful of local customs and traditions. And finally, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone – Hawaiians are known for being friendly and welcoming to visitors.