Living in Hawaii, or even vacationing on the islands, is truly an adventure in itself, but there are some adventures that are more unique than others. From cage diving with sharks and tubing through the mountains in an old irrigation canal, to experiencing the beauty of the islands’ from an entirely new perspective, here are 15 adventures you can only truly have while in Hawaii.
1. Experience Hawaii’s natural beauty with an ATV tour.
Head off the beaten path and experience the unspoiled natural beauty of Hawaii’s valleys, rainforests and ranchlands on an exciting ATV tour – just be prepared to get a little muddy.
2. Fly up to 30 feet in the air with Jetlev, a water-powered jet pack.
These water-powered jet packs let you soar up to 30 feet in the air – and first timers can have their jet packs controlled via remote control, so there’s nothing to worry about!
3. Play in the snow and hang out at the beach – all in the same day.
From the snowy slopes of Mauna Kea to the turquoise waters of Hilo Bay, you can experience snow and sand on Hawaii Island, all within just a few hours.
4. Get your adrenaline pumping by cage diving with sharks.
An activity not recommended for the faint at heart, cage diving with sharks could be the greatest adventure of your lifetime. When else would you be able to get up close and personal with these monstrous creatures without much danger at all?
5. Go mountain biking from Lanai’s summit all the way down to Polihua Beach.
Named in honor of George Munro, the naturalist from New Zealand who arrived to Hawaii in 1890, the Munro Trail is a 12.8-mile, one lane dirt road that offers sweeping views of the gorgeous rainforest. And the best way to experience the island is to mountain bike from the 3,370-foot peak to Polihua Beach.
6. Walk on lava fields and hang out near volcanic vents at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
With more than 323,000 acres to explore, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the state’s largest national park – and it’s still growing! The park is also home to Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive sub-aerial volcano.
7. Make your way through the world’s largest maze at the Dole Plantation.
The Dole Plantation’s giant pineapple garden maze was declared the world's largest in 2008 by the Guinness Book of World Records. The maze is housed on more than three acres, and nearly 2.5 miles of paths crafted from 14,000 Hawaiian plants – and admission is only $6.
8. Soar through the jungle on a ziplining tour.
What better way to immerse yourself in the Hawaiian rainforest than to spend the afternoon zipping through towering trees and lush valleys? And trust us – anyone can zip line!
9. Go snorkeling with manta rays after sunset.
For an adventure you’ll never forget, head to Honokohau Harbor to embark on a night time scuba dive cruise with Big Island Divers. Opt for the two tank charters, where you will enjoy a twilight reef dive before watching the sunset and taking to the water again - where the boat's dive lights will attract plankton and feeding manta rays.
10. Try mountain tubing through old irrigation canals.
Let Kauai Backcountry Adventures take you on a magnificent journey through an old sugar cane plantation irrigation and canal system. Imagine your favorite waterpark lazy river and multiply the experience by 100 – it’s that awesome!
11. Hike along some of the most rugged coastline in the world.
Kauai’s famous Kalalau Trail takes hikers on an eleven-mile (one-way) journey from Ke’e Beach, through high, rugged cliffs, and coastal valleys, ending at the stunning Kalalau Valley.
12. Take to the skies in a helicopter tour.
Hop in a helicopter, and experience parts of Hawaii that are virtually inaccessible on foot. We recommend a tour of Kauai’s fabled Na Pali Coast, or a tour that takes you above Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
13. Zoom across the ocean in a sea raft.
Explore the vast Pacific Ocean – and Hawaii’s numerous sea caves – in a small sea raft, while stopping to snorkel along the way.
14. Take a mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Located on the tiny island of Molokai, with the ocean on one side and giant 1,600-foot cliffs on the other, are the Kalawao and Kalaupapa Leper Colonies – described by Robert Louis Stevenson as a “prison fortified by nature.”
15. Stay the night in one of Haleakala’s Wilderness Cabins and hike the Kaupo Gap.
Haleakala National Park is Maui’s sparkling gem, and within the park are three lovely wilderness cabins maintained by the National Park Service. However, you will need to put forth some effort in getting there – the cabins are accessible only via hiking a minimum of 3.7, or as far as 9.3, miles.