Hawaii

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10 Unmissable Activities and Attractions in Hawaii

You may not know this, but Hawaii is made up of eight unique islands. The most visited islands include Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai. Discover the smaller islands of Lanai and Molokai on a scenic flight or boat tour. Check out our top ten things to see and do in Hawaii.

  • 1. Diamond Head

    Right next to Waikiki Beach is Diamond Head. Its life has been varied - first it was a volcano, then an army base, and now it's a hikable mountain providing wonderful views!

  • 2. Pearl Harbor

    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II is one of the biggest tragedies in American history. Visit the memorial to the USS Arizona and learn about its tragic history.

  • 3. Volcanoes National Park

    Take a journey to the center of the earth... almost. See active lava while hiking across craters and unique rock formations. Volcanoes National Park is home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes.

  • 4. Whale Watching

    Every year, majestic whales migrate back to the islands to mate. Whale watching season runs from mid-December to the beginning of April every year.

  • 5. Hawaiian Luau

    A luau is a traditional celebration accompanied with entertainment. In Hawaii, families and friends gather to enjoy food and festivities like hula dancing and live music.

  • 6. Waimea Canyon

    Hike Waimea Canyon, located on the lush island of Kauai. Here, you will find stark contrasts of rock and green forests.

  • 7. Snorkel Molikini Crater

    Explore the protected marine sanctuary of Molikini Crater. See wildlife, such as turtles, coral reef and even monk seals.

  • 8. Iolani Palace

    In 1879, King Kalakaua built his Iolani Palace in Honolulu, which is the only official royal residence in the United States today. Definitely take a guided tour!

  • 9. Drive the Road to Hana

    Drive down the famous winding Road to Hana. This epic voyage takes you through lush tropical forests and past cascading waterfalls all along the way.

  • 10. Haleakala National Park

    Watch the sun rise at the top of Haleakala National Park on the beautiful island of Maui. Not an early riser? Bike down the mountain during the day, or try stargazing at night.

Planning Your Visit

  • When should I go?

    Depending on what you want to see, Hawaii is a top destination year round. If you’re looking for sunshine, visit from April to September. Rainy season from November to March coincides with whale watching season. This is a popular time of year to visit, as you are almost guaranteed to see whales.

  • What's the weather like?

    Unsurprisingly, very warm - no wonder Hawaii is such a popular vacation destination! However, depending on the side of the island you are on, you will experience very different temperatures and weather. This unique terrain offers sunny beaches to the west, tropical showers to the north, and some freezing cold weather on the top of the craters such as Haleakala. Pack alternative clothing if you're going on an excursions.

  • How long should I stay?

    Although in terms of land area it's one of the smallest US states, it's not necessarily easy to get around Hawaii in a small amount of time - there are quite a few islands with so much to see. If you'd like to get a lot out of your trip, plan two weeks and stay at least three days per island.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-10:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Spring may be the best time to visit due to the warm temperatures and lack of rainfall, making hiking and beach visits pleasant. Summer is dry, but the temperature gets very hot, the humidity is high, and the surf is down.

What people are saying about Hawaii

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 5,223 reviews

10 hour trip does not sound fun BUT LET ME TELL YOU, this is a tour you have to do! I would recommend early in your stay so you know what places to visit during the rest of your stay. Our tour guide KAMMY was the BEST tour guide (this was our 4th tour in the island). Kammy told us about the cultural history of Hawaii, always with a smile and full of energy, paced the food and snacks so that we would stay full the whole day. The lunch was fantastic! We had Hawaiian bbq chicken (with choices of steak, chicken or pork) but we picked chicken and it was delicious, freshly made, Kammy dipped us off at the black sand beach and let us enjoy our time while he went to get our food. I wish for everyone to have just as great as a trip we had. Once again, I think Kammy or Sam (English name) made all the difference for us, we truly enjoyed the scenery but also the Hawaiian culture. Highly recommend!!

Disclaimer: Maybe not for those who experience motion sickness easily. At no fault of the cruise company, I ended up getting sea sick due to bobbing around on the big waves as we waited for the sun to set. They provide some beers and other canned drinks. They gave us little bento boxes for food. We were easily able to spread out on the boat to socially distance during the pandemic. The music was fun, and you were able to request a song. And the sunset itself over the water was just gorgeous! Very glad we got to experience it! But again, it was a bit rough for me for a while due to me getting motion sickness about half way through. It’s just the nature of the deep waves off the coast of Waikiki.

Our zip lining tour guides were amazing - so friendly, supportive and informative about Hawaiian ecology. I went with my four kids and we had a blast. I am quite fearful of heights but Matt and Kevin helped me feel confident that I could do the course. We had so much fun and would highly recommend!

Audio tour comes with a paper guide but you also need to pay attention to the sites to find all the points of interest. We did not get that direction, we figured it out on our own and missed some of the points we passed before we figured it out.

Our guide was awesome and the views were beautiful. We were glad that we decided to go with the doors off and glad we brought our jackets. It was a great way to see parts of the island closed off to the public!