We’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in Hawaii on the most popular islands, including Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
From the top you’ll enjoy a spectacular view of Honolulu, surrounding mountains, and the vast blue ocean.
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One of the most recognized landmarks in Hawaii, Diamond Head in downtown Honolulu is my own personal Everest — one that I successfully summited! Climbing to the top of Diamond Head’s crater rim is a popular activity for visitors as well as a favorite workout loop for locals.
It’s not every day that you can boast that you’re hiking up the side of a volcano in a capital city, but it happens every day here.
A protected spot with gentle water that’s ideal for even first-time snorkelers;
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The coral reefs found in tranquil Hanauma Bay are the habitat for many different colorful fish.
A reservation system is currently in place, allowing for a limited number of guests each day in order to help protect this sensitive environment. Don’t forget to pack your reef-safe sunscreen!
This remarkable and sacred spot is a must-see on Maui.
The best time to experience the beauty of Haleakala, a dormant volcano, is from its summit in the early morning, when the sun breaks through the clouds and rises above peaks to the east.
You’ll need reservations to enter the park between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. (yep, it’s an early wake-up call!).
If you don’t want to rent a car and do it alone, plenty of tour operators offer excursions with transportation — and often breakfast — to witness this spectacle.
Prime time for whale watching in Maui is the winter and early spring
Prime time for whale watching in Maui is the winter and early spring, when the majestic humpback whales migrate to the area from the northern Pacific.
Book a whale-watching boat tour to learn from onboard naturalists, or try to spot them frolicking in distant waves from the shores of Kaanapali, Makena, and Wailea beaches.
with the abundant number of colorful fish here
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Off the coast of Makena Beach, on the southwest side of Maui, is Molokini Crater.
The crystal-clear waters around this crescent-shaped landmark are a great place to experience snorkeling in Maui, with the abundant number of colorful fish here.
Several companies offer snorkeling tours to the region; typically a catamaran trip also includes a stop at Turtle Town, where you can spot green sea turtles hanging out in the coral reef.
A jaw-dropping display of cliffs rising from the ocean.
Photo: SHANE MYERS PHOTOGRAPHY, SHUTTERSTOCK
Group this rugged landscape with cascading waterfalls and pristine beaches, and you’ve got some spectacular scenery that’s best viewed from air (via helicopter) or sea (via boat or kayak).
Otherwise, to access it by land, you’ll need to make reservations to hike along the Kalalau Trail, which is 22 miles round trip, but you could bite off a small chunk just 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach if you’re game for something shorter.
You’ll find plenty of surf schools...
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You’ll find plenty of surf schools on Kauai, whether you’re staying on the South Shore of Poipu or up north in Hanalei Bay.
If you’re brand new to the sport, you’ll get a lesson on land first to practice hopping up on the board.
Then you’ll get into the water with an instructor, who will likely hold on to your board and give you a nudge when the perfect wave comes along to ride into shore.
Pprovides really cool views of lush mountains, black-sand beaches, and tall waterfalls.
Photo: AMY NICHOLE HARRIS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
The active Kilauea volcano is located inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, so a visit here will allow you to see steam rising from its multiple vents.
Visit at night during an ongoing eruption and you may witness a fiery “lava lake” — bring a flashlight to maneuver safely.
At this magnificent national park you can also walk through the giant Thurston Lava Tube, which is a tunnel that was cut into the earth by boiling, flowing lava about 500 years ago.
Early Hawaiians named the giant dormant volcano “Mauna Kea,” which means “white mountain",...
Photo: J NEL / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Early Hawaiians named the giant dormant volcano “Mauna Kea,” which means “white mountain,” as snow regularly dusts its 14,000-foot summit.
Visitors can drive (or take a tour) to the visitor center at 9,200 feet to cool off at the high elevation on hot days.
Tours also run to the visitor center or the summit for stargazing and planet viewing — Manua Kea’s remote location allows for an especially sparkling sky on clear evenings.