It would not matter what you’re looking out for in a visit – journey, leisure, romance, cultural experiences, meals – Hawaii has all of it. Every island has its private sort of vibe, from the laid-back serenity of Kauaʻi to the bustling seaside cities of Maui.
There are so many distinctive experiences, too, like mountaineering to an lively volcano on Hawaiʻi Island and watching monster surf crash on Oʻahu’s North Shore. With so many selections, proper right here’s a shortcut to the easiest experiences you probably can have throughout the Aloha State.
1. Waikiki, Oʻahu
Waikiki on Oʻahu’s sunny south shore is the state’s most well-known resort metropolis. By means of the years the neighborhood has superior to be a lot much less kitschy and further real. Lodges provide lei-making programs of their open-air lobbies and standard hula is showcased on the tiki torch-lit hula mound on Kuhio Seaside. Take searching courses from modern-day seaside boys or get pleasure from afternoon tea on the historic Moana Surfrider. Among the many island’s most interesting consuming locations are positioned in Waikiki, too.
Planning tip: The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Seaside Resort has been inserting on a fireworks current every Friday night since 1988 (with a two-year break via the pandemic). Ship a picnic dinner and uncover a spot on the seaside to take a look at the skies mild up. The current begins at 7:45pm via the winter and 8pm within the summertime.
The volcanic panorama of Hawaiʻi Island is in distinction to each different place throughout the USA © Tec Petaja / Lonely Planet
2. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Nationwide Park, Hawaiʻi Island
The 323,431-acre Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Nationwide Park on Hawaiʻi Island is a spot in distinction to anyplace else in Hawaii (or the US). That is no doubt one of many few places on the planet the place you probably can drive as a lot as safely view an lively volcano. Kilauea, an lively defend volcano had been, up until 2018, repeatedly erupting and altering the panorama since 1983. It’s presently not energetic nevertheless that will change any day. The nationwide park – one amongst 5 on the Giant Island – stretches from sea stage to the summit of the 13,679-foot Mauna Loa, one among many largest volcanoes on the planet. Trek alongside one amongst dozens of hikes throughout the park and see earlier lava flows and tubes, steam vents, and native timber and birds.
Detour: Stop at Volcano Village, a rustic metropolis within the midst of a lush rainforest stuffed with native hapuʻu fern and ‘ōhiʻa timber merely outdoor the park. You might discover quaint journey leases proper right here, a handful of consuming locations, a farmers market on Sundays, a small winery that sells domestically produced wine, an orchid farm and the Volcano Art work Coronary heart, a working arts studio and gallery.
3. The Island of Molokaʻi
Undeveloped and typically missed, Molokaʻi provides a couple of of essentially the most authentic experiences of any of the Hawaiian Islands. Spanning 38 miles prolonged and 10 miles all through at its widest stage, this island – the fifth largest in Hawaii – is residence to the world’s tallest sea cliffs, the longest waterfall throughout the Islands and one among many state’s largest white-sand seashores, Papohaku Seaside.
There are not any big resorts or guests lights proper right here; instead, you’ll uncover the windswept Moʻomomi Dunes, the 2,744-acre Kamakou Defend with its distinctive montane rest room, and the secluded Kalaupapa Peninsula, as quickly as an isolated neighborhood of victims with Hansen’s sickness. Stop at Kanemitsu Bakery in Kaunakakai for freshly made Molokaʻi sweet bread correct out of the oven.
Planning tip: Many think about the hula was born on Molokaʻi, and every summer time season the island hosts its largest competitors, Na Hula Piko (anticipated to return in 2023.) Hula groups from throughout the state perform at this event.
Hawaii is good for transient nevertheless adventurous road journeys identical to the Avenue to Hana © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet
4. Hana, Maui
The 53-mile Hana Freeway – additionally referred to as the Avenue to Hana – is as scenic because it’s winding. The road twists all through 59 principally one-lane bridges, alongside plunging cliffs, earlier waterfalls and spherical 620 turns to the unspoiled metropolis of Hana on Maui’s northeast coast. The drive itself – which could take numerous hours – is part of the journey. As quickly as in Hana, have the benefit of hala tree-lined Hamoa Seaside, sunbathe at Waiʻānapanapa State Park’s black-sand seaside, or hike to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls throughout the Kīpahulu end of Haleakalā Nationwide Park.
Planning tip: In case you’re planning to go to Waiʻānapanapa State Park, you’ll should e-book reservations which might be made as a lot as 30 days prematurely. It costs US$5 per particular person and US$10 for parking per non-commercial automobile.
5. Nāpali Coast, Kauaʻi
The towering inexperienced cliffs of the fabled Nāpali Coast rise 2000ft from the ocean and stretch 15 miles alongside Kauaʻi’s rugged northern shoreline. You probably can experience these verdant valleys and razor-edged cliffs aboard a catamaran, on a kayak, from a helicopter or alongside the 11-mile Kalalau Path.
Planning tip: To get to Keʻe Seaside, the start of the Kalalau Path, you’ll should make advance reservations to enter Hāʻena State Park. It costs US$5 for out-of-state company to enter the park, US$10 for each automotive.
Be part of the sunset swimmers at Sunset Seaside on Oʻahu’s North Shore © JJM Photographs / Shutterstock
6. North Shore, Oʻahu
In winter – from November to February – a couple of of the world’s most interesting surfers (and 1000’s of spectators) flock to Oʻahu’s North Shore and its seven miles of well-known breaks, from Banzai Pipeline to Sunset Seaside. Often the waves are sufficiently large (continuously greater than 40ft, measured from the doorway of the wave) at Waimea Bay to hold the distinguished, invite-only Eddie Aikau Giant Wave Invitation. Summer time season brings calmer ocean circumstances, good for swimming and snorkeling. The colorful seaside metropolis of Haleʻiwa choices cute boutiques, eateries and the well-known Matsumoto Shave Ice retailer.
Detour: To get a hen’s-eye view of this well-known shoreline, take the 2-mile ʻEhukai Pillbox hike. The trail climbs the aspect of the northern Koʻolau Mountains to World Battle II bunkers that offer panoramic views of the entire North Shore shoreline.
7. Haleakalā Nationwide Park, Maui
Catching the daybreak on the excessive of Haleakalā, a dormant volcano that rises to 10,023ft above sea stage, is no doubt one of many hottest actions on Maui. Reservations are required for daybreak – and the cost doesn’t embrace entrance into the nationwide park – and might be laborious to get. Ponder viewing the sunset instead and staying for the stargazing. The park moreover has fairly a couple of mountaineering trails by way of otherworldly landscapes and the chance to see the endangered ʻāhinahina (silversword) and nēnē (Hawaiian goose), the state hen.
Planning tip: The park provides pristine darkish skies – with minimal mild air air pollution – good for stargazing. Temperatures can drop shortly on the summit, so costume warmly and produce layers. You’ll moreover have to convey your particular person snacks, as there are not any meals or drinks obtainable throughout the park.
Extensively thought of as one amongst Hawaii’s most interesting seashores, Hanalei Bay on Kaua’i is good for surfers and seaside loungers alike © Glowing Earth Photographs / 500px
8. Hanalei, Kauaʻi
On Kauaʻi’s quiet north shore is the sleepy metropolis of Hanalei, marked by emerald inexperienced mountains, kalo loʻi (flooded taro fields) and some of the island’s most interesting seashores, along with the breathtaking Hanalei Bay with its historic pier. Browse paintings galleries and boutiques, eat latest poke from Hanalei Poke and plant-based taro doughnuts from Holey Grail, and stroll spherical a farmers market.
Detour: About 2 miles west of Hanalei Bay is Lumahaʻi Seaside, made well-known by the 1958 fundamental film South Pacific. That’s the place Mitzi Gaynor spent her time “washing that man correct out of her hair.”
9. Maunakea, Hawaiʻi Island
Maunakea or “white mountain” is, at 13,802ft above sea stage, the world’s tallest mountain when measured from its base. (Larger than half, or 19,698ft, of Maunakea lies underwater, making it 33,500ft from base to summit.) It’s thought-about one of many sacred of all Hawaiʻi volcanoes and is believed by Native Hawaiians as a space of the gods. It‘s moreover a hub of astronomical comment with higher than a dozen giant telescopes from across the globe. You probably can e-book guided stargazing excursions with outfitters like Hawaiʻi Forest & Path.
Detour: In April, Hilo, which is about half-hour west of Maunakea, hosts the annual Merrie Monarch Pageant, a aggressive hula competitors that features a few of the state’s most interesting dancers and performers. It’s good to e-book tickets prematurely to attend the event, nevertheless the craft current, which is an enormous draw, is open to most of the people.
10. Upcountry Maui, Maui
On the slopes of Haleakalā are the quaint cities of Kula and Makawao, collectively known as Upcountry Maui. Up proper right here, the air is crispier, the vibe is slower. Determine latest strawberries in season at Kula Nation Farms, wander throughout the fragrant Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm, or feed goats at Searching Goat Dairy. This area is thought for its paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys.
Detour: Not many company know that grapes are grown proper right here. Open since 1974, MauiWine produces wines comprised of estate-grown grapes, pineapples and raspberries. Go to its tasting room on the picturesque ʻUlupalakua Ranch.
11. Pearl Harbor, Oʻahu
Recognized for the 1941 assault on the USS Arizona, which launched the US into World Battle II, Pearl Harbor attracts tons of of 1000’s of vacation makers yearly to the memorial erected in honor of the 1102 males who’re nonetheless entombed throughout the metal hull of the battleship. You probably can catch a ship to the USS Arizona Memorial, tour the airplane hangars of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, and stand on the decks of the “Mighty Mo” battleship the place Imperial Japan formally surrendered in 1945. Pearl Harbor was as quickly as known as Wai Momi, or pearl waters, attributable to its ample oyster beds.
Additionally known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Kaua’i’s Waimea Canyon is worth a go to © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet
12. Waimea Canyon, Kauaʻi
Often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon with its buttes, crags and earthen colors, stretches 10 miles prolonged, is 1 mile huge and is larger than 3600ft deep. Stop on the Waimea Canyon Lookout for sweeping views of the canyon and the 800ft Waipoʻo Falls. Nevertheless it is also potential to experience the canyon by means of fairly a couple of mountaineering trails, on horseback and from a helicopter. Any strategy you see it, it’s breathtaking.
Detour: The best trails are positioned all through the 4,345-acre Kōkeʻe State Park. The related price is US$5 per particular person (nonresident) and US$10 per automotive. From the park, you probably can stop on the Kalalau Lookout at 4120ft above the Nāpali Coast, with commanding views of the luxurious, amphitheater-headed Kalalau Valley. Tenting is obtainable and the restaurant is worth a stop (nevertheless phrase: it solely serves breakfast and lunch.)
13. South Kona, Hawaiʻi Island
Head south from Kailua-Kona and in addition you’ll be in espresso nation. This area – Kaʻawaloa (Captain Put together dinner), Hōnaunau, Kāʻu – is believed for its high-quality espresso grown utterly on this extreme elevation and volcanic soils on the slopes of Hualālai Volcano. There are a complete bunch of farms proper right here, and plenty of provide guided excursions and free tastings. Hōlualoa is a small artsy metropolis with cute retailers. Kealakekua Bay throughout the space of Captain Put together dinner provides a couple of of the island’s most interesting snorkeling. And Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau Nationwide Historic Park is a sacred place of refuge that you just tour.
Detour: In Keauhou, you probably can dive at night with the sunshine manta rays that swim alongside this shoreline. Seeing these smooth giants glide and twirl throughout the water with you is an experience you acquired’t potential overlook.
‘Iolani Palace was as quickly because the residence after which a jail for Queen Liliʻuokalani © Randy Faris / Getty Images
14. ʻIolani Palace, Oʻahu
In-built 1882 beneath King David Kalākaua, ʻIolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu is the one royal residence throughout the US. It took three years to complete at a worth of US$343,595, with Hawaiʻi’s first electrical mild system, flush bogs and intra-house telephones. The ultimate two monarchs of the Hawaiian Kingdom – King Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliʻuokalani – resided proper right here until the overthrow of the dominion in 1893. You probably can tour this American Florentine-style palace and see its throne rooms, consuming rooms and the non-public residing quarters of the royal family.
Detour: Stroll to shut by Chinatown and browse the markets or eat at one among many many consuming locations – ranging from Korean takeout to poke bowls to consuming locations run by James Beard Award winners and nominees – on this neighborhood.
15. Molokini, Maui
Three miles off shore from Wailea on Maui is Molokini Crater, recognized for its deep, crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. This crescent-shaped islet is a marine defend, residence to higher than 250 species of tropical fish. The one resolution to get to this modern snorkeling and diving website online is by boat.
Planning tip: Whereas the boat expertise out to Molokini is commonly clear, the journey once more might be tumultuous. In case you’re susceptible to seasickness, each sit throughout the coronary heart of the boat the place it’s further regular or take some motion-sickness remedies.
16. Kailua, Oʻahu
A quick 15-minute drive from Honolulu, Kailua seems as if a world away. The seaside metropolis is constructed spherical Kailua Seaside, a powdery-white stretch of sand that runs 2.5 miles prolonged. People fish, surf, kayak, swim and paddle canoes in these waters. Shut by Lanikai Seaside, with its unobstructed views of the Mokulua Islands, is one different modern stop for seaside lovers. It’s smaller and further secluded than Kailua Seaside, nevertheless often further crowded attributable to its standing for calm waters and delightful vistas. The town itself boasts modern consuming locations, boutiques, native breweries and a terrific domestically owned unbiased bookshop often called Bookends.
Planning tip: Ponder exploring Kailua metropolis by bike. You probably can lease one from The Bike Retailer. (There’s no city-run bike-sharing on this aspect of the island.) The shop has a selection of cruisers, mountain bikes and road bikes for lease, full with helmets and bike locks. Electra cruises – essentially the most well-liked bikes – start at US$18 for as a lot as 4 hours. You probably can e-book on-line and select it up on the shop.
17. Earlier Lahaina Lūʻau, Maui
Open in 1986, the domestically owned Earlier Lahaina Lūʻau on Maui has been a favorite lūʻau for a few years, showcasing typical hula, music and meals. It’s positioned correct on the ocean off Entrance Avenue in Lahaina with good sunset views. Tickets embrace keep leisure, an open bar, historic storytelling and chanting, and an all-you-can-eat buffet with Hawaiian staples like lau lau, kālua pig, poi and poke.
A Hawaiian inexperienced sea turtle swimming over a reef © OverboardDadPhotography / Getty Images
18. Hanauma Bay, Oʻahu
This protected nature defend in East Honolulu is no doubt one of many most interesting spots to snorkel on Oʻahu. About 400 species of fish inhabit this bay, along with honu (Hawaiian inexperienced sea turtles), and the occasional endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The pandemic launched new restrictions for the favored bay: on-line reservations are required and it costs US$25 per particular person for non-Hawaii residents 13 years and older. Parking is one different US$3 per automotive. The bay is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Planning tip: You probably can lease snorkel gear on the bay, so that you just don’t should lug your particular person. While you may stroll down the steep road to the seaside, it is also potential to decide on to take the free tram (we recommend that on one of the simplest ways once more to your automotive).
Least recognized of the entire Hawaiian Islands – and the smallest inhabited island – Lanaʻi is an ideal escape. Hold in luxurious resorts with world-class amenities fronting the attractive and secluded Hulopoʻe Seaside, a selected marine defend stuffed with vibrant fish and usually spinner dolphins. Or uncover the rest of the island – the wild and windswept 8-mile Shipwreck Seaside (full with an exact shipwreck), the standard fishing village of Kaunolū, or go to the bizarre panorama of Keahikawelo (Yard of the Gods).
Planning tip: In the event you want to enterprise outdoor the resorts of Lanaʻi Metropolis, you’ll should lease a four-wheel drive automobile. There’s no public transportation or ride-sharing on the island.