Cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches, lush rainforests, swaying palm trees and awe-inspiring volcanoes—many would argue that America’s 50th state is also its most beautiful. Discover paradise on a bucket list-worthy vacation to Hawaii. Whether you prefer sunbathing, surfing, snorkeling, hiking, ziplining or sailing, there’s no shortage of ways to soak in the beauty of the Aloha State. Here’s our guide to get you started on planning your ultimate dream vacation to Hawaii!
What to See on Each Island
Hawaii’s many distinct islands offer a riches of experiences. Hawaii is home to six major islands for visiting, with the below the most popular. Visit them individually or enjoy a week-long tour to its three most major islands.
Big Island Tours
The island of Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island”, is nearly twice as big as all the other islands combined. Discover a variety of breathtaking landscapes such as dense rainforests, lush valleys, black sand beaches and more. It’s home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls including Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls, as well as awe-inspiring volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy a day tour that visits some of its most spectacular natural wonders. Or, spend three days exploring the many treasures of this fantastic island.
The third largest island is also home to the majority of Hawaii’s population. From the bustling city of Honolulu to world-famous surf beaches to the historical site of Pearl Harbor, you’ll find many things to do in Oahu. With its numerous beach resorts and large international airport, it’s also a great base for kicking off a Hawaiian adventure.
Hawaii’s second largest island, Maui is home to over 80 beaches and is known as the “Valley Isle” because of the valleys between its many volcanic formations. It’s hard to miss Haleakala, a massive volcanic crater, which towers over most of the island at 10,023 feet above sea level. Seeing the sunset here is the experience of a lifetime and can be enjoyed on a day tour. While here, be sure not to miss the popular Drive to Hana, a scenic road which twists along the coast past waterfalls, rainforest and amazing vistas.
Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is a lush oasis featuring beautiful beaches, stunning waterfalls and the iconic Waimea Canyon, dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Kauai is also home to popular filming locations for a wide variety of movies and TV shows. (You can even enjoy seeing these locations on a popular Kauai film tour.)
Marine Life – Whale Watching and Snorkeling
Discover some of the most fantastic marine life in the world on a Hawaiian vacation. With over 1200 miles of coral reef surrounding the islands, you’ll find ample opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Come face to face with colorful fish, playful dolphins and gigantic sea turtles. Enjoy a half-day snorkeling tour in Hanauma Bay, a marine sanctuary in Oahu known for its clear and calm waters. Explore deeper waters on a guided scuba diving tour designed for beginners and experienced divers alike. Or, embark on a whale-watching boat tour off the coast of Oahu to humpback whales, the giants of the sea, from November through May.
Hawaii Boat Cruises
There’s nothing like sailing through Hawaii’s crystal clear water aboard a boat. Spend an afternoon enjoying ocean sports off the coast of Oahu including a catamaran, banana boat and stand up paddle boarding. Sip cocktails and catch a Hawaiian sunset on a sundown cruise from Waikiki. Or, see fireworks and enjoy a buffet-style dinner on a Hilton Fireworks Dinner Sail.
Luau and Polynesian Culture
From hula dancing to ukulele music to luau feasts, enjoy Hawaii’s rich culture on your next vacation. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn about the customs of the people along the Pacific Rim including Aoteraroa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, Marquesas (French Polynesia), Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga. Enjoy a VIP visit that includes a shell lei greeting and canoe ride, followed by an unforgettable luau featuring a sumptuous buffet and a traditional show.
Hawaii Helicopter Tours
Get a bird’s eye view of Hawaii’s majestic landscape on a thrilling helicopter tour. Enjoy an early morning flight over Maui’s breathtaking natural wonders including Honokohau Falls, Hana Rainforest and Haleakala Volcano. Or, travel to the more remote island of Molokai from Maui on a Molokai helicopter tour and see the Wall of Tears, with over 17 waterfalls flowing at once, along with other towering waterfalls. You’ll also enjoy the opportunity to see Molokai’s sea cliffs. At over 3,600 feet, they are the tallest in the world.
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