There is no debating that Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The islands are home to some jaw-dropping landscapes, amazing activities, and stellar attractions, but not all of the places you will find in guidebooks get the local stamp of approval. These 15 spots and activities, however, are popular among locals and tourists alike.
1) Snorkel with tropical fish at Hanauma Bay.
Formed within a volcanic cone, Hanauma Bay is a magnificent, diverse marine ecosystem, and offers some of the best snorkeling in the state. While it can get pretty crowded, an early morning snorkel session can’t be beat.
2) Explore Kauai’s Na Pali State Wilderness Park.
The Na Pali coast encompasses 16 miles of rugged coastline along northwestern Kauai, and is completely awe-inspiring, whether you’ve been there once, or a hundred times.
3) Check out a local farmer’s market.
Fruits and vegetables are best when purchased from your local farmer’s market, and nowhere is that more true than in Hawaii.
4) Watch the waves crash against the shore during the winter.
There is nothing like watching huge waves beat the shoreline to remind you of how powerful the ocean is.
5) Tour a Kona coffee farm on the Big Island.
If you like coffee at all, you are sure to absolutely adore Kona coffee.
6) Listen to live Hawaiian music.
Live music is food for the soul, and live Hawaiian music is even better.
7) Hike to a waterfall.
The first waterfall that comes to mind is Oahu’s Manoa Falls, though locals on any island love a good waterfall hike as much as the average tourist.
8) Check out the seven sacred pools.
Also know as Oheo Gulch, these magnificent natural swimming pools are popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Tourists should be warned that the water conditions are not always ideal for swimming.
9) Relax at Bellows Beach Park.
Often considered to be one of the best beaches on Oahu, Bellows features crystal blue water and fine, white sand – so basically, what everyone pictures when they think of Hawaii.
10) Drink Hawaii beer.
While there are several options, Kona Brewing Company is by far the most popular Hawaiian beer.
11) Visit Waimea Canyon, and hike through Koke’e State Park.
12) Learn to surf.
While many Hawaii residents know how to surf and do so on a regular basis, the ones that don’t have usually taken at least a lesson or two.
13) Grab some shave ice.
After an afternoon spent on the water or a strenuous hike, there’s little better than some good shave ice.
14) Drive up Mount Tantalus.
Looking out over Honolulu, the Mount Tantalus lookout is often ditched for the more popular Nu’uanu Pali lookout, but I would have to say that the views here are second to none.
15) Watch a sunset on the beach.
What better way to end a stellar day in paradise than to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean?
What activities, attractions or destinations would you add to this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments on our Only In Hawaii Facebook page.