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Things to do in Hawaii

Things to do in  Hawaii

Welcome to Hawaii

Anyone can see why the Pacific archipelago of Hawaii is a favorite pick for travelers: cobalt waters, powder-white beaches, volcanic peaks, indigenous wildlife, and rich traditional culture. Hawaii’s vibe is casual and laid-back, with life here mostly lived outside. Locals and visitors divide their time between chowing down on traditional island food, surfing or bodyboarding the waves, snorkeling or diving the coral reefs, or hiking over ancient lava flows.

Each main island offers both expected and unique experiences. Sail and snorkel off the coast of Maui; summit Mauna Kea, kayak with dolphins, and traverse volcanic crater rims on the Big Island; hike through rain forests and valleys on rugged Kauai; and check off Oahu's top things to do, from visiting Pearl Harbour to leaning to surf at Waikiki Beach. For seclusion, empty beaches, and authentic Hawaiin culture, Molokai and Lanai—the two least populated of the main islands—beckon.

Whatever your vision of a dream Hawaiian vacation, the recipe is simple: Choose your islands, choose your activities, choose your pace, book your trip, and enjoy.

Top 15 attractions in Hawaii

Road to Hana (Hana Highway)

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Tropical foliage, black sand beaches, rushing waterfalls and incredible views are the calling cards of the legendary, winding Road to Hana. The famous roadway along Maui’s North Shore (also called the Hana Highway) includes 600 hairpin turns and more than 50 bridges and is known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world.More

Molokini Crater

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When was the last time you had a snorkel adventure inside of a sunken Hawaiian volcano, or enjoyed a freshly cooked BBQ lunch on the deck of a sailing catamaran? Thanks to its calm, crystal clear waters, bright coral reef, and 250-plus species of tropical fish, Molokini Crater is the most popular spot for snorkeling tours on Maui. Spend a day on a snorkeling tour as you explore the protected marine preserve and come face to face with some of Hawaii's most colorful marine life.More

Na Pali Coast

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With steep emerald cliffs, lush valleys, and remote cascading waterfalls, the Na Pali Coast is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful regions, and no visit to Kauai is complete without a visit to this magical coastline. There are only three ways to explore the Na Pali Coast—by air, by sea, and on foot—and each offers its own unique perspective.More

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

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Made up of several historic sites and memorials, Pearl Harbor honors and educates the public about the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 that propelled the country into World War II. It’s one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions, and one of the country’s most significant WWII memorial sites.More

Mokolii Island

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Located a short distance offshore of Kualoa Point, Mokolii Island is one of Oahu’s most famous landmarks. This small, cone-shaped island attracts adventurous visitors with its secluded coves, rugged hikes, and views of Oahu’s windward coast and the Koolau mountains; the same mountains featured in scenes of the movie Jurassic Park.More

Oahu North Shore

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Surfing is king on Oahu’s North Shore, where summer’s placid snorkeling spots are transformed into pounding 40-foot (12-meter) waves come winter. On land you’ll find a peaceful respite from hectic Honolulu, with scenic waterfall hikes, sleepy farms selling tropical fruit, and food trucks doling out garlic shrimp.More

Halona Blowhole

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Once visitors are aware that hālona means “lookout” in Hawaiian, it becomes quite clear what the Halona Blowhole is about: views, Pacific Ocean and blowhole! The Halona Blowhole is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on O’ahu Island; the more than 1,000-year-old geyser-like rock formation is characterized by a hole which propels incoming surf in a narrow, molten lava tube, shooting sea spray high into the air as a result - sometimes up to 30 feet. This is mostly a summery phenomenon but wintertime also has a big ticket item drawing visitors: humpback whales. The lookout point offers unobstructed views of the O’ahu shoreline as well as glimpses of Lanai and Moloka'I Islands on clear days.The coast is home to a special type of coral that requires very little light to live, the Sinularia Leather Coral, where it is possible to find various species like echinoderms, slugs, corals, and eels. And although the marine life is quite plentiful and fascinating, divers should proceed with caution because of the strong and sometimes erratic currents, including the colloquially named Moloka'i Express, which can drag divers out to sea without warning. Visitors should know that below the hālona is one of the most dangerous ocean currents in the world, and should always proceed with care.More

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

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Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii's tallest and the highlight of many visitors' trips to the Big Island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) feature some of the world's largest telescopes, including equipment from Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii, due to its designation as an unparalleled destination for stargazing.More

Diamond Head

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Arguably Hawaii's most well-known sight, Diamond Head Crater is more than just a famous Waikiki backdrop but also an entire attraction unto itself, featuring one of Oahu's best hikes for a panoramic view. From atop the 760-foot (231-meter) summit, visitors can gaze out from Koko Head Crater to the Honolulu skyline and down on Waikiki Beach, where surfers, paddlers, sailboats, and canoes all splash through the tropical waters.More

Dole Plantation

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What started out as a Wahiawa fruit stand in the middle of the pineapple fields in 1950 is now an extremely popular Hawaiian attraction. The sprawling Dole Plantation in central Oahu is a rural throwback to a time when the pineapple helped rule Oahu’s economy. Visitors can sample the sweet yellow fruit, ride on the famous Pineapple Express train and motor out through the fields, take a walk through a huge garden maze, learn how to find fresh pineapple when grocery shopping, and hear how pineapples are grown on plants—and not underground or on trees.More

Makapuu Lighthouse

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Within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oahu’s Windward Coast, the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a popular hike ending at the historical red-roofed Makapu’u Lighthouse, built in 1909. Though the lighthouse is not open to the public, the moderately challenging hike attracts travelers and locals alike for its stunning coastal views.More

Hana

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For most, traveling to Hana is about the journey, not the destination. A quiet town nestled on the Maui’s eastern shores, Hana would not be on the tourist map if not for the Road to Hana—known as one of the world’s most scenic drives. That said, the town of Hana is a tranquil escape and an excellent base for exploring the region.More

Kona (Kailua-Kona)

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Kailua-Kona, the largest town on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the epicenter of activities and tours on the Kona Coast—part of the island’s western (leeward) side. The antithesis to the lush, often rainy jungles of Hilo on the island’s eastern (windward) side, dry and sunny Kona’s activities put a huge emphasis on long days in the outdoors. Kailua-Kona is the jumping-off point for the Big Island’s best coffee-farm tours, superb reef snorkeling, all levels of hiking, and experiencing ancient Hawaiian culture, while downtown’s seaside shops and dining come with spectacular sunset views.More

Waikiki Beach

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For decades, Waikiki Beach has been Oahu’s tourist mecca thanks to its palm-fringed white-sand beaches and high-rise luxury hotels that stretch from downtown Honolulu east toward the towering Diamond Head. Here all the spoils of Hawaiian beach life—from sunbathing and swimming to snorkeling and fruity-cocktail sipping—are within steps of world-class shopping and dining.More

Puaʻa Kaʻa State Wayside Park

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A pleasant stop on the road to Hana, the Puaʻa Kaʻa State Wayside Park offers the chance to take a scenic break from the long drive. Stretch your legs on its dirt path to nearby waterfalls and natural pools. The farther you're willing to walk, the taller the waterfalls become and many people bring a picnic to enjoy as a part of this diversion.Totaling five acres the area here is lush with tropical plants which, with the sound of the waterfalls, create a distinct rain forest feel. Picnic tables are set against scenic backdrops, and fish and tadpoles are visible in the shallower pools. Watch for wild birds and mongoose. The walking paths here are not rigorous, but a refreshing dip in one of the pools is a highlight for many on a hot day.More

Trip ideas

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hawaii

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Best way to see geothermic change
Margaret_L, Feb. 2023
Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcano Safari Lava Caves, Falls & Highlights Small Group
Excellent tour to see how Hawaii’s volcanic action is still in play today, changing the island’s coast line.
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Perfect outing
georgia_h, Feb. 2023
Glass-bottom Boat Reef Tour
Great way to see underwater reef life for those too young or unable to snorkel!
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Highly Recommend This Tour!
Sarah_S, Feb. 2023
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
This tour is a great way to see almost the entire island from beaches to volcanoes to the local cuisine.
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Great tour starting in downtown Hilo
Alina_J, Jan. 2023
Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens
Great option to visit the volcanos starting from downtown Hilo!
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Wonderful tour
Stacy_K, Jan. 2023
Small Group Road to Hana Adventure Tour with Pickup
We loved the black sand beach and the various waterfalls and even got to see some huge turtles!
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Fun experience
Mackenzie_C, Jan. 2023
Hawaii Five-0 Tour And Lunch At McGarrett's With Cousin Flippa
It was worth the price and super cool to see the house and hear stories about Hawaii Five-O.
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Worth every penny!!
Brett_R, Jan. 2023
3 Hour Fat Tire E-Bike Tour - Volcanos National Park
GREAT way to visit Volcano National Park!!
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A Must Try Experience
Catherine_L, Jan. 2023
Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and a Hawaiian Meal
We were able to see whales, sea turtles, and other marine life that I hope everyone gets to do this once in their life!!
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All about Hawaii

When to visit

With tropical breezes and ideal beach weather beckoning year-round, there’s really no bad time to visit Hawaii. Look for off-season discounts and the mildest temps in late spring and early fall. Winter brings more rain and higher prices, but north shore swells make for epic surfing, and migrating humpback whales put on a wild display from December through May.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
HST (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

Hawaii information

Number of Attractions

222

Number of Tours

1,997

Number of Reviews

219,080

Currency

USD
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