Hawaii is on just about everyone’s list of must-visit travel destinations. The beautiful landscapes, wonderful local culture, gorgeous beaches, and exhilarating activities are just a few of the reasons why people travel to Hawaii. Additionally, a vacation in any of the Hawaiian Islands is the perfect opportunity for rest and relaxation.
Each island in Hawaii has its own charm, vibe, and attractions. Whether you are planning a family vacation, romantic weekend getaway, or a group adventure, the Hawaiian archipelago has so much to offer. Below are the top ten things to do in Hawaii.
1. Explore Waikiki
Waikiki, one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions, is a favourite among local and foreign visitors. This Honolulu suburb boasts a crescent shaped beach, amazing land and water activities, and a bustling nightlife. Once the home of Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki offers the conveniences you’d want in a modern city while preserving its natural beauty.
2. Visit Pearl Harbor
A trip to Hawaii is never complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. With Maui as your starting point, go on a day trip to Oahu to explore two of its most visited attractions – the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri battleship.
The memorial is situated directly atop the sunken USS Arizona battleship. Take your visit as a rare opportunity to pay your respects to the fallen heroes during the WWII Pearl Harbor attack.
The USS Missouri Memorial is located in Ford Island, roughly a 30-minute bus ride from the Pearl Harbour Visitor Center. The USS Missouri, the last battleship built by the US Navy and the location of the 1945 Japanese surrender, was used in combat service from WWII until Operation Desert Storm.
3. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
Hawaii has a beautiful local culture waiting to be experienced. It is a mix of different Polynesian cultures, traditions, and lifestyles brought by the first settlers in the island.
The Polynesian Cultural Center, located in Oahu and easily accessible from Honolulu, is a theme park and museum that features different demonstrations that showcase the lively culture of the Polynesian Islanders. Catch music and dance performances, as well as games and craft demonstrations that portray the islanders’ different traditions and way of life. During your exploration of the centre, take note of the different sections representing the different islands within the Polynesian triangle.
4. Be one with nature at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a historical landmark that attracts many tourists visiting the Big Island. The park features temples and a wide collection of traditional wood cravings, in addition to beautiful scenery. The 180-acre historical park is also home to a wide population of honu, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, a revered and remarkable creature that’s considered a symbol of good luck and longevity.
5. Conquer Mt. Haleakala
A must-visit for those looking for the ultimate fun and adventure, the Haleakala National Park is home to the world’s largest volcano and numerous viewpoints for experiencing the breathtaking Maui sunrise and sunset. The park also features challenging hiking trails, unparalleled volcanic landscapes, and endangered species that inhabit its lush rainforest.
6. Cruise along Hana Road
Practically anyone who has been to Hawaii and has travelled to Maui from Oahu will really gush about Hana Road, that beautiful stretch of highway that connects the historic town of Pa’ia to the pristine tropical paradise of Hana, both in Maui County.
Pa’ia, an old plantation town, with its fine beaches is among Hawaii’s best-known windsurfing destinations. Hana, on the other hand, impresses with its cascading waterfalls, rugged shoreline, inviting beaches, lush greenery, and layback atmosphere.
7. Marvel at the beauty of Waimea Canyon
Called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon is located in Kauai. The 16 kilometre-long natural attraction has many lookouts offering the best views of the gorge. Take the trip to the canyon and experience what could be Hawaii’s most dramatic, if not the most scenic, landscapes.
8. Drive up Mauna Kea summit
Considered the highest mountain in the archipelago and in the Pacific region, Mauna Kea is a sight to behold. The mountain, at 13,796 ft., is a favourite ski and snowboarding destination among locals and travellers who are brave enough to take on its steepest slopes. At its 4,200 metre-high summit lie the Mauna Kea observatories and a visitor centre equipped with telescopes that guests can use.
9. Spend a day at Hapuna Beach State Park
Located on the Kohala coast, Hapuna Beach is one of Big Island’s main attractions. Boasting powdery soft sand and clear, azure waters and spectacular sunsets, the beach is a favourite hangout among locals and visitors alike.
10. Get the best views of Waipio Valley
If you want to get an amazing perspective of Big Island’s breathtaking beauty, head to Waipio Valley. From the highest lookout, you will be treated to the most awesome unobstructed views of the ocean and the valley’s greenest cliffs.
Visiting Hawaii for the first time? Here are the best tours and activities to add to your itinerary.
By: Brendelyn Balaga