When you booked your travels to the Hawaiian Islands, you may not have considered what a change it would be to go from the hustle and bustle of your home base to a tropical paradise in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean.
If you’re afraid of landing in our islands and not immediately feeling like you’re in tune with the Hawaiian spirit, don’t worry – this place has a way of luring people in and making them feel like they’re at the really fun, naturally stunning home they never knew they had.
So, if you think you need a kick-start to get into the Hawaiian spirit, take a look at this list of activities to do and places to see and you’ll feel it before you know it.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
Nothing gets you more in tune with Hawaii than seeing firsthand how the islands were formed. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park encompasses two incredible volcanic formations, one of which has been erupting continuously for over a 30 years. Explore the history of the Big Island’s volcanoes and trek across barren terrain left created by recent lava flows.
Kona (Big Island)
If you’re a coffee drinker, chances are you’ve seen this name pop up before – and yes, it’s that Kona! You can even tour coffee plantations to see the process of getting from the field to your coffeemaker. Beyond coffee, Kona has some incredible beachside views to enjoy.
Polynesian Cultural Center (Oahu)
Just like the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park shows how the islands were physically created, the Polynesian Cultural Center shows how the culture of the Hawaiian Islands came to be. Learn about the Pacific islands that contributed to Hawaii’s diverse culture and see what each one contributed. At the end of the night, enjoy the luau for an authentic Hawaiian experience.
Diamond Head Crater (Oahu)
An impressive formation on Oahu, the Diamond Head Crater was formed during the Honolulu Volcanic Series over 200,000 years ago. Through the years, it’s played an important role in civilization ancient and modern. Today, you can scale Diamond Head—known locally as Leahi—to its peak and gaze out over the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu, and Waikiki.
Kualoa Ranch (Oahu)
Pay close attention to some of your favorite summer blockbusters – chances are a scene or two were filmed at this stunning Oahu ranch. Rolling plains, stretches of dense forestry, and a serene secret island attract Hollywood filmmakers and tourists alike. Keep an eye out for markers that show where some of those movies and TV shows were filmed.
Highway to Hana (Maui)
Over 64 miles of twisting narrow road winds around a volcano for a scenic drive to an amazing destination. The town of Hana is a glorious slice of paradise that really gives you a tropical island feel. Enjoy the views on the way and don’t hesitate to stop and check out some of the stunning waterfalls that appear around seemingly every turn.
Jaws Surf Break (Maui)
If you love to watch the world’s best surfers in action, Jaws is Maui’s most sought-after surf spot. Also known as Pe’ahi, the surf break on the north shore offers some of the biggest winter waves that only professional surfers dare to conquer. Even if you don’t surf, watching the pros getting towed in to the giant swells of Jaws is a treat.
Waimea Canyon (Kauai)
The “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea is a paradise of wonders, including incredible views and trails that cut through the impressive formation. Hidden wonders and photo opportunities beyond number await on your journey through Waimea.
Na Pali Coast (Kauai)
Filled with incredible views and fun activities, the Na Pali Coast is a Kauai favorite. Below the towering sea cliffs, you can enjoy relaxing on the golden beaches, getting lost beneath the surface with a snorkel tour, or just enjoy the glassy surface on a catamaran ride along the coast.