Please let me start by saying, you really can’t go wrong when you visit Hawaii. I mean, it’s HAWAII! Every inch of soil in that state is fabulous. However, there are a TON of decisions to make when you plan a trip. Admittedly, I haven’t tried every possible way- but I’m certainly willing to keep trying! Our family has been twice and both trips were totally different. All joking aside, we are absolutely looking forward to one day exploring more of the beautiful state.
I’ve heard from many people that one of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in Hawaii is to do a cruise. The advantage to doing this is that you will stop on several (or all, depending on your itinerary) of the islands. Additionally, you have the freedom of moving around without re-packing your suitcase or purchasing hopper flights.
The negative aspects of doing a Hawaii cruise is that they move fast. You will spend-roughly- a day at each location and that won’t always allow you the flexibility to see everything. Also, you will need to consider transportation from the port to your destination. Of course, the cruises offer excursions. Although convenient, they come with a high price tag. Lastly, if you’re really planing to experience Hawaii and spend most of your time on the Islands, you’re paying a lot for the ship amenities that you may not be using. At the end of the day, though, a cruise can be a great way to see Hawaii.
On the other hand if you’re looking to plan a trip to Hawaii that doesn’t involve a ship, there are A LOT of things to consider! Unless you’re working with a 3 month time frame, and an unlimited budget- you’ll have to narrow it down. Based on the geography of Hawaii, I recommend picking your top priority and then planning the rest of the trip around it.
Here are 5 of my top 5 picks of things to do in Hawaii:
- Road To Hana: Located on the beautiful island of Maui, this road encompasses everything fabulous about the landscape and culture of Hawaii. Driving the Road To Hana is an all day experience. You can stop as often as you want and you’ll find an endless amount of possibilities. From waterfalls to food stands, the road is rich with Hawaiian experiences. Personally, I would rate this as the top thing to do in the state. Click here to read more about my tips for driving the Road To Hana.
- Volcanos National Park: Did you know that Hawaii has one of the most active volcanos in the world? Volcanos National Park is located on the Big Island. Hiking through miles of lava is certainly a once in a lifetime experience! Additionally, there are several overlooks where you can catch a glimpse of molten lava advancing or even crashing into the sea. There are lots of resources for planning a trip to see volcanic activity. Two that I found helpful: here and here. Be sure to do your research to know exactly what you plan to see and the best tips for view (ex. time of day, accessibility, etc.)
- Golf: Many people travel to Hawaii for the experience of playing golf on the Islands. In fact, it’s unofficially known as one of the premier “golf capitals of the world.” Oahu is known for being the best destination in the state for those looking to play. There are over 40 courses just in Oahu and each one is more beautiful than the next.
- USS Arizona Memorial/Pearl Harbor: It’s perhaps one of the most historical landmarks in the world. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor it initiated the United States’ entry into World War II. Located near Honolulu on the Island of Oahu, visitors to Hawaii flock to this significant destination. Guests can climb aboard the USS Missouri, tour the museums, and memorial sites. It’s an incredible way to honor the lives of the fallen and celebrate a place of rich history.
- The Beaches: If nothing else, people visit Hawaii specifically for the beautiful beaches. Resorts fill the coastline and boast the most incredible amenities. All of Hawaii’s beaches are public so visitors are welcome to visit a variety of locations during their trip. The sand also comes in a variety of colors- black, red, white, and green! Spend time considering how you’ll want to use the beach. Are you planning to surf? Are you traveling with family and looking for minimal waves close to conveniences (like food and bathrooms?) Do you want a remote beach? Colored sand beach? There are SO many options. Narrow down what works best for you and plan your trip around that!
Where is your favorite spot in Hawaii?