Known around the world for its tropical beauty, Hawaii is a Pacific paradise that just can’t be missed. That being said, with so many beautiful places comes a whole heap of questions on where to visit. This is why I wanted to show you some of the very best places in Hawaii you should visit on your trip.
From snorkelling the bays, hiking the Hawaiian islands, to relaxing at the stunning spots in Maui – Hawaii has it all. Honestly, if it’s your first time trip to Hawaii you’re going to be totally spoilt for choice. There are so many of the best places in Hawaii to explore!
Best of all, it doesn’t matter how long you visit, I guarantee you’ll be able to squeeze in a few of the amazing and best places in Hawaii during your trip.
Take a look below at some of the best places in Hawaii to explore. 🌺
1.) Spot the turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
Located on the Big Island, Punalu’u Beach’s black sand is actually the result of lava reaching the ocean waters and cooling instantly. Trust me when I say, this is certainly a change from your standard white sand beaches.
Honestly, it’s easily up there as one of the best places in Hawaii to see.
As an extra bonus that I heard during our trip is that sea turtles apparently prefer nesting in warmer black sands. This all means that you’ll likely see turtles on your visit. Though, as with all wildlife, keep a long distance and never respect the animals that call this place home.
2.) Get up close with a Volcano (or two)
Located on the ‘Big Island’, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Now, for anyone that’s not seen a volcano before, this is easily one of the best places in Hawaii to see.
Once here, 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
This one is for the early birds who know how to appreciate a breathtaking sunrise. It’s easily one of the best I’ve ever seen. That being said, if you’re a later riser, head here for sunset. The bonus of this is that you won’t need a reservation for the latter.
For an easier experience, drive your car to the summit, and be sure to dress warmly.
4.) Dive into Hanauma Bay
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’
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 in Hawaii.
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
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, some of the trails can be a little tougher in this area. Oh, and don’t forget to visit Open Ceiling Cave – it’s truly beautiful.
7.) Remember at Pearl Harbor
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 upon 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
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, try taking a hike to the top of Diamond Head.
Oh, and for a great place to stay, check into Halekulani (which is totally stunning).
9.) Discover the ancient history in Ahu‘ena Heiau
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 1400s, 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.