Learn About Some of the Best Reasons to Visit Hawaii Plus Some of the Best Things to Do and See
Year-round sunshine, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant Hawaiian culture — no wonder this US island state is on everyone’s bucket list. The archipelago is made up of seven main islands, plus a few other smaller islands.
You’ve likely heard of Maui, Hawaii, Oahu, and Kauai, but perhaps the lesser-visited islands of Lanai, Molokai, Niʻihau seem novel. Regardless of the island(s) you visit, here are some of the top reasons to visit Hawaii.
- Learn About Some of the Best Reasons to Visit Hawaii Plus Some of the Best Things to Do and See
- Travel Tips & Practicalities
- Top Reasons to Visit Hawaii
- From All-inclusive Resorts to Local Vibes
- Natural Wonders: Cliffs, Stargazing, and Volcanoes
- Be Respectful and Conscious of the Environment when Visiting Hawaii
- Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Hawaii
Travel Tips & Practicalities
Fly nonstop to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport (HNL) or Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) from hubs such as Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) or Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). Once there, you can easily arrive at other islands via short flights. Expect a long trip, though, as the flight is at least five hours from west coast destinations. Take a look at flight deals as they arise into Hawaii right here.
Top Reasons to Visit Hawaii
Warm Weather (And the Best Season to Visit)
Although travelers will experience the least amount of rainfall during Hawaii’s summer months: June, July, and August, there’s never really a bad season to visit these islands. Surf season is year-round (hit the north coasts in winter and the south coasts in summer), and whale watching is best from December to April. One of the quietest seasons is from April-June, so if you’re looking for an affordable hotel deal, spring is the time to go.
RELATED: 5 Day Maui Itinerary & Travel Guide
Hawaii’s Best Beaches
You won’t really find a bad beach in Hawaii, but some are pretty epic. Here are some Winetraveler favorites:
Waimea Beach, Oahu
Situated on the North Shore of Oahu, Waimea Beach is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and thrilling activities. This picturesque stretch of coastline boasts golden sands and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal destination for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike.
During the winter months, the beach comes alive as powerful swells create towering waves, drawing surfers from around the world to test their mettle in the surf break. As one of the premier spots for big wave surfing, Waimea Beach offers an exhilarating spectacle for both participants and spectators.
In the calmer summer months, the beach transforms into a haven for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, providing a more leisurely experience for visitors. The nearby Waimea Valley offers lush botanical gardens, cascading waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails for those seeking to explore the natural beauty of Oahu’s North Shore.
If you really want to explore the Waimea Valley and Beach, consider arranging an all-inclusive day tour that includes lunch and waterfall visits and more. Use code WINETRAVELER15 for 15% off any Hawaii tours you book from our website.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Hanalei Bay, located on the enchanting island of Kauai, is a gem of the Hawaiian archipelago. Embraced by verdant mountains, this crescent-shaped bay offers a breathtaking combination of lush scenery and pristine shoreline. With over two miles of soft, golden sand, Hanalei Bay welcomes visitors to indulge in its serene beauty and gentle ocean waves.
During the summer months, the calm, azure waters provide an ideal setting for swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The bay’s coral reefs are teeming with vibrant marine life, making snorkeling a popular activity for those eager to explore the underwater world. Beginners and experienced surfers alike can enjoy the surf breaks at Hanalei Bay, with the winter months offering more challenging swells.
For visitors looking to connect with nature, the nearby Hanalei Valley features picturesque taro fields and a mesmerizing backdrop of towering waterfalls and rugged mountain peaks. The town of Hanalei, located near the bay, offers a delightful mix of local shops, art galleries, and restaurants, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in Kauai’s rich culture and history.
Kaihalulu Beach, Maui (reddish sand)
Kaihalulu Beach, nestled along the eastern coastline of Maui, is a truly unique and captivating destination. Often referred to as the Red Sand Beach, this secluded cove is famous for its striking, reddish-black sand, resulting from the erosion of the nearby volcanic cinder cone, Pu’u Ka’uiki.
Surrounded by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation, Kaihalulu Beach offers an otherworldly atmosphere that sets it apart from the typical Hawaiian beach experience. The contrast between the deep red sand, the black lava rock formations, and the shimmering turquoise waters creates a dramatic and unforgettable scene.
RECOMMENDED: Take a Snorkeling Trip to Turtle Town off Maui
The sheltered cove at Kaihalulu Beach provides calm waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The vibrant coral reef just offshore teems with diverse marine life, inviting exploration beneath the waves. However, due to the beach’s remote location and challenging access, visitors should exercise caution when making their way to this enchanting spot.
Punalu’u Beach, Big Island (black sand)
Punalu’u Beach, situated on the southeastern coast of the Big Island, is a captivating destination renowned for its distinctive black sand. This dramatic shoreline is the result of lava from nearby volcanic eruptions meeting the cool ocean waters and shattering into fine, black grains of sand over time.
The stark contrast between the glistening black sand, swaying palm trees, and azure waters creates a surreal and mesmerizing atmosphere. Punalu’u Beach invites visitors to marvel at its unique beauty and appreciate the raw power of nature that shaped its landscape.
The beach’s calm waters offer a haven for swimming and snorkeling, providing glimpses of vibrant marine life that call the nearby coral reefs home. Punalu’u Beach is also famous for its frequent honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) sightings, as they often bask on the warm black sand or glide gracefully through the water. Visitors should always maintain a respectful distance from these protected and cherished creatures.
For those seeking to explore further, the Big Island’s southeastern region is rich with geological wonders, including the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and its awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes.
Papaohaku Beach, Molokai
Papaohaku Beach, located on the western side of Molokai, is a hidden gem offering a serene and unspoiled Hawaiian experience. This expansive, white-sand beach stretches for nearly three miles, providing visitors with ample space to unwind and reconnect with nature. Its crystal-clear waters paint a vivid contrast against the pristine sand, embodying the essence of a tropical paradise.
Papaohaku Beach is known for its seclusion and tranquility, as it often remains uncrowded, allowing you to enjoy the peaceful ambiance and soothing sounds of the ocean. The calm waters make it an excellent spot for swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing, offering an opportunity to explore the abundant marine life and discover the treasures that the sea has left behind.
For those who seek adventure, nearby hiking trails lead to breathtaking vantage points, offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the vast Pacific Ocean. As you take in the captivating beauty of Papaohaku Beach and Molokai, it’s easy to feel a deep connection to the island’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Polihua Beach, Lanai (need a 4×4 to arrive)
Polihua Beach, tucked away on the northwestern coast of Lanai, is an off-the-beaten-path treasure that rewards intrepid travelers with pristine beauty and solitude. This remote, two-mile stretch of white-sand beach offers a sense of seclusion and escape, far from the bustling tourist hotspots.
Reaching Polihua Beach requires a sense of adventure, as it’s accessible only by a 4×4 vehicle. The challenging journey through rugged terrain and scenic landscapes adds to the excitement and anticipation of discovering this hidden gem. Once you arrive, the serene atmosphere and breathtaking views of the neighboring island of Molokai make the journey well worth the effort.
The powerful waves and strong currents at Polihua Beach make it less suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but the beach offers ample opportunities for beachcombing, sunbathing, and enjoying the serenity of nature. Keep an eye out for the occasional Hawaiian green sea turtle or the majestic humpback whales that can be spotted in the distance during the winter months.
From All-inclusive Resorts to Local Vibes
Hawaii’s islands suit pretty much every travel style and budget. While it’s not known as a super affordable vacation destination, if you look hard enough, you can find budget surf hostels and low-cost home rentals on less touristy areas of the islands. On the other hand, all-inclusive resorts catering to families and adults-only luxurious boutique hotels are also in abundance. Mid-range villas, hotels, and apartment rentals are always an option, too.
Natural Wonders: Cliffs, Stargazing, and Volcanoes
Yes, Hawaii’s beaches and clear waters are already stunning. But Hawaii is also extremely green, with some incredible natural sites like mountains, cliffs, and tropical rainforests. Consider a visit to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, or the famed cliffs of the Napali coast in Kauai. Stargazing is another breathtaking way to enjoy Hawaii’s clear skies. Mauna Kea is one of the best spots to see the endless stars and constellations. For a stunning hike, consider the Koko Crater Trail in Oahu, where you’ll trek up old railroad tracks to a volcano.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island, is a captivating and awe-inspiring destination that offers a rare opportunity to witness the primal forces of nature in action. The park, which spans over 333,000 acres, is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, showcasing the dynamic and ever-changing landscape sculpted by molten lava.
Visitors to the park have the unique opportunity to observe lava flows and volcanic eruptions, providing a thrilling and humbling reminder of the Earth’s incredible power. Hiking trails lead through diverse terrains, including rainforests, deserts, and volcanic craters, offering glimpses of the geological wonders and fascinating ecological adaptations that define this extraordinary environment. Wasabi Tours Hawaii offers a superb Big Island twilight volcano and stargazing tour you can’t afford to miss.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park also offers exceptional stargazing opportunities, thanks to its remote location and minimal light pollution. On clear nights, the sky above the park transforms into a celestial canvas adorned with countless stars, planets, and the Milky Way. The combination of the glowing lava and the brilliant night sky creates an unforgettable and otherworldly experience for visitors.
It’s Part of the US
Although you’ll have to hop on a long flight (about five hours from Los Angeles), the islands are still part of the United States. This means that you won’t need to worry about a language barrier or money exchange.
But Still Has Its Own Special Hawaiian Culture
Yes, Hawaii is part of the US and locals speak English. But Hawaii also has a vibrant culture that makes it a very special vacation spot. Expect to experience the Hawaiian and Polynesian language, music, dance, cuisine, and beyond during your stay, especially if you get off-the-beaten-path a bit.
Endless Activities: Hiking, Surfing, and Helicopter Rides
With several islands to choose from, you’ll never get bored in Hawaii — even if you aren’t a beachcomber. From the sharp curves and switchbacks of Maui’s famed ‘Road to Hana’ to helicopter rides over Kauai’s Jurassic Park-inspired landscape to shark diving on Oahu, adrenalin junkies will have plenty to do. If you’d prefer a calmer experience, consider surf lessons, snorkeling, or hula lessons. Cultural buffs can visit museums such as the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, and there’s always the historic Pearl Harbor.
Be Respectful and Conscious of the Environment when Visiting Hawaii
Visiting the enchanting islands of Hawaii can be a life-changing experience, but it’s essential to approach your journey with a deep sense of respect and mindfulness. As you embark on your adventure, take the time to familiarize yourself with Hawaiian culture, customs, and the environment. Embrace the spirit of aloha by treating both the local people and their land with kindness and consideration.
Remember to tread lightly on the pristine beaches, lush forests, and vibrant coral reefs, leaving nothing but footprints and taking only memories. By practicing responsible and sustainable tourism, you can contribute to the preservation of Hawaii’s unique heritage, ensuring that future generations can continue to cherish this extraordinary paradise.