What To Do In Hawaii

Hawaii is a virtual wonderland of exciting attractions, beaches, natural landscapes, volcanoes, and more. Here are some places you and your family should check out when you head to this island paradise.

Piʻilanihale Heiau & Kahanu Garden | Maui

You will not believe your eyes when your trip along the historic Road to Hana rounds the bend and the biggest temple in Polynesia emerges next to a lush botanical garden. A religious site since the 12th century, families and nature lovers alike enjoy strolling beneath the temple's arches and the flowing vines and flowers of the Kahuna Garden.

Makalawena Beach | Big Island

A less crowded option than many of the high-profile beaches in Hawaii, Makalawena Beach appeals to outdoorsy types who want to get back to nature. Perfect for camping, fishing or doing nothing, grab some solitude in this remote area. Stroll along remote coves, and take a dip in the crashing surf along the rough-hewn shore of this pristine stretch of Hawaii.

Halemaʻumaʻu Viewpoint | Big Island

As the night falls on Halema'uma'u Viewpoint, you will get a stunning look at the sputtering volcano below shooting columns of steam into the sky while the crater bubbles with hot lava. For an even better vantage point, adults and kids head over to the Jagger Museum patio to look down into the tempest. Want a cool preview? Check out the webcams that monitor the constant rumbling and roiling in the volcano's lava lake.

Hilo Farmers Market | Downtown Hilo - Big Island

Nothing will taste fresher in Hawaii than the seafood, fruit, and vegetables at the Hilo Farmer's Market. Locals and tourists in the know come here to shop from more than a hundred vendors for everyday food items including exotic fruits like jaboticaba fruit. Although the Hilo Farmer's Market is open every day of the week, it is best to visit on a Wednesday or Saturdays.

Shangri-La | Waikiki

One of Hawaii's hidden gems, Shangri-La is on the exclusive Doris Duke estate with a stunning view of the surrounding ocean. Couples and art lovers will love the 90-minute tour of the luxurious grounds with world class Islamic art as well as free admission to the Honolulu Museum of Art.

USS Bowfin Submarine Park | Honolulu

Military history buffs--and kids into ships and submarines--will love the USS Bowfin Submarine Park. Once on board the USS Bowfin submarine, you will be amazed that an entire crew lived and worked in such tight spaces. Outside, you will marvel at the extensive outdoor exhibits including nuclear cruise missiles and artifacts from throughout the Bowfin's history.

Old Lahaina Luau | Maui

If you are in the mood for a good old traditional Hawaiian luau, this is the place. One of the oldest luaus on the islands, Old Lahaina Luau is popular all year long. After donning your fragrant lei, you will sit down on the oceanfront for a three-hour delight of hula dancing and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. It is perfect for couples, but plan ahead--it sells out quick.

Hawaii has endless opportunities for things to do for families, couples, and group outings and it goes without saying that you can relax in arguably some of the world’s best beaches and enjoy world-class surfing. But Hawaii is a lot more than white-sand beaches and endless panoramic views. There is a little something for any kind of visitor on the islands. Here are a few more options to explore.

Hawaii Museums & Galleries

Although the art popularly displayed for tourists might have you running aghast for the hills (dolphins and neon colored sunsets), fret not! There are museums and galleries to enjoy.

Honolulu Academy of Arts | Honolulu, Oahu

The Honolulu Academy of Arts has an amazing collection of Western and Asian paintings and sculptures. Don't miss the Van Gogh, Pissarro, Modigliani or the collection of Buddhist statues. The Museum also runs the Doris Duke Theatre, which screens foreign and independent films, and hosts a tasty and reasonably priced restaurant.

Hawaii State Art Museum | Honolulu, Oahu

Admission is free (donations won’t hurt) The museum features a variety of local artists who live or have lived in Hawaii. Keep in mind this museum will close early on most days, except on First Fridays.

Cedar Street Galleries | Honolulu, Oahu

This gallery is for local artists only and hosts a stunning collection of over 900 original works of Hawaiian art. From painting and ceramics to jewelry work and wood sculptures, Cedar Street Galleries offers the visitor a chance to intimately appreciate Hawaiian culture and art.

Paia Contemporary Gallery | Paia, Maui

Paia Contemporary Gallery opened its doors in 2007 with the ambition to be Hawaii’s finest abstract contemporary art gallery. With a core group of national and international artists working in the American abstract expressionist genre, the modern art gallery has itself been curated as a work of art. Works on show feature a variety of media ranging from oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings to abstract, ceramic, wood and glass sculptures. The careful selection of the artwork on display will incite the contemporary art lovers and is sure to draw in newcomers as well.

Hawaii Hikes & Outdoors

Despite everything we’ve observed, Hawaii’s ultimate and most defining feature is its dramatic natural beauty. Every island has its own look-and-feel that feeds into the aura of Hawaii’s mystifying allure. That said, here are some activities through which to absorb Hawaii at it’s best.

Hikes and Parks

The islands of Hawaii all boast beautifully scenic hikes and rugged trails. For a couple of its most renowned, there are the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in Kauai, as well as Waimea Canyon and Maui’s startling cliff tops. All of which will satisfy the most avid of hikers. From molten lava rivers and lofty ridge tops to trails that cut through bamboo thickets and glistening waterfalls the isles hikes are hiking dreamscape.

Mermen and Mermaids

For the more aquatic adventurer, consider the nighttime diving and snorkeling with Mantas on the Big Island as well Hulopo’e Beach in Lanai, one of the best in Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is also a must see for those captured by cosmopolitan growth amidst natural beauty, with miles of beach encumbered by high-rise buildings and luxury hotels.

Scenic Sightseeing

As we’ve said Hawaii is teeming with natural beauty, making any drive around the island routes a treat for the eyes. Spare some time and drive the road to Hana to see tumbling waterfalls, endless coasts and sheer jungle beauty.