Things to do in Hawaii: How to Experience the Best of Each Island

Author: jason eisert
Updated: April 4, 2023
hello world!

Hawaii is a popular destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, and adventure. Planning a trip can be overwhelming, but we're here to help you explore each island's best spots.

Oahu has famous beaches like Waikiki and hikes like Diamond Head. You can also visit Pearl Harbor to learn about Hawaii's history. On Maui, you can drive along the Road to Hana and catch a sunrise at Haleakala National Park. The Big Island has unique experiences like exploring Volcanoes National Park and stargazing at Mauna Kea. Kauai offers scenic views and outdoor activities like kayaking and snorkeling.

No matter what you're into, Hawaii's diverse islands offer something for everyone. From thrilling adventures to lazy beach days, you're sure to find plenty to do. So pack your bags, grab a lei, and get ready to experience Hawaii's stunning landscapes and rich culture.


If you're planning a trip to Oahu, Hawaii, there's plenty to keep you entertained. From historical landmarks to thrilling outdoor activities, here are some must-do experiences.

Pearl Harbor

A historical landmark located near Honolulu, Pearl Harbor commemorates the infamous Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. The site is filled with historical artifacts and memorials that transport you back in time to one of the most defining moments in American history.

Waikiki Beach

A world-famous beach located in Honolulu, Waikiki is known for its crystal clear waters and golden sandy beaches. It's the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun or take a dip in the water.

Diamond Head Hike

A challenging but rewarding hike that leads to breathtaking panoramic views. The iconic landmark is a must-visit for hikers and nature lovers.

Kualoa Ranch Tour

Offering a range of exciting activities such as horseback riding, ATV tours, and ziplining, the Kualoa Ranch Tour also allows you to visit some of the filming locations for popular movies like Jurassic Park and Godzilla.

North Shore Surfing

A surfing paradise, the North Shore is home to some of the world's best surfers who come here to catch the perfect wave. Even if you're not a surfer, watching the pros tackle the waves is an unforgettable experience.

Fun fact: Oahu is home to the largest pineapple maze in the world, located at the Dole Plantation. The maze covers more than two acres and has over 14,000 Hawaiian plants.


Maui is a paradise that offers endless possibilities for adventure, relaxation, and romance. From scenic drives to breathtaking vistas and underwater expeditions, there's something for everyone on this idyllic island.

Take the Road to Hana: A Scenic Drive through Maui's Rainforests

One of the most popular activities on the island is taking the Road to Hana, a winding drive that takes you through lush greenery, waterfalls, and stunning overlooks. Take your time to stop and explore along the way, and experience the natural beauty of Maui's rainforests.

Experience the Sunrise atop Haleakala: A Photographer's Paradise

Haleakala National Park is a breathtaking destination that will leave visitors feeling awestruck. Witness the sun rising above the horizon atop the Haleakala volcano, which stands at over 10,000 feet high. This natural wonder is a sight to behold and a paradise for photographers.

Discover Underwater Paradise: Snorkeling at Molokini Crater

The Molokini Crater is a perfect place to visit for those looking for adventure. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters and explore coral reefs and exotic marine life that call this underwater paradise home. It's an experience you won't forget.

Relax and Unwind at Kaanapali Beach: A Great Spot for Swimming and Paddleboarding

For those looking to kick back and relax, Kaanapali Beach is the perfect spot to unwind. Take a dip in the turquoise waters or get a good book and lounge on the sandy shore. The beach is known for having calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and paddleboarding.

Whale Watching: Witness the Magnificent Creatures of the Sea

Another highlight of Maui is whale watching. During the winter season, humpback whales are a common sight in Maui, making it an ideal time to witness them in action. Take a whale-watching tour and watch as these majestic creatures breach the water and slap their tails against the surface. It's a truly unforgettable experience.

Fun fact: Maui is home to the largest dormant volcano in the world, Haleakala, which last erupted over 500 years ago.


Kauai is a true tropical paradise, known as the "Garden Island" for its lush landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty. If you're planning a trip to this island, you won't want to miss out on the incredible outdoor adventures and stunning sights that Kauai has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do during your visit:

Na Pali Coast

Explore the Na Pali Coast, either by hiking or taking a boat tour. This coastal range boasts towering cliffs, deep green valleys, and crystal-clear waters that offer breathtaking views you'll never forget. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even take a helicopter tour to see the coastline from a unique perspective.

Waimea Canyon

Witness the natural wonder that is Waimea Canyon, often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." This impressive canyon spans over 10 miles and reaches depths of up to 3,000 feet. The views from the lookout points are simply awe-inspiring, and the vibrant colors and rugged terrain make this canyon truly unique.

Hanalei Bay

For a relaxing day soaking up the sun, head to Hanalei Bay. This secluded bay is surrounded by towering cliffs and stunningly beautiful waters. Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, or surfing, this place has something for everyone.

Poipu Beach

Experience the underwater world at Poipu Beach, known for its calm waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Spend the day lounging on the beach or exploring the coral reefs, watching for colorful tropical fish and sea turtles.

Fun fact: Kauai is the filming location of many famous movies and TV shows, including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Descendants.

Big Island (Hawaii Island)

The Big Island of Hawaii is a must-visit destination, boasting incredible diversity and natural wonders. Here are some of the top experiences to add to your itinerary.

Experience the Power of Volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Witnessing the two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-see experience. Visitors can witness lava flows up close, provided it's safe to do so, and marvel at the power of Mother Nature.

Stargaze at Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is one of the world's best places for astronomy, with world-renowned observatories atop its summit. Visitors can take guided tours to access the summit, learn about the stars, and observe the constellations with professional telescopes.

Discover the Beauty of Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park is a lush tropical forest featuring a breathtaking 442-foot waterfall. The park offers hiking trails leading to the waterfall, where visitors can get close and experience the mist and power of the falls.

Explore Kona Coffee Farm Tours

For coffee lovers, exploring Kona coffee farm tours is a must. Kona coffee is revered for its smooth, rich flavor, and is grown in the microclimate of the Kona region. Visitors can tour the farms, learn about the history and production of coffee, and even sample the freshly brewed java.

Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay

Don't miss the chance to snorkel at Kealakekua Bay, a marine sanctuary home to an abundance of marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, and spinner dolphins. Visitors can take guided tours or rent snorkel equipment to explore the underwater world.

Retreat to the Serenity of Kailua Kona Estate

For a luxurious and secluded experience on the Big Island, the Kailua Kona Estate offers breathtaking ocean views and a serene atmosphere. It's an ideal location for a retreat on the west side of the island, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots.

The Big Island of Hawaii has something for every traveler, from adventure seekers to nature lovers and coffee aficionados. Don't miss out on exploring this diverse paradise!

Fun fact: The Big Island of Hawaii is the only place in the world where you can find green sand beaches. The sand gets its unique color from the mineral olivine, found in the volcanic rocks in the area.

Molokai and Lanai

When people think of Hawaii, they often overlook the smaller islands of Molokai and Lanai. But these islands offer a unique charm and beauty that is well worth exploring, especially for those seeking a more laid-back environment.


Kalaupapa National Historical Park: One of the must-visit attractions in Molokai, this park was once home to a leprosy colony. Today, visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the colony's history and see the stunning natural beauty of the park.

Halawa Valley Hike: This challenging hike takes you through the lush rainforest, past waterfalls, and towards the traditional Hawaiian village of Halawa. The reward is the stunning scenery that awaits you.


Hulopoe Beach: This pristine beach is a must-visit in Lanai for relaxation, crystal-clear water, soft white sand, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also go snorkeling or paddleboarding to see the colorful marine life.

Munro Trail Hike: This popular hike takes you through the lush forests of Lanai towards the summit of Lanaihale, the island's highest peak. From the top, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the island and the ocean, making it a great spot for photos.

Fun Fact: Molokai is known as the "Friendly Isle," while Lanai is known as the "Pineapple Island" due to its past as the world's leading exporter of pineapples.


Sum up the top things to do on each island and encourage readers to plan their own Hawaiian adventure.

Provide additional resources for planning a trip to Hawaii, such as travel guides or tour companies.

Hawaii is a paradise that caters to everyone's interests! Surf at Waikiki, hike Diamond Head, or explore Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Catch the sunrise at Haleakala, cruise the Road to Hana, and soak up the sun on Maui's stunning beaches.

jason eisert is a travel blogger with the passion for adventure and exotic food.
Creating extraordinary vacation experiences for everyone in Kona, Hawaii, USA.
Check for Availability