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.
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.
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
You won’t really find a bad beach in Hawaii, but some are pretty epic. Here are some Winetraveler favorites:
Waimea Beach, Oahu
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Kaihalulu Beach, Maui (reddish sand)
Punalu’u Beach, Big Island (black sand)
Papaohaku Beach, Molokai
Polihua Beach, Lanai (need a 4×4 to arrive)
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.
It’s Part of the US
Although Hawaii’s entrance requirements are changing frequently due to Covid, it’s still one of the easier spots to visit. 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.