Hawaii Experience The Aloha State

10 Places to Visit in Hawaii

Every island has its own kind of vibe, from the laid-back serenity of Kauaʻi to the bustling beach towns of Maui. There are so many unique experiences, too, like hiking to an active volcano on Hawaiʻi Island and watching monster surf crash on Oʻahu’s North Shore.

With so many options, here’s a shortcut to the best experiences you can have in the Aloha State.

Pearl Harbor

The Dec. 7, 1941, attack of Pearl Harbor on Oahu triggered the USA’s entry into World War II. The monument at the attack site honors the thousands who lost their lives during the raid. Visitors can pay their respects at the memorials and learn about military history at two museums.

Diamond Head State Monument

The ridge of the Leahi tuff crater dominates the Waikiki Beach skyline, where a challenging, history-filled hike awaits at Diamond Head State Monument. Climb 175 stairs, shuffle through dark tunnels and encounter old military bunkers on your way to one of the most spectacular views of Honolulu.

Waikiki Beach

Famous since the early 1900s, bustling Waikiki Beach is the ultimate place for people-watching, shopping, beach amenities and surfing lessons. You’ll have your pick of beachfront accommodations as well as attractions such as the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo.

Kaanapali Beach

As Maui’s signature beach, Kaanapali impresses visitors with its fine white sand, spectacular sunsets and nightly cliff-diving ceremony, a re-enactment of a feat by King Kahekili. It’s close to numerous resorts and Whalers Village, which features shops, restaurants and events.

Waimea Canyon State Park

At 16 kilometers long and 900 meters deep, Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Soak in the landscape of rich red, green and rainbow colors in the waterfalls along the many hiking trails. If you’re lucky, you may glimpse nene, the world’s rarest goose native to the Hawaiian Islands.

Napali Coast State Wilderness Park

Waterfalls, streams, dramatic cliffs and deep valleys characterize this spectacular 25,000-square-kilometer state park on the coast of Kauai. Explore the hiking trails for outstanding views, go camping, or take a boat, kayak or helicopter tour.

Haleakala National Park

On the island of Maui, Haleakala National Park is home to its namesake crater that means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian. With a peak towering 3,055 meters above sea level, Haleakala is one of the best spots to catch a sunrise or sunset. Enjoy the dramatic scenery with a hike, horseback ride or overnight camping trip.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

With volcanic black sand fringed by swaying palm trees, this famous beach on the Island of Hawaii is the perfect setting for a photo. Relax under coconut palms and watch sea turtles sunning on the beach. Bring a picnic to enjoy the view.

Dole Plantation

Have a family fun day at the Dole Plantation on Oahu, which has been growing pineapples since the 1950s. Children love the garden maze, train tour and displays about pineapple farming.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are greeted with an otherworldly landscape formed by still-active volcanoes. Learn the history of how volcanic activity formed the Hawaiian Islands at Kīlauea Visitor Center, and follow Crater Rim Drive to see various overlooks of the Kīlauea crater and contrasting landscapes of deserts and rainforests. Hiking trails are also available for a closer look. Click the link below to check out the National Park Service website for the most up-to-date park information.

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