Discover the Top 12 Things To Do in Hawaii: A Guide to the Best Attractions and Activities

Top 12 Things To Do in Hawaii


Aloha! Are you ready to escape to the tropical paradise of Hawaii? From its crystal clear waters and sandy beaches to its cascading waterfalls and active volcanoes, there’s no shortage of breathtaking sights and exciting adventures to be had on these beautiful islands. And let’s not forget about the rich culture and delicious food!

Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking to surf the biggest waves and hike through lush rainforests or just want to relax and unwind at a luxury resort, Hawaii has something for everyone. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to experience all that this tropical paradise has to offer with our list of the top 12 things to do in Hawaii!

The Top 12 Things To Do In Hawaii

1. Visit The Beach

Hawaii has several beautiful beaches, each with its own distinct personality. Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Ka’anapali Beach on Maui, and Poipu Beach on Kauai are all popular destinations to explore. Spend your days relaxing on the sand, swimming in the warm waves, and snorkeling to observe the colorful species that inhabit the reefs. Hawaii has some of the finest beaches in the world; see our list here

2. Hike To A Waterfall

Hiking in Hawaii is an amazing opportunity to see the magnificent natural beauty of the islands. Hawaii is a hiker’s dream, with its lush jungles, rough coasts, and towering waterfalls. There are several routes to select from, ranging from short easy walks to longer and more difficult excursions. You’ll be able to select a trail that meets your needs and skill level.

Several lovely waterfalls in Hawaii can be reached by hiking through the rainforests. On the island of Hawaii, one popular trail is the Akaka Falls State Park, which features two waterfalls: the 442-foot-tall Akaka Falls and the 100-foot-tall Kahuna Falls. Other noteworthy waterfalls to see are the Waimea Falls on Oahu and the Wailua Falls on Kauai.

3. Visit A Volcano

Hilo is a small town on the east side of the island with a population of about 50,000. It’s home to many historical sites, including Hilo Bay and Wailoa River State Park. One of the most popular attractions in Hilo is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

This park is great for hiking enthusiasts because it has over 200 miles of trails that are open year-round. Visitors can also explore steam vents, lava tube caves, lava flows from the 1950s and 1960s, plus ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites like Pu’u O’o Crater Trail (which leads to Kilauea Iki Lava Tube).

Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, is located on the island of Hawaii. You may visit the national park and explore the volcano up close on your own or with a guided tour. While you’re there, you can also visit the Thurston Lava Tube, a massive tube formed by flowing lava, and the Jaggar Museum, which features exhibits on the volcano’s geology and history. If you are adventurous, this is a must-do experience!

When you’re done taking in all these historic sights come back down to Mt. Mauna Loa road where you’ll find yourself at Hilo Farmer’s Market! This market has something for everyone: fresh produce from local farms as well as delicious food stands offering everything from poke bowls to sushi burritos! Don’t forget your wallet though because there will be plenty more things shopping here than just food!

4. Whale Watching


There are a few things you can do in Hawaii that will make your trip even more special. One of those things is to go whale watching. Whale watching is popular among tourists, but it’s also a great activity to do while visiting the islands.

Whales are often seen near Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island between December and April. Seeing these majestic creatures up close makes for an unforgettable experience!

The best way to see whales is on a boat tour. You will get the chance to get up close and personal with these animals, and you’ll be able to snap some great pictures. If you’re looking for an activity that’s fun for the whole family, then whale watching might be just what you’re looking for!

5. Go Surfing

Now on to what people associate Hawaii with the most! Yes, that is right-Surfing! When the winter months hit Hawaii, it’s time to grab your board and head for the water. Surfing has become one of the most popular activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just learning how to ride waves, there are plenty of schools offering lessons and rentals. In fact, there are over 400 surf schools in Hawaii! It’s more than possible to learn how to surf in only a few days.

It’s important that you go during winter because some beaches are closed during summer due to high surf conditions that could endanger inexperienced people who get caught up in rogue waves without knowing what they’re doing; this is especially true if you plan on surfing outside of a controlled environment like at a school where instructors can monitor their students on land as well as out on their boards in the ocean.

6. Take A Helicopter Tour

Take a Helicopter Ride above the Volcano and then for more adventure hike to the top of it.

Helicopter tours are a great way to see Hawaii’s volcanic landscape and get some perspective on just how big these things are. If you want a more in-depth look, book a helicopter tour that will land at the summit of one of Hawaii’s volcanoes. On Oahu’s Haleakala volcano, for example, there are guided treks that are led by local guides through its crater floor or up its slopes to an elevation of 10,000 feet (3,050 m).

Depending on which activity you’re interested in doing, I’d recommend checking with your hotel concierge for recommendations on tour operators and guides who have been vetted as being safe and reliable—and do some research ahead of time so that you know what kind of weather conditions might be best for doing whichever activity floats your boat!

7. Go Scuba Diving

Scuba diving in Hawaii is an incredible way to explore the vibrant marine life that calls the islands’ waters home. You’ll have the chance to see schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins and whales as you dive among the coral reefs. There are many dive sites to choose from, ranging from shallow reefs to deep shipwrecks. Some popular dive sites include the Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui, the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, and the Kewalo Pipe off the coast of Oahu. If you are a certified diver you cannot miss out on experiencing the best dive locations in the world.

8. Snorkeling With Manta Rays


The next time you’re in Hawaii, it’s worth adding snorkeling with manta rays to your list of things to do. These majestic creatures are the largest rays in the world and can weigh up to 5,000 pounds. They’re a threatened species and have a wingspan of up to 25 feet!

Manta rays are filter feeders, eating plankton and small fish that they catch by swimming through water at high speeds; their mouths are located under their heads, so they must swim upside down when hunting for food.

9. Learn About Hawaiian Culture

Hawaii has a rich and fascinating culture, and there are several ways to learn about it, including hula dance classes, luau feasts, and travels to cultural centers. Traditional Hawaiian cuisine and entertainment, such as hula dance and music, are available during a luau. Exhibits on Hawaiian history and culture are available in cultural facilities like the Bishop Museum on Oahu.

Food is an important aspect of any culture, and Hawaii is no exception. Hawaii’s culinary scene is renowned for its diverse mixture of traditional Hawaiian foods, Asian cuisine, and fresh seafood. Poke, a raw fish meal commonly prepared with ahi tuna, lomi lomi salmon, a classic Hawaiian dish made with salted, pounded salmon, and kalua pig, a traditional Hawaiian cuisine created by slow-roasting pig in an underground oven, are some popular Hawaiian foods. Hawaii also has a diverse international cuisine, ranging from Japanese to Korean, Chinese, and even Mediterranean. Roy’s Hawaii, Alan Wong’s, and Mama’s Fish House are some of Hawaii’s most popular restaurants.

Recommendations: Experiment with new foods, such as Hawaiian sweet bread, Luau cuisine, and Saimin; so you can really get a feel for the Hawaiian culture.

10. Watch The Sunset From A Beach

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset from the beach. It’s the perfect way to end a day in Hawaii, and it can be done anywhere in Oahu. Whether you’re looking for a romantic stroll or want to go all out with friends, here are some of our favorite places:

  • Waikiki Beach Walk
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Sandy Beach Park

Watching the sunset from one of these spots will give you an epic view of Oahu’s western coastline as well as views of Diamond Head and Honolulu Harbor. The best time to go is in early May or September—the weather is cooler but not too cold yet! Bring along a blanket and some snacks because that’ll make your experience all the better (and don’t forget sunscreen too!). Parking will depend on which beach you decide on going to; just remember if there isn’t any parking options available then try another nearby spot instead!

11. Swimming With Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins is a truly unique experience, and you should make it a priority on your next trip to Hawaii. This is something everyone dreams of; Dolphins are intelligent creatures that can be found in many places around the world, but if you want to swim with them in their natural habitat, Hawaii is where you’ll want to be.

You can either go on a tour and see these majestic creatures from afar or get up close and personal by swimming alongside them! Regardless of how far away or close-up your experience is, one thing is certain: you’re going to fall in love with these beautiful animals!

The first thing you’ll notice about dolphins is their playful nature. Dolphins are very active and can often be seen jumping out of the water or playing with each other. Their curiosity makes them a lot of fun to watch, as they’ll come over and swim around your boat just for fun!

12. Visit Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Hawaii. The park’s history dates back before the attack of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes launched an assault on the harbor and battleships docked there.

Visitors can take part in a free ranger-led tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, which will tell you all about what happened that day and provide an outline of its impact on history. Afterward, head over to Battleship Missouri Memorial where you can get closer to this historic battleship than ever before by taking a boat ride around it or even climbing aboard! There are also guided tours available at both locations if you’d prefer someone else do all the talking for you (and their guides are knowledgeable experts).

Afterward, head to the nearby Honolulu Harbor Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park for another look at military history—this time underwater! Visitors who visit this museum will learn about how submarines were used during World War II and see artifacts from previous wars as well as current ones like Vietnam and Afghanistan

Wrapping Up The Top 12 Things To Do In Hawaii

Hawaii is a vacationer’s dream, with infinite chances for adventure, culture, and relaxation. Hike through the woods to find secret waterfalls, take a boat excursion to explore the islands from the ocean, or even learn to surf on some of the world’s finest waves. You may also immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by attending a luau feast, learning the hula, or visiting cultural centers. When it’s time to unwind, Hawaii’s beautiful beaches and luxurious resorts provide the perfect environment. Altogether, Hawaii is a must-visit destination for everyone trying to have a good time and create lifelong memories.

What Is The History Of Hawaii?

Travelers who are history lovers will love this: Hawaii has a rich and diverse history, with Indigenous peoples living on the islands for thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the 18th century. The islands were eventually unified under the rule of King Kamehameha the Great and became a US possession in 1898. Travelers can learn more about Hawaiian culture and history by visiting cultural centers such as the Bishop Museum and the Hawaiian Cultural Center, in addition to historic sites such as the Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site and the USS Arizona Memorial near Pearl Harbor.

Where To Stay In Hawaii?

Hawaii has a variety of housing options to suit all budgets and interests. Travelers have the option of staying at luxury resorts, hotels, holiday rentals, or vacation home rentals. The Four Seasons Resort, the Ritz Carlton, and the Grand Hyatt are all popular choices. Vacation and short-term rentals are also popular, with many accessible on platforms such as Airbnb being the main one. You can use our partner to find the best deals on your hotel!

Uncovering the Colorful Festivals and Events in Hawaii

Throughout the year, Hawaii hosts a variety of festivals and events that highlight the state’s rich culture and arts community. The Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of Hawaiian culture and dance, the Honolulu Festival, which honors cultural exchange between Hawaii and the Pacific Rim, and the Aloha Festivals, a month-long celebration of Hawaiian culture and history, are some of Hawaii’s most popular events.

Navigating In Hawaii

While Oahu has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses, trains, and shuttles to neighboring islands, many visitors choose to rent a car to explore the islands. You can look for the best deals on renting a car in Hawaii through our search engine here. Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are also available on the islands.

Recommendation: Go To a Luau

What is a Luau you might ask? A type of Hawaiian feast that usually involves a buffet dinner, entertainment, and a show.

Best place to go? Oahu Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village

Best time of year? Anytime is great! We’ve been in August and it was perfect!

What to wear: Comfortable clothes, don’t wear flip-flops (you will be on grass) but feel free to bring your own beach towel if you want something soft under your feet. Hula skirts are great if you want one or ask for one when you book your tickets; there should be no extra cost for them. If any other type of fabric gets wet it may cause problems with the lighting when they do fire dances so please make sure everything stays dry before entering the theater area!

Tips and tricks

It’s always helpful for travelers in Hawaii to know some tips and tricks for exploring the state. Consider the following points:

  • Best time to visit: Spring and fall are the best times to visit Hawaii since the weather is nice and the crowds are smaller.
  • Packing: Pack for the beach, but be prepared for rain and colder temperatures at higher elevations.
  • Currency: Hawaii uses the US dollar as its currency, and most major credit cards are accepted.
  • Tipping: In restaurants, tip 15-20%, and for hotel bellhops and taxi/Uber/Lyft drivers, tip $1-$2 per bag.
  • Tax: Most purchases are subject to a 4.166% General Excise Tax (GET) and a Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT).
  • Smoking is not permitted in any public place, including beaches, parks, and walkways.
  • Language: English is the official language, however, many residents also speak Hawaiian and other languages.

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