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Things To Do in Hawaii

There is an incredible variety of things to do in the Hawaiian Islands, an archipelago of eight major islands that is a US state and world famous as the classic tropical island vacation destination. Located out in the Central Pacific Ocean about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent, the Hawaiian Islands are some of the most isolated islands on Earth, but they still star in millions of dream vacations every year. The scenery is breathtaking, the food is eclectic, the music is wonderful, and every day is a beach day in Hawaii. Welcome to the birthplace of Aloha!

There are 7 inhabited islands in the Hawaiian chain. The 4 most popular with visitors are Oahu, home of the state capital city Honolulu; the island of Hawaii, locally known as the Big Island; and the smaller, less-populated islands of Maui and Kauai. Those looking to get off the beaten path for a real local-style Hawaiian experience can visit Lanai and Molokai. The Hawaiian Islands have such a wide range of natural environments, unique cultural influences, traditions, and possibilities for things to do that it is easy to please any taste and stay as busy as you like for as long as you want.

Get outdoors in the islands and go exploring rainforests, mountain trails, active volcanoes, and winding highways through stretches of remote coastal backcountry. Try snorkeling, diving, surfing, fishing and more in the place that offers some of the world’s best watersports action. Find great shopping and dining in urban yet exotic Honolulu. Take in museums, music, historical attractions, and cultural festivals that celebrate the original Polynesian explorers who settled Hawaii and the Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and many others who followed them.

Connect with your personal island adventure here at Cool Hawaii where we offer a curated collection of the best things to do in Hawaii. Easy, secure online booking lets you take care of all the planning with one stop. No phone calls or waiting on hold, and all necessary vouchers and important information are delivered by email. But if you do have questions or just need a little help, just reach out to our friendly customer service team via phone, email, text, or live chat.

Hawaii Attractions

Palm-shaded beaches and warm blue water are the first things most people picture when they think of Hawaii attractions. Legendary Waikiki, classic playground of Hawaiian Kings and Hollywood stars; Kaanapali or Makena on Maui; tucked-away spots like Punaluu Black Sand Beach on the Big Island or Secret Beach on Kauai; you are never far from a beautiful beach in Hawaii. Enjoy the sun and sand or get in the water to swim, snorkel, or ride waves on a bodyboard, surfboard, or paddleboard.

Out in deeper waters, popular Hawaii water tours and activities include whale-watching excursions, world-class big game fishing, scuba diving, sailing, sunset cruises, and more. Cruising the incredible Na Pali coastline of Northwest Kauai, watching humpback whales leap off the shores of Maui, or paddling an outrigger canoe in the gentle waves of Waikiki are all sure ways to make the vacation memory of a lifetime. Or stay on dry land and spend the day touring the island, heading into the mountains for some hiking or mountain biking, or exploring local shops and markets for island-style souvenirs.

In the evening, toast an amazing day with a tropical cocktail at a beachfront restaurant, then sample some of America’s best cuisine. A fusion of Polynesian, Asian, Local, and International styles backed up with the freshest seafood makes dining in Hawaii a unique and wonderful experience. Depending on the island, you can either enjoy some nightlife after dinner or relax in the peace and quiet under a star-filled sky. Plan an early start for another busy day or just get ready to hit the beach again–it’s Hawaii, and the local guideline is "hang loose".

Recommendations: The Best Things to Do in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are so full of wonder that every visitor is going to have their own list of best things to do in Hawaii. And a lot depends on which island you visit because each has its own special features.

Things to do in Oahu

Oahu, once home of Hawaiian royalty and at the center of Hawaiian history, is the most populated island. Oahu combines urban amenities—a bustling downtown, shopping malls, historic resort hotels like the Moana Surfrider and the Hilton Hawaiian Village, museums and galleries, dining from gourmet to casual—with a rugged coastline and jungle-covered mountains starting practically at the city’s edge. Ride the trolley and shop along Kalakaua Avenue, visit Pearl Harbor and the Battleship Arizona Memorial, climb Diamond Head, and find adventure with anything from surfing, snorkeling, and shark diving to traditional luau feasts and hula shows.

Things to do in Maui

Maui is renowned for scenic beauty and luxurious resorts. Voted the Best Island in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler for over 20 years running, Maui has one feature unmatched anywhere on Earth: the world’s tallest mountain. The volcano Haleakala rises over 35,000 feet as measured from the sea floor, with 10,000 feet being above sea level. Sunrise from Haleakala is a do-not-miss experience; follow it up with a mountain bike cruise from the peak to the valley floor through spectacular scenery the entire route. Then stroll the historic whaling village of Lahaina, take a whale-watching cruise into the heart of humpback whale wintering grounds, play a round of golf at world-famous Kapalua, or hit one of the incredible beaches for sun, snorkeling, and surf. You will see why locals say Maui No Ka Oi–Maui is the best.

Things to do on Big Island

The Big Island as locals call it, is Hawaii—the island that the Hawaiian archipelago is named for. The Big Island is the largest and most volcanically active island, a place where unspoiled nature is the major attraction. Hilo, the largest city has a population of just over 40,000. Beautiful water, rich coral reefs, and empty beaches ring the island. Inland, waterfalls plunge into remote jungle valleys, broad rolling grasslands were once home to cattle ranches and the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, and the Mauna Kea volcanic highlands sometimes see snow. Enjoy excellent marine life watching, zip-line over lush rainforest, experience rich Hawaiian culture including traditional hula, and try a delicious seafood dinner accompanied by locally-brewed beer or famous Kona coffee.

Things to do in Kauai

Kauai is the get-away spot for visitors seeking relaxation and romance in an atmosphere of awe-inspiring natural beauty. Nicknamed the Garden Isle, Kauai is dominated by untracked jungle-covered mountain ranges. The largest town has barely 12,000 people, the island’s interior is vast and remote, and many points on the island are reachable only by air or boat. Take a scenic cruise along towering cliffs of the Na Pali coast, often called one of the wonders of the world. Search out hidden beaches, snorkel and scuba dive on pristine coral reefs, sea kayak along untouched coastline, zip-line across the forest, and return to the small-town vibe of Hanalei for happy hour drinks and snacks. Kauai offers plenty of fun for everyone, but is a special place for couples. The Garden Isle brings honeymooners and all other lovers closer with peaceful seclusion and easy-going activities like surf lessons, snorkeling trips, yoga sessions, and ukulele classes.