Known around the world for its tropical beauty,  dramatic volcanoes, and chilled island life, Hawaii is a Pacific paradise that just can’t be ignored. There are so many fantastic things to do in Hawaii, from snorkelling and surfing along its beaches, to hiking volcanoes.

There are so many fantastic things to do in Hawaii, from snorkelling the bays, surfing the waves, to hiking inland to its dramatic natural sights. A Whole world of exploration awaits! A first time trip to Hawaii will be an exciting and action packed – so take a moment to check out the very best sights you won’t want to miss once you arrive!

As with any first time trip to Hawaii, you schedule will no doubt be action packed – so take a moment to check out the very best sights you won’t want to miss once you arrive!

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (8)

1.) Spot the turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (9)

Located on the Big Island, Punalu’u Beach’s black sand is the result of lava reaching the ocean waters and cooling instantly. This is certainly a change from your standard white sand beaches!

As an extra bonus for your travels, sea turtles prefer to build their nests in the warmer black sands, meaning that you’ll likely see sea turtles on your visit. Just remember to bring a pair of beach shoes… the sand can get fairly warm in the sun.

2.) Get up close with a Volcano (or two)! 

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (2)

Located on the ‘Big Island’, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Visit the summit of Kīlauea via Crater Rim Drive, or take the Chain of Craters Road to see the East Rift and more coastal areas of the park.

There are plenty of hiking trails throughout the park, as well as lava flows! For a true look at the power of a volcanic eruption, look for the rim of the Kīlauea Iki Crater, and from there you can see the trail of devastation that went through a forested area.

3.) Watch the Sunrise on Haleakala

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (5)

This one is for the early birds who know how to appreciate a breathtaking sunrise! On the island of Maui, head to the summit of Haleakala, where, at an elevation of 10,000 feet (3,050 m), you can experience one of the best sunrises on the planet. For an easier experience, drive your car to the summit, and be sure to dress warmly!

4.) Dive into Hanauma Bay

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (1)

Known as the premier place on Oahu for snorkelling, Hanauma Bay is a curved section of beach and bay that was originally formed when part of a crater sank into the ocean. Today, it is home to a multitude of ocean wildlife, giving snorkelers plenty of exciting things to see underwater.

Thanks to a shallow reef just offshore, bigger waves are kept away, leaving the waters amazingly calm. The beach itself tends to be packed with people eager to soak up the sun and beauty of the area.

5.) Discover Hawaii’s ‘Grand Canyon’

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (6)

Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon State Park is impressively large and as beautiful as everything else in Hawaii. The canyon itself is about 10 miles (16 km) long and 3,000 feet (914 m) deep, and is a rather popular area for hiking.

If you feel like taking a slightly less time-consuming hike in the canyon, take the Canyon Trail to the east rim for the best views, and then see Waipoo Falls before heading back. The entire hike will only take about 2-3 hours, but all of the best views will be there.

6.) Enjoy the lush beauty of Kauai 

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (10)

Nicknamed the Garden Isle, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with this incredible landscape! The dramatic cliffs, paired with the lush green landscape make it one of the prettiest islands in all of Hawaii. Don’t forget to take your hiking boots, which can be hiked at your leisure.

7.) Remember at Pearl Harbor

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (4)

While most of Hawaii is a total dream, there are a few sobering places along the islands. One such place is Pearl Harbor. Known around the world for the devastating attacks by the Japanese on the United States in 1941, the area is now a memorial site that you can visit to pay your respects.

The site is the final resting place for more than 2,000 sailors and Marines that died in the attack. Tours are given daily for visitors to experience.

8.) Stroll the Waikiki Neighbourhood of Honolulu

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (3)

The capital city of the state of Hawaii, Honolulu is a must as it is the entrance point to the rest of the islands. Beautiful beaches await you, as well as great shopping and dining options in the Waikiki neighbourhood.

The crater of Diamond Head volcano can also be seen in the distance from the city. For extra fun, trying taking a hike to the top of Diamond Head!

9.) Discover the ancient history in Ahu‘ena Heiau

9 Sights In Hawaii You Must See On Your First Visit (7)

Visitors to Hawaii should absolutely make time to visit some of the ancient sites on the islands. One of the most important of these sites is the ancient temple at Ahu‘ena Heiau. Originally built in the 1400’s, the temple first served as a spiritual centre and a sacrificial temple *gulp*.

By 1813, King Kamehameha I rebuilt the temple and dedicated it to the Hawaiian god of peace and prosperity, named Lono that’s well worth a visit.

 Thinking of visiting the USA? Then check out some of the very best places to visit in our posts, right here.
Image via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9


Hand Luggage Only srprsme competition


You May Also Like

  • Hawaii’s so beautiful! I visited with my family about 16 years ago but definitely need to plan a trip back. There are still so many more islands to explore!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      There really are… it’s such a beautiful archipelago!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • The Ginger Passports

    I’ve traveled to Hawaii so many times, but I’ve never really strayed from Waikiki. I had no idea Hawaii had it’s own ‘Grand Canyon’! Lovely pics.

    http://www.thegingerpassports.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s really cool isn’t it… So glad you like it too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • so beautiful!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hawaii is a stunning archipelago, isn’t it. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Mar

    This post brings back so many memories of our vacation to Kauai. We were there for a wedding, but made sure to fit in some time to take in the beauty. Waimea Canyon and Napali Coast were two must sees! We took a catamaran cruise along the coast, stopping to snorkel, and it was amazing!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      What an amazing place for a wedding, wow.

      Taking a catamaran is such a great idea… I bet the snorkeling was immense! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Shaguftah Rehman

    WOW WOW WOW. You guys have always encouraged me to spend more and more money and not regret it at all. I’m in love with this blog.
    Thank you so much.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhhh, thanks so much! for your really kind words!

      Do let us know if you need any advice/tips with any trips… we’re always happy to help 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Luxurybackpacking

    Wonderful tips you have for Hawaii! It is top of my bucket-list, but unfortunately I haven’t got round to going yet! Would be the dream after seeing all your amazing pictures!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hawaii is gorgeous isn’t it! Such an incredible place! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • HandLuggageOnly

      We use 6 different camera, depending on the light conditions and destination, mainly our Panasonic Lumix GX80 and Canon 6D.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx