Hawaii is an archipelago of volcanic origin located in the northern part of the United States. It comprises eight islands, the same as a paradise full of beaches and tourist attractions. It is for this reason that we invite you to visit the best places to visit in Hawaii.
Undoubtedly, Hawaii is known for its paradisiacal beaches and impressive landscapes, surrounded by crystal clear water, exuberant vegetation, and imposing volcanoes. It offers tourists various proposals for their delight, romantic offers of sun and beach, adventure tourism, and Guided tours that allow you to know each of the historical places hidden in this beautiful paradise.
So, if you want to take advantage of your stay on the island, be sure to read the best places to visit in Hawaii, which we name below.
The 50th state of the United States, Hawaii, is a collection of eight islands located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Known for its white sand beaches and hula dancing, Hawaii offers a wide range of attractions and cultural attractions. On Oahu, you can view WWII battleships or relax on the iconic white shores of Waikiki Beach. Then, check out the Big Island’s black or even green sand beaches. A trip to Hawaii includes at least two islands, preferably more. Next, we will list the best tourist places in Hawaii.
Have you already decided to travel to Hawaii? What should you visit on this trip to the most paradisiacal islands in the world? This section will give you all the information you need to plan your stay in the archipelago. We will show you the most impressive tourist attractions on the island and tell you what things you should take advantage of.
Hawaii’s tropical climate and laid-back Pacific Island atmosphere are just part of what makes the state so special. Perched atop massive volcanic mountains jutting out of the sea, these islands have a varied and beautiful landscape that ranges from the lunar surface of the Kilauea volcano to lush green forests filled with exotic flowers. Waterfalls run down the mountainsides like tears on the dramatic Na Pali Coast, while ancient rivers have been carved deep into Kauai’s rock to create Waimea Canyon. The Big Island is home to an active volcano, and Oahu is home to Pearl Harbor and its rich history. The mighty Pacific is home to an abundance of ocean life, offering endless opportunities to snorkel, surf, or simply take a dip after sunbathing. The most special part of the islands, however, is its people, whose welcoming attitude makes you feel like you’re in paradise.
Ready for a fun, relaxing vacation? Want to work on your tan while sipping a cold drink? Okay, here we go.
WHAT TO VISIT IN HAWAII?
Undoubtedly, Hawaii is famous for its impressive beaches and landscapes. And, as you will be able to see, on this website, we have devoted an extensive article to recommending those good places for sunbathing, as well as the places that all lovers of the beauties of nature cannot miss (forests, gardens, volcanoes, impressive coves ).
We recommend that you visit the sections dedicated to the various things you can find on each island of Hawaii so that you can find out in detail about each of the corners of the archipelago.
Suppose you are a beach lover and want to take advantage of your stay in Hawaii to enjoy the best beaches in the archipelago. In that case, you should know that the entire archipelago is conducive to this activity. However, we recommend that you take advantage of visiting Laalao (it offers impressive sunsets), Holoholokai (where you can go diving and discover a wonderful endemic marine universe), and Kolekole (a beautiful paradise surrounded by vegetation).
If you want to make a complete visit, not just enjoy the beaches, here is a list of the most outstanding sites on each of the most relevant islands.
1. ISLANDS AND POINTS OF INTEREST
BIG ISLAND (HAWAII)
You should take advantage of this island when you travel to Hawaii. Although all the islands are recommended places for tourism, the greatest plant diversity of the entire island is concentrated here. You will be able to find varied landscapes and enjoy impressive beaches.
And since we want you to stay calm with the number of things to do on the Big Island (Hawaii), we have dedicated an article specifically to this island, in which we detail all the relevant information.
If you travel to Hawaii, you should not miss visiting Kailua-Kona and Hilo (the two most important cities on the island, each one with particular alternatives for fun and relaxation). You should also take advantage of the natural parks of Puukohola Heiau and South Point Park (where you can discover exciting waterfalls in the middle of impressive terrain). If you have never visited islands of volcanic origin before, this experience will amaze you. To complete the experience, you must go to the Volcanoes National Park because it will be another site that will stick in your memory forever.
2. OAHU ISLAND
You should take advantage of this island, too, since it will offer you very diverse experiences, and you will also be able to visit Honolulu, the capital of the archipelago and the largest city. It will be a nice place to get to know the rhythm of life in a tropical city and enjoy the Hawaiian night at its best.
We’ve also put together an itinerary for Oahu to help you plan your Hawaiian vacation. In it, you will see that we recommend you go to Honolulu, where you can visit fascinating museums, such as the US Army of Hawaii or the city’s Museum of Art, which we are sure will captivate you. Also, take the opportunity to go shopping in some of the largest shopping centers on the island.
But apart from shopping and getting to know the city, we recommend you visit one of the iconic sites of World War II, Pearl Harbor, a US Navy port bombed in this great war. This article will find all the information related to this visit.
Also, in Oahu, we recommend that you visit the Valley of the Temples, a walk through time, to get closer to Japanese culture and the importance that this ancient community has had in the formation of the island and the foundations of Hawaiian culture. Finally, you will see a grand Buddhist temple that will make you feel that the trip has been worth it.
3. MAUI ISLAND
But since your trip to Hawaii aspires to be complete, we recommend you not stop visiting other islands. We highly recommend Maui, a wonderful corner of the archipelago that is quite different from the two large islands. Maui, although it is a small island, is worth it. We have included it on our website as an essential point of tourist interest. We recommend you visit the section specially dedicated to this little island to plan a complete trip to Hawaii. You will see that some of the unmissable sites of Maui are Lahaina (the most important city on the island), Haleakala National Park, the town of Makawao, and Valley State Park. These are the most important tourist attractions on Maui island. Don’t miss them!
4. OTHER ISLANDS OF HAWAII
If you still have time and want to know a little more about the archipelago, you can travel to one of the other islands. In the main menu, you will find the detail of each of the islands with the most relevant to visit. We have focused on the most important of the entire archipelago: Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
One of the biggest attractions on the Big Island is the volcanoes of Hawaii. The park comprises two active volcanoes: Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano. As the home of the Goddess Pelé, the site has great historical significance to the Hawaiian people, and the region has been settled for at least 700 years. First, learn about the volcano with a visit to the Kilauea Visitor Center, where an observation deck allows for spectacular images of a large crater. With any luck, you will witness the primordial power of molten earth boiling into the sea. Next, walk or drive along Crater Rim Road for otherworldly views, then explore the heart of the Thurston Lava Tube.
6. Waimea Canyon
A few miles off the Na Pali coast on Kauai is Waimea Canyon. Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is one of the most amazing places to visit in Hawaii. Its staggering size draws definite parallels to the Grand Canyon, but Waimea Canyon can be made even more beautiful by the abundance of greenery amidst the desert landscape. Clouds often roll in in the afternoon, so clear mornings are the best time to explore the canyon with a hike through Koke’e State Park. Camping is also possible for the intrepid traveler, allowing you to be there for the glorious sunrise in the morning.
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without spending time in Honolulu. This is the largest city in the island chain, the state capital, and a bustling and exciting place to explore. There is no shortage of things to do, but Waikiki is often a highlight. Waikiki Beach is a chain of several connected beaches, with Duke Kahanamoku Beach being a popular choice for tourists and local surfers. For stunning views in Honolulu, climb to the top of Diamond Head Crater, which overlooks Waikiki. Also, don’t forget to visit Pearl Harbor, where the USS Arizona Memorial takes center stage.
Only some of the Hawaiian Islands have developed at the same rate. Molokai is one of the state’s least developed but most picturesque islands. Known as the Friendly Island, Molokai has a unique history. The island’s most famous attraction is the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, which once served as a leper colony. Today, most visitors to Molokai come for the history and pristine, undeveloped beauty. You can go hiking at Pala’au State Park or spend the day at Papohaku, a beach where there are rarely more than a few families at any given time.
9. Hapuna Beach
The Big Island of Hawaii is home to several magnificent beaches, but one of the best is Hapuna Beach. The beach is part of a state park located on the Kohala coast, putting it just a short drive from popular resort destinations like Kona and Waikoloa. Hapuna Beach has a long stretch of powdery white sand, and it’s easy to find a spot away from the other bathers. Hapuna is the best choice for families, and you can make the most of a day at the beach by bodyboarding or swimming. To one side of the beach, there are some reefs where you can even snorkel.
10. Haleakala National Park
Haleakala is the shield volcano that forms more than half of the island of Maui. Also known as the East Maui Volcano, this summit exceeds 3,000 meters. The area surrounding the volcano is called Haleakala National Park. Much of the park revolves around the vast crater, comparable to a lunar landscape. Hiking is the most popular way to explore the park, and the best views can be found along the trail that leads to the Ka Luu o Ka Oo cinder cone. If you’re hiking the Pipiwai Trail, there are several pools where you can cool off with a refreshing dip. In addition, the 400-foot (120-meter) Waimoku Falls can be found at the end of the Pipiwai Trail.
11. Na Pali Coast
On the island of Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, you can explore the famous Na Pali Coast. Along the coast, sheer cliffs covered in lush green vegetation drop rapidly, meeting the sands of secluded, private beaches. The landscape is unlike anything else on the planet. Many visitors recognize the scenery because the Na Pali Coast was the primary filming location for Jurassic Park and several other movies. You can hike between the cliffs if you head to the Na Pali Coast State Park trails. If adventure calls, there are some cliffs where the locals can show you how to jump into the water safely.
12. Oahu’s North Shore
Although Oahu is the most visited of the Hawaiian islands, most visitors head directly to the capital city of Honolulu. The island’s north coast is less touristy and has some fantastic beaches. If you like surfing, you may already know that the North Shore boasts some of the best winter waves in the world. Head to the Banzai Pipeline to watch world-class surfers. The vibe is laid back and a great contrast to the busier parts of the island.
13. Lanikai Beach
If you are looking for paradise on earth, go to Lanikai beach. Located on the east shore of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Honolulu. However, it feels like a completely different world. Lanikai is Hawaiian for Heavenly Sea, and that’s the perfect way to describe this half-mile stretch of coastal beauty. White sand, blue water, and the occasional shade of palm trees make this a stunning place to explore. From this tropical setting, you can see the Mokuluas; two offshore islands called Moku Nia and Moku Iki.
14. Kaanapali Beach
On the western shore of Maui is Kaanapali Beach, located just outside of the resort known as Lahaina. Kaanapali runs from Black Rock to Canoe Beach, with several lodges and many restaurant shops. One of the best things to see in Hawaii, the beautiful white-sand beach features several rocky monuments, many of which have historical or religious significance to local Hawaiians. Pu`u Keka`a, known as Black Rock, is their most famous. The beach also offers a stunning boardwalk just over two miles long where you can take a walk and admire views of the Pacific Ocean.
15. Visit Pearl Harbor
The Pearl Harbor Museum is a memorial built in 1962 and declared a National Historic Monument in 1989; it is located on the island of Oahu and is considered the most significant naval command in the world.
The memorial is built right over the sunken warship USS Arizona, a ship used by the Marines during World War II when the Japanese government wanted to invade the United States to conquer the Pacific.
On the other hand, this memorial comprises several monuments, such as an open-air museum, which contains plaques that run along the bay’s coast in honor of all the attack’s victims. In addition, it has an audiovisual center where tourists can see a short documentary about the event. It also allows visitors to observe an exhibition of war missiles found at the time of the attack.
Therefore, it allows tourists to visit the USS Bowfin submarine, fully open to the public, so they can get an idea of what submarines used in World War II were like.
In addition, you can get on a boat to visit the USS Arizona Memorial from the museum. Also, the USS Oklahoma was built in honor of the victims of the ship, the USS Missouri, whose ship symbolizes the end of the Second World War, and finally, a dedicated museum to American aviation.
16. Byodo-In Temple
The blood-in temple is located at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains, within the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was founded in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese migrants to Hawaii.
It is essential to add that this temple is a smaller-scale replica of the temple with the same name, located in Uji, Japan, which is considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
On the other hand, it is a non-practicing Buddhist temple that welcomes all kinds of people, regardless of religion, to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty. Because of its beauty, the land adjacent to the temple is used for ceremonies by Hawaiians or Japanese visitors.
17. Honolulu Museum of Art
It is the main museum of its kind in Hawaii; it contains one of the most unique and important collections of Asian and pan-Pacific art in the United States, housing more than 50,000 objects. It fully represents the entire culture of Hawaii, presents international caliber exhibitions, and contains world pieces such as Picasso, and Van Gogh, among others.
Its building is significant; it is a beautiful building with a Hawaiian style. Apart from the museum, it also houses the Spalding House, the Robert Allerton Art Library, the Doris Duke Theatre, the School of Art, and the Shangri La Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
18. Visit the Lolani Palace
The Palace is located right in the downtown area of Honolulu, a State Historic Site, which was idealized and inhabited by King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani.
It contains numerous antiquities belonging to the kings, and you will realize that this building was the first to have electric lights and telephones on the entire island. It should be noted that this building was the setting for the recordings of the Hawaii 5-0 series.
19. Diamond Head
The Diamond Head monument is the most famous volcanic cone on the island; it was created by several eruptions of the Ko’olau volcano, which until today is inactive. It is a state monument and one of the most iconic in Hawaii.
You can climb to the top, getting spectacular views of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, and Oahu’s south shore.
This moderately difficult trail includes two stairways for 175 steps, dark underground tunnels, and old military bunkers where you need a flashlight. However, the fantastic views that greet you at the top of Diamond Head are well worth the effort.
It is important to note that the last entry for the excursion on the trail is at 4:30 p.m. m. Admission is $5 per car and $1 per pedestrian.
20. Manoa Falls
At the Manoa waterfall, located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It can be accessed using a nearby road for approximately 2.5 km. The time to reach the waterfall can be equivalent to two hours or a little more, depending on the people, since there are many stops to photograph the varied ecosystem that can be seen along the way.
21. Sealife Park
Sea Life Park is Hawaii’s premier wildlife and wildlife park, offering fun and educational animal experiences for the entire family. Featuring a focus on education and conservation for each species, it also features shows, exhibits, and interactive programs, offering exciting once-in-a-lifetime encounters such as swimming with dolphins, petting sharks, and much more.
In turn, it allows educational activities and excursions, offers excellent options for eating with the family, and offers numerous special events such as the Ka Moana Lū’au night.
22. Polynesian Cultural Center
It is a theme park set in the Polynesian style and, in turn, is a museum. It is located in Laie, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
This park is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is distributed in tropical villages, where artists show their different arts and crafts from the Polynesian culture. In addition, they can take a completely free tour where the Laie Hawaii Temple is observed.
23. Kaanapali Beach
It is the best-known beach on Maui, a small island in Hawaii. Considered one of the best beaches in the United States for its breadth, spectacular white sand, and crystal clear sea.
However, in recent years it has become very commercial because there are many important luxury hotels and resorts, as well as the Hawaiian Whalers Village Shopping Center.
Also, on this beautiful coast, you can do various activities, from snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing as well as allowing you to observe humpback whales.
24. Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head State Monument
With its beautiful stretch of oceanfront beach, Waikiki is Hawaii’s biggest tourist attraction. A suburb of Honolulu, Waikiki is famous for its lavish resorts, dining, entertainment, and shopping. The Waikiki Historic Trail includes historical markers from surfboards inspired by Waikiki’s own Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer and avid surfer. The boardwalk, known as the Waikiki Beach Walk, is lined with cafes and entertainment venues. At the same time, Kuhio and Kalakaua avenues are where most of the area’s restaurants and boutiques are located. Diamond Head State Monument sits at the end of the crescent-shaped beach, creating a distinctive shoreline profile. It was once an important observation point for the island’s coastal defense, and a steep climb to the top takes you to the old bunkers and artillery control station and rewards your efforts with panoramic views.
25. Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor is a National Historic Landmark and an active military base that earned its place in history from the 1941 attack that killed 1,177 soldiers on the USS Arizona. The site is now home to several attractions that are part of the Pacific World War II Memorial, including the USS Arizona Memorial, which floats atop the wreckage of the sunken ship, details of which can be seen sticking out of the water. There is no cost for a tour of the monument. However, reservations are recommended due to their popularity. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center has free admission. It is the venue for tours, including transportation to the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, where visitors can view World War II artifacts and aircraft and experience landing a plane on an aircraft carrier in a flight simulator. Other attractions include the USS Oklahoma, USS Utah, and the USS Missouri Battleship, whose decks can be toured by visitors.
26. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Formed within the crater of a volcano on the island of Oahu, Hanauma Bay is a unique sheltered bay that has long been popular with scuba divers. However, after overuse caused pollution and damage to the reef’s delicate ecosystem, restoration efforts have restored the bay to its original splendor, and are once again open to visitors. The Hanauma Bay Education Center is a great place to learn about the bay. In addition, several snorkel rental shops offer lessons so visitors can see the unique reef system and its inhabitants up close.
27. Volcanoes National Park
The park’s centerpiece, Kilauea, has been active as recently as 2018, and visitors should be aware that portions of the park are closed during periods of seismic activity that could pose a threat.
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Volcanoes National Park offers a unique, up-close view of a system of active volcanoes where lava seeps from fissures in the earth. The surrounding landscape is shaped by cooled lava rock, both old and new, which has flowed over the roads in a display of its unstoppable force. During the area’s most active periods, tourists can experience the thrill of feeling seismic activity, hearing the boom in gas emissions or even seeing a pillar of ash erupt into the air. The park has many things to do and see, including the Thurston Lava Tube, Jagger Museum, Devastation Trail, and the steaming Halema’uma’u Crater Address: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii National Park, Hawaii.
28. Haleakala National Park
Located on Maui, Haleakala National Park offers access to the dormant Haleakala Volcano, which sits at over 10,000 feet. Views from the summit span the entire island and are particularly beautiful at sunrise. The dormant crater is exposed, displaying a lunar landscape, while other areas of the park are covered in subtropical rainforests, which are home to endangered species of extinction. Visitors are free to explore the many hiking trails or sign up for ranger-led tours, and the more adventurous can spend the night in the park, surrounded by some of Hawaii’s most stunning scenery.
29. Waimea Canyon State Park
Waimea Canyon, located on the west side of the island of Kauai, is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The canyon stretches ten miles long, reaching depths of 3,600 feet, and is a mile wide in places. This spectacular spectacle can best be seen from the two main viewpoints, Puu ka Pele and Puu Hina Hina. The canyon landscape features rock layers in different colors and several impressive waterfalls. Guided tours along the many challenging trails and rafting tours exploring the river below are available, and there are additional trails for all skill levels nearby. Kokee State Park.
30. Na Pali Coast State Nature Park
The Na Pali Coast Nature Park on the island of Kauai contains some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. These were made famous in Jurassic Park, which shows a dramatic coastline with cliffs that seem to undulate, and the “Wall of Tears” on Mount Waialeale, named for the way hundreds of waterfalls weep from the mountain slopes. Some of the best ways to see the scene are to get up close to the water or take a helicopter tour to see the stunning view above. Expert hikers can try the Kalalau Trail, an eleven-mile hike that traverses five valleys and takes a full day each way.
31. Kona Coffee Living History Farm
The Kona Coffee Living History Farm is the only living history farm in the nation dedicated to the history and traditions of coffee growing. Costumed interpreters can be found throughout the grounds, performing daily tasks from food preparation to farm chores, always happy to answer questions. Visitors can also explore the plantation, which still produces coffee, where you can see a Kona Nightingale. Visitors can also find tours of Kona’s modern coffee growers, including plantation tours at Hula Daddy and tours of the roasting facility at Mountain Thunder Plantation.
32. Hana Road
The dramatic Hana Road, officially named the Hana Highway, is a scenic 52-mile stretch of highway on the island of Maui that meanders from Pā’ia through lush forests and along the coast to the remote town of Hana. This trip is worth it both for the drive along the impressive route and the visit to the city itself. Attractions include numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and beaches. Hana’s location, relatively isolated from the rest of the island, has allowed it to maintain a more traditional Hawaiian culture than other cities.
33. Waipio Valley Lookout
One of the most scenic spots on the Big Island of Hawaii is the Waipio Valley Overlook. Surrounded by lush cliff walls, the fertile valley opens up to the ocean, where the black sand beach meets white waves and blue waters. Hiking in the Waipio Valley is considered among the best in the state, and many trails are suitable for beginners. For an extra unique experience, local guides offer horseback tours of the valley, allowing you to enjoy the views from a different perspective.
34. Hamakua Heritage Corridor
This scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast stretches from Hilo to the Waipio Valley Lookout on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition to spectacular coastal views and the region’s lush landscape, several of the Big Island’s top attractions are along the way, making it an ideal sightseeing excursion. From Hilo, tourists take the Onomea Scenic Drive past Onomea Bay and the famous Hawaiian Tropical Garden, home to more than 2,000 species of tropical plants. As the route heads north, it continues past the 442-foot Akaka Falls and its brother Kahuna Falls, and then the World Botanical Gardens, where you can see a triple cascade called Umauma Falls, as well as Mauna Kea. Other attractions along the way include a Pacific lookout at Laupahoehoe Point, hiking at Kalopa State Recreation Area, and the quaint town of Honokaa. Finally, the drive ends at the legendary Waipio Valley Lookout, once the home of King Kamehameha.
35. Mauna Kea
Hawaii’s highest mountain, Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a world away from the tropical paradise below. The summit, which can only be reached by 4WD vehicle, is often icy with snow in the winter months. The Mauna Kea Observatory is an active research facility welcoming tourists during the day. Only expert hikers should attempt the summit on the six-mile trail, which rises to an altitude of 13,800 feet from the Visitor Information Station. The nightly stargazing programs, held at the visitor center, which sits at about 9,200 feet, are popular with tourists and locals alike.
36. Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center allows visitors to see what lies below the ocean’s surface and learn about the marine life and unique ecosystems surrounding Hawaii. The aquarium’s centerpiece is the massive Living Reef, home to more than 40 species of Pacific coral and thousands of fish. In addition, the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit allows visitors to walk through an underwater tunnel surrounded by marine life, including sharks, rays, and other marine animals. The downtown Turtle Lagoon is another popular spot; feeding encounters behind the turtles can be booked.
37. Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is located on Oahu, less than an hour’s drive from Honolulu. Through music, dance, craft demonstrations, and games, the center portray Polynesian islanders’ culture and daily life in Hawaii, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji as Maori in New Zealand. The center is divided into sections that represent each of these locations. Many artists come from the islands they represent, providing a high degree of authenticity. Visitors can tour the facility during the day or catch a show at night.
38. Princeville Botanical Gardens
The Princeville Botanical Gardens is a family-owned facility that grows various exotic flowers, medicinal plants, and food plants. Visitors can enjoy the gardens through guided tours and learn about the plants, their uses, and other interesting facts while viewing cacao trees, stunning flora, and working beehives. The time also includes the opportunity to sample raw and processed cacao (in the form of gourmet chocolate) and honey made from the nectar of tropical flowers.