fun things to do in Hawaii Islands

For decades, Hawaii has sported the reputation as the Pacific paradise — and as any traveler who’s been fortunate enough to visit will attest, even that glorifying name doesn’t do this archipelago justice.

From unforgettable adventure opportunities like ATV riding and zipline courses to cultural insights like Luau shows and street art tours, not to mention the near-endless list of unmatched hiking trails, you’ll never run out of incredible things to do in Hawaii.

If you need a hand curating your bucket list for an upcoming adventure to Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, or Oahu (or all of the above), you’ve come to the right place.

Wild hearts consider Kauai, or go chasing waterfalls in Maui. Pick between endless outdoor adventures around Hawaii’s largest isle (aptly named Big Island), or travel straight to Oahu in Honolulu after you arrive in Hawaii.

Whether you’re drawn to the Aloha State for its endless beach days, romantic setting or plethora of adventurous endeavors, there’s something for all types of travelers – may it be honeymoon or a weekend away with friends.

Here is our list of the best, so you can decide for yourself which island is most up your alley.

Want to dive straight in? Browse our catalog now!

MAUI ISLAND

The second-largest of the Hawaiian islands, Maui is teeming with beauty, nature, pristine beaches, and incredible things to do — as you’re about to learn…

1 – Visit the moon-shaped Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater, Maui

A small islet that resembles a crescent moon, the Molokini Crater is a popular slice of nature for both photographers and outdoor explorers. Despite being uninhabited, it’s a crowd favorite destination for snorkeling, jet boating, and diving, with short and full-day tours available (most of which depart from Maalaea Harbor.)

Located on Maui’s southern coastline, the half-buried-underwater volcanic crater forms part of Hawaii’s Marine Life Conservation District and boasts a healthy ecosystem and wildlife.

2 – Snorkle with your favorite animals at Turtle Town

Turtle Town tours in Maui

As its name suggests, Turtle Town is full to the brim with sea life — Hawaiian green sea turtles, to be specific. Whether you opt for a full-day tour that includes lunch and a stop at the Molokini Crater, or visit the area solo (perhaps for a relaxing kayak or a day tanning on the beach), it’s a must for Maui visitors.

Technically, this is the nickname given to the dive and snorkel site around Maluaka Beach in the south of Maui. If one of these calm movers does approach you while you’re kayaking or you spot one basking in the sun on the shoreline, refrain from touching them.

3 – Be a paniolo for a day on a horse riding adventure

horse riding in Maui

With so much of Maui (and Hawaii, in general) covered in forest and volcanoes, there is only so much that can be seen by tour bus or car. So, why not get off the beaten track and explore Maui as the locals did in the old days — on horseback!

The oceanfront trails, in particular, are adored by visitors.

Ranging between one, 1.5 and two-hour adventures, once you’re all saddled up, kick off the ride from the ranch, heading down the valley until you reach the sea vistas.

4 – Go on a whale watching adventure

whale watching cruises in Maui

Every year whales make their way to Maui for mating season, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of these marvelous creatures in their natural element! Whether you opt for a large tour from Lahaina or a private excursion from Kaanapali beach, watching mother whales teach their calves how to breach the surface of the water is nothing short of magical.

On your journey, the knowledgeable guides will tell you anything you want to know about whales (or Hawaii, in general).

5 – Find peace at the Kula Botanical Gardens

Kula Botanical Gardens, Maui

Thousands of tourists flock to the Kula Botanical Gardens each year, and there’s no need to wonder why; this stunning 8-acre garden is filled with hundreds of unique and colorful plants. Not only are the plants absolutely gorgeous but there are also waterfalls around the garden which make it even more magical.

Meander through and stumble upon koi ponds, intriguing fauna, native wildlife, hidden paths and wooden tiki statues. The once-private gardens have been maintained since first built in 1968.

6 – Breathe in the fresh air at Haleakala National Park

sunrise hiking, Haleakala National Park, Maui

Adventure enthusiasts, rejoice! The Haleakala National Park has pretty much everything you need to have a day filled with fun and thrills! Start your day by watching the sunrise from the peak of Mt. Haleakala before choosing between a bike riding tour around the park or an afternoon ziplining through the treetops.

The grounds within are considered sacred to the locals, steeped rich in culture and ancient traditions. Take a deep dive at the Haleakalā National Park’s museum, or uncover some of the sites during one of the hikes.

7 – Take the scenic route on the road to Hana

Road to Hana, Maui

The road to Hana is often described as the road to paradise — and that, ladies and gentlemen, sums up this beautiful drive in a nutshell. While some tourists opt to go at the winding route alone, there are group tours available that make sure you get to see all the wonderful sights along the way.

Beginning in Kahului, cruise along the 103-kilometer route which eventually ends in Hana village (in Maui) and stop off to find hidden beaches, waterfalls, lookout points and entranceways for hiking. With the coastline on the one side, the views are priceless.

8 – Travel first class on a Maui airplane tour

airplane tour in Maui

This is definitely the most exciting way to get the best views of the island! Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to fly — there are experienced pilots who will take you on your own private tour (and, if you’re lucky, let you momentarily take the controls).

Not only will visitors get to see all the beauty of the island from the bird’s eye view, but the pilot will share all kinds of tidbits about the local geology and culture along the way.

9 – Travel back in time on a Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe

canoeing in Maui

An outrigger canoe is an important part of Hawaiian history and culture — and now tourists have been invited to try it for themselves! Learn about the rich Polynesian traditions as you are led on your outrigger canoe by an expert guide.

Not only is it a great day to learn but also to see the marine life swimming gracefully around you in the waters below (did someone say turtles?).

These extra-long ocean vessels fit multiple people in one canoe (back in the day, as many as 80!) and are much more stable than your ordinary kayak.

10 – Become an expert at spearfishing

spearfishing in Maui

No experience is necessary to go spearfishing in Maui as the professionals there will help you learn everything you need to know! Professional divers will also teach visitors proper breathing techniques.

After your morning introductions (which start bright and early from 7 AM) and lesson including useful knowledge about varying fish species, and gun safety, for example, head into the deep blue for two hours of hunting.

All equipment is provided for, and the excursion concludes around midday. It’s worth noting that these spearfishing tours only catch fish that are considered to be invasive species to Maui.

11 – Snorkel & spot friendly dolphins at Lanai Island

Lanai Island

Lanai Island is known as the home of dolphins, so why not take the chance to see them up close? Depending on your preferences, sign up for a snorkeling tour if you want to see the dolphins within arm’s reach (but don’t touch, of course), or just go for a cruise on the crystal clear waters and try to spot the dolphins from afar.

Either way, it’s a must-do activity.

Discover the best snorkeling Spots in Maui, Hawaii.

12 – Race through the air on a zipline adventure

zip lining in Maui

Are you an adventure fiend? Then this is the perfect activity for you! As any thrillseeker will tell you, Maui has some of the best ziplines in the world, and there are countless to choose from.

You can find tours that have 5, 6, 7, or 8 ziplines that zoom above the canopy, with volcanoes and sparkling oceans in view too!

Depending on your course, these ventures extend from 1.5 to 3.5-hour sessions. Whether you prefer the jungle, mountains or ocean as your backdrop, there’s a zipline for everyone, Tarzan!

13 – Learn about marine life at the Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center

While you can catch a glimpse of marine life at Maui while exploring the island, the best way to learn about all these stunning creatures is to visit the Maui Ocean Center. Some of their exhibits include a live coral reef, a turtle lagoon filled with the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles, and a 35-foot tunnel where sharks swim freely above.

There’s loads to do: shark dives, a snorkeling tour and even Aquari-om yoga! Actively involved in environmental conservation, join for a beach clean-up.

14 – Push the envelope and go canyoning

canyoning in Maui

Looking for a way to make your vacation exciting? Canyoning is the answer! Maui is full of stunning cliffs and waterfalls just waiting to be explored, and there’s no need for prior experience either, as there are professional guides who will teach you everything you need to know.

With adventures for all skill levels, this is one way to turn up the thrills on your vacation!

Navigating the ever-scenic Road to Hana (Hana Highway), you will tackle the waterfalls and jungle cliffs along here, ranging from nine-meter falls to jungle cliffsides dropping 30 meters below.

15 – Wet your whistle at Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery

Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery, Maui

Does anyone fancy a drink? For the chance to combine a refreshing cocktail and learn a thing or two at the same time, make a beeline for the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery!

On a guided tour, guests can stroll the gorgeous farm, discover how they cultivate more than 30 sugarcane varieties, and learn all about their sustainable farming practices. Then, it’s time to sample their fruits with a scheduled tasting.

Inspired by the ocean (no-brainer), they operate as an organic farm.

OAHU ISLAND

Despite only being the third-largest island in the state, Oahu is the most populous of the bunch, home to a sparkling Honolulu skyline, an abundance of outdoor activities, a fascinating history (as the home of Pearl Harbor), and plenty more.

16 – Visit a famous Dole Pineapple Plantation

Dole Pineapple Plantation, Oahu, Hawaii

It goes without saying that Dole Pineapples are famous for being sweet, juicy, and a favorite snack for locals all over the archipelago. So, why not see first-hand where they’re grown?

Hot tip: combine a plantation visit with a Hawaiian farm full-day tour — that way, after grabbing a tasty and refreshing snack, you’ll be able to see the whole island as well!

17 – Go kayaking around the Mokulua Islands

Mokulua Islands, Hawaii

If you’re after some fresh air, why not explore the pristine Mokulua Island waters with a relaxing kayaking trip? While some visitors choose to venture to neighboring islands, others prefer to stay nearby and uncover the hidden beaches.

The swells are calm (so it can truly be a peaceful and relaxing experience) not to mention that marine life is also abundant in these waters.

18 – Plan a romantic sunset sailing trip

sunset sailing tour in Oahu

Whether you want to plan a cute sunset trip with your better half or book a group adventure with unbeatable views, there are sailing trips available to suit every taste. Cruise around the western coast onboard a luxury catamaran, with ample time for a snorkeling tour, dolphin sightings and lunch on deck.

Up the romance by going on a private sunset sailing trip and popping a bottle of champagne, or enjoy the day drinking cocktails with friends on a boat. As you’ll see, the options are endless!

19 – Learn to surf like the pros

surf lessons in Honolulu, Oahu

Learn to surf in the same place as the legend himself, Duke Kahanamoku — the man who once popularized surfing. There is no need for prior experience; surfers and instructors are available all over the island, offering lessons to both beginners and pros.

Beginners; try out Hanalei Bay in Kauai and Launiupoko State Wayside Park in Maui. Pros, if you’re wondering, Oahu is home to some of the biggest waves, including the iconic (but monstrous) Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park and Backyards.

20 – Meet unique animals at the Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium, Oahu

While most tourists know about the dolphins and turtles that surround the island, the Waikiki Aquarium is home to many lesser-known species. Visitors of all ages can get a close look at seahorses, seadragons, giant clams, coral fish, Hawaiian monk seals, jellyfish, and plenty more.

Home to mammals, fish, reptiles and invertebrates, the aquarium divides its space into exhibition experiences, for example, ‘Marine Protected Areas and Conservation’, ‘Ocean Aquaculture’ and ‘Hunters on the reef.’

Read more about fun things to do in Waikiki.

21 – Swim with sharks on a shark cage diving tour

shark diving in Honolulu, Oahu

If you love living life on the edge, one of the best things to do in Hawaii has got to be swimming with sharks (from the safety of a cage, of course)! However, there are also cageless dives for any brave mermaids and mermen on the North Shore, and these are 100% safe and are led by experts.

Keep eyes peeled for sandbar sharks, Galapagos sharks, hammerheads, tiger sharks and white-tipped reef sharks.

Only the most daring of travelers have what it takes to get up close to these majestic (albeit intimidating creatures), so the question is… are you one of them?

Discover the best snorkeling spots in Oahu.

22 – Set sail and go dolphin watching

dolphin watching in Oahu

As the home of Hawaiian spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and spotted dolphins, a wildlife-spotting tour is a magical experience that can be fun for those of all ages. Set sail with either a group or private tour; and watch as they gracefully swim through, frolic, and jump around in the blue waters.

It is definitely a bucket list item for visitors, so be sure to make it a high priority.

23 – Fill up your belly on a food tour!

food tours in Oahu

Foodies, listen up: going on a food tour is the best way to sample and try all the authentic Hawaiian snacks available on the island — so add it to the bucket list! Not only will tourists get to try authentic meals, but they will also get to explore all the local hotspots, cafes, and bars that most run-of-the-mill tourists rarely set foot within.

Spoiled for choice when it comes to options; enjoy a hyper localized tour stopping to taste poke, garlic shrimp and shave ice, veer off the beaten track, hit up downtown with a food and beer combination or spend the day exploring the island and its top local jaunts.

24 – Get lost in the colors at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Honolulu Museum of Art, Oahu

Honolulu Museum of Art (also known as HoMA) is renowned for hosting some of the most colorful and fun art exhibits on the island. The displays are always changing; the museum curates art from both local and worldwide artists, so you never know what exciting piece you might see here.

After wandering around, recharge the batteries at the on-site cafe or soak up the sun in the courtyard.

Read more about the best things to do in Honolulu.

25 – Meditate at the Byodo-In Temple

Byodo-In Temple, Oahu

The Byodo-In Temple was first built in 1968 to commemorate 100 years of Japanese immigrants first coming to Hawaii — today, its architecture remains magnificent as it welcomes people from all faiths to meditate and pray.

It is the perfect place to relax, breathe in some fresh air, and find that much-needed zen after a few busy days.

Located at the foothills of the Ko’olau Mountains (inside the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park), it boasts typical Japanese design. Cue the koi carp ponds, small waterfalls, meditation niches and wild majestic peacocks showing off their feathers

26 – From underwater pyramids to sunken planes, discover new worlds onboard the Atlantis Submarine

submarine tours in Oahu
credit to Atlantis Adventures

“… We all live in a yellow submarine. Yellow submarine, yellow submarine …” Okay, while an underwater adventure onboard the Atlantis submarine is not in a yellow vessel, now is your chance to make like The Beatles!

There’s no living beneath the waves, but you will cruise down 100 feet (30 meters) below the surface of the water within the comfortable and safe bounds of a submarine – claustrophobic scuba diving for who?

The dive site is located in Waikiki and the teeming marine life in these parts swim past the submarine as you’re submerged underwater. Look out for green sea turtles, sharks, eels, yellow tangs and other fishies gliding by, even the occasional shipwreck!

27 – Experience Polynesian culture at a Luau show

Luau shows in Oahu

If there is one thing every traveler to Oahu must do, it’s to experience a Luau show first-hand. Besides the generous buffet chock-full of traditional food and refreshing drinks, there’s also a spectacular show of dancing and entertainment.

Not only mesmerizing, but it’s culturally fulfilling too as you learn about the local culture and traditions, ancient stories and pastimes. Get involved in activities like a ukulele lesson or watch a spectacular fire knife dancing performance.

28 – Swim with sea turtles without scuba diving with submarine scooter tours

submarine scooter adventure, Oahu

Are you not PADI-certified for scuba diving but still want to experience what it’s like to play on the bottom of the ocean floor? Then Submarine Scooter Tours could be right up your water alley!

What’s the deal? You get to go diving, but forget about Decompression Sickness! Instead, you board a unique underwater scooter that’s designed with a built-in helmet for you to easily breathe underwater. It’s self-propelled and electric, so you gain more ground speeding through the waters on the nifty gadget.

Adventures are two hours, and you’ll be driven out to the diving site on a 12-meter catamaran, passing Koko Crater, Maunalua Bay, Diamond Head and Koʻolau Range.

29 – Visit the number-one-rated Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum, Oahu, Hawaii

The Bishop Museum has been considered one of the top-rated attractions for tourists on the island for a long time, and for good reason. The exhibits are a great way for visitors to learn about the rich cultures and traditions that the people on the island once had and still have today.

Its seven signature galleries are the Campus Murals, Hawaiian Hall, Pacific Hall, Picture Gallery, the Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kāhili Room, Nā Ulu Kaiwi‘ula Native Hawaiian Garden and the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center.

To top it all off, the museum also boasts a wickedly-cool live lava demonstration!

30 – Travel back in time at the Hawaii Army Museum Society

Hawaii Army Museum Society, Oahu, Hawaii

The Hawaii Army Museum Society has exhibits that are rich with history and knowledge; visitors will uncover exhibits dedicated to Hawaiian warfare, Hawaii’s Japanese Americans, the Vietnam War, a gallery of heroes, and much, much more.

It’s the perfect place to learn the history and facts of the island that you likely wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Established in 1976 by military vets, entrance is completely free (but donations are welcomed). It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

31 – Go sightseeing via the Waikiki Trolley

Waikiki Trolley tours, Hawaii

If you’ve chosen Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu to explore, and are staying in Waikiki or close by, take a tour of the iconic neighborhood onboard the Waikiki Trolley. Operating since 1986, the local sightseeing transportation system cleverly combines stops along its routes to some of the most iconic sites, monuments, and areas around Waikiki.

Choose a one, two, or seven-day pass which gives you the freedom to hop on and off the bus at any of the designated Waikiki Trolley stops as many times for your allocated number of hours.

There are also varying bus lines to choose from, including the pink, green, blue and red lines, each one transporting passengers to different locations. Depending on the things to do in Waikiki that you’d like to tick off, select the line that best suits you.

32 – Venture up the Diamond Head crater

Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii

Arguably the most famous landmark on the whole island, it’s widely believed that Diamond Head was formed over 300,000 years ago when it erupted violently. Of course, scientists believe that it is dormant now and will never erupt again which makes it safe to hike up (luckily for us).

Get up close and personal with the crater on a hike to the summit of Lē‘ahi’ (as it’s locally known). There is a designated trail leading to the top and a set of stairs to climb, so some level of fitness is required, but it’s not an overly strenuous walk.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour to trek one way.

33 – Watch a thrilling surf competition

surf competition, Oahu, Hawaii

While most tourists have the option to take surf lessons, why not watch how the professionals do it?

If you are an avid surfer and it’s been a dream of yours to see your heroes ripping the waves in person, comp season usually runs from November through to February in Hawaii. The North Shore in Oahu is home to some of the world’s major surfing events.

There are many competitions that are held by Vans, Billabong, Quicksilver, and plenty more — just make sure to check the dates and cross your fingers that they line up with your trip.

34 – Discover the hidden beauty of Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay and the North Shore is home to the most stunning white sand beaches and sapphire blue waters imaginable (see for yourself!), and rarely do tourists never visit, making it well and truly a hidden gem.

As part of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, the bay has remained a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park since 1967.

After soaking up the sunshine, check out the nearby Turtle Town and grab a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants in the area.

35 – Feel like royalty at Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace, Oahu

A place where tourists can discover the interesting history between Hawaii and Japan, Iolani Palace is the former home of King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani — to this day, most of their belongings remain untouched.

There are many different options when it comes to tours, just keep in mind that there is a dress code. Marvel over personal items from the royal palace collections, furniture, historic photos, military accessories and much more!

The former official residence of the Hawaiian monarchy was built between 1879 and 1882.

36 – Be dazzled by the Friday night fireworks at Waikīkī Beach

Waikīkī Beach Friday night fireworks

Get ready for a night filled with magic as the sky on Waikīkī Beach gets lit up by a spectacular fireworks show! Visitors can choose between sitting on the beach and watching the night sky, or booking one of the many dinner cruise options available.

If opting for the latter, you’ll be able to enjoy dinner, drinks, and a great show.

The spectacle takes place in front of the bay every Friday eve, and the action attraction begins between 7.45 and 8 PM. Arrive a little earlier for comfortable views.

37 – Go on a thrilling ride at Wet’n’Wild

Wet’n’Wild, Hawaii
credit to Wet’n’Wild

Traveling with kids? Then take note: Wet’n’Wild is one of the most-visited family-friendly attractions in Oahu. The park is filled with rides that are fun for the whole family (like the Island Racers and Raging River), and there are plenty of stops to shop and eat as well.

Spend the day hanging out at its artificial Lil Kahuna Beach (featuring a children’s play area), or get your surf on at the Da’ Flowrider.

There are even Luau shows available, but it’s best to book ahead to make sure you get a seat!

38 – Wine and dine on a sunset cruise (with a show!)

sunset cruises in Honolulu, Oahu

Boredom is not an option on a sunset-and-show cruise! After tucking into the great 3-course meal (with the freshest seafood), sit back and enjoy the live entertainment — all part of a wonderful 3-hour cruise. If you’ve already got dinner plans, there are shorter sunset expeditions that skip the food and include cocktails only.

Take it up a notch and opt for a sunset cruise headed toward Diamond Head onboard a glass-bottom boat!

Hot tip: book on a Friday! These tours include a fireworks show, and it doesn’t get better than that!

39 – Scuba dive to ruins and shipwrecks

shipwreck scuba diving in Oahu

While there are many options available to tourists for diving (including swimming with sharks, exploring the coral reefs, and scuba diving tours for beginners), tourists can also opt to go ‘wreck diving’.

Guided tours take travelers diving into areas flush with forgotten wreckages, marine life, and undersea ruins — and best of all, no experience is necessary.

Depending on the scuba tour you pick, visit varying wrecks around Oahu — which also differ in time duration. Some dives are three hours, other adventures last five hours.

Popular wreck dive sites include the Sea Tiger wreck dive site submerged 30 meters under, and the YO-257 and San Pedro sites where two vessels sit next to one another.

40 – Visit the exotic animals at Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo, Oahu, Hawaii

The Honolulu Zoo is home to many varieties of amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals — say hello to the snakes, alligators, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, tigers, cheetahs, and hippos, just to name a few.

It’s a great way to spend the day with the whole family, particularly if you opt to take part in one of the many educational programs.

For something extra special, join a two-hour walking Twilight Tour through the zoo. Get to see the nocturnal creatures come alive and the day-timers off to sleep.

41 – Step inside the Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a great place for tourists to visit if they want to completely immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the Polynesian people. As any former visitor will attest, it’s definitely one of the best things to see in Hawaii — so be prepared to spend a few hours wandering around and learning.

Walk through six different themed villages from Hawaii to Tonga, and become entranced by traditional dance, poi, song, coconut climbing (an art!) and more. Enjoy a luau buffet experience or catch the HĀ: Breath of Life Show.

42 – Spend the day kayaking along Kailua Beach

kayak tours in Oahu

Kayaking on the coast of Kailua Beach can give tourists a great way to see the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles, not to mention the famous bird-nesting sanctuary nearby. Guided tours provide guests with all the kayaking equipment, so simply bring yourself and a can-do attitude!

The waters around these parts are simply spellbinding and it’s the perfect spot to bring the whole family (with designated picnic tables and BBQ facilities at the beach). Other popular water sports to try here are SUPing, kitesurfing and windsurfing.

43 – Check out the Battleship Missouri Memorial

Battleship Missouri Memorial, Oahu, Hawaii

If you’re a history buff then this place screams “must-visit”. Nicknamed the “Mighty Mo, the battleship (besides being a real navy ship) is a floating dedication to the soldiers and history of WW2.

There are many tours available where you can understand the drama and tragedy of Pearl Harbor and the historic Japanese surrender that took place — or, more simply, explore at your own pace.

44 – Discover the world of aviation at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Oahu, HawaiiThe Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to artifacts, collections, and original hangars that were used all the way back in WW2. After reliving history and spending the day learning about American efforts in Pearl Harbor, check out some of the interactive exhibits and try your hand at taking the controls in the flight simulator.

There are Pearl Harbor tours to the Aviation Museum, but you will need to purchase separate tickets to see the other sites nearby. Alternatively, book a tour that combines a museum visit with other sites. See Pearl Harbor tickets price for information.

45 – Play a round of golf

golf courses, Honolulu
credit to Hawaii Prince Golf Club

Hawaii is home to some of the best golf courses out there, no questions asked. Not only do visitors get to play where the pros play, but they also get to take in the breathtaking scenery that every course has to offer.

All up, Hawaii is home to over 70 different golf courses that both amateurs and pros can enjoy — on Oahu specifically, consider checking out Turtle Bay Golf & Resort, the state-owned Kahuku Golf Course, or the Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa Beach.

46 – Visit the USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial, Oahu, Hawaii

Free for all visitors, due to its significance in American history, the USS Arizona Memorial is undoubtedly one of the most essential things to see in Hawaii. Marketing the resting place of over 1100 former soldiers, the memorial is a somber reminder of the nation-shaping tragedies of decades gone by.

Also located within the Pearl Harbor National Memorial complex, the only way to reach this site is by US Navy vessel — this is an organized endeavor. The USS Arizona Memorial Program runs every 30 minutes and transports visitors to and from the memorial.

47 – Experience a piece of Hollywood and visit Jurassic Park (Kualoa Ranch)

Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii

One for the movie buffs, the sprawling Kualoa Ranch is home to the famous sets that Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, and Magnum P.I. were filmed in. The set in question is full of delicately green forests teeming with wildlife, with heaps of options available to tourists including ATV rides, train rides, and even zip line adventures.

Nestled upon sacred lands, the natural scenery is truly awe-inspiring. Enjoy a romantic horseback ride through these lush jungle mountains, or one of their most popular tours is the “Hollywood Movie Sites Tour.” Guests love being shown iconic sites where blockbusters were shot!

48 – Go on a unique Honolulu street art tour

street art tours in Oahu

Hoping to get off the beaten track? Then a Honolulu street art tour is one way to explore the sights that many tourists seldom get to see. These unique tours venture to back alleys and showcase some of the best street art Honolulu — scratch that, Hawaii — has to offer, and each stop makes for great photos to take back home.

If you’re looking for ways to make your social media pop, photos on this tour will do exactly that!

49 – Walk the decks of history at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Oahu, Hawaii

The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park provides guided tours to guests who wish to learn more about the history of this place.

Visitors can watch videos about the fateful events at Pearl Harbor as well as listen to narrated displays throughout the museum.

There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits here. Step on board the actual submarine (used as a war patrolling vessel during WWII), and then head under and investigate its interiors — which some can find claustrophobic, it’s that compact.

50 – Discover wonderful art at the Capitol Modern (formerly Hawaii State Art Museum)

Hawaii State Art Museum, Oahu

Calling all art lovers! The Hawaii State Art Museum is home to some of the best art on the island and is a must-see for anyone visiting Honolulu. Its primary focus is on contemporary art by local artists.

Discover both permanent and temporary expos set up in its galleries: the Lē‘ahi, ‘Ewa and Passion On Display galleries. While the art is impressive, it’s also home to the so-called ‘sculpture garden’, an oasis in its own right.

Luckily for us, admission is free, so you won’t need to break the bank.

51 – Bask in the sun on the North Shore

North Shore, Oahu

White sandy beaches that last for miles, glistening blue waters, cliff jumping spots, diving tours, and ziplines, the North Shore is the shining gem of Oahu. With endless activities available for the whole family — both adventurous and relaxing — it’s no surprise that most visitors want to spend the whole day here.

When it’s season, this part of Hawaii is a surfing mecca. Arrive at the coastline (and nearby towns) that oozes a laid-back, wild feel.

KAUAI ISLAND

Often referred to as the ‘Garden Island’, Kauai is known for the lush forest that encompasses the majority of its surface. If you’re on the hunt for outdoor adventure, Kauai is the place to be.

52 – Waimea Canyon State Park

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Spanning a whopping 1,866 acres with drops of up to 3,000 feet at various points, locals and tourists alike have begun referring to this place as “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” — and as soon as you see it first-hand, you’ll understand why.

The easiest way to get a taste of the area is to visit from Waimea, driving down Hawaiʻi state road 550.

As for hiking; the Cliff Trail is a short, easy hike that includes an overlook of the canyon, while the Koaie Canyon Trail is much longer, featuring swimming holes along the way.

53 – Learn about sugarcane-based drinks at the Koloa Rum Company

Koloa Rum Company, Kauai
credit Koloa Rum Co.

Who’s thirsty? Offering insightful tours into their brewery every hour (just be sure to book in advance), the Koloa Rum Company is a staple when it comes to things to do in Hawaii — especially considering that it’s the only licensed distillery on the island of Kauai.

Besides the chance to taste one (or two, or five) different kinds of rums, this watering hole also sells a range of sweet treats.

54 – Take a boat tour out to Ni‘ihau

Niihau boat tours, Hawaii

As its own island about 17 miles southwest of Kauai, Ni‘ihau presents as one of the most exciting yet underrated day-trip destinations. While setting foot on the island is difficult, there are a number of sailing and helicopter tours that will get you within striking distance.

It’s often referred to as the “forbidden island”, however, if you are lucky enough to reach it, this special isle is home to a teeny tiny population who still live by ancient traditions and a much simpler way of life, for example, they use solar power and there ain’t no internet!

55 – Grab a seat on the Kauai Plantation Railway

Kauai Plantation Railway

As this educational train travels through a range of landscapes each more impressive than the last (orchids, farmlands, and forests, to name but a few), there’s no shortage of impeccable photo opportunities.

It’s not just about beauty though; the open-air train will venture all over the historic 105-acre Kilohana Plantation, with plenty of live and informative narration along the way.

Lasting for just 40 minutes, it’s an easy addition to any day out in the Kilohana area.

56 – Raise the energy levels at the Kauai Coffee Company

Kauai Coffee Company

For anyone who relies on a cup of Joe to start the day, be sure to add the Kauai Coffee Company — arguably the premier coffee destination in the entire state — to your Hawaiian bucket list.

Besides the unique volcanic soil beans, this place also boasts a stunning estate, a gift shop chock-full of fun souvenirs to take home, and, of course, an on-site cafe.

There are tours available: daily ‘Coffee on the Brain’ walking tours through the coffee trees; the Farm Tour in the back of an open-air truck through the plantation; or there is a Self-Guided Walking Tour.

57 – Trek one of the many trails in Kokeʻe State Park

Kokeʻe State Park, Kauai

Covering the northwestern section of the island, Kokeʻe State Park is teeming with stunning flora and fauna — and has no shortage of hiking trails either (like the Alakai Swamp Trail, Awaʻawapuhi Trail, and Kawaikoi Stream Trail, just to name a few).

If an outdoor hike isn’t on the menu, you could also check out the visitor center and/or museum, each of which offers plenty of geological and cultural insights.

Its native forest brims with the endangered ʻŌhiʻa tree species and bird-watching is very popular here too.

58 – Visit the breathtaking Napali Coast

Na Pali coast sailing tour

Ask anyone who’s made the trip to this coastline before and they’ll admit, very few places on Earth can compare to the beauty and serenity of the Napali Coastline — seriously, this place looks like a cross between Jurassic Park and Pandora.

While the area is renowned for its towering sea cliffs juxtaposed by gushing waterfalls, it’s also home to great beaches (like the sandy Kalalau Beach and Ke’e Beach), plus ample snorkeling and sailing opportunities.

59 – Immerse yourself in unique plants at the National Tropical Botanical Garden

National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai
credit to National Tropical Botanical Garden

Boasting the title of the “leader of plant conservation and research in the Pacific”, it should come as no surprise that the National Tropical Botanical Garden is overflowing with exceptionally curated local, international, and rare flora.

The reviews say it all: this is one of the very best botanical gardens in the country and, as a result, easily one of the essential things to do in Hawaii.

Extremely useful to note: the Botanical Garden comprises five individual gardens and each one is spread across Kauai. These are the Allerton, McBryde, Limahuli, Kahanu and The Kampong Gardens.

60 – Take a dip in the Queen’s Bath swimming hole

Queen's Bath, Kauai

Located in Princeville on Kauai’s northern shore, this natural tide pool (which often plays host to colorful fish) is a popular swimming spot — particularly on those toasty July and August afternoons.

Just an easy 10-minute stroll from the car park (which includes a waterfall along the way), it’s no wonder that this pristine slice of Mother Nature is considered one of Princeville’s favorite summertime attractions.

The natural pool is surrounded by lava rocks, and so you need to take great caution when climbing the slippery boundary. Swimming in Queen’s Bath during high tide is not recommended!

61 – A botanist’s dream, enter Princeville Botanical Garden

Princeville Botanical Gardens, Kauai

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting one of the tasting gardens in Sri Lanka, Princeville Botanical Garden is similar … and the cacao bean is the star of this show!

Tucked away within lush jungle valleys on the North Shore (in Princeville), the garden grows native plants, as well as medicinal species, a collection of rare and endangered florals and other specimens from verdant countries like South Africa, Indonesia, Borneo and Australia.

Hawaii has a long history with the (sacred) cacao bean, and a private three-hour walking tour is complete with a chocolate tasting! You’ll also sample fruit and even honey as you meander through this Eden.

62 – Drive through the all-encompassing tree tunnel

Maliuhi Road, Kauai, Hawaii

How’s that for a picture-perfect backdrop! This roughly one-mile stretch of Tree Tunnel on Maliuhi Road (made up of over 500 eucalyptus trees) has been standing for over 150 years and is growing in popularity as a tourist must-see with each passing day.

Simply put, this is Mother Nature at her best.

The verdant natural arch directs travelers in the South Shore direction, leading to Poipu and the area’s sprinkling of stunning beaches. It’s the perfect welcome.

BIG ISLAND (ISLAND OF HAWAII)

Ideal for nature lovers who want to escape the large crowds, there’s never a scrimmage for fresh air on the Big Island. From the snowy Mauna Kea to its many sizzling beaches, the diversity of activities here is second to none.

63 – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

With the official claim to fame of not only being a stunning piece of land, but a World Heritage Site too, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is flush with grand cliffs, hiking trails, waterfalls, and, of course, volcanic action.

Throw in a selection of volcano steam vents, fumaroles, lava fields, and lava-formed arches (all formed thanks to the park’s two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa) and it’s a no-brainer when it comes to creating the Hawaii bucket list.

64 – Soar over the island with a helicopter tour

helicopter tours, Big Island

While there are endless things to see in Hawaii from the ground, the only way to truly appreciate its sprawling beauty is from above. In a helicopter tour, besides soaking in unforgettable views of forest, ocean, and volcanoes, guests are also taught about the islands’ ecology and history thanks to the always-friendly and highly knowledgeable pilots.

Different helicopter excursions transport you to varying islands/areas, so it’s important to check prior. There are flights that last 30 minutes, or for more air-time (and sightseeing from the sky), there are three-hour tours.

Discover the best helicopter tours on the Big Island of Hawaii.

65 – Conquer the easy hike in Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls, Big Island, Hawaii

You’d assume that a nearly-450-foot waterfall would be tucked away from the main roads, a few hours’ hike away from any main areas. Well, think again. The Akaka Falls — a towering, cascading waterfall about 10 miles north of Hilo — are accessible via a fairly short and paved walk, that can be tackled in under an hour.

Note: a small entry fee of $5 per person is required (but totally worth it).

66 – Set sail on a dolphin-watching trip!

dolphin watching, Big Island

Besides the chance to see some of nature’s most bubbly and friendly creatures in their natural habitat, travelers embarking on dolphin-watching tours (depending on which specific tour you choose) can also explore hidden caves, snorkel with vibrant sealife, and sip a cocktail or two along the way.

With all the gear provided, plus the option for hotel pickup/dropoff, it’s one of the best things to do in Hawaii.

67 – Attempt to balance on a stand-up paddleboard

stand up paddle, Big Island

If you’ve never tried your hand at this trendy new sport (or even if you have), there’s no better place to jump on a board than on the crystal-clear waters of Hawaii! Sign up for a lesson, join a group tour in places like Coconut Island or the Wailoa River, or simply rent your own board by the hour — either way, a great afternoon under the sun awaits!

SUPing destinations are chosen thanks to the location’s (usually) calm and flat waters, and these two-hour ventures are also a really great workout.

68 – Try your hand at deep-sea fishing

fishing charters on Big Island

The Kona Coast is abundant with fish, and the locals know all of the premier destinations to reel them in! Deep-sea fishing excursions charter far out, and all the necessary equipment is provided. Be shown techniques like how to reel in a catch (like mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna (ahi), wahoo and striped marlin).

If you want to meet a few friendly new faces (or save a few bucks), join a group tour; if you want a private, VIP experience and are prepared to fork out a little extra cash, consider chartering your very own boat!

69 – See an inner-city waterfall: Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls, Big Island, Hawaii

A simply gorgeous waterfall that hides just a short stroll away from the parking lot, the enchanting Rainbow Falls present as a great option for visitors who want to see a cascading waterfall but don’t have the time or physical strength to embark on a multi-hour hiking trail.

Swimming beneath its 24-meter cascade is off-limits, however, you can cool off in the pools/river above the fall. Just a five-minute drive from the center of Hilo, it’s also easily added to any itinerary.

Free to enter, we say do go chasing waterfalls!

70 – Spot the turtles on Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

On any given vacation day, a trip to a black sand beach is a great day under the sun and a  surefire hit for the ‘gram. However, at the aptly-named Black Sand Beach on the Kohala Coast, there’s yet another reason beckoning visitors from near and far: the hundreds upon hundreds of giant sea turtles who frequent these shores.

If you need just one more reason to visit, the area also boasts an exclusive selection of multimillion-dollar mansions to marvel at.

71 – Explore the stunning Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley, Big Island, Hawaii

Camera at the ready — with incredible landscapes nestled in the Kohala Mountains — like the Hi’ilawe Falls and the Akaka Falls (just to name a couple) — the Waipio Valley is one of the most picturesque places on the Big Island.

Besides a few hours exploring beautiful surroundings, guided tours also offer the chance to learn about the rich history of the region, ride an ATV, or even tackle a zipline or two.

72 – Enjoy the views on a sailing tour

sailing cruises, Big Island

With no shortage of half-day and full-day choices, so long as you’re not vulnerable to a bit of seasickness, a sailing tour off the coast of the Big Island is an absolute must. Why? Because the views — with towering cliffs, vibrant colors, and lush forest — are absolutely astonishing.

Check out the Captain Cook Monument and keep an eye out for dolphins and whales along the way!

73 – Work on the tan at Manini’owali Beach in Kua Bay

Manini'owali Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

Showcasing waters as blue as blue can be and fine white sand, Manini’owali Beach is nothing short of heaven on Earth. Located at Kua Bay, just north of Kona, it’s a wonderful spot for snorkeling when the waters are calm, however, can also produce some enormous waves during the winter months (perfect for you surfers out there).

Hot tip: visit during the week as Manini’owali Beach can become a little crowded on the weekend with locals.

74 – Meet the locals at the Hilo Farmers’ Market

Hilo Farmers Market, Big Island

For the chance to meet some of the islands’ friendly residents, taste some delicious local staples, or pick up a few souvenirs for friends and family back home, the Hilo Farmers Market is a great spot to visit.

Shop for all sorts of artisanal goods like balsamics, goats’ cheese, fresh produce, organic bath products, blown-glass creations, jewelry, handicrafts, clothing, ceramics and much more!

Unlike most farmers’ markets, this one is open 7 days a week  (from 10 until 2), so there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a visit.

Read more about fun and unusual things to do in Hilo.

75 – Unwind at the Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens

Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens, Big Island

As a joint project between Japan and Hawaii, it’s fair to say that very few places can compare to the Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo. Dishing up some of the most unique outdoor plants and trees, not to mention the quaint Japanese bridges and statues, it’s a wonderfully peaceful place to let an hour or two pass by.

If you’re looking for something to do next, the gardens sit a stone’s throw to the ocean!

76 – Take a trip to Hāpuna Beach State Park

Hāpuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii

A blissful Kohala Coast oasis that’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the Big Island’s best beaches, Hāpuna is a crowd favorite for bodysurfing, sunbaking, surfing, and a relaxing picnic. Thanks to its typically calm, clear waters, snorkeling is possible too.

At just under a kilometer long, its soft golden powder sands are perfect for building sandcastles or playing frisbee.

Unlike a lot of the smaller beaches on the island, this place has lifeguards stationed on the sand, making it an excellent choice for tourists and families.

77 – Spend the afternoon at the Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Big Island

Spanning across a large section of the south Kona coast (on the western side of the Big Island), Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau is aplenty with well-manicured gardens, unique wooden statues, and historic temples — all set in front of the sparkling ocean backdrop.

The park boasts an easy yet beautiful coastal walk and regularly welcomes food trucks.

78 – Spend a couple of days around Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

With a coastline deserving of a postcard, Kealakekua Bay on the Kona coast is flush with adventure tours, relaxation activities, and everything in between. This beautiful slice of nature offers up private and group outings for snorkeling, hiking, diving, and kayaking, plus plenty of boat cruises too.

No matter your time restraints, budget, or appetite for adventure, there’s a Kealakekua Bay tour suitable for every kind of traveler.

79 – Visit the family-friendly Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm, Big Island
credit to Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

A surefire hit for those both young at age and young at heart, the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm provides a unique opportunity to meet some of the ocean’s most forgotten (yet most beautiful) creatures.

While you can wander around at your own pace, the farm does provide tours if you’re looking to learn a little more about the local sea life.

With more than 30 species of seahorses calling the aquafarm home, it’s the first and only seahorse farm worldwide committed to preserving and breeding the endangered Hippocampus.

80 – Meet the parrots at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, Big Island

With the claim to fame of being the only tropical zoo in the United States, the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo is home to an array of exciting spider monkeys, cheeky lemurs, plenty of nene geese (the Hawaiian State bird), and more than 80 other unique animal species.

Enquire about the daily animal encounters (rotating regularly). There’s also a petting zoo and aviary exhibits. Besides the wide range of friendly creatures, the Pana’ewa zoo also hosts a botanical garden rich in biodiversity.

81 – Visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden, Big Island

A slice of paradise, these stunning nonprofit gardens are made up of over a mile of walking trails, each one teeming with thousands upon thousands of local and international plants. Just a 10-minute drive from Hilo, it’s one of the essential things to see in Hawaii.

Hot tip: arrive early so that you can wander through the different sections (and not feel rushed).

82 – Make a beeline for beautiful Kohala Mountain

Kohala, Big Island, Hawaii

If fresh air and adventure are the name of the game, Kohala Mountain is the place to be. Zipline between treetops; trek from waterfall to waterfall; hike up to an intimidating volcano caldera, or see it all from a birds-eye view with a quick helicopter flight.

No matter how you choose to tackle Kohola mountain, with so many different private and group tours available, you won’t leave disappointed.

83 – Check out the unique Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

While reaching this hidden gem requires a short but doable hike, the vistas at the end are more than worth it. A truly unique location, as its name suggests, Papakolea Green Sand Beach dishes up a remarkably colored shoreline — one of only four of its kind in the world.

Located not too far from South Point on the Big Island, it’s an ideal spot for swimming, hiking, or just soaking up those dazzling Hawaiian summer rays.

84 – Hike the Captain Cook Monument Trail

Captain Cook Monument, Big Island

Spanning roughly 1.8 miles each way, with a 1,300-foot change in elevation along the way, the Captain Cook Monument Trail is a moderately strenuous trek — but one with some of the most appreciated views in the region.

With sheer sea cliffs that drop down to beautiful crystal-clear waters, plenty of tidepools, and, of course, the famous monument, there’s no shortage of beauty to behold.

85 – Go spelunking in the Kula Kai Caverns

Kula Kai Caverns, Big Island, Hawaii

Showcasing miles upon miles of 1000-year-old lava tubes, the Kula Kai Caverns (on the south side of the Big Island) are hastily gaining popularity as a must-see adventure destination.

Once you’re strapped up with a helmet and a headlamp, experienced guides will take you on a journey deep into the caves, pointing out all of its fascinating geological features and outlining how ancient Hawaiians once used the caves for shelter.

86 – Venture into the centuries-old Kaumana Caves

Kaumana Caves, Big Island, HawaiiIf you’re hoping to tick off a lava tube from the bucket list but want to avoid the crowds,  the Kaumana Caves are the answer. While the caves themselves form part of a 25-mile cavern system, only the entrance is accessible, so it’ll make for a quick and certainly-worth-it stop.

Hot tip: bring a flashlight or headlight and wear good hiking shoes — it can be a little slippery!

87 – Experience bird watching at the Hakalau Forest Reserve

bird watching, Big Island

For the rare chance to discover little-known native plants and animals (including those happy-faced spiders that took the internet by storm), the Hakalau Forest Reserve is the best place!

For aviary enthusiasts, thanks to its collection of 14 native bird species (8 of which are endangered), this protected reserve is one of the best things to see in Hawaii.

Due to its status as a protected area, guided tours are essential.

88 – Take a dip in the ‘Hot Ponds’

Ahalanui hot Ponds, Big Island, Hawaii
Ahalanui hot Ponds

Since the Big Island sits on volcanic land, many of its rocks are heated by magma, causing flowing water to bubble to toasty temperatures — in other words, we get relaxing and reinvigorating natural spas!

Visit the Ahalanui hot Ponds, much appreciated by tourists and locals alike. Another crowd favorite, the Pohoiki hot springs at the black-sand Isaac Hale Beach Park in Puna offers five different ponds to choose from.

89 – Explore the Lava Tree State Monument

Lava Tree State Monument, Big Island, Hawaii

Where towering trees once stood, today stand their unique remnants, encapsulated in lava after an eruption some 230 years. Despite the petrified-looking lava trees taking center stage, the area is booming with orchids, birds, and colorful blossoms in every direction.

Located just 3 miles from the town of Pahoa on the island’s eastern side, the entire walk is less than a mile (and totally free!), making it a trail perfect for all ages and levels of physical fitness.

90 – Stroll through the incredible Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube, Big Island

It might be dimly lit and a little eerie (especially after 8pm when the lights go out), but still, the Thurston Lava Tube is as spectacular a natural creation as they come. Dating back over 500 years, the 450-foot-long lava-formed tunnel (which sits high atop the Kilauea Crater at an altitude of 3,900 feet) is often regarded as one of the best things to see in Hawaii.

Beware of the low ceilings and occasional rockfalls, and refrain from touching any flora or fauna inside. Planning on visiting after hours? Flashlights and headlamps are essential.

91 – Try epic manta ray snorkeling tours on Big Island

manta rays night snorkeling trip in Big Island

Did you know that the best time to spot manta rays is at night? Experience the wonders of seeing these majestic creatures in person during a special manta ray snorkeling excursion on Big Island!

Your safety briefing and instructions happen after sunset, and when the evening sky is dark, you will board a boat and be driven out to the snorkel location.

Here, a specially customized floating platform is secured in the ocean with a light attached to it. This light attracts the manta rays! Jump into the water, hold onto the device and look out for the intelligent marine species.

Taking place from Kailua-Kona on the west coast of Big Island, the manta ray adventure lasts between one and 2.5 hours. All gear and equipment are provided.

Discover the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island.

92 – Wet your whistle at the Kona Brewing Company Pub & Brewery

Kona Brewing Company Pub & Brewery, Big Island

If you’ve spent the day tackling various hiking trails are wanting nothing more than a hearty feed and a refreshing beer (or three), look no further than Kona Brewing Company. With so many options on the menu — most of which, like the Big Wave golden ale or tropical Hanalei Island IPA, are hand-brewed on site — the most popular way to try everything is with a tasting flight.

After chowing down on a pizza, for those looking to learn more about the brewing process, the facility also offers guided tours.

Read more about fun and unusual things to do in Kona.

93 – Hike the Kilauea Iki Trail in Volcanoes National Park (and walk on a volcanic crater lake!)

Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A 4-mile hike that takes between three and fours hour to complete, the Kilauea Iki Trail delivers a scenic delight, transitioning from rainforest and rocky crater lake in the blink of an eye.

Besides the plethora of natural beauty on offer along the route, there’s plenty to be learned as well; a number of signposts along the way showcase the dramatic story of the 1959 eruption.

94 – Taste a Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Hawaiian Poke Bowl, Big Island
credit to Pau Hana Poke

Despite the rest of the world quickly catching onto the trend, the best poke bowls, by far, remain here, on the shores of Hawaii’s Big Island. Need help finding the best spots?

Da Poke Shack is a hidden gem in Kailua-Kona (and former holder of the title of Yelp’s Best Restaurant in the United States); Suisan Fish Market is a crowd favorite on the eastern side in Hilo, and it’s near impossible to go wrong at Pau Hana Poke in Kailua-Kona.

95 – Cool off with some Hawaiian shaved ice!

Hawaiian shaved ice, Big Island
credit to Kula Shave Ice

As Japanese settlers arrived in Hawaii, they brought with them a refreshing snack perfectly suited for the island’s climate. Otherwise known as kakigōri; or to a lot of the world, a snow cone (however, it’s not quite the same consistency), the traditional Hawaiian shave ice is a staple treat for locals.

While you’ll be spoiled for choice with vendors never too far away, for the pick of the bunch, be sure to try Kula Shave Ice in Hilo and Scandinavian Shave Ice (AKA Scandi’s) in Kailua Kona.

96 – Wine, dine, and enjoy the view on a dinner cruise

dinner cruises, Big Island

Did someone say spectacular sunset views? Over the span of about three hours, guests can enjoy a tantalizing Hawaiian-style buffet dinner as they’re transported past more than 50 points of interest, with fresh seaside air all the way through.

With the educated voice of a local historian echoing over the PA, not only will a dinner cruise delight the senses (taste and sight, to be specific), but you’ll probably walk away having learned a thing or two as well!

97 – Try a Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi, Big Island
credit to Kawamoto Store

Yes, that kind of Spam. Despite the frequently bizarre reactions when tourists hear what they’re eating, Spam Musubi — essentially a serve of sushi made with Spam — is a very popular snack across the state.

Again, this odd combination is another we have the Japanese to thank … They are the masters of sushi, after all.

Even if solely for the novelty, it’s a must-try; the tasty treats can be found at Kawamoto Store in Hilo, the L&L Hawaiian BBQ chain restaurants, and even at most gas stations.

98 – Try all of the local delicacies thanks to food trucks!

Food truck on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

With mouth-watering specialties like succulent Kalua pork, spicy Jamaican jerk chicken, and finger-lickin’ fish tacos never too far away, visitors and well and truly blessed by the Hawaiian food truck scene — not just on the Big Island, but all over the archipelago!

Even though it’s near-impossible to go wrong, a couple of the more celebrated names include the Rendezvous Hawaii Food Truck and Cool Runnings Food Truck — both located in Kailua-Kona.

99 – Embark on a Mauna Kea stargazing tour

Mauna Kea stargazing tour

With light pollution in Hawaii being almost non-existent (except for a little bit in built-up Honolulu), there is arguably no place more perfect for a night under the stars than here, at Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

With a guide leading you all the way, visitors will be escorted to the prime vantage points and taught all about the constellations above.

The W.M. Keck Observatory on the summit is a worthy visit too, if time permits.

How to get to Hawaii?

If you are flying into Hawaii, there are multiple airports that are accessible; however, Hawaii’s largest and main airport is the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu.

After a long flight, the last thing you want to do is haggle down taxis. Why not eliminate pre-travel stress and pre-organize airport transfers in Hawaii? After touchdown, exit the airport gates, where your private driver awaits you.

Travel in comfort and style in an air-conditioned vehicle directly to your stay or next point of interest.

If you’re off to another nearby isle or arriving from one, consider pre-booked shore excursions in Hawaii for a convenient way to get around and make the most of your time.

Where to stay in Hawaii?

Comprising eight islands, Big Island, Oahu, Kauai and Maui are the four most popular isles in Hawaii, home to breathtaking beaches, important cultural sites and all of the outdoor adventures.

If you’re planning on staying anywhere on the Big Island, Oahu, Kauai, or Maui, there are so many wonderful places to choose from. For the best hotels, check out the comprehensive list below.

Staying on Big Island? For everything you could dream of in an official five-star stay you’ll find it (and more) at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. From its beachfront location to 18-hole golf course, this pick is perfect for families or couples!

For travelers in Oahu, the Waikiki neighborhood is where most tourists enjoy. All of the room options at ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach are warm, comfortable and luxurious, and include a private balcony.

Wild and luscious, Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island… Equipped with all the amenities, luxuries and designer finishes, the five-star Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa features an epic waterpark as well as spa, tennis courts, golf course and more. Built right on the beach, families with kids especially favor this stay.

Vacationing to Maui? The adults-only Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux (also a five-star hotel with a beachfront position), exudes old-school charm and decadence but with modern finishes. This is an ideal option for couples and honeymooners.

Where to go next?

True to its name, Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian isles, or head over to Oahu in Honolulu (the capital of Hawaii) and stay in quintessential Waikiki.

If you’re the type of traveler who prefers less-touristy destinations, look no further than wild and rugged Kauai (gaining the nickname, ‘the Garden Isle’). Home to the beautiful Road to Hana, waterfalls and whale watching opportunities, Maui is busier than Kauai but not as “touristy” as some of the other islands.

If you are looking for more ideas for a specific island, don’t miss our lists of things to do in Maui, things to do in Oahu, things to do in Kauai, and things to on the Big Island. Wondering which Hawaii island is ideal for your holiday? Make sure to read our guide: Best Islands in Hawaii to Visit – Which One to Choose?

Once you’re done traveling to Hawaii, there are direct flights to other cities in the US, like Los Angeles and San Francisco. The flight to both LA and San Fran is around five hours.

Final thoughts

From picture-perfect scenes of paradise to ancient traditions and culture to the food to the aloha spirit, Hawaii truly is one of the most special places on Earth.

What are your favorite islands to visit or things to do in Hawaii? Do you have a location that wins your heart time and time again? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

As always, happy and safe travels!

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Evan Bryce Riddle is a versatile and ambitious content producer whose passion for globetrotting runs deep. When he’s not crafting travel content, Evan is the Content Executive at Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, managing end-to-end video production and written content to build brands to 7 and 8 figures. Evan has also spearheaded content for world-leading digital media channels (TheRichest, TheTravel), written multiple published books, photographed weddings, and hosts the coveted MegaMinds podcast – a handful of highlights from his 10+ year content and marketing career. Where does the love for travel come from? Born in Melbourne, Australia but having grown up in Hollywood, Evan fell in love with international jetsetting from a young age. Fast forward to today and he’s visited 30+ countries, highlighted by a 4-year stint in vibrant Montreal.