Top Things to Do While Visiting Hawaii

The United States of America has its own set of paradise. The 50th state and hometown of current president, Barack Obama, presents travelers with a number of incredibly unique experiences, all with scenic views to match. Nowhere else in the world will you get an opportunity to get up close and personal with the earth’s fiery surface and experience the nighttime sky at the summit of a dormant volcano all on the same day. This is just one part of the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, a state with such diverse sceneries crunched into one spot. To make the most out of your Hawaiian holidays, check out this list of the best things to do in Hawaii.

Best things to do in Hawaii: Scientist Collecting Samples
Scientist Collecting Samples, Image via Flickr by the U.S. Geological Survey, CC BY 2.0

Best Things to Do in Hawaii

Visit Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes have long fascinated men and women, particularly during an eruption because it’s a testament that the Earth continues to be shaped by forces beyond its control. Nowhere else is that more evident than at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park where you can literally bear witness to how the Earth’s landmass was created. Watch as molten lava spews out Kilauea, the planet’s most active volcano, and spills over into the Pacific Ocean where it immediately cools and creates an extension of the island. Take a ranger tour that will lead you into ancient lava tubes and provide you with information on the hundreds of plants and animal species unique to the islands. This extraordinary experience to see the Earth’s primordial forces puts Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park atop the list of the best things to do in Hawaii.

top things to do while visiting Hawaii
Sunset on Mauna Kea, Image via Flickr by Luis Patron, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hike Up or Take a Tour to the Summit of Mauna Kea

Travelers to the Hawaiian Islands looking for another out of this world experience should head towards the summit of Mauna Kea, the only place where snow can be found in the islands. This now dormant volcano’s summit’s elevation is 13,796 feet (4,205m) so altitude sickness is a real possibility for many visitors. If you choose to brave the elements however, either by hiking or through one of the many tours offered that can take you there on a sturdy 4×4, you will be rewarded with some of the best sunrise and sunset views of the island as well as one of the best stargazing locations.

top things to do while visiting Hawaii
Na Pali Coast, Image via Flickr by Clement Faydi, CC BY 2.0

Take a Boat or Hike the Kalalau Trail to the Na Pali Coast

Do whatever it takes for you to get a glimpse of the astonishing beauty of the Na Pali Coast, which literally means “cliffs”, and is located on Kauai’s northwestern shore. With no accessible roads, the Na Pali coast can only be reached on foot by hiking the famous Kalalau Trail or on a boat. Dubbed as one of the most dangerous, albeit beautiful hikes in the world, the 11-mile Kalalau Trail will take you through some of the most incredible sceneries in Hawaii that include lush vegetation, sea caves, and panoramic views of thousand foot cliffs. The full length of the trail requires 3-5 days to complete and is only recommended for experienced hikers.

Fortunately for those with less time and fear of heights, the easier and more popular option is by water through catamaran cruises, rafts, and kayaks. A note to keep in mind however is that the currents can be rough en route to the coast, particularly in winter where waves topping 15-20 feet are common.

Best things to do in Hawaii: Waimea Canyon
Panorama of the Waimea Canyon, Image via Flickr by Peter Burka, CC BY-SA 2.0

Explore the Waimea Canyon

Another one of the best things to do in Hawaii is to explore the Waimea Canyon. This “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is the largest in the Pacific measuring one-mile in width, 10 miles in length, and 3,500 feet in depth. What makes it different, and to some even more attractive than its mainland cousin, is the rainbow of colors ranging from lush green to dark orange. A paved road suitable for most rental cars will lead you towards the main Waimea Canyon lookout point where you’ll get to see a panoramic view of the canyon and watch as the Waimea River snakes through the bottom floor. Some of the activities available in the park include hiking, fishing, and hunting. Also nearby is Kokee State Park where many hiking trails towards Kauai’s North Shore begin.

Maui and Oahu

You’ve only begun to graze the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands where nature’s extremes coexist harmoniously. The continuation of this list of the best things to do in Hawaii will examine the sights in the islands of Maui and Oahu.

Do you have a favorite Hawaiian sight? Share your thoughts on the best things to do in Hawaii below.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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5 Responses

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  3. Avatar for Iris A

    flight to America

    Hawaii is a little paradise! Looking forward to my next trip to America and of course I want to visit Hawaii! Any recommendation for reasonably priced accommodation there? What is the best season to go? I will be visiting America during the winter season.

    • Avatar for Iris A

      Richard Wolskel

      Winter will be a good time to travel, however it will be high season in Hawaii, so everything will be quite expensive. Prices drop in Spring from about mid-April, so that is quite a good time to go. If you need accommodation, try this link out. It gives a huge range of different accommodation, and depending on what you are looking for, you should find something suitable. You can sort by Bed & Breakfast, Guest House, Homestay, Hostel, hotel etc in the left hand column. Hope that helps!

  4. Avatar for Iris A

    bilietai i amerika

    What an interesting post about visiting Hawaii. I can’t wait for my cheap ticket to Hawaii. I received a good deal for September 2016, hope that this will be a good time to visit US beaches.


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