With near perfect weather year-round and arguably some of the most incredible natural scenery in the world, the Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the country’s greatest adventures. From camping on the beach and visiting Waimea Canyon to waterfall hikes and skydiving, there is no greater place for an adventure than Hawaii. And while the options are almost endless, here are 17 places adventure seekers are sure to love.
1. Head underground to check out Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Thurston Lava Tube.
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this short 20-minute walk through a thick forest leads visitors to a 500-foot lava tube that once carried molten lava. Be sure to check out Kilauea Caldera while you’re there!
2. Kayak to the ‘Mokes.
The Mokulua Islands, often referred to as simply the mokes, lie off Lanikai Beach and are a wildly popular kayaking destination. Is there really a better way to spend a day than by kayaking to twin islands off the coast?
3. Check out Kauai’s fabled Na Pali Coast.
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.
4. Is there any better adventure than a visit to Waimea Canyon State Park?
Many tourists tend to hit up the Waimea Canyon lookout and leave, but locals know that the real way to go is to hike through Koke’e State Park.
5. Drive Maui’s thrilling Hana Highway.
This infamous 64.4-mile stretch of highway between Kahului and Hana features 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide, and 620 curves through lush, tropical jungle. The Hana Highway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, and while it only takes two and a half hours to drive the entire road, you could easily make several stops along the way and make it either a day, or two day, adventure.
6. Why not try skydiving over Oahu’s north shore?
There is little more adventurous than jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet in elevation, and nowhere is skydiving more gorgeous than over the Hawaiian Islands.
7. What about the safer alternative – a helicopter tour?
If you’re not quite ready for the adrenaline rush that is skydiving, consider a helicopter tour of an island instead – we suggest Kauai.
8. Go stargazing at the summit of Mauna Kea.
Due to the high altitude, dry environment and stable airflow, the summit of Mauna Kea is one of the world’s best sites for astronomical observation. It is also the highest point in Hawaii.
9. Go snorkeling or scuba diving at Molokini.
This crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater is located between the islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe, and is a killer snorkeling and scuba spot. This may only be a day trip, but trust me, it is perhaps one of the coolest experiences you will ever have.
10. Explore Maui’s jaw-dropping bamboo forest.
Located on the Mauka (mountain) side between mile markers 6 and 7 en route to Hana is this tranquil, calm, bamboo forest, just one part of a fantastic hike that features lush jungle, four waterfalls, and several fresh water swimming holes.
11. Hike to Maunawili Falls.
Perhaps one of Oahu’s most stunning hidden waterfalls, this trek through the mud is never uphill for too long and offers the opportunity to jump in a beautiful waterfall at the end.
12. Sliding Sands Trail, in Haleakala National Park, is quite the adventure.
Located near the Haleakala Crater, this hike provides a stunning contrast to the typical Hawaiian landscape.
13. There’s little better than a trek into Waipio Valley.
While the valley is absolutely breathtaking, the road into the Waipio Valley from the lookout is pretty gnarly, gaining 800 vertical feet in just 0.6 miles, making it the steepest road of its length in the United States.
14. Head underwater to explore the Corsair airplane wreck.
One of the only wrecks that was not sunk as an artificial reef, the corsair ran out of fuel during World War II, and was ditched by the pilot. The airplane is in excellent condition – one of the cockpit gauges features an intact glass face. The elusive garden eel can be seen near the wreck, and the plane sits in 107 feet of water.
15. This redwood forest is simply incredible.
The trail, found in Polipoli State Park, is populated by redwood trees that were brought to Hawaii in the 1920s to reestablish the watershed. Albeit unusual for the Hawaiian landscape, it is a stunning sight.
16. For a little added adrenaline, why not try cage diving in shark-infested waters?
So, this is by far the craziest adventure we’ve included on this list. Cage diving with sharks is considered relatively safe, but we can’t guarantee you won’t be absolutely terrified the entire time.
17. And for a cheap adventure, grab a permit and set up camp on your favorite beach!
Ideal for the budget-conscious nature lover, you can secure a camping permit at any number of beaches throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Pack up your car with camping supplies and head to the beach for a weekend of waking up late, sipping your morning coffee on the beach, and hanging out in the water.
How many of these amazing places have you been? What other adventures would you add to this list?