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Things to do in Hawaii

Things to do in  Hawaii

Welcome to Hawaii

Anyone can see why the Pacific archipelago of Hawaii is a favorite pick for travelers: cobalt waters, powder-white beaches, volcanic peaks, indigenous wildlife, and rich traditional culture. Hawaii’s vibe is casual and laid-back, with life here mostly lived outside. Locals and visitors divide their time between chowing down on traditional island food, surfing or bodyboarding the waves, snorkeling or diving the coral reefs, or hiking over ancient lava flows.

Each main island offers both expected and unique experiences. Sail and snorkel off the coast of Maui; summit Mauna Kea, kayak with dolphins, and traverse volcanic crater rims on the Big Island; hike through rain forests and valleys on rugged Kauai; and check off Oahu's top things to do, from visiting Pearl Harbour to leaning to surf at Waikiki Beach. For seclusion, empty beaches, and authentic Hawaiin culture, Molokai and Lanai—the two least populated of the main islands—beckon.

Whatever your vision of a dream Hawaiian vacation, the recipe is simple: Choose your islands, choose your activities, choose your pace, book your trip, and enjoy.

Top 15 attractions in Hawaii

#1
Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater

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When was the last time you had a snorkel adventure inside of a sunken Hawaiian volcano, or enjoyed a freshly cooked BBQ lunch on the deck of a sailing catamaran? Thanks to its calm, crystal clear waters, bright coral reef, and 250-plus species of tropical fish, Molokini Crater is the most popular spot for snorkeling tours on Maui. Spend a day on a snorkeling tour as you explore the protected marine preserve and come face to face with some of Hawaii's most colorful marine life.More
#2
Road to Hana (Hana Highway)

Road to Hana (Hana Highway)

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Tropical foliage, black sand beaches, rushing waterfalls and incredible views are the calling cards of the legendary, winding Road to Hana. The famous roadway along Maui’s North Shore (also called the Hana Highway) includes 600 hairpin turns and more than 50 bridges and is known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world.More
#3
Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast

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With steep emerald cliffs, lush valleys, and remote cascading waterfalls, the Na Pali Coast is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful regions, and no visit to Kauai is complete without a visit to this magical coastline. There are only three ways to explore the Na Pali Coast—by air, by sea, and on foot—and each offers its own unique perspective.More
#4
Oahu North Shore

Oahu North Shore

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Surfing is king on Oahu’s North Shore, where summer’s placid snorkeling spots are transformed into pounding 40-foot (12-meter) waves come winter. On land you’ll find a peaceful respite from hectic Honolulu, with scenic waterfall hikes, sleepy farms selling tropical fruit, and food trucks doling out garlic shrimp.More
#5
Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

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Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii's tallest and the highlight of many visitors' trips to the Big Island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) feature some of the world's largest telescopes, including equipment from Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii, due to its designation as an unparalleled destination for stargazing.More
#6
Sandy Beach Park

Sandy Beach Park

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When U.S. President Barack Obama shared that Sandy’s was his favorite Oahu beach early in his presidency, it went from a popular locals’ beach to just plain popular. This public stretch of white sand just north of the extinct Koko Head Crater is no languid oasis, however; it’s one of Oahu’s best—and most intense—spots for bodyboarding and bodysurfing. A fierce shore break best suited for experienced surfers sometimes wells into powerful barrels that can pummel riders trying to catch a wave.The spot is often coupled with a visit to the neighboring Halona Blowhole, a lookout point where waves regularly blow spray up through eroded crevices in the lava rock. And when the wind kicks up, it’s not uncommon to see families flying kites on the spacious lawn fronting the sand.More
#7
Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

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Made up of several historic sites and memorials, Pearl Harbor honors and educates the public about the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 that propelled the country into World War II. It’s one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions, and one of the country’s most significant WWII memorial sites.More
#8
Kailua Pier

Kailua Pier

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Kailua Pier is the northern bookend to most of Kailua-Kona’s restaurants, shops and bars, a stretch of concrete wide enough to host four-lanes of traffic (if it wasn’t closed off to cars). The historic pier was first built as a downtown fishing dock in 1900 and utilized rocks from deconstructed Hawaiian palace and fort walls, but today few boats moor here. Instead, the pier is mostly used for large events and festivals including the annual Kona Ironman World Championships, which starts and finishes at the pier, and the Kona International Billfish Tournament whose daily catches of sometimes-massive fish species including Pacific blue marlin are weighed from pier-side scales for all to see.On the pier’s northern side, a small beach fronting the King Kamehameha Marriott Hotel has public showers, restroom blocks and hosts community events such as the Kona International Surf Film Festival and the Kona Brewers’ Festival. Aside from the beach, the best vantage forAhu’ena Heiau, a still-revered thatch-roof temple dedicated to Lono and dating to the early 19th century, is from Kailua Pier. Some say the temple is just 1/3 of its original size when built by Island-uniting King Kamehameha I. Because it is believed the monarch also died here, the site and its tiny man-made island remain sacred and off-limits to the public, despite being on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.More
#9
Mokolii Island

Mokolii Island

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Located a short distance offshore of Kualoa Point, Mokolii Island is one of Oahu’s most famous landmarks. This small, cone-shaped island attracts adventurous visitors with its secluded coves, rugged hikes, and views of Oahu’s windward coast and the Koolau mountains; the same mountains featured in scenes of the movie Jurassic Park.More
#10
Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation

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What started out as a Wahiawa fruit stand in the middle of the pineapple fields in 1950 is now an extremely popular Hawaiian attraction. The sprawling Dole Plantation in central Oahu is a rural throwback to a time when the pineapple helped rule Oahu’s economy. Visitors can sample the sweet yellow fruit, ride on the famous Pineapple Express train and motor out through the fields, take a walk through a huge garden maze, learn how to find fresh pineapple when grocery shopping, and hear how pineapples are grown on plants—and not underground or on trees.More
#11
Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole

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Once visitors are aware that hālona means “lookout” in Hawaiian, it becomes quite clear what the Halona Blowhole is about: views, Pacific Ocean and blowhole! The Halona Blowhole is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on O’ahu Island; the more than 1,000-year-old geyser-like rock formation is characterized by a hole which propels incoming surf in a narrow, molten lava tube, shooting sea spray high into the air as a result - sometimes up to 30 feet. This is mostly a summery phenomenon but wintertime also has a big ticket item drawing visitors: humpback whales. The lookout point offers unobstructed views of the O’ahu shoreline as well as glimpses of Lanai and Moloka'I Islands on clear days.The coast is home to a special type of coral that requires very little light to live, the Sinularia Leather Coral, where it is possible to find various species like echinoderms, slugs, corals, and eels. And although the marine life is quite plentiful and fascinating, divers should proceed with caution because of the strong and sometimes erratic currents, including the colloquially named Moloka'i Express, which can drag divers out to sea without warning. Visitors should know that below the hālona is one of the most dangerous ocean currents in the world, and should always proceed with care.More
#12
Diamond Head

Diamond Head

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Arguably Hawaii's most well-known sight, Diamond Head Crater is more than just a famous Waikiki backdrop but also an entire attraction unto itself, featuring one of Oahu's best hikes for a panoramic view. From atop the 760-foot (231-meter) summit, visitors can gaze out from Koko Head Crater to the Honolulu skyline and down on Waikiki Beach, where surfers, paddlers, sailboats, and canoes all splash through the tropical waters.More
#13
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers visitors a front-row seat to the region’s striking natural beauty. Home to everything from lush rain forest and the Halemaumau Crater to lava tubes and rolling black lava fields—where hot steam still rises from fissures and rifts that dot the rugged landscape—Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must on the Big Island.More
#14
Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

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For decades, Waikiki Beach has been Oahu’s tourist mecca thanks to its palm-fringed white-sand beaches and high-rise luxury hotels that stretch from downtown Honolulu east toward the towering Diamond Head. Here all the spoils of Hawaiian beach life—from sunbathing and swimming to snorkeling and fruity-cocktail sipping—are within steps of world-class shopping and dining.More
#15
Makapuu Lighthouse

Makapuu Lighthouse

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Within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oahu’s Windward Coast, the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a popular hike ending at the historical red-roofed Makapu’u Lighthouse, built in 1909. Though the lighthouse is not open to the public, the moderately challenging hike attracts travelers and locals alike for its stunning coastal views.More

Top activities in Hawaii

Paradise Cove Luau
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Paradise Cove Luau

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Chief's Luau Admission

Chief's Luau Admission

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Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

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Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour
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7-Line Maui Zipline Tour on the North Shore
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Maui Snorkeling Molokini Crater and Turtle Town aboard Pride of Maui
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Manta Ray Night Snorkel Kona, Big Island
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Maui Nui Luau at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
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Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii
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Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling with Hula and Water Activities
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Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

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Luau Kalamaku with Buffet Dinner & Show
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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
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Night Manta Ray Adventure on the Big Island, Hawaii
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Hawaii

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Natural beauty of Hawaii
Tammy_H, Aug 2022
Rainforest Waterfall Trail and Shuttle Service
It was also very beautiful to see the natural beauty of Hawaiian rainforest.
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Maui and Molokai
Steven_B, Aug 2022
Molokai and Maui Helicopter Tour
Being up in the air to see all the beauty Hawaii has to offer.
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Anniversary Luau
Cheryl_J, Aug 2022
Paradise Cove Luau
I would recommend this experience to anyone who wants to see the Hawaiian culture and have fun.
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Informative, honoring and fun.☺️
Beth_M, Aug 2022
Salute to Pearl Harbor
As children of a lifetime Navy Pilot we were so honored to be able to see this memorial.
star-5
Great experience and lots of great information!
Veasna_T, Aug 2022
Volcano Unveiled Tour in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Being able to see lava is one of the best experience!
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Boat ride
Edward_R, Aug 2022
Sunset Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
Highly recommend for anyone wanting to see Hawaii from the water.
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My birthday experience
juan_a, Aug 2022
Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour
Not only did we get to see a few turtles but we also got to learn a bit of the hawaiian history.
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Mai Tai sunset dancing
Elisa_S, Aug 2022
Paradise Cove Luau
The variety in activities until the food and show began were fun.
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Pearl Harbor and Honolulu
Peter_D, Jul 2022
USS Arizona Memorial - Honolulu City - Aloha Pearl Harbor Tour - Oahu
She prepared us for our Pearl Harbor tour and told us about things to do while there.
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I loved standing at the...
SUSAN_D, Jul 2022
Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
I loved standing at the rim of the crater and going back after dark to see the glow of the lava.
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Amazing!
Stephanie_G, Jul 2022
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
He took us to all the top spots on the island and pointed out other spots for us to visit if we had time.
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Incredible crew and journey
Marie_S, Jul 2022
Deluxe Sail & Snorkel to the Captain Cook Monument
Highly recommended for all tourists looking to maximize activities while in Hawaii.
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Amazing experience!
Karla_B, Jul 2022
Wailua River and Secret Falls Kayak and Hiking Tour on Kauai
The waterfall was gorgeous, get in the water and make the memories.
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Seeing the turtles were the highlight of my trip to Hawaii!
Sarah_M, Jul 2022
Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii
They were so friendly, super knowledgable and just as excited to see the turtles as the patrons.
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Big island with Drue!
Janis_M, Jul 2022
Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
Great way to see the island.
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Beautiful glimpse of Hawaii
Joe_D, Jul 2022
Private Helicopter Charter - Oahu "VIP Experience" (60 Minute)
Great way to see Hawaii!
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What a fun day of activities!
Shea_L, Jul 2022
Oahu North Shore Circle Island Tour + Free Pineapple
If you want the opportunity to see various places around the island without the hassle of planning and driving yourself, this is the tour for you!
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Amazing experience!
Alexandria_O, Jul 2022
Sunset And city light tour on a forty foot catamaran
We got to see dolphins and sea turtles!
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Wonderful evening
Carissa_B, Jul 2022
Admission to Voyagers of the Pacific Luau
As a bonus we got to see the fireworks for the 4th of July right after.
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Wonderful experience
Dave_A, Jul 2022
The Ali'i Experience: Circle Island Tour with Byodo Temple & Waimea Waterfalls
The falls were beautiful.
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All about Hawaii

When to visit

With tropical breezes and ideal beach weather beckoning year-round, there’s really no bad time to visit Hawaii. Look for off-season discounts and the mildest temps in late spring and early fall. Winter brings more rain and higher prices, but north shore swells make for epic surfing, and migrating humpback whales put on a wild display from December through May.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
HST (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
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