Things to do in Hawaii
Hawaii truly is the adventure of a lifetime! Imagine viewing one of the most active volcanoes on earth, watching humpback whales, swimming with manta rays, zip lining through the jungle, flying kites in the trade winds, exploring tidal pools, experiencing breathtaking canyons – and of course, enjoying world-class golf and watersports and relaxing on pristine beaches. Hawaii can be a romantic getaway, but the culture is extremely family-friendly and there are lots of activities for kids to enjoy!
Hawaiian Beaches & Destinations
There are six major islands to visit in Hawaii, each with its own personality and adventures: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island.
Hawaii is known for its wide variety of beautiful beaches: enjoy romantic bays, beach parks for the family, popular spots for people-watching, and off-the-beaten-path areas that are totally undeveloped. Don’t miss the exotic white, black, green, and red sand beaches unique to this destination!
Hawaiian Arts & Culture
Artists in Hawaii create timeless pieces infused with the generous aloha spirit. Since the art they create is influenced by their landscapes and surroundings, art varies widely from island to island.
Hawaii also has a wide variety of museums featuring everything from contemporary art to Hawaiian history, culture, and geography. The Bishop Museum on Oahu studies the state’s history and is considered the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific. The Lahaina Heritage Museum evokes the historical vitality of the whaling town, and the Kauai Museum showcases local multi-cultural artists and provides education about the formation of the Hawaiian Islands, the monarchy, and early native life. The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu has an incredible display of paintings and sculpture and Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center features an IMAX theater and interactive exhibits.
Kauai is the oldest and northernmost island in Hawaii, known for the incredible cliffs of the Napali coast. Sail the coast, kayak the Wailua river, hike the trails of Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, or golf at a luxurious resort. For the adventure-seekers, zip line through lush valleys, attend local festivals, mountain tube in Lihue, or learn the hula at an authentic luau. Poipu Beach Park was once named America’s Best Beach – you may spot Hawaiian monk seals!
Oahu is the metropolis of Hawaii, so it has activities and attractions for everyone! Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world, and one of the best places to take a surfing lesson. If you’re a surfer, don’t miss the legendary North Shore where the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing occurs each winter. There are many historic and contemporary art museums, and you can sample Hawaiian food, take a canoe ride, snorkel in the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and learn to do the hula at a luau.
Molokai has a lot of off-the-beaten-path adventures to enjoy: the island is known for fantastic sport fishing (take a fishing boat from Kaunakakai Harbor), hike or take a mule ride to Kalaupapa Natural Historic Park, or explore the botanical preserve, macadamia nut, or coffee farm. Don’t miss Papohaku Beach Park, one of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii.
Just across from Maui, Lanai is a secluded getaway full of deluxe resorts and known as “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island.” Hulopoe Beach Park, located at Manele Bay, has been named America’s Best Beach and the lava caverns off of the south coast, called the Lanai Cathedrals, are a must-see for scuba divers. The world-class resorts on the island offer a wide variety of activities from golf to clay shooting. The best way to see the island’s 89,600 acres of countryside and beaches is by 4-wheel drive.
Maui has it all: check out a luau in Kaanapali, stroll the botanical gardens in Kula, explore the art scene in Makawao and Lahaina – and visit West Maui’s “signature” Kaanapali Beach, named America’s Best Beach in 2003 and featuring three miles of white sand. Stop by Hookipa Beach, known as the windsurfing capital of the world, and take a tour from Lahaina or Maalaea Harbor to catch sight of humpback whales.
On Hawaii, you can hike through rainforests, go whale watching, surf, explore underwater caverns, and explore cultural sites and sanctuaries. Hawaii Island has especially good snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities because the waters of the Kona Coast are calm and clear. Kona is also known for deep-sea sports fishing and manta ray diving – an experience you are unlikely to forget! Kahaluu beach Park is one of the best areas for snorkeling on Hawaii Island, and is also a great spot for a surfing lesson.