20 Places To Visit in Hawaii – A Must-See List!
Once you hear a word “Hawaii”, your brain starts tricking your imagination to draw dreamy images of sunsets by the palm fringed Pacific, stimulating your salivary glands in anticipation of feasting on a juicy slice of fresh papaya picked fresh from a tree; your toes almost feel the tickle of white sandy beaches underneath and your hips start swaying to the rhythms of the traditional hula dance. Hawaii is a paradise on Earth offering ideal escapes for outdoor aficionados, surfers, snorkelers, whale watchers and honeymooners. With so many places to visit in Hawaii, how do you decide where to go?
We have combed back and forth through some of the best places to visit in Hawaii and below we present in no particular order our top 20 selections.
- Waimea Canyon – If you could visit just one place in Hawaii, this would be it! This majestic Canyon is referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific which lies in the western portion of the Kauai Island. Shaped by volcanic activity and thousands years of erosion, it’s a great place to hike, camp and enjoy the scenery.
- Napali Coast – One of the most majestic places to visit in Hawaii is not so easy to get to and your best bet to explore these 16 beautiful miles stretching along the North Shore of Kauai is to book one or several Napali Coast tours. Whether you take a hike, boating or helicopter tours, you are sure to enjoy its magnificent views.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Hawaiian archipelago has been in the ever-changing geological state for thousands of years due to Earth’s two most active volcanoes. The Volcanoes National Park brings you closer than ever before to observe land’s geological wonders erupting in front of your eyes during the day and at night. Explore park’s unique flora and fauna by means of hiking, mountain biking or driving.
- Haleakala National Park – Hawaiian centuries’ old legends and astounding natural beauty come together as you take a hike to the Haleakala Summit at sunrise, backpack through wilderness of volcanic origin or take a dip in one of the cold mountain streams by the rugged Kipahulu Coast.
- Polynesian Cultural Center – Explore the culture, food and traditions of the Polynesian nations as you come to one of the top places to visit in Hawaii. This Hawaii theme park located in Oahu is a living museum providing unique experiences and interactions with the noble people of the Pacific Rim through their dances, singing, live daily shows and educational exhibits.
- Honolulu – Among the best places to visit in Hawaii, its capital is the epicenter of finance, government, politics and culture. Honolulu is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of all Hawaii where you can roam the museums and sample the most delicious Pacific Rim cuisine by day, and dance the night away in the hottest night clubs. Among its top attractions you will find the Royal Summer Palace of Queen Emma.
- Waikiki – A district of Honolulu is blessed to contain the world’s most well known beach, Waikiki Beach. It’s among the most popular places to visit in Hawaii among beach lovers from all over the world blessed with miles of sandy beach stretches and close proximity to the picture perfect Diamond Head landmark.
- Hanalei Bay – A crescent shaped Bay located on the northern shores of Kauai is a favorite destination for water lovers and beach bums from across the world. World class surfers flock to the Hanalei Beach like flies to honey. Hanalei Valley Lookout is not to be missed to enjoy unforgettable views and unique photo opportunities.
- Pearl Harbor Memorial – You simply can’t visit Hawaii and not pay a tribute to this signature memorial built to honor all the brave sailors who faced Japanese aviation attack early morning of December 7th, 1941 on the USS Arizona battleship. Located near Honolulu, it’s visited by over a million tourists every year. Accessible via boat tours, visitors learn all the facts about this crucial period in American WWII history.
- Molokini Crater – This bow shaped isle located off the Maui coast is the ultimate paradise for any snorkeler or diver alike. The crater provides excellent visibility to witness amazing coral reefs, exotic species of marine life and plants.
- Wailua Falls – A dramatically beautiful waterfall featured in many movies throughout the years is one of the highly coveted and easily accessible landmarks in Kauai. In the past Hawaiian males would plunge themselves down to prove their manhood. Enjoy the views and taking pictures from the designated lookout point.
- Road to Hana – A winding coastal road leading from Kahului to the town of Hana in Maui counts over 600 stomach tickling turns and countless skinny bridges proving once again that it’s the road, not a destination that makes any journey worth it. A truly spectacular adventure and one of the most scenic drives in the world. If you are just not sure if you can drive independently on this challenging road, maybe it’s better to kick back and enjoy a guided Road to Hana tour.
- Kalalau Trail – One of the best hiking trails in Hawaii, this eleven mile journey will take your endurance levels to the maximum as you hike via narrow, rugged and extremely steep passages. Kalalau Trail starts at the Ke’e Beach and continues all the way to the breathtaking Kalalau Valley which should take an average experienced hiker about a day or two in case you decide to camp there as well. Along the way you will be rewarded with views of unparallel beauty.
- Lahaina – Once the capital of the Royal Hawaiian Kingdom, today Lahaina is one of the most popular resort towns on the islands offering an endless array of tourist attractions like plantation tours, whale watching adventures, great beaches and surfing schools along with the hottest nightlife scenes in Hawaii.
- Akaka Falls – Located on the Big Island, Akaka Falls is a dramatic spectacle of plunging water from 422 ft high cliff into Kolekole Stream. It’s one of the easily accessible landmarks which should take you about 20 minutes of leisure hiking to get to. Gorgeous Akaka Falls are set in lively green rainforest surrounded by unique Hawaiian vegetation.
- Hanauma Bay – A crater of an ancient volcano became one of the most picturesque bays in Hawaii located on the Oahu Island and an ideal place for regulated snorkeling and scuba diving. Calm and clear waters are perfect for maintaining a large variety of marine species.
- Molokai – Molokai is one of the smaller islands where nature and surroundings seem to have frozen in time. Only here you can experience the most authentic “aloha” way of life. No glitzy resorts or high end shopping here, only miles of rugged wilderness and coastline. Outdoor junkies will find plenty of Molokai tours to suit their likings, including snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and even helicopter adventures.
- Lanai Island – One of the smallest populated islands in Hawaii and home to the largest number of pineapple plantations is rightfully earning its right among premier destinations of Hawaiian resorts. Golfing, snorkeling, diving and horseback riding are popular things to do in Lanai.
- Maui Ocean Center – Combining the love for tropical marine species with cutting edge technology allowed creation one of the largest coral reef aquariums in the world where visitors can get up-close with some of the most amazing creatures of the Pacific, sharks, stingrays, turtles and many unique species of fish. Shark diving and snorkeling with rays experiences are available right at the facility.
- Oahu Sea Life Park – Enjoy one of a kind swimming with dolphins experience, learn about Hawaiian sea turtles breeding program, watch amazing marine animal shows or perhaps you dare to swim with the sharks as you dive into a tank filled with 300,000 galons of water and a mesh net separating you and ocean’s most fierce creatures.