Best 10 Hawaii Tourist Attractions for 2017: Must See Attractions in Hawaii

Hawaii is an adventurer’s dream.

​It is easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous to paradise - the beaches, technicolor coral reefs, and volcanoes beckoning adventurous spirits. Snapshots of these islands scattered in a cobalt blue ocean are heavenly, without the need for any tourist brochure embellishment. Sunrise and sunsets are all spectacular that they are cause for celebration all by themselves, aside from the numerous attractions in Hawaii.

Pretty much everything here feels easy-going, low-key, and casual, bursting with genuine aloha and fun.

Top 10 Hawaii Tourist Attractions

With a plethora of impressive sights, attractions, and things to do, it can be hard to choose the absolute "can't miss" adventures on each Hawaiian Island. That's why we're listing our all time favorite attractions in Hawaii here - so you won't miss a thing.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

Location: Island of Oahu.

best hawaii tourist attractions

One of the USA's most significant WWII sites, the somber USS Arizona Memorial monument commemorates the Pearl Harbor attack and its fallen service members with an offshore shrine reachable by boat.

The USS Arizona Memorial was built over the midsection of the sunken USS Arizona, with deliberate geometry to represent initial defeat, ultimate victory and eternal serenity. In the furthest of three chambers inside the shrine, the names of crewmen killed in the attack are engraved onto a marble wall.

In the central section are cutaways that allow visitors to see the skeletal remains of the ship, which even now oozes about a quart of oil each day into the ocean. In its rush to recover from the attack and prepare for war, the US Navy exercised its option to leave the servicemen inside the sunken ship; they remain entombed in its hull, buried at sea.

Free boat tours to the shrine depart every 15 minutes from 7:30am until 3pm (weather permitting). The 75-minute tour program includes a 23-minute documentary film about the attack. You can make reservations for the tour online up to 60 days before your visit.

You can also try to secure tickets on the website the day before your visit beginning at 7am Hawaii time – but these are VERY limited.

First-come, first-served tickets are available in person on the day of your visit at the visitor center's Aloha Court, but during peak season when more than 4000 people take the tour daily, the entire day's allotment of tickets is often gone by 10am and waits of a few hours are not uncommon, so arrive early, or better yet: reserve in advance.

But if your time is limited (READ: I want to see all of Hawaii.), I suggest that you purchase or book tour packages to help you skip all the long lines.​

North Shore

Location: Island of Oahu​

North Shore

Get away from the bustling streets of downtown Honolulu and seek solitude in a more peaceful environment – the North Shore.

Take some time to learn about the history of the North Shore and the Hawaiian culture. A wonderful place to start is at Waimea Valley which is deeply rooted in Hawaiian history and continues to be a gathering place for Hawaiian spirituality and traditions.

The quickest route to the North Shore from Honolulu is to take Likelike Highway (Route 63) which starts in Kalihi Valley. You'll pass through the Wilson Tunnel and the Ko'olau mountains over to the windward side of the island in about 10 minutes.​

As you emerge from the tunnel, a beautiful panoramic vista opens up as you look down on the coastal towns of Kane'ohe and Kailua. It'll be tempting to continue a few miles straight toward the ocean, but remember where you're headed! So follow the signs that say "North Shore" or "La'ie" and you'll be fine.

Even in the 21st Century, there is only one main highway around the island. Kamehameha Highway is well-paved and an easy drive as it winds around the northern part of O'ahu. Don't let the word "highway" fool you. This is a Hawaiian highway, meaning it's still a two-lane road in many places, but a little wider than normal.

Relax and be prepared for stops as cars may slow down to turn in front of you, and others may decide at the last minute to veer off and make a beach stop. In certain areas, cars may be parked along the side of the highway when beach parking lots are full.

When you are on the North Shore, you can’t miss sampling the area’s best cuisine - garlic shrimp.

The best-known shrimp trucks are Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, one of the island's original shrimp trucks, and Romy’s Kahuku Prawns, which allows diners to see shrimp and prawn farm pools right near the dining tables. To satisfy your sweet tooth, pay a visit to Matsumoto's Shave Ice for ice-cold flavored goodness or visit Ted’s Bakery and have a slice of their famous chocolate and haupia (coconut) pie.

You also can’t leave North Shore without facing your fear of heights and jumping off the famous Waimea Bay Beach rock. When the surf is small or flat, there is nothing more fun than climbing to the top of "Jump Rock" at Waimea Bay Beach Park and launching yourself out into the turquoise blue water. It’s a rite-of-passage for every teenager and fun for just about everyone!​

PRO TIP: Take a picture next to the famous surfing Haleiwa sign on the Kamehameha Highway. There are 2 signs, 1 going in each direction so you won’t miss it.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Location: Laie, North Shore, Island of Oahu​

Polynesian Cultural Center

Driving to the North Shore of Oahu, you can't miss the Polynesian Cultural Center once you hit the tranquil town of Laie. After all, it's 42-acres. You could easily spend an entire day there.

Nicknamed "PCC", Hawaii's renowned visitor attraction. In 1963 the Mormon Church opened PCC so that Brigham Young University (BYU) Hawaii students could be given part-time jobs demonstrating their island cultures to visitors.

At PCC you'll spend time in seven villages like those found in the Polynesian islands of Fiji, old Hawai'i, Samoa, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti and the Marquesas. According to tour guides at PCC, about 70% of PCC workers attend BYU Hawaii.

They provide a day-long cultural immersion with their traditional Polynesian languages, arts and crafts, music and dance. But many also work the concession stands, provide security, janitorial and parking services. Other popular things to do at PCC are canoe rides, Imax Theatre, a daily afternoon parade of canoes, a delicious luau and one of the most authentic Polynesian night shows you'll ever see.

Hanauma Bay

Location: Island of Oahu​

Hanauma Bay

Protected by the state for its valuable reef ecosystem, Hanauma Bay actually is a sunken volcanic crater ringed with 2,000 feet of golden sand and open to the ocean on one side, located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oahu in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood of East Honolulu.

A filigree of inner reefs separates the novice snorkeler from the open ocean, and thousands of fish and other sea life from their natural predators. The bay abounds with colorful schools of striped manini, silvery needlefish, buttercup yellow tang, the large and quick palani, stunning Moorish idols, opalescent parrot fish and more.​

Hanauma Bay offers incredible snorkeling, as well as a place to hit the beach or picnic.

Rent snorkeling equipment on site or stop by Snorkel Bob’s ahead of time. Several services also offer tours that include gear and transportation.

Hanauma Bay is open daily from 6am to 7 p.m., except Tuesdays, and is located a short 20-minute drive east of Waikiki on Kalaniana‘ole Highway. Children under 12 years of age, military and Hawaii residents get in free.

Other attractions in Hanauma Bay

  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (Park in Hanauma Bay)​

From an overlook, you can peer into the translucent waters and see the outline of the 7000-year-old coral reef that stretches across the width of the bay. You’re bound to see schools of glittering silver fish, the bright-blue flash of parrotfish and perhaps sea turtles so used to snorkelers they’re ready to go eyeball-to-mask with you.

Feeding the fish is strictly prohibited, to preserve the delicate ecological balance of the bay. Despite its protected status as a marine-life conservation district, this beloved bay is still a threatened ecosystem, constantly in danger of being loved to death.

All built park facilities are wheelchair accessible. Beach wheelchairs for visitors with mobility issues are available free of charge from the information kiosk between 8am and 4pm on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Marine Educational Center (Museum in Hanauma Bay)​

Past the park's entrance ticket windows is an excellent educational center run by the University of Hawaiʻi. Interactive, family-friendly displays teach visitors about the unique geology and ecology of the bay.

Everyone should watch the informative 12-minute video about environmental precautions before snorkeling. Visit the website for links to a great app that covers snorkeling in the bay.

Diamond Head

Location: Island of Oahu​

Diamond Head

Diamond Head Trail is one of the most rewarding Oahu hikes, offering amazing 360 degrees views when you reach the top. Hiking Diamond Head might first appear to be a challenging all day climb, but these Oahu hiking trails can sometimes be deceiving, as it really only takes about 40 to 60 minutes to reach the 760-foot summit of the Diamond Head hike.

Diamond Head Crater is a stunning volcanic landmark that has captured the attention of visitors from the beginning of time. Ancient Hawaiians first named the extinct volcano Le’Ahi for its strong Ahi-Tuna-fish brow like appearance.

Later in the 1800’s, British sailors were fooled by the glittering stones that are embedded at the top of the crater. No diamonds were discovered, but Le’Ahi received its new name “Diamond Head”.

The Diamond Head trail itself was originally built in 1908 by the US Army, and used for many decades as part of the Fort Rucker military base. Artillery cannons, cement bunkers and an observation deck were built on the summit of the Diamond Head Crater.

Today Diamond Head has been turned into a state national park. You will need to enter the Diamond Head park from the eastern side, through a short tunnel that will bring you into the center of the crater, where you will start your 560 foot climb.

Hiking Diamond Head is suitable for most, including children, golden age, and the average person who does not exercise or participate in many hikes for recreation.

You will find the beginning of the Diamond Head trail on the west side of the crater, where you start your ascent up a switchback dirt pathway. There are lots of loose gravel and dirt potholes on the trail, so take caution with your footing to prevent slipping and falling.

I have seen a few hikers on this Oahu hiking trail wearing uncovered flip-flops that are meant more for the beach. Although they might get away with it, I would recommend wearing something with stronger support and grip, such as running or hiking shoes.

The switchback trails will take you quickly up to the first lookout, where I recommend taking a moment to catch your breath and enjoy some beautiful ocean views.

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Island

Location: On Big Island​

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Island

Watch the landscape change before your very eyes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island. This is definitely one of the attractions in Hawaii you shouldn’t miss! Located 30 miles southwest of Hilo, this is the home of Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth. The chance to witness the primal process of creation and destruction make this park one of the most popular visitor attraction in Hawaii and a sacred place for Native Hawaiians.

Founded in 1916, the Park encompasses 333,000 acres from the summit of Maunaloa to the sea. Here you'll find 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests as well as a museum, petroglyphs, a walk-in lava tube and two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea which has been erupting since January 3rd, 1983.

The extraordinary natural diversity of the park was recognized in 1980 when it was named a World Biosphere site by UNESCO and in 1987 when the park was again honored as a World Heritage site.

Kilauea is sometimes called "the world's only drive-in volcano." This prolific volcano currently produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day, enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road daily. As of January 1994, 491 acres of new land have been created on Hawaii Island.

The current eruption may last another 100 years or stop tomorrow. Pele, the volcano goddess who lives here, is very unpredictable. But the chance to watch Kilauea's blistering lava flows meet the sea is just one of the reasons to visit.

National Park Attractions:

Kilauea Visitor Center

Open Daily: 7:45 am to 5 pm​

Begin your visit at the Kilauea Visitor Center where you can watch an hourly film from 9 am to 4 pm to introduce you to the park. Ranger talks are offered and ranger-guided activities can be scheduled. Pick up maps, learn about the park's hikes and get the latest eruption updates here.​

Crater Rim Drive

Crater Rim Drive is the 10.6-mile drive that circles Kilauea Caldera. Driving around this loop will take you to the park's main attractions: the Kilauea overlook, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube.​

Thomas A. Jaggar Museum

Open Daily: 8:30 am to 5 pm

Thomas A. Jaggar pioneered the study of volcanology here at Kilauea. Here you can find geologic displays, maps and videos about the study of volcanoes.​

Halemaumau Crater

Steam vents plume from this massive crater, known as the home of Pele, the volcano goddess. In 1967, thiscrater was filled with a lake of lava that eventually drained away. Great respect should be paid at this sacred site.​

Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)

Walk through a 500-year old lava cave formed when an underground channel of molten lava drained from itscooled walls forming a massive, hollow chamber. A tropical rainforest awaits you at the end of the tube.​

Puu Oo Vent

Currently Kilauea's lava activity isn't centered in its caldera (the large depression at the top of the volcano) but atthe Puu Oo vent in the East Rift Zone. Pu'u O'o lava flood underground tubes that empty dramatically into thesea. You can watch this spectacle at the end of Chain of Craters Road or get a closer look from the new Kalapanaviewing site outside the park.​

Chain of Craters Road

Ranger Station open daily: 10:00 am to 9 pm

Veering south of Crater Rim Drive is Chain of Craters Road. This 3,700-foot drive eventually ends where a lavaflow has literally overtaken the road.​

Volcano House

The Volcano House hotel overlooking Halemaumau Crater has been operating since it was a grass shack in 1846.Even Mark Twain once stayed here on his visit to Hawaii. The hotel has recently undergone renovations and isopen under new management.​

Be prepared on your visit to the Volcano National Park. Bring food and water since there are no facilities in theNational Park. Dress appropriately with shoes, long pants, and a jacket. Bring binoculars and a flashlight at night.And don't forget your camera.

For your safety, please stay on marked routes, heed all warning signs, and stay out of restricted areas. There is adanger of harmful volcanic gases and unstable land in these National Park areas.​

Finally, allow plenty of time for your trip. To maximize your Volcano National Park experience consider staying atthe Volcano House, in the nearby Volcano Village, or Hilo, which is only 45 minutes away. The drive to and from Kona is about 3 hours each way.​

Waikiki

Location: Island of Oahu​

Waikiki

24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this former home of Hawaiian royalty has undergone a breathtaking renaissance. Today, Waikiki is a vibrant center of activity, a destination that showcases the spirit of Aloha to the world.

Waikiki Water Activities

Begin your visit by strolling along Waikiki's beautiful beaches. Stretching from Duke Kahanamoku Beach near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort to the Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Kuhio Beach and beyond, you can swim, snorkel, sunbathe or take your first surfing lesson or group outrigger canoe ride.​

Who knows, you may even get a surfing or outrigger paddling lesson from one of the real Waikiki Beach Boys, instructors who come from a long line of watermen taught by Duke Kahanamoku himself.

Waikiki Land Activities

After a day at the beach, explore Waikiki by foot, bike or even rented moped. Learn how to strum a ukulele or dance the hula at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Picnic with the family in Kapiolani Park then visit the Honolulu Zoo across the street. There are endless Waikiki attractions to explore. Or venture beyond Waikiki to Pearl Harbor or the North Shore to get the most out of your stay on Oahu.​

Waikiki Spas

After a day in the surf visit a Waikiki spa to relax and unwind. With some of the finest hotels and resorts on Oahu, Waikiki’s excellent spas offer lomilomi massage and other relaxing wellness and rejuvenation treatments unique to the islands.​

Waikiki Restaurants and Bars

As the sun sets, explore Waikiki's lively restaurant, bar and nightlife scene in places like the new Waikiki Beach Walk. Before you know it, the sun will rise over Waikiki again, marking a fresh new day of fun and activity.​

But there’s more to Waikiki than just the beach. Attractions of Waikiki like the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium offer fun for the whole family. You can learn about the history of Waikiki by reading the surfboard markers along the Waikiki Historic Trail.

Among the various things to do, fantastic shopping and dining can be found all along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues and at gathering places like the Royal Hawaiian Center and the Waikiki Beach Walk. And the fun keeps going long after the Waikiki sunset with amazing nightlife and live music.

Best of all, Waikiki is within a half hour of a variety of Oahu attractions, including Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, the Nuuanu Pali Lookout and Hanauma Bay. Other notable points of interest nearby include Ala Moana Center, the local neighborhood of Kapahulu and the arts district of Chinatown.

From Hawaiian Island royalty to Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Waikiki continues to be an evolving expression of the ancient spirit of aloha. On these famous shores, the past and the future are uniting in fresh and surprising ways.

Waipio Valley

Location: On Big Island​

Waipio Valley

Waipio valley on Big Island is named after the river that flows through it: wai-piʻo which means curved water in the Hawaiian language. This valley was home to old Hawaiian kings and is said to have been very densely populated. Now however, Waipi’o valley hosts taro fields (Taro is a traditional Hawaiian staple food) and a couple of dozens of inhabitants.

Waipio Valley is about one mile wide and six miles deep and to the back of the valley you can find many ‘fingers’ each with its own waterfall. The valley faces the ocean with a beautiful black sand beach.

This valley is one of the most beautiful and secluded places to go to for a hike on the Big Island. These hikes however are not easy.

The Hike down Waipi’o Valley is one of our top-5 short hikes in Hawaii. The hike to the Hi’ilawe Falls in the back of the valley is not possible without crossing over private property and shouldn’t be attempted without the landowner's permission.

You can see these waterfalls already from the access road down into the valley, but the best view can be gotten from the Muliwai trail. This trail goes up the sea cliffs on the other side of Waipi’o Valley and continues into the next valleys.

Waipi’o valley is stunning, and even if you do not manage to go down, the views from the overlook are dramatic and breathtaking . There is historic information available at the overlook, and you are sure to snap some pictures here that will leave your friends at home very, very jealous!

If you do go down to the valley floor (and this is not straightforward, as you can read below), make sure to bring your swimsuit. The black sand beach is a great place for a quick dip. Be aware though, the currents can be strong so do not go into the water too deep.

The road down to Waipio valley is one of the steepest roads on the island. On the steepest part, it rises 800 ft in only 0.6 miles. The average grade of the road is 25%, but peaks at 40%. Driving down this road with a 4WD will give a good tilt to your horizon :).

To get down to the valley floor you must either have your own 4WD car, or be willing to pay for a tour, hike down, or hitchhike down.

Some Hawaiian car rental companies explicitly mention in the rental agreement that it is not permitted to drive your rental car down into Waipi’o valley, so be sure to ask them if you are allowed to take your car down into the valley. Alternatively, you can join a tour that will take you down to the valley floor.

To get to the beach, turn right as soon as you reach the valley floor. After a few minutes you will reach a black-sand beach. The beach is split in two by the river coming out of the valley, and depending on the amount of water it can be difficult to cross.

The beach looks beautiful and is a very good place to relax after coming down into the valley, but take care with going into the water. This beach is known for its rip currents and high surf, making it a dangerous place to go swimming especially during the winter months.

If you are very lucky (or unlucky, that depends on your point of view) you can see the Kaluahine Falls on your right hand (east) side once you get to the beach. These falls only exist when it is raining a LOT.

Haleakala National Park

Location: Island of Maui​

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is an active but not currently erupting massive shield volcano that rises 10,023 feet above sea level, on the island of Maui. The park itself stretches from the summit to the sea and encompasses an alpine zone, subalpine scrublands and dry forests. The Kipahulu area on Haleakala’s windward slopes features rainforests and includes the beautiful Pools of Oheo.

  • Sunrise, Sunsets & Stargazing

At this altitude views of Maui are incredible. When the skies are clear you can see three other Hawaiian islands from Haleakala’s lookouts: Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii’s Big Island. Sunrises are unforgettable but sunsets can be equally as amazing and oftentimes can be less crowded. Stargazing is spectacular and the park — which is open 24 hours a day — offers stargazing programs in the summer.​

  • Hiking & Horseback Riding

There are a variety of trails along the summit and in the lush Kipahulu area including Sliding Sands and Pipiwai Trail. Hiking times range from a half hour to three-day camping expeditions. You can also explore the park by horseback.​

Haleakala National Park has more endangered species than any other park in the National Park Service. Take a hike and you’ll soon see—or hear—Hawaii’s state bird, the Nene (Hawaiian goose). The endemic ahinahina plant (Haleakala silversword) can only be found on the upper slopes of Haleakala, while a handful of close relatives remain on Mauna Kea and Maunaloa on Hawaii Island. To see a silversword blossom is a poetic gift as this Hawaii native can take up to 50 years to bloom, and perishes after a single flowering.​

  • Zipline

Zipline is a great way to enjoy the scenery of Maui while enjoying an exciting day outdoors. Grab your friends and family and head to Piiholo Zipline or Skyline Eco Adventures, both located on the slopes of Haleakala. Choose from the 4-line Zip, 5-line Zip and variety of Zipline Tours.​

  • Paragliding

If you enjoy the thrill of ziplining but want to take it a step farther, consider paragliding on the slope of Haleakala Volcano!​

  • Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours are one of the most popular activities in Hawaii, and for good reason! With so many stunning landscape views and hidden wonders, a helicopter tour offers the best views of some of Maui’s most remote areas. Escaping the cloud cover, helicopter tours are something you won’t want to miss if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the views of Hawaii.​

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo

Location: Hilo on Big Island​

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo

Concluding our list of the top attractions in Hawaii is the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo.

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens near Hilo is the only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the United States, that’s why it makes the list! Fun for the entire family, the Hilo zoo is home to more than 80 animal species.

As the name suggests, the rainforest zoo is lush and tropical. Enjoy strolling around the thick rainforest gardens with a dazzling display of various Orchid collections, Tropical Rhododendrons and Clumping Bamboos. Picnic under the shade of more than 100 varieties of Palm trees.​

Getting around the Hilo zoo is easy thanks to a paved walkway that winds throughout the zoo. With the frequency of rain showers in the area, you may want to consider bringing an umbrella.

One of the first attractions you will notice upon entering Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens are the colorful flower and frog-filled lily ponds.

A butterfly garden and an abundance of rainforest birds and other bird species can be seen at the Hilo zoo. Some of the birds you may see include the endangered Nene (the Hawaii state bird), macaws, parrots, and toucans.

Despite the Hilo zoo being small (only 12 acres), it is packed with interesting and unusual animals such as Honeybears, Spider Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, 2-toed Sloths, Giant Anteaters, a Green Iguana, a Leopard Gecko, Snapping Turtles, Box Turtles, a pair of Red Tegus named Mr. and Mrs. Pickles, and Ringtailed Lemurs.

To get to Panaewa, drive south out of Hilo on Highway 11 for four miles. Just past the 4-mile marker, look for the Zoo sign on your right. Follow signs for about 1 mile off the highway.

Planning a Trip to Hawaii? Here's What You Need to Know

Still not sure which of the islands of Hawaii to visit? Read on to help you plan your trip better.

Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island, Hawaii

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest and geologically youngest of the Hawaiian archipelago. From crystal blue waters to snow-capped mountains and all the hidden waterfalls in between, the Big Island is an adventurer’s paradise. There is never a shortage of places to go and sights to see. Here are the top reasons to make the Big Island your go-to island.​

Variety of Climates - You can start your day exploring waterfalls in the tropical rainforests of Hilo, enjoy lunch overlooking lava rocks and sparkling blue waters, go coffee tasting in Kona’s upland hillsides, and end the day stargazing on the mountainous tundra of Mauna Kea.

Waterfalls - Hilo and Hamakua are home to many beautiful waterfalls. When ice melts on the mountain peaks, it joins fresh rainfall and artesian springs, carving through the hillside creating magnificent waterfalls as it makes its way to the sea. The most notable of these are Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls.

Kilauea Volcano - Explore the magical Volcanoes National Park and stay to enjoy the beautiful night glow. Kilauea Volcano, though active, is quite safe.

Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo - Once a year, the world’s best hula dancers gather in Hilo to perpetuate the ancient art of hula that is said to be “the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.”

The Hilton Waikoloa - The Waikoloa area has many 4 and 5 star resorts to choose from. You really can’t go wrong. The Hilton Waikoloa stands out among them, however, because of certain novelties. You can ride a boat or tram to make your way across the resort.

Oahu Island, Hawaii

Oahu Island, Hawaii

As the main hub of the Hawaiian Islands, it's no wonder Oahu is the most visited island. Serving up big city fun in a small island setting, this vibrant island offers the best of both worlds-tropical verdure and a lively night scene. Here are more reasons why you should make a trip to Oahu.

The History - Oahu is an island full of history, significantly the island is home to the infamous Pearl Harbour attack.

The Beaches - Oahu is home to world famous Waikiki Beach, the legendary North Shore and other amazing off-the-beaten-path beaches. We also found that the surf culture in Hawaii is something else. We recommend grabbing a car and drive around the island towards North Shore.

This surf community is full of delicious fruit stands, shrimp trucks and famous shave ice. Once you hit the beaches at North Shore, pull in and watch the pros catch giant waves!

The Scenery - Oahu has some of the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen. Our favourite area of the island for beautiful, lush scenery would have to be Kualoa Ranch. The ranch Ka’a’awa Valley, nestled between the Ko’olau mountain range and the Kaneohe coast, is in our opinion the most beautiful place in all of Oahu.

Here they have filmed Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbour and TV shows like Lost and Hawaii Five-O. We found that the best way to explore this stunning area was by ATV!

The Adventures - There is no shortage of adventure on the island. From snorkelling, diving, surfing to paragliding, skydiving and even exploring the deep in a submarine – Oahu has it all! Oahu has an amazing warm climate and lovely, calm waters perfect for adventures at both land and sea.

Maui Island, Hawaii

Maui Island, Hawaii

There’s no single reason why Maui is consistently named the world’s best island. Rather there are literally thousands of them, with each contributing in their own unique way towards the island’s intoxicating charm.

Maui is a place where watching the sunset is a celebrated evening event, and trade winds rustle the palm tree branches that hang out over the sand.

Maui is a place where the weather is warm year round and guests are treated with aloha, and if you had to choose a handful of reasons why Maui is truly no ka oi, these top reasons to visit Maui would be a good place to start.

The Beaches - Maui has more miles of swimmable beaches than any other island in Hawaii. You could literally go to the beach for 3 months and never repeat the same spot, and considering the sand comes in white, black, and red, there’s no shortage of scenic moments to enjoy while splashing in the waves.

The Food - Maui is one of the epicenters of Hawaiian Regional cuisine, and its chefs are constantly pushing the boundaries on innovative culinary trends. With a rise in farm to table fare and a cornucopia of produce, Maui is spoiled for fresh ingredients that range from fish to cattle, breadfruit, taro, papaya, and coffee.

Whether it’s a gourmet food truck like Maui Fresh Streatery or a Chef’s Table at The Mill House, food connoisseurs will have a field day just tasting their way across Maui.

The Haleakala Crater - Whether it’s watching the day break while standing atop the 10,023 ft. summit, or watching the stars come out at night as daylight fades in the west, there’s an inescapable mountaintop magic you’ll find at Haleakala Crater, Maui.

Lace up your boots for a day of hiking past silverswords and cinder cones, or pack a tent and fall asleep beneath a sky full of stars on the island of Maui.

The Road—and Back Road—To Hana - Loved by some and loathed by others, the Road to Hana—if done correctly—is arguably Maui’s best sight. Take the whole day, or better yet two, to experience the beauty of Hana, and drive the “back road” to experience a landscape that feels like the end of the Earth.

Kauai Island, Hawaii

Kauai Island, Hawaii

If you follow any travel blogs or Instagram accounts, we can almost guarantee they’ve featured the Hawaiian island of Kauai a time or two. And we can’t blame them: Kauai is the ultimate destination in Hawaii.

The Garden Isle checks off every essential on any traveler’s bucket list: beaches, hikes, resorts, and then some. Not to mention it’s one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth.

Below are the top reasons you should visit the “Garden Island,” at least once. Trust us, it will be one of the most magical trips of your life.

Blissful Beaches - This one is 100 percent obvious, but it has to be said. Kauai’s beaches are everything you’ve ever wanted in a stretch of sea and sand. Sunbathe on the powdered shores, wade into the warm, unclouded water and enjoy the abundant coral and wildlife that find Kauai’s surrounding waters home.

Heavenly Hanalei Bay - Cradled by tall green cliffs, this popular bay is a perfect beach for kids. During the summertime, the gentle waves and incredible scenery make it a dead ringer for paradise. And don’t forget to bring a surfboard. Sunsets from the center of the bay are absolutely serene.

Undeniable Charm - One of the best parts of Kauai is its small town charm. With a population of about 70,000, the island has managed to maintain a sleepy town feel while still catering to large numbers of tourists each year.

​BUDGET: How Much For A Trip To Hawaii?

  • Budget (up to) $100
  • Dorm bed: $25–45
  • ​Local plate lunch: $6–10
  • ​Bus fare (one way): $2–2.50​
  • ​Midrange $100 - $250
  • ​Double room with private bath at mid range hotel or B&B: $100–250
  • Rental car (excluding insurance and gas) per day/week: from $35/150
  • ​Dinner at casual sit-down restaurant: $20–40​
  • ​Top End (more than) $250
  • ​Beach resort hotel room or luxury condo rental: more than $250
  • ​Three-course meal with a cocktail in a top restaurant: $75–125
  • Guided outdoor adventure tour: $80–200​

Time of the Year: When to go

Low Season (Oct & Nov) - Fewest crowds, airfares to Hawaii at their lowest from US mainland and Canada. Accommodations rates drop – around 50% less than in high season. Weather is typically dry and hot (not ideal for hiking).

Shoulder (May & Sep) - Crowds and prices drop slightly between schools' spring break and summer vacation. Temperatures mild, with mostly sunny, cloudless days. Statewide Aloha Festivals throughout September.

High Season (Dec–Apr & Jun–Aug) - Accommodations prices up 50–100%. Christmas to New Year's and around Easter are the most expensive and busy. Winter is rainier (but best for whale-watching and surfing), summer slightly hotter.​