Planning for Paradise: 25 Things to do in Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most enchanting places in the world, offering incredible natural scenery and an unforgettable experience in every corner. 

With lush valleys, active volcanoes, and spectacular beaches, you will enjoy the unique experience that Hawaii offers. 

Famous for its striking tropical landscapes, Polynesian heritage, and various volcanic formations, Hawaii is the third most wealthy state in the USA and ranks high in the livability factor. 

There are several outdoor activities in Hawaii that you can experience, including surfing, coastal hiking, helicopter tours, and whale-watching expeditions. 

If you love adventure, you can have swimming with manta rays, cage diving among the sharks, or paddling down the river. 

With so many different things to do in Hawaii, you might get confused about where to begin. 

Thus to assist you in exploring Hawaii, we have compiled a list of the 25 best things to do in this Aloha State. 

Choose your favorite adventure from below and start making beautiful memories. 

Things to do in Hawaii

1) Beach Tour to North Shore in Honolulu

North Shore is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Oahu. The tour is for 9 hours, done by a locally owned company. 

It will take you from Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Falls, and Waimea Bay Beach Park to Jurassic highway, Dole Pineapple plantation, and Hanauma Bay. 

You can enjoy the stunning beauty of Oahu by visiting some of the most spectacular surf spots, snorkeling, scuba diving, and canoe sports. 

There are some segments where you can also snorkel with the ocean turtles. 

Also, do not forget to try the pineapple ice cream of Dole plantation and enjoy lunch at Tsue’s Farm. 

2) Crater Rim Drives in Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park should be your top priority visiting list for incredible landscapes. 

This area includes two volcanoes; Kilauea, the most active volcano on Earth. The park has a beautiful 11-mile Crater Rim Drive along the Kilauea Caldera edge. 

It starts at Kilauea Visitor Center, and you can stop at Wahinekapu to see the water vapors rising from the steam vents. 

The Pu’upua’i Overlook includes a perch full of cinder cones built by lava fountains. 

The area is famous for 150 miles of hiking trails extending over 300,000 acres. 

You can enjoy scalded deserts, ancient petroglyphs, rainforests, and volcanic craters by including a path in the moderate Pu’uloa, where you must cross a massive lava field. 

3) Helicopter Tour to Lihue

You can take a helicopter tour to Lihue and enjoy breathtaking views to reward your journey. 

The tour is nearly 2 hours, where you can see the most stunning points of the islands like Manawaiopuna Falls and Waimea Canyon. 

4) Black Sand Beach

Hawaii contains several beautiful beaches like the renowned Punaluu Black Sand Beach

This beach is also home to various green and Hawksbill turtles. These adorable little creatures often basked in the sun on the beach and later swam into the waters. 

You can also swim, hike, camp, or snorkel on Black Sand Beach. 

As the name suggests, the beach is full of black sand, which is nothing but pitch-black lava fragments. 

The shimmering shoreline also includes a tide pool full of fresh water cooling or wading down whenever the ocean currents are strong. 

The beach sways with coconut trees and has a restroom, outdoor shower, and picnic area facilities. It is present between Naalehu and Pahala.

5) Diving with Manta Rays

Go for scuba diving or snorkeling on the Big Island with manta rays during night. 

In the northern part of Kailua-Kona, manta rays come for the nightly feed. Turn, fly and somersault in water with the manta rays and enjoy an incredible experience. 

There are daily trips since manta rays are available throughout the year. 

6) Snorkeling With Sharks in Haleiwa

You can now snorkel with the sharks in the ocean under the supervision of professional divers, marine biologists, and shark behaviorists. 

You will get the best snorkeling and diving adventure spots with massive shark species. 

7) Hiking Through Lava Tube

Hawaii is well-known for its beautiful hikes, and discovering the lava tubes is one of the best ways to know about its exclusive geographical features. 

Thurston Lava Tube is the most accessible lava tube in the Crater Rim Drive, a 500-year-old lava cave made after the lava has flown through it. 

You have to hike through the rainforest to reach this tube. 

The ceilings are nearly 20 feet high, and the solidified waves drip off the once-liquid lava—beautiful landscapes with unique mineral colors and shapes draining from the rocks. 

8) Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii

If you are fond of gardens and like to roam around, Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii should be a must-visit place on your list. 

The garden is situated north of Hilo on the old coastal highway at Onomea Bay. 

If you visit the garden during the rainy season, you can also encounter majestic waterfalls. 

Over 2000 species of tropical flowers and plants are in this 40-acre valley, and nature preserves on the bay side. 

In this 4 hour tour, you can see the Liliuokalani Japanese Park, swim at Carl Smith Beach, and sample nuts at the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. 

9) Mountain Tubing Through Tunnels in Lihue

You can do many fun things in the Kauai Backcountry through ecotourism tours to tell about its rich culture and history. 

Adventure seekers can do mountain tubing and enjoy a zipline course by flying through the sky. 

The tube passes through the old sugar plantation, including hand-dug tunnels and canals dating back to 1870. 

10) Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley is another spectacular destination in Hawaii, which is the home of 1,300-foot-tall Hiilawe Falls and 2,500-foot cliffs. 

It was once known as the Valley of the Kings because of its royal heritage and significance. 

A steep road also connects this valley with a rise of 800 feet in 0.6 miles. If you want to travel further down the valley, you will require a 4WD car to cross the road. 

Once there, you can see the Muliwai Trail beginning and stunning black sand beach. 

Here cascading Kaluahine Falls are also present, with a majestic view in the rainy season. 

11) Biking to Mauna Kea

On the Big Island of Hawaii, there are many paths for downhill bike rides. Kilauea Volcano is one such path, including the beauty of Volcanoes National Park and the exhilaration of a downhill glide. 

From 4000 feet to the Pacific Ocean, there are few uphills and flats. But the longest downhill ride is from the Mauna Kea Volcano summit, 13000 feet above sea level. 

12) Check Out a Sunken Ship in Lahaina From a Submarine

You can also escape the underwater adventures in Hawaii by going below 100 feet depth in the Maui’s wonders, including coral reefs, marine life, fish, and sunken ships. 

13) Hiking the Na Pali Coast

Na Pali is one of the most striking coasts of Kauai. Kalalau Trail is a renowned walking trail in the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park area. 

The course is divided into four segments for 11 miles, where you can soak up spell bounding ocean views. 

Start hiking from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach. Enjoy a beautiful sunset at Pali lookout, the highest trail point. 

You can move from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Beach during the day with no permit. However, you will need reservations to enter Ha’ena State Park.

14) Waimea Canyon

Waimea, or the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is another popular tourist attraction in Hawaii. The canyon is nearly 16 km long and 900 m deep. The entry fee for the canyon is free, and parking is also available. 

15) Visit Meadery in Kapaa

Nani Moon Meadery adds a twist to the oldest alcoholic drink by adding local honey and fruits to every variety. You can also get invited to the tasting flights to taste the six different mead varieties the company has. 

16) Paddling in the Wailua River

Wailua River is a paddling paradise for adventure lovers. The river is situated nearly 15 minutes north of Lihue on the eastern side of Kauai

This 20-mile river includes a beautiful emerald green landscape and waterfalls. 

The river paddlers can see two waterfalls: Opaekaa and Wailua Falls, and it is a famous place for stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. 

You can also book tours for an open-air riverboat to visit Fern Grotto, a lava rock enclosed by tropical foliage. 

17) Driving to Hana

The driveway road to Hana includes numerous one-lane bridges and hairpin turns for more than 50 miles. 

Some must-visit places on the way to Hana include Ke’anae Peninsula and Ho’okipa Bay Park. 

You can walk barefoot on the black sand beach and enjoy the sea waves at Wai’anapanapa State Park. 

You can also pick fresh fruits like papaya, banana, and pineapple from the fruit stands on the way. 

18) Lava Tour at Keaau at Sunrise

These lava tours include visiting two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mauna Loa and Kīlauea

You can explore exclusive volcanic landscapes at sunrise and be mesmerized by them. 

19) Helicopter Tour to Maui

The most iconic way to enjoy the scenic beauty of mountains, remote wonders, and waterfalls in Hawaii is through a helicopter ride. 

This tour will be the best combination of adventure, sightseeing, and enjoying Haleakala Crater from the sky. 

You can also enjoy the colorful beaches, exclusive topography, and green rainforest of 88 miles of Maui

20) Snorkeling the Molokini Crater

Molokini crater is on the western coast of Maui, a submerged crater in a crescent shape. 

It is one of the famous snorkeling and diving destinations in Hawaii. 

Always go for a morning snorkeling tour as the ocean remains calm, and you can have a satisfying experience. 

Select a catamaran instead of large boats full of tourists. It is a half a day tour with a one-hour boat ride to Molokini. 

21) Meet the Goats at the Kula Dairy Firm

You can visit a 42-acre friendly dairy firm to visit the goats. During the tour, you can see the procedure of goat cheese making and try them. 

You will also learn how they care for the goats, tuck them to bed, and other secrets of cheese making

22) Visiting Humpback Whales in Maui

You can watch the gentle humpback whales in Maui from May to December. 

These whales, also known as Kohola, travel from cold water to warm ones for breeding, calving, and nursing their young ones. 

Watch these giants playfully surfacing above the seas, blowing their spouts in the air and slapping their tails. 

23) Sunrise at Mount Haleakala

Watching the sunrise at Mount Haleakala is an outstanding experience in Maui. 

Reach the peak by 4 AM or make a reservation at least two months before to watch the sunrise from the front. Always bring warmer clothes as the temperature is cold here.

24) Visit the Farmer’s Market in Hilo

The farmers market in Hilo includes more than 200 vendors from around the globe. 

You can find exotic foods, from Hawaiian coffees and Thai food to Peruvian tamales and sushi. 

Besides healthy food, you can also find different handmade souvenirs. On the third and first Sundays, there are also free art activities for the kids. 

25) Visit Makena Beach

Makena Beach should be on your bucket list if you are searching for sunbathing. 

Also called The Big Beach is a famous spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, fishing, and swimming. 

The white sand beach extends over two-thirds of a mile, making it perfect for lying under the sun. 

Hawaii is one of the world’s best destinations for family vacations and romantic honeymoons. 

You can find a diversity of landscapes like volcanoes and beaches, making it a favorite holiday place for people of every segment, including hikers, sports lovers, scuba divers, or snorkeling. 

Thus, if you are visiting Hawaii this year, do the above activities to make your journey more memorable. So without further delay book your tickets and plan your vacation in Hawaii!

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