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Hawaii

Things to do in Hawaii – Ultimate List

Here are all the must to do things in Hawaii. Don't miss!


Hawaii is one of the most beautiful and diverse places on Earth, offering an abundance of outdoor activities, breathtaking sights, cultural experiences, and much more. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Hawaii is the perfect place to be. With its varied climates, white sand beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant cities, Hawaii has something for everyone. Here is a list of the ultimate things to do in Hawaii.

1. Visit the iconic Waikiki Beach

Visiting the iconic Waikiki Beach is a must-do when traveling to Hawaii. Located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, this stunning beach is known for its breathtaking views, crystal clear waters, and white sand beaches. Waikiki has something for everyone – from surfing to snorkeling to sunbathing and more. The beach is lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it easy to enjoy a nice meal or a refreshing drink while taking in the stunning scenery.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, Waikiki Beach is the perfect spot. With its calm waters, warm temperatures, and beautiful sunsets, it’s no wonder why many people choose to spend their vacations here. In addition, Waikiki offers plenty of activities for all ages. Whether you’re interested in learning how to surf, stand up paddle board, or just want to lay out and soak up the sun, there’s something for everyone.

For those looking for a little bit of history, Waikiki Beach has a lot to offer. From historic landmarks such as the King Kamehameha Statue and the USS Arizona Memorial to cultural attractions like the Polynesian Cultural Center, there are plenty of things to explore. Not to mention, visitors can also take part in some of the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year.

No trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to Waikiki Beach. This iconic beach offers something for everyone, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway.

2. Take a tour of Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is one of the most iconic and important sites in the United States, and taking a tour of it is an absolute must for anyone visiting Hawaii. The tour offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the events leading up to and during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The tour includes a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri, as well as the Pacific Aviation Museum and other historic sites.

For many, taking a tour of Pearl Harbor is an emotional experience. Seeing the site of the attack and learning about the history of the war brings to life the stories of those who lived and died during this dark time in American history. It also serves as a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II.

Additionally, a tour of Pearl Harbor is a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of the harbor. From the striking views of the Koolau Mountains to the lush vegetation along the shoreline, the harbor is a sight to behold. Taking a tour of Pearl Harbor is also an excellent way to get a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle of the island. Visitors can experience the traditional Hawaiian music and dance performances, as well as visit some of the local markets and shops.

Taking a tour of Pearl Harbor is an essential part of any trip to Hawaii. Whether you are looking for a historical experience or just want to take in the beautiful scenery, a tour of Pearl Harbor is a must-do.

💡 Tip: Get your money back if the trip is canceled. 

If your trip gets canceled, instead of losing money, you can get your money back. If you had bought travel insurance that is.

Most plans only cost less than $20 a day.

Check out popular travel insurance plans and choose one that suits you for your trip.

3. Explore the lush, tropical rainforest at Koke’e State Park

Exploring the lush, tropical rainforest at Koke’e State Park in Hawaii is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the island. This park, located on the western end of Kauai, offers breathtaking views of the Na Pali Coast and the spectacular Waimea Canyon.

The park is home to a variety of exotic plants and animals, including rare and endangered species such as the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian crow. Visitors can explore the diverse ecosystems, including high-altitude bogs and lowland tropical forests, as well as a variety of trails that range from easy hikes to more challenging treks.

The park also features stunning waterfalls and a variety of natural swimming pools. These are perfect spots to take a refreshing dip or just sit and take in the beautiful scenery. Additionally, Koke’e State Park is home to the Kalalau Trail, a popular 11-mile trek along the Na Pali Coast. This trail provides hikers with some of the most spectacular views in all of Hawaii.

Overall, exploring Koke’e State Park is a must-do for any visitor to the island of Kauai. The park provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of Hawaii’s natural environment, as well as its many unique species. With its wide variety of trails, waterfalls, and swimming pools, Koke’e State Park is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

4. Enjoy the sunset from atop Haleakala National Park

Enjoying the sunset from atop Haleakala National Park is a must-do experience in Hawaii. The summit of Haleakala stands 10,023 feet above sea level and offers a breathtaking view of the Hawaiian Islands.

The sunsets from the summit are especially spectacular as the sky is filled with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple. The air is cool and crisp, and the stars begin to appear shortly after the sun sets.

In addition to the stunning views, Haleakala National Park also offers some unique attractions. Visitors can explore the park’s unique volcanic landscape by bike or take a hike along the crater rim. There are also numerous sites to observe wildlife, including rare birds and endemic plants. As the sun sets, you’ll be able to witness the beautiful Hawaiian night sky.

Haleakala National Park is an ideal spot to watch the sunset because it’s located away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Hawaii. The serene atmosphere allows visitors to take in the beauty of nature and appreciate the beauty of Hawaii. Watching the sunset from the top of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you leave the island.

5. Go snorkeling or scuba diving in the beautiful waters of Hawaii

Going snorkeling or scuba diving in the beautiful waters of Hawaii is a must do thing in Hawaii. There are so many reasons why people should take the time to explore the depths of the Hawaiian waters.

Firstly, the coral reefs and marine life that can be found off the Hawaiian coast are some of the most stunning in the world. The vibrant colors and unique species are sure to leave any explorer in awe.

Secondly, the waters of Hawaii are home to some of the most sought-after underwater activities such as swimming with dolphins, manta rays, and sea turtles.

Finally, the crystal clear visibility makes it easy to take in all of the beauty around you and make memories that will last a lifetime. No matter your experience level, snorkeling or scuba diving in Hawaii is an experience that cannot be missed.

6. Catch some waves at one of the many world-famous surfing spots

Surfing in Hawaii is a must-do activity for any visitor to the islands. Hawaii’s waves are world-renowned, and the beaches here offer some of the best surf spots in the world.

From the big waves of the North Shore to the gentle swells of the South Shore, Hawaii offers something for every surfer. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, catching some waves in Hawaii is a fun and rewarding experience.

The ocean waters around Hawaii are warm year-round, so there’s never a bad time to go surfing. In the winter months, the North Shore of Oahu is home to some of the biggest and best waves in the world.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back surf experience, the South Shore of Oahu is known for its gentle swells and mellow vibes. The other islands of Hawaii also offer great surfing spots, from the famous Pipeline on the North Shore of Kauai to the rugged shores of Maui.

Surfing in Hawaii is a great way to get some exercise while experiencing the beauty of the islands. It’s also a great way to connect with the local culture. Many of the locals surf and can give you tips on the best places to catch some waves. You’ll also find plenty of surf shops, restaurants, and bars that cater to surfers.

Catching some waves at one of the many world-famous surfing spots in Hawaii is a must-do for any visitor. With its warm waters, great waves, and laid-back atmosphere, Hawaii is the perfect place to learn how to surf or hone your skills. So grab your board and hit the waves – you won’t regret it!

7. Take a helicopter tour of the islands

There are many reasons to consider taking a helicopter tour of the islands while in Hawaii.

First, helicopter tours offer visitors a unique perspective of the islands that can’t be experienced from the ground. From a helicopter, you can see the dramatic landscapes, pristine beaches, and towering waterfalls that make Hawaii so special.

Secondly, helicopter tours are a great way to avoid crowds and traffic that can often be found on the ground. You can enjoy the beauty of the islands at your own pace and without having to worry about other people.

Finally, helicopter tours are simply a lot of fun! They are an exciting way to see the islands and create lasting memories of your Hawaiian vacation.

8. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center

Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-do thing for tourists in Hawaii. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a theme park that celebrates the culture and history of Polynesia. It offers visitors an immersive experience into the region’s rich heritage, from traditional dance performances to interactive activities.

Visitors can explore seven different Polynesian villages, learn about ancient and modern customs, sample traditional cuisine, and shop for souvenirs. The center also features a luau, a canoe pageant, and educational programs about the many cultures of the Pacific Islands.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is one of the most popular attractions in Hawaii and provides a unique opportunity for visitors to gain insight into the vibrant culture of the area.

9. Stroll through the outdoor marketplace at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Strolling through the outdoor marketplace at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is a must-do thing in Hawaii for tourists because it offers a unique glimpse into Hawaiian culture and lifestyle.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is the largest open-air market in the state of Hawaii, and it is a great way to experience the vibrant culture of Hawaii. The market is full of vendors selling everything from handmade crafts and jewelry to delicious food and local produce. Visitors can also find souvenirs and mementos from their time in Hawaii.

The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back, and visitors can easily spend hours browsing and exploring the different stalls.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is also a great place to get deals and discounts on items that you may not be able to find elsewhere in Hawaii. There are often bargains to be found, and it’s a great way to pick up gifts for friends and family back home.

The market is also a great place to meet and interact with locals, who are always willing to share stories and advice about their beloved islands.

Overall, strolling through the outdoor marketplace at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is a must-do thing in Hawaii for tourists. It is an immersive experience into Hawaiian culture and lifestyle that cannot be found elsewhere.

Visitors can find great deals, meet locals, and take home souvenirs that will remind them of their time in Hawaii.

10. Relax on the stunning beaches of Maui

Relaxing on the stunning beaches of Maui is a must-do thing in Hawaii for tourists. Maui’s beautiful beaches offer something for everyone.

From white sand beaches to black sand beaches, secluded coves to popular surf spots, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The crystal clear waters and breathtaking views make it easy to understand why it is one of the most popular destinations in Hawaii.

Maui offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. With its abundance of coral reefs and colorful marine life, snorkelers and divers can explore a world filled with vibrant hues and discover a variety of sea creatures. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, there are plenty of opportunities for beachcombing and lounging in the sun.

Maui also has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Watching the sun dip below the horizon is an unforgettable experience, and the beach is the perfect place to take in this spectacular sight.

The beaches of Maui also provide a unique and memorable experience for tourists. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the beaches of Maui are sure to provide the perfect setting. With its tranquil waters, stunning scenery, and endless possibilities, it is easy to see why Maui is one of the best places to visit in Hawaii.

11. See the lava flows of Volcanoes National Park

Seeing the lava flows of Volcanoes National Park is a must-do thing in Hawaii for tourists. This national park is home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world—Kilauea and Mauna Loa—and offers visitors an opportunity to witness some of the planet’s most amazing geological features. The lava flows at Volcanoes National Park are a sight to behold, and the experience can be even more awe-inspiring if you choose to hike the trails around the park.

The sheer power of the eruptions is something that can only be truly appreciated by seeing it in person.

From the lush rainforests to the barren lava fields, the environment around the volcanoes is ever-changing and incredibly diverse. You can stand at the edge of a steaming lava lake, see the bright orange and red molten rock flowing down the sides of the volcano, or watch as steam and ash billows into the sky.

Visitors to Volcanoes National Park can also take part in educational programs offered by the park rangers, which provide insight into the geological, cultural, and historical importance of the volcanoes.

Not only will visitors learn about the formation of the volcanoes and the effects of their eruptions, but they’ll also gain a better understanding of the Hawaiian culture and its relationship to the volcanoes.

For those looking for an adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping in the park. Whether you’re interested in exploring the depths of the crater or walking along the ancient lava trails, Volcanoes National Park is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Overall, the lava flows of Volcanoes National Park are a must-see experience for any tourist visiting Hawaii. Not only will visitors get to witness the raw power of nature, but they’ll also gain a better appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and its close relationship with the volcanoes.

12. Take a day trip to the Big Island

Taking a day trip to the Big Island of Hawaii is an absolute must for any tourist visiting the island state. The Big Island is home to some of the most incredible sights and experiences that the Hawaiian Islands have to offer, ranging from the majestic mountains and volcanoes to the pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and unique wildlife.

The Big Island is also home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where visitors can witness the awe-inspiring power of active volcanoes firsthand. The park offers an opportunity to explore lava tubes, observe eruptions, and experience the beauty of Hawaii’s volcanic landscape.

A day trip to the Big Island also offers a chance to experience Hawaiian culture. Visitors can learn about the island’s history and traditions, as well as explore its rich cultural sites, including historic temples, sacred shrines, and ancient petroglyphs.

In addition to these attractions, a day trip to the Big Island also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, such as snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, and hiking. With its diverse landscapes and amazing wildlife, the Big Island truly has something for everyone.

For those looking for a unique adventure, the Big Island also has some of the best helicopter tours in the world. From soaring above waterfalls and rainforests to witnessing the stunning views of the volcano, a helicopter tour of the Big Island is an unforgettable experience.

No matter what your interests may be, taking a day trip to the Big Island is a must-do activity when visiting Hawaii. With its stunning landscapes, fascinating culture, and wide range of activities, the Big Island is sure to make your Hawaiian vacation even more memorable.

13. Visit the USS Arizona Memorial

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii is a must-do for tourists looking to experience a significant part of American history. The memorial commemorates the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, when nearly 2,400 Americans lost their lives in the surprise attack.

The USS Arizona was the largest of the battleships sunk during the attack, and its remains still lie beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona Memorial is the most popular tourist attraction in Hawaii, and it offers an unforgettable experience. Visitors can pay their respects to the brave men who gave their lives in service of their country.

The memorial itself is a beautiful white marble structure that sits atop the sunken battleship. Inside, visitors can view artifacts from the battle as well as a memorial wall with the names of those who died in the attack.

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is also a way to learn more about this important part of American history. The memorial offers guided tours, educational programs, and interactive displays that explain the events of the attack and its aftermath.

This is a great way for tourists to gain a deeper understanding of this tragic event and the courage of those who defended our nation.

For anyone interested in history, the USS Arizona Memorial is an absolute must-see in Hawaii. It’s an emotional experience that will stay with visitors for a lifetime.

14. Explore the ancient heiau (temples) of Kauai

Exploring the ancient heiau (temples) of Kauai is a must for any tourist visiting Hawaii. The heiau are sacred sites that were built by the native Hawaiian people to honor their gods and goddesses. These temples are a reminder of the island’s spiritual history, and a great way to learn about the traditional culture and beliefs of the Hawaiian people.

The heiau are not only beautiful and majestic structures, but they also provide a window into the past. Visiting these sites will give tourists a chance to experience a part of Hawaiian culture that has been largely lost in modern times.

The heiau represent a deep connection between the land and the people, and offer an opportunity to reflect on the importance of respecting the environment and the traditional values of the Hawaiian people.

Exploring the heiau of Kauai is also a great way to connect with the natural beauty of the island. The temples are located in stunning landscapes, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, breathtaking views, and often have incredible sunsets and sunrises. This is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Kauai while also learning about its history and culture.

Finally, visiting the heiau of Kauai is an opportunity to appreciate the island’s rich cultural heritage. There are many stories and legends associated with each temple, and it is a great way to connect with the history and spirituality of the Hawaiian people. Exploring the heiau is an unforgettable experience and a must-do activity for any tourist visiting Hawaii.

15. Take a whale watching cruise

Taking a whale watching cruise is a must-do thing in Hawaii for tourists. Hawaii’s warm, shallow waters make it the perfect destination for whales and dolphins, which can be seen all year round. By taking a whale watching cruise, you can get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.

Whale watching cruises offer an amazing experience of seeing these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. You’ll have the opportunity to witness the graceful movements of the humpback whales as they migrate through the waters of Hawaii.

Whale watching cruises also provide the chance to learn more about the biology and behavior of these creatures from experienced tour guides.

The view from the boat is spectacular as you cruise through the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The calm, peaceful atmosphere and the stunning views of the Hawaiian coastline make for a memorable experience.

During the cruise, you’ll likely see several different species of whales, such as humpbacks, sperm whales, pilot whales, and other species. Dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life may also be spotted during the journey.

In addition to the natural beauty of the area, whale watching cruises often provide educational opportunities. Tour guides will share interesting facts about the whales, as well as information on conservation efforts and how to protect them. This is a great way to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants.

Taking a whale watching cruise is a great way to experience the beauty of Hawaii and its wildlife. It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

16. Tour the Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation is a must-do for any tourist visiting Hawaii. Located on the island of Oahu, the plantation offers a unique glimpse into Hawaiian culture and history. From its sprawling gardens to its educational exhibits, the Dole Plantation is a great way to learn about Hawaiian culture and gain insight into the history of pineapple production in the state.

The Dole Plantation is home to the world’s largest maze and many other activities. The maze is made up of 14,000 tropical plants and has been featured in Guinness World Records for being the world’s largest maze. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the maze, and it is a great way to test your navigational skills. The plantation also offers a Pineapple Express Train Tour that takes you through the plantation and educates visitors about pineapple production in Hawaii.

In addition to the activities offered at the plantation, there are also several educational displays and exhibits. These exhibits provide information about Hawaiian history and culture as well as the history of pineapple production in the state. Visitors can learn about the plantation’s history, the different varieties of pineapples grown in Hawaii, and the various uses of pineapple throughout the years.

Overall, the Dole Plantation is a great place to visit while in Hawaii. Not only does it offer a fun and educational experience, but it also gives visitors a unique look into Hawaiian culture and history. From the Pineapple Express Train Tour to the world’s largest maze, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Dole Plantation.

17. Shop and dine in the chic boutiques and restaurants of Waikiki

Shopping and dining in Waikiki is a must for tourists visiting Hawaii. This vibrant beachfront neighborhood is home to some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment options in the state. From luxury boutiques to local surf shops, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for designer clothes, beachwear, souvenirs, or unique gifts, Waikiki has it all.

The restaurants of Waikiki offer an eclectic mix of cuisines from around the world.

From authentic Hawaiian dishes to exotic Asian fare, you can find something to satisfy any palate. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, steak, sushi, or something else, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Plus, many of these restaurants offer ocean views and al fresco dining, so you can enjoy your meal while taking in the stunning scenery of Waikiki.

The nightlife in Waikiki is also not to be missed. The area is home to some of the best bars and clubs in the islands. From jazz clubs to dive bars, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or just relax with a few drinks, Waikiki has it all.

Shopping and dining in the chic boutiques and restaurants of Waikiki is a must for anyone visiting Hawaii. With its beautiful beaches, incredible restaurants, and vibrant nightlife, it’s easy to see why this popular destination is a favorite among tourists.

18. Hike to the top of Diamond Head

Hiking to the top of Diamond Head is a must do activity when visiting Hawaii for several reasons. First, it offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding area. From the top of the mountain, visitors can see the Pacific Ocean, Waikiki Beach, and downtown Honolulu.

It’s also a great way to explore the natural beauty of the island, as the hike takes you through lush tropical vegetation and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.

In addition to its amazing views, the hike up Diamond Head is also very rewarding in terms of exercise. The trail is just over one mile long and takes about an hour to complete.

It’s a moderate-level hike, so it’s a great way to get in some physical activity while still enjoying the scenery. Plus, the summit itself offers even more fantastic views.

Overall, hiking to the top of Diamond Head is a must do activity when visiting Hawaii. Not only does it provide breathtaking views, but it’s also a great way to get in some exercise and explore the beauty of the island.

💡 Tip: Get your money back if the trip is canceled. 

If your trip gets canceled, instead of losing money, you can get your money back. If you had bought travel insurance that is.

Most plans only cost less than $20 a day.

Check out popular travel insurance plans and choose one that suits you for your trip.

19. Take a sunset dinner cruise around Honolulu

A sunset dinner cruise around Honolulu is a must do activity when visiting Hawaii for many reasons. First and foremost, it offers stunning views of the city skyline, iconic landmarks such as Diamond Head, and the breathtaking natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. The experience of taking in these views from the deck of a luxury yacht can’t be replicated anywhere else.

Furthermore, the cruise provides an opportunity to sample delicious local cuisine and beverages. As you sail along, take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Ocean while enjoying appetizers, entrees, and desserts prepared fresh onboard by a professional chef.

Finally, the cruise is a great way to socialize with others and make new friends. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet and mingle with fellow passengers. Plus, the friendly crew will ensure that you have an enjoyable and memorable evening.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience during your visit to Hawaii, then a sunset dinner cruise around Honolulu is a must-do activity. You’ll be glad you did.

20. Kayak or paddleboard through the turquoise waters of the Hawaiian Islands

Kayaking or paddleboarding through the turquoise waters of the Hawaiian Islands is an activity that should not be missed when visiting Hawaii. The beauty and peacefulness of the ocean coupled with the ability to explore the surrounding area makes for a truly unforgettable experience. From the crystal clear waters to the majestic mountains and lush vegetation, kayaking or paddleboarding in Hawaii offers a unique way to explore the islands.

The warm waters provide a great opportunity to swim and snorkel, as well as to observe the many sea creatures and marine life that call the Hawaiian Islands home. Additionally, many of the islands offer beautiful beaches with an abundance of activities like beachcombing, surfing, and fishing. With so much to do, kayaking or paddleboarding through the Hawaiian Islands is a must-do activity.

Not only is kayaking or paddleboarding through the Hawaiian Islands an exciting and rewarding experience, it is also an environmentally friendly way to explore the area. By using human power instead of fuel, visitors can reduce their environmental impact while still enjoying the beauty of the islands. Furthermore, kayaking or paddleboarding is a great way to get exercise and stay fit during your time in Hawaii.

Kayaking or paddleboarding through the turquoise waters of the Hawaiian Islands is a must do activity when visiting Hawaii. Whether you are looking for an adventure, relaxation, or simply to enjoy the beauty of the islands, this activity is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Summary

Visiting Hawaii is an amazing experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There are so many incredible things to see and do on the islands, from swimming with dolphins and snorkeling in crystal clear waters to hiking up volcanoes and taking a tour of the lush tropical rainforest.

No matter what type of activity you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Hawaii. Whether you want to relax on a beach or explore the depths of the ocean, Hawaii has something for everyone to enjoy.

Be sure to plan ahead and book activities and accommodations in advance, as the islands are quite popular and can get booked up quickly.

Lastly, be sure to take time to explore the local culture, cuisine, and people of Hawaii to make your visit even more memorable.

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Travel should be fun and easy. For all the hassles, we have the answers. I'm an avid traveler and share everything I've learned during my travels so that you can learn from them and avoid mistakes. Happy travels!

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