America’s tropical paradise, Hawaii is a group of islands, each with something special to offer a visitor. From the surfing on Oahu, to the wonders of Maui, to the beauty of Honolulu, to the hidden wonders on Lanai, Hawaii is the great tropical escape for those looking to stay within America. There are beautiful beaches, amazing jungles, monstrous waterfalls, excellent diving, and world-class waves. Hawaii is a great destination for honeymooners, surfers, and families. While not thought of as a budget destination, there are plenty of budget options for people to choose from once you leave those resorts on Waikiki beach!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Hawaii
1. Visit Pearl Harbor
2. Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
3. Explore Honolulu
4. Stargaze at Mauna Kea
5. Snorkel at the Maui Molokini Crater
Other Things to See and Do
(Click the title to expand the text)
1. Visit the Island of Hawaii
Also referred to as “The Big Island,” Hawaii is nearly twice as large as all of the other islands combined. It is home to two of the Earth’s largest volcanoes, including the most active – Kilauea. Dive with the Pacific Manta Rays, scope out the black sand beaches of Waipi’o Valley or explore the historic downtown of Hilo.
2. Go on a helicopter tour
For those of you that were sleeping on the flight in, or just can’t get enough aerial views, helicopter tours are one of the most amazing ways to see the islands in their entirety. Rides are usually an hour long and focus on one island. The O’ahu tour is one to consider, as it surveys the world’s largest architectural maze, the sacred falls, and Turtle Bay. Helicopter Tours usually range from about $150-250.
3. Watch some Polynesian dance
The Polynesian Cultural Center is one of Oahu’s most popular attractions. Interestingly, the center is divided up into eight “villages,” each showcasing the indigenous Polynesian cultures of different parts of the world. Catching a canoe ride here is a blast and the fire walkers and dancers are pretty awesome. There is a ton of interactive stuff to take part in plus food. Packages start at $80.
4. Attend a Kaanapali Sunset Luau
This is one of the many luau hotspot attractions in Maui. The traditional dance is beautiful and the women are captivating and exotic. Throughout the ceremony, you get to feast on traditional Hawaiian buffet, most of which is cooked in an underground oven – the imu. Prices start at $90.
5. Whale-watch at Lahaina
This former whaling port is now a center for commercial activity and tourist attractions. There are a ton of interesting historical buildings and sites to explore. Many of the restaurants here are set up with balcony seating, ideal for sunset cocktails and the dinner hour. In a roadside area on the way to Ma’alea, there is a great winter whale-watching spot called Papawai Point.
6. Head to Ninini Point
Located on the island of Kaua’i, this is a great place to escape from the crowds and enjoy some solitude. You basically have a 360-degree view of the sky and all of the jets zipping through it, to the crashing waves below. The lighthouse here is 100ft high and marks the northern entrance to Nawiliwili Bay. Shore access from the lighthouse is very easy.
7. Hike the Waimea Canyon and Napali Coast
If you want to see why they call Kauai the Garden Isle, take a hike along one of the many trails offered along the west side of the island. The trails are well marked and many offer spectacular views of the canyon and coast, as well as interesting tropical plants.
8. Check out the Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum is a large Polynesian anthropological institute that showcases cultural art and artifacts. It has a world-class reputation and will teach you a lot about the history of Hawaii. It is located on Oahu. The museum is open daily from 9am-5pm and it costs $23 to enter.