Hawaii is the only island state of the US, located in the Pacific Ocean, outside North America. It is one of the most popular tourist spots because it is located in the tropics. If Hawaii is on your bucket list, below are some of the attractions that you should not miss during your visit.
1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
One of the best attractions that you should not miss when visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In this case, you can even refer to a Big Island travel guide for you to have a good idea of when is the best time for you to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This national park is home to Kilauea, which is also listed as one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
There are several things that you can do in this park. For instance, you can get up close to the volcanic terrain through a day hike in the Crater Rim Trail. You can also consider walking through an old portion of Crater Rim Drive to see the amazing view of the massive Halemaʻumaʻu or park at the Steam Vent Stop to see various steam vents from a short distance from your car. There is also the option for you to join a Crater’s Road Tour together with other tourists. This is also where you will be able to watch the endangered Nene, or Hawaiian goose, and other types of birds. If you want to gain a fair share of an adrenaline rush, you can also zip-line through the park’s mountains and waterfalls.
At the end of Chain of Craters Road, you will find the Holei Sea Arch where you can get to see the volcanic rock at the edge of the ocean. While you are at this national park, make sure to wait for the sunset at Halemaumau Crater and enjoy dinner at the Volcano House Dining Room thereafter. If you are interested in spending the night in this park, then you are in for one of the most spectacular stargazing experiences in the world.
2. Whale Watching in Maui
Another attraction that you should not miss when visiting Hawaii is whale watching in Maui. This is one of the best sites where you will be able to observe and enjoy watching whales in the water. You may even have the notion that they are waving at you. Nonetheless, make sure to travel between December and May to ensure that you get to see the whales. In case you fail to see them during your visit, most tour companies will allow you to join another whale watching activity for free.
Apart from whale watching, there are various other things that you can do on the second-largest island of Hawaii. For instance, you can embark on a long road drive to Hana and witness Maui’s stunning seaside cliffs. You can also book an evening at Old Lahaina Luau and witness the unveiling of the Kālua pua’a. Maui is also one of the best places to gaze at the stars at night.
You can also visit the Maui Ocean Center and explore living coral reefs or watch sharks and other huge fishes interact with each other. If you have seen the movie Moana by Disney, then make sure to visit the Haleakala Crater at Haleakala National Park. According to Hawaiian mythology, this is where the demigod Maui lassoed the sun. There is also the option for you to enroll in the Kaanapali Surf School or explore the Lahaina Historic Trail.
3. Tour Oahu
Make most of your time in Hawaii by joining a tour of Oahu. In this case, you will get to enjoy the most famous sites of the island all at once such as Sunset Beach, Waimea Waterfall, as well as the iconic North Shore. You can even get on a tour that will allow you to visit some secret spots that most tourists fail to discover.
When you visit Oahu, you can stay in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort, which is located in the heart of Waikiki. Otherwise, you can also stay in the Waikiki Beachside Hostel, which is a budget-friendly alternative. If you are visiting with kids in tow, then the best place for you to stay is in the Disney Aulani Resort that will give you a theme-park vibe, only that it has various pools that you can enjoy.
Apart from joining a tour, you can also hike Chinaman’s Hat or kayak to the Mokes. The former will allow you to enjoy splendid views of the shore and the Kualoa Mountains while the latter will provide you with a great escape on an isolated island. If you want to watch the sunrise, then you can even hike the Stairway to Heaven.
4. Consider a Helicopter Tour
Finally, if you want to cover all the eight major islands of Hawaii in a single trip, then consider joining a helicopter tour. This will allow you to get a bird’s eye view of some of the most scenic places on earth such as the lush green cliffs and clear turquoise waters of the famous Na Pali Coast. In this case, you will even have the chance to fly over the stunning rainforest of Hawaii and enjoy the waterfalls within. You will also have the opportunity to see the iconic Waimea Canyon. This canyon is also referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific by Mark Twain. The Hawaiian helicopter tour usually lasts for an hour, but some even last for more than a couple of hours.
The attractions listed above are only some of the places that you should not fail to visit during your stay in Hawaii. There are several other spots that you can explore such as a dive in Molokini or embarking on a journey to discover the history of Pearl Harbor. When you do visit these attractions on the island, for sure you will have a memorable experience that may even prompt you to come back time and again.