things to do in Hawaii

Hawaii is known as a mythical place of serene beauty, pristine beaches, active volcanoes, and fantastic hospitality from the original inhabitants of these islands.

The United States’ 50th state is an archipelago of eight big islands and smaller islands. The six main islands are Hawaii island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and  Oahu, which tourists can visit where the islands of Niihau and Kahoolawe are forbidden.

The State of Hawaii is a perfect winter destination for its tropical climate and unique ambiance and vibe. There is growing interest in the culture and heritage of the indigenous people of these islands too, and the tourists are flocking to explore and soak in origin.

At the same time, there is something very luxurious and private about this place which has always attracted people from all walks of life. There is a lot to do and a lot to explore, sample the local cuisine and immerse in the culture of this rich place. You can have a jam-packed itinerary when you decide or relax on the beaches with a glass of your favorite spirits and let the gentle lapping of the waves relax you.

As you know, there is something for everyone to do, allowing a comprehensive list of the adventures and thrills you can seek in Hawaii

Things to Do on the Big Island (Hawaii Island)

1. Hawaii Volcanos National Park

 Hawaii Volcanos National Park

Hawaii is known for its many active volcanoes, miles of lava tubes, and ancient petroglyphs. It is one of the main attractions of the big island. The Big Island is one of the state’s youngest islands and the biggest, as the name suggests.

You can drive to the Crater Rim, part of the National Park, an 11-mile road trip giving you a great view of the volcanoes. The trip follows on the erdge of Kilauea caldera. 

This drive also offers some spots where you can park and go on a short hike to check the otherworldly landscape. On your exploits, you can see steam vents, sulfur banks that remind you of the active caldera beneath your feet.

From here, you can visit Thurston Lava tubes. You can also explore the complete park on foot 

2. Dive with Manta Rays

 Dive with Manta Rays

Snorkeling and scuba diving are the most awaited activities that every tourist wants to try at the Big Island, especially during the night when you can do so with Manta Rays.

On the Hawaii island just north of Kailua-Kona is a bay where these fascinating creatures come for nightly feed time. Local dive and snorkel operators have set huge underwater spotlights to attract planktons, the leading food for manta rays.

Pro Packing Tip for Hawaii

  • Carry a good quality camera phone or a Go Pro to capture the beauty of this place
  • Have an extra Turkish Beach towel with you at all times, and you never know where you like to jump into the sea.
  • Always wear comfortable and sturdy shoes so that you can walk on any surface and for a longer duration too

Related Read: Best Island To Visit In Hawaii – Things to Know About Hawaii

3. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden 

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Do not miss this opportunity to check this beautiful island’s local flora and fauna by not visiting the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island. It makes for a lovely day trip, especially around monsoons with many waterfalls to explore and trek to—about 2000 species of tropical plants spread over 40 acres of nature preserve to enjoy and learn.

Remember to check the mighty Onomea waterfalls while you visit the orchid garden and enjoy the panoramic view of the coastline too. 

4. Bike Mauna Kea 

Bike Mauna Kea

If biking is your favorite activity or you enjoy a leisurely ride down some gentle slopes, this is the perfect sport for you. At Kilauea Volcano, you can indulge in biking and gliding down the smooth slope of Volcanoes National Park.

You can start at the summit at 4000 feet and ride down towards the Pacific ocean. You can rent a bike here and have a day to explore this region on your own. 

Things to Do on Kauai

5. Sail the Na Pali Coast

Sail the Na Pali Coast

The small island of Kauai has many things; unique things to offer in terms of gorgeous location and natural beauty-filled days. The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is one of the nine areas protected by the protected by government is a designated state park. This park is spread over 6000 acres and has 16 miles coast, which is unexplored yet.

Kauai is often called the Garden Isle because of its natural beauty, and it is also the oldest inhabited island of Hawaii. 

Na Pali means high cliffs where the original inhabitants of Hawaii settled first. Since there is not much road access to this park, you can hike or take a boat tour. 

6. Drive Waimea Canyon

Drive Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon, called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a must-visit place and must-do adventure on this tiny island. The canyon is 16 km long and 3000 feet deep, and you can mostly drive through it to visit all viewpoints.

Remember to carry your camera or Go Pro to record the most fantastic views from here. The park offers helicopter rides, too, if you intend to stay on the island for a couple of days. With the heli ride, you can enjoy the view of the Waipoo Falls.

You can also explore the trails by hiking down into the canyon. 

7. Hiking at the Kalalau Trail

Hiking at the Kalalau Trail

To enjoy the breathtaking views of Kauai’s valleys and coastline, hiking is the best way for a thrill seeker who is a seasoned or an amateur trekker.

You can start your hike from Kee Beach early in the morning and then continue along two miles to reach Hanakapiai Beach.

Most people turn around, but it is highly recommended that you continue further from here. Make sure to have the necessary hiking permits and gears to make your trek easy and enjoyable. 

8. Sea Turtles at Tunnels

Sea Turtles at Tunnels

Tunnels beach is the place to be in Kauai. If you are staying for a week, make sure to stay on this island for 2 – 3 days. You can beach hop in the northern region, where the sand is a gorgeous yellow gold color and swaying palm trees are welcoming. Right from the Beach, you can enter a lush green tropical forest with various trails to hike.

Offshore there are lava tubes that create underwater tunnels and caves and therefore the name Tunnel Beach.

Snorkeling here will introduce you to several tropical fishes and marine creatures, including sea turtles. 

9. Kayaking and Hiking in Wailua Canyon

Kayaking and Hiking in Wailua Canyon

Hawaii is the place to be if you are a fan of the outdoors and seek adventures everywhere you go. You can indulge in a full day of Kayaking and hike along the fabulous valley Wailua River.

While Kayaking, soak into the natural beauty of mountains scenery and a variety of birds. After which you will be off for a hike which is not strenuous and has some neat river crossing and climbing some old trees. 

This trek will lead you to a secret waterfall where you can have a picnic and dip the icy waters.

This spot is not possible to reach by road, so please plan accordingly. 

Things to Do in Maui

10. Go On a Scenic Ride Towards Hana

 Go On a Scenic Ride Towards Hana

Maui is called the Valley Isle of Hawaii. And over here, the most indulgent drive is on the road to Hana. The road stretches for 50+ miles with a series of hairpin bends and many one-lane bridges which can match your sense of adventure any day. It is one of the most scenic routes you will ever take.

On the road, do check Ho’okipa Bay Park, which is surfers delight, followed by Ke’anae Peninsula, where the waves break on hard black lava rocks.

It would be best if you visited Wai’anapanapa State Park. You can take a stroll on the black sand beach and tropical coastline. 

11. Helicopter Ride

Helicopter Ride

You can indulge in a birds-eye view of the island at Maui with a helicopter gliding over lush green valleys here.

Hawaii has many opportunities for you to take a heli ride, but don’t miss this one for sure. 

12. Snorkel Molokini Crater 

 Snorkel Molokini Crater 

As per Hawaiian mythology, Molokini is a beautiful woman fighter with the powerful Goddess Pele for the same name.

Molokini crater is the destination for snorkeling and diving. Just make sure to book a morning session as the sea is calmer and the water is more clearer. 

13. Humpback Whales

Humpback Whales

If you are visiting Hawaii for whale spotting, then the best time to do it is in November to April, and the best islands to do are Big Island, Maui, and Kaui. 

More than 10,000 humpback whales migrated from Alaska to Hawaii as it is their summertime feeding ground.

In Maui, you can visit the Auau channel for whale watching. 

14. Mount Haleakala

Mount Haleakala

Haleakala National Park is the region the crater and mountain peak covers, and it is considered a US National Park treasure.

Watching the sunrise is one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

Plan to reach early morning so that you get the best spot to click some pictures. 

Things to Do in Molokai

15. Leper Colony Kalaupapa National Historic Site

Leper Colony Kalaupapa National Historic Site

This is a special place to visit which was once a leper’s colony made for the victims of Hansen’s Disease and operational for more than a century between 1865 – 1966.

The territory has some survivors even though the disease is completely eradicated.

It is one of the saddest places to visit to understand the history of Hawaii. 

Things to Do in Oahu

16. The Honolulu Marathon

The Honolulu Marathon

This event has gained international popularity among avid marathoners, newbies, and audiences.

The race happens on the second Sunday of December and has over 25000 runners participating in the event worldwide.

The course starts from Ala Moana Boulevard, continues with the hilly Diamond Head, calming ocean and palm trees, and ends at the Kapiolani Park.

17. Diamond Head 

Diamond Head 

Along with the popularity of the sand and surf of Oahu, hiking at Diamond Head is famous and much-indulged activity.

It is one of the best summits to visit for the views from there. The impressive volcanic crater is 450 acres long is known for its sparkling summit.

You can start hiking from the beach itself.

18. Polynesian Culture Centre

Polynesian Culture Centre

The perfect place to learn and immerse yourself in the Polynesian culture.

Operational for more than 50 years now, the area has preserved and shown the unique culture of the state of Hawaii.

Must visit attraction is a trip to villages of six islands where you can indulge in some activities and fun. You can enjoy the traditional cuisine and local dishes here too. 

19. Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve is formed in a volcanic crater in the southeast of Oahu. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1967.

It is one of the best beaches to visit in Hawaii.

Snorkeling is a must-do activity with beautiful coral and over 400 species of tropical fish, and the famous Hawaiian sea turtle.

20. Skydiving at North Shore

Skydiving at North Shore

Skydiving in Hawaii is an activity on everyone’s bucket list.

You can enjoy this daring activity here with well-trained and qualified instructors who can help you tackle your fear and smoothen the diving processes. 

21. Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

No visit to Hawaii is complete without visiting this World War II monument called Pacific National Museum. This National Historic Landmark is a memorable and emotional experience for many.

You can visit Memorial in USS Arizona, which is free entry along with other memorial sites like the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum—require paid ticket entry.

Wrapping Up

This is brief activity and things to do list on Hawaii, and you can explore more and make an itinerary as per your wishes.

Hawaii is not just an archipelago of islands with natural beauty and great food. It is more of an experience and immersion into the culture of Polynesian people.