The best things to do in Hawaii

Hawaii can be the perfect holiday getaway. Lush rainforests. Idyllic beaches. World-class surfing, snorkelling, and diving, and some of the best golf courses in the world. All that, together with incredible shopping, mouth-watering dining, and a Polynesian culture famous for its warmth and hospitality – what are you waiting for? 

Best place for snorkelling – Turtle Town, Maui 

At Turtle Town, snorkel into an undersea world that’s alive with vibrant coral formations and watch marine life go about its business in lush underwater gardens. There are countless places to don your mask, fins and snorkel in Hawaii and explore the wonders of the reef. 

Turtle Town in Maui is, you guessed it, a great place to see turtles. It’s also a great spot for novice snorkellers as the sea is generally calm and the sloping seashore is easy to enter and exit. 


Two children snorkeling in the ocean

Best place to learn to surf – Waikiki Beach, O'ahu 

Hawaii is the spiritual home of surfing and is woven into its history and culture. For centuries, native Hawaiians rode the waves on wooden boards cut from Hawaiian rain forests, connected to the energy of their gods.  

Today, surfing is one of the most popular ocean sports and Hawaii has become the epicentre of global surf culture. There’s no better place on the planet for a surf lesson. 

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is the perfect spot. The gentle waves roll into the beach like clockwork and the shallow, soft sandy bottom makes it the ideal spot to give surfing a go. There are plenty of places to hire a board and have a lesson – no experience necessary.  If you are planning on giving surfing a go, here are a few preparation tips to make it even more enjoyable. 


Man walking towards ocean carrying a surfboard

Best place to watch the pros surf – Pipeline, North Shore, O’ahu 

After your morning on the Waikiki waves, you might think you’re ready for the big time. Hmmm, hold on. Hawaii’s biggest and gnarliest waves are for experts only.  

Seeing the world’s best surfers rip it up at the Pipeline on O’ahu’s north shore is awe-inspiring. The break can go from simply big to terrifyingly huge when the winter swells roll in. Set up your towel and get your camera ready, this is the perfect spot to watch the pros. 

Big wave season is November to February, with some of the biggest surfing competitions happening in November and December. 

 

Best place to see movie sets – Kualoa Ranch, North Shore, O’ahu 

More than 200 Hollywood movies and TV shows have been filmed in the Kualoa Valley since the 1950s. Understandably too, it’s one of the most beautiful locations on the island of O’ahu.  

Kualoa Ranch is a great one-stop shop to discover film locations from some of your favourite movies and TV shows. Jurassic Park and its sequels were filmed here. As was Jumanji, Godzilla, Kong Skull Island, Pearl Harbour, 50 First Dates, and on the small screen, LOST, Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. The list goes on.  

The ranch offers a variety of tours – everything from walking and 4WD excursions, to zip-lines and a ranch adventure on horseback (pro tip: ensure these activities are undertaken with a licensed tour provider!).  

 

Best place for a round of golf – Royal Hawaiian, O’ahu 

Nothing says holiday more than a round of golf. Hawaii is a fantastic golf destination with loads of courses to choose from – choosing just one is a hard green to hit. The Royal Hawaiian on the North Shore of O’ahu isn’t far from Kualoa Ranch, so you’ll feel like you’re teeing off in Jurassic Park.  

The uber-lush surroundings envelop the course in a sash of jungle green. It’s not the sort of course where you want to adventure too far for an errant ball – there might be a T-Rex in the rough. 

 

Best place for an amazing meal – La Vie, Honolulu 

Hawaiians take food VERY seriously. With a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of cattle farms, and an ocean teeming with sashimi-grade fish, Hawaiian cuisine is a beautiful fusion of tradition and flavours. You’ll enjoy some of the scrummiest tucker on the Pacific! 

You’ll find funky food trucks, cheap ‘n’ cheerful snack shacks, poke bowl hole-in-the-walls, delicious farmers markets, and culinary experiences that make your mouth water. 

If you really want to go all out, stop in at La Vie. Located in the Ritz Carlton at Waikiki Beach, this award-winning restaurant celebrates the abundance of seafood and local seasonal produce, crafting some of the cleverest and most divine dishes on this side of the Pacific. 

 

Best place for history buffs – Pearl Harbor, O’ahu 

Hawaii has a long and fascinating history. The proud Polynesian people have embraced their heritage, and you’ll find wonderful examples of this everywhere. Roadside shrines, place names and cultural experiences – you will always feel that aloha spirit. Hawaii even has the only royal residence in the USA! 

Modern historians won’t want to pass up visiting Pearl Harbor. The site of the Japanese air attack that pulled the United States into the Second World War is a fascinating and sombre place to visit, culminating in a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial – the submerged US Battleship, sitting silently in the bay below you. Run by the US National Parks Service the memorial is well set up and a unique and touching reminder of a turbulent time in human history. 


Two women hiking up tropical trail

Best hike in Hawaii – Crater Rim Trail, The Big Island 

You’ll find amazing hiking trails on all the Hawaiian Islands. The island of Hawaii, or The Big Island as it’s called, is home to some spectacular volcanic formations and is heaven for hikers. Whether you’re looking for a challenging trails, or short scenic hike through historic sites, you’ll find it here. 
One of the best and the easiest is the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, on the island of Oahu. Strolling along the stunning cliffs, with breathtaking views out the Pacific Ocean - you might even spot some humpback whales as you cast your eyes out. The trail will only take around 1 hour round-trip, but you’ll have indulged in some impeccable views of the Kaiwi Coast, before arriving at the historic lighthouse.

Hawaii really does have something for everyone – so pack your snorkel, surfboard, golf clubs, your appetite and your sense of adventure and come to visit.  Aloha! 

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