10 Best Places to Visit in Hawaii

Best places to visit in Hawaii, Imagine the gentle hum of ukuleles, the sweet scent of plumeria flowers, and the feel of warm sand beneath your feet. Hawaii, an idyllic paradise in the Pacific, beckons with its magnificent surroundings, fascinating lifestyle and culture, and countless activities.

Hawaii is an archipelago of eight islands in the Pacific Ocean’s center. It is the 50th state in the United States. Hawaii, well-known for its hula dance and white sand beaches, has a lot to offer regarding sights to see and cultural highlights. You can relax on the recognizable white sands of Waikiki Beach or view World War II warships on Oahu.

See beaches with black or even green sand on the Big Island. Hawaii travel requires seeing at least two, if not more, islands. Allow this guide to assist you in selecting some of the best places to visit in Hawaii’s top tourist destinations.

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The Best Places to Visit in Hawaii: Discover Ambient Beauty and Cultural Riches

Explore Hawaii’s top destinations where natural wonders and cultural heritage intertwine, creating unforgettable experiences for every traveler.

1. National Park of Volcanoes in Hawaii

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park: 10 tips for your visit

Hawaii Volcanoes is one of the Big Island’s most significant attractions and a must-see among the best places to visit in Hawaii. Two active volcanoes are located within the park: Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano in the world, and Kīlauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The area has been inhabited for at least 700 years, and the Hawaiian people attach great historical value to the spot because it is the dwelling place of the Goddess Pele.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916, encompassing over 330,000 acres of diverse landscapes. Visit the Kilauea Visitor Centre to learn more about the volcano, where a viewing platform offers breathtaking views of a sizable crater. If you’re lucky, you might see the molten earth’s primordial power erupt into the water. After experiencing surreal vistas from a walk or drive along Crater Rim Road, explore the Thurston Lava Tube’s interior.

One of the park’s most fascinating features is the Thurston Lava Tube, a massive tunnel formed by flowing lava. Visitors can walk through this illuminated tube, marveling at the smooth, rounded walls left behind by the molten rock. Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the park’s diverse landscapes. Popular trails include: Kilauea Iki Trail, Devastation Trail, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs.


2. The Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands are a tropical paradise known for their stunning beauty, vibrant culture, and endless opportunities for adventure. Each of the six major islands has its own unique charm and attractions, making them some of the best places to visit in Hawaii, offering visitors a diverse range of experiences.

If you’re drawn to the bustling streets of Honolulu, the serene beaches of Maui, or the rugged landscapes of Kauai. Spending time in Honolulu is a must-do when visiting Hawaii. The state capital and by far the biggest city in the island group, this is a vibrant and interesting location to visit. While there are plenty of things to do, Waikiki is frequently the highlight.

In reality, Waikiki Beach is a series of interconnected beaches, with Duke Kahanamoku Beach being a well-liked option for both visitors and local surfers. Climb to the top of the Diamond Head Crater, which overlooks Waikiki, for breathtaking views of Honolulu. Remember to visit Pearl Harbour, the emotional focal point of which is the USS Arizona Memorial.

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3. National Park Haleakala

Haleakala, the shield volcano, forms more than half of the island of Maui. Its summit, also known as the East Maui Volcano, reaches a height of almost 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) at its highest point. The area encircling the volcano is known as Haleakala National Park.

Haleakalā National Park, one of the best places to visit in Hawaii, was created in 1916 and is separated into two distinct districts: the Summit District and the Kipahulu District. Native Hawaiians regard Haleakalā as a sacred place, with the Summit District being well-known for its volcanic landscape, while the Kipahulu District is famous for its lush rainforests and dramatic waterfalls.

A large portion of the park is centred on the massive crater, which resembles the surface of the moon. The most well-liked way to see the park is on foot, and the route that leads to the Ka Luu o Ka Oo cinder cone offers the best views. There are numerous lakes along the Pipiwai Trail where you can swim to cool off after a strenuous climb. At the end of the Pipiwai Trail, you’ll find the stunning Waimoku Falls, towering 400 feet high.


4. Kaanapali Beach

Formerly, Hawaiian royalty used Kaanapali Beach as a getaway. It is one of Maui’s most popular tourist destinations and one of the best places to visit in Hawaii, known for its luxurious resorts, golf courses, and Whalers Village shopping center and eateries. The beach is also home to the famous cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock (Puu Kekaa), a tradition that dates back to ancient times.

The clear waters and abundant marine life make Kaanapali Beach an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Besides Black Rock, other great snorkeling spots include Canoe Beach and Airport Beach. The warm waters surrounding Maui are home to humpback whale migrations. Whale-watching tours depart from nearby Lahaina Harbor and offer a chance to see these magnificent creatures up close.

The stunning white sand beach is home to numerous rock structures, many of which hold historical or religious importance for the native Hawaiian population, making it one of the must-see attractions in Hawaii. Black Rock, often referred to as Puu Keka`a, is the most well-known of these. In addition, the beach has a gorgeous two-mile promenade where you may wander and take in views of the Pacific Ocean.


5. The North Shore of Oahu

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Honolulu, the state capital, is the first stop for most tourists, even though Oahu is the most visited island in the Hawaiian chain. The North Shore of the island has some incredibly amazing beaches and is a little less crowded with tourists. During the calmer summer months, the North Shore’s clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and diving. Sharks Cove and Three Tables are popular spots with vibrant marine life.

Being the epicenter of big wave surfing and home to some of the most famous surf spots in the world.  Stretching for about 17 miles along the island’s northern coast, this area is a haven for surfers, beachgoers, and those seeking a more relaxed and authentic Hawaiian experience.

The North Shore is the surfing capital of the world, making it one of the best places to visit in Hawaii, with waves suitable for all levels of surfers. The Banzai Pipeline is famous for its perfect, barreling waves that attract the world’s best surfers. It is the site of major surfing competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

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6. The Molokai

Molokai, known as “The Friendly Isle,” offers a unique glimpse into Hawaii’s past, It’s the site of ancient fishponds, sacred heiau (temples), and the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, which commemorates the isolated leprosy settlement led by Saint Damien. The island’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage and natural environment makes it a truly unique destination.

The majority of visitors to Molokai nowadays come for the unspoiled, undeveloped beauty as well as the history, making it stand out as one of the best places to visit in Hawaii. You can spend the day in Papohaku, a beach where there are rarely more than a few families at any given moment, or you can hike in Pala’au State Park.

Molokai is a great place to dive and snorkel because of its bright reefs and beautiful waters. The main attractions are the striking underwater beauty at Moku Ho’oniki and the coral gardens of the Molokai Reef. Halawa Valley, one of the oldest inhabited areas in Hawaii, offers lush landscapes, ancient Hawaiian cultural sites, and the beautiful Moaula Falls. Guided tours by local families provide insights into the valley’s history, culture, and natural beauty.


7. Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is located a short distance inland from Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. One of the best places to visit in Hawaii, Waimea Canyon, also referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, stretches over 14 miles long, a mile wide, and more than 3,600 feet deep. The canyon offers dramatic landscapes and a variety of outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

The Waimea River, which means “reddish water” in Hawaiian, carved its way through the canyon, creating the striking red, brown, and green hues that characterize its walls. The canyon holds significant cultural importance for Native Hawaiians, serving as a testament to the island’s geological and cultural history.

One of the most stunning and easily accessible views of the canyon is provided by the Waimea Canyon Lookout. Another fantastic viewpoint, Puu Hinahina Lookout offers a different perspective of the canyon. Hiking through Koke’e State Park in the clear mornings is the ideal way to explore the canyon, as clouds tend to drift in during the afternoon. For the daring traveller, camping is another option that enables them to witness the magnificent dawn.


8. The Beach at Lanikai

The name “Lanikai” means “Heavenly Sea” in Hawaiian, and this beach truly lives up to its name. Unlike some of the more commercialized beaches on Oahu, Lanikai remains relatively untouched by large-scale development, preserving its beauty and tranquil atmosphere. It’s a favorite spot for both residents and visitors looking to experience the quintessential Hawaiian beach.

The serene, crystal-clear waters at Lanikai Beach are well-known for being perfect for swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling. The gentle waves and shallow areas are perfect for families with children or those looking to enjoy a relaxing day in the water. The iconic twin islands, known as the Mokulua Islands or “Mokes,” are located about a mile offshore from Lanikai Beach. These islands add to the scenic beauty and offer great opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding.

The soft, white sand of Lanikai Beach, one of the best places to visit in Hawaii, is perfect for beachcombing, building sandcastles, or simply lying back and soaking up the sun. The tranquil environment makes it an ideal spot for a relaxing day by the sea. While Lanikai Beach is generally safe, there are no lifeguards on duty. Always be aware of ocean conditions and your own swimming abilities.

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9. The Pali Coast

The Nā Pali Coast, which means “the cliffs” in Hawaiian, is sometimes referred to as the Garden Isle and is considered one of the best places to visit in Hawaii. It was once home to ancient Hawaiian communities who lived off the land and sea, cultivating taro and fishing in the fertile waters. The region is currently under protection as part of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

The Kalalau Valley is the crown jewel of the Nā Pali Coast. Accessible primarily by hiking the Kalalau Trail or by boat, this valley is a lush, green paradise framed by steep cliffs and featuring a pristine beach at its mouth. Boat tours are a popular way to experience the Nā Pali Coast from the water. These tours often include snorkeling, exploring sea caves, and viewing marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles.

The Na Pali Coast was used as a major filming location for Jurassic Park and several other motion pictures, so many people are familiar with the area. If you go for the paths in the Na Pali Coast State Park, you can walk amid the cliffs. If you’re feeling daring, locals can teach you how to safely jump off several cliffs into the water below.


10. Hapuna Beach

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Hapuna Beach, stand out as one of the best places to visit in Hawaii, is part of the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, a 61.8-acre park established to preserve the beach and its surroundings. It is a favorite among both locals and visitors, offering one of the largest stretches of white sand on the Big Island. The name “Hapuna” means “spring of life” in Hawaiian, reflecting the beach’s pristine and revitalizing qualities.

There are several beautiful beaches on Hawaii’s Big Island, but Hapuna Beach is among the greatest. Situated on the Kohala Coast, the beach is a part of a state park, making it easily accessible by car from well-known hotel locations like Waikoloa and Kona. With its extensive length of fine, white sand, Hapuna Beach is a great place to pick a location away from other beachgoers.

Families love Hapuna, where you can enjoy swimming and bodyboarding and surfing to make the most of a beach day. You can also attempt snorkelling at the reefs that run along one side of the beach. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is equipped with picnic pavilions, BBQ grills, and restroom facilities, making it an ideal spot for a family picnic or a relaxing day in the sun.

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Hawaii’s diverse landscapes make it a dream destination for travelers. From the bustling streets of Honolulu to the serene heights of Mauna Kea, each island offers its own unique experiences and adventures. If you’re planning your first trip or returning for another visit, these ten destinations showcase the best places to visit in Hawaii, highlighting its beauty and treasures.

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