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20+ Fabulous Things to Do in Hawaii

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Are you headed to fabulous Hawaii? What are you going to do when you get there? Don’t just sit on the beach with sunscreen down your nose and sweat your butt off. Get up!

things to do in hawaii

There is so much to do on the beaches in Hawaii. You can pick sea glass and shells. There is a lot of sea glass. If you find enough sea glass you could make a stained glass piece with the pieces of sea glass that you have found.

Shells are great presents to bring home for family members or friends. Another interesting thing to do at the beach is go snorkeling. There are many beautiful coral and reefs found on the coast of Hawaii. The fish are brightly colored. It would be wonderful to go snorkeling all day and experience the underwater beauty!

The color of the water on some days is a pretty blue or a dark green. Those colors of the water are my favorite. Scuba diving is another creative thing to experience in Hawaii. You can swim with the dolphins and other fish. If those are the types of things that you are interested in you can always go fishing.

At night time they have many open bars to go to and have a nice drink and relax on the beach after a long day of relaxation! The bars are open through all hours of the night. Some restaurants are right out on the water for a great view while dining.

Checking out the history of Hawaii can be interesting. You may learn things that you didn’t know before. Just because it is a vacation doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new while relaxing.

So, here are a few things to do while you are there:

Turtle Bay Resort-North Shore

Turtle Bay Resort is the perfect place to honeymoon or to have a quiet and relaxed vacation in either a luxurious suite or an ocean cottage tucked away on the west shore of Turtle Bay. Far from the crowds of Waikiki, Turtle Bay offers a pristine, uncrowded beach with 12 miles of ocean trails through ironwood forests and unspoiled tropical countryside, yet it’s only a few minutes from the excitement of the world’s most famous surfing spot of Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay.

Both cottages and rooms offer spectacular views of the ocean where you can watch 30-foot waves breaking on the shore and Humpback whales during the December to April migration. You can also catch a 36-hole game of golf on the championship golf course, relax in the spa and feast on the gourmet cuisine and do it all tucked away from the rest of the world.

Honolulu-Diamond Head

While you may want some company during the day while you’re on your honeymoon, at night you want privacy and romance. W Honolulu, which is set in an exclusive location near Diamond Head, offers you both. Close to Waikiki, Kapiolani Park, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Aquarium, it offers privacy as well as close proximity to fun and excitement.

During the day take in the spectacular 360-degree views of Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head Crater, and the Pacific Ocean from your room and at night, sip a Mai Tai as you gaze at the billions of stars and the lights of Honolulu on your own private and cozy balcony. You can go all out and stay in the top floor luxury suite with a wrap-around lanai, large living space, full kitchen, in-room DVD collection, king-size bed, guest room, and high-speed Internet access.

Enjoy the fresh Asian, Euro-American, and Polynesian cuisine of the on-site Diamond Head Grill restaurant and share “sweet nothings” in the bar as you wonder at the grandeur of the Hawaiian views that surround you. Before you turn in for the night, enjoy the relaxing joy of a Swedish, Shiatsu, or Deep Tissue massage in your room or at the spa.

The Moana Surfrider

The Moana Surfrider Resort has offered newlywed couples affordable luxury in a romantic setting since 1901. The grace and elegance of yesterday with the conveniences of today make this the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon.

Located on the world-famous Waikiki Beach you’ll find lots of activities for fun-filled days such as sunbathing, surfing, paddling a canoe or outrigger, snorkeling, deep-sea diving, and watching whales and dolphins.

There’s a spa to work out the sore muscles from a day of water sports, shopping, and dancing at a nightclub. The rooms are inviting and meticulously clean and the cuisine is delectable. It all works together to make this special time one you will remember with happiness for the rest of your lives.

See Kilauea

There are several ways to see this active volcano. You can hike overland to the few spots where tourists are allowed access. You can take a fly over it in a helicopter or you can take a boat out to sea and watch it from a safe distance. Whichever way you choose, don’t miss the opportunity to see it.

Deep-Sea Fishing

Take a chartered boat, leaving daily from Lahaina, Maui, and have the time of your life fishing for Blue Marlin or other big fish. Not into killing wildlife? There is a tag and release program just for you.

Whale Watching

You can join a chartered boat or just watch with binoculars from the North Shore high points and see the humpback whales that come early in the year to the shores of Oahu. They are gigantic creatures and often jump from the water and flap their tails and fins against the surface.

Scuba Diving

The underwater world off Kona’s coast is a scuba divers’ fantasy. Canyons and cliffs of lava, submerged caves, and brightly colored coral reefs teeming with wildly colored sea life are there for those who seek them out. Another great dive is located near Waianae Harbor on Oahu. Here you will find the Mahi, a 186-foot U.S. Navy Minelayer built-in 1939 for WWII.

Hiking

You will find many places to hike in Hawaii. However, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is literally filled with hiking trails for beginners to the experts. Not to mention the awesome view of lava as it flows from the earth. Another great hike is at Pololu Valley where you can hike under a 500-foot waterfall.

Swimming with Dolphins

Dolphin Quest interactive program at the Hilton Waikoloa Village gives you the opportunity to interact with trained dolphins.

Zip-lining

The latest thing in extreme adventures, Ziplining is a treetop ride that zips you through the treetops on a scenic ride you will never forget. You can try it out on the island of Maui at the Kapalua Resort. The ride is almost two miles long and you’ll be screaming in delight all the way.

Tour a Plantation

Visit the Dole Plantation on Oahu and learn how pineapples are grown. There are also old sugar plantations and coffee plantations you can tour for a step back in time.

Parasailing

For the brave of heart and those who enjoy life on the edge, you can take a class on the parasailing and be airborne before you know it at Kailua on the big island.

Rappelling

Maui Canyon Adventures offers the adventure of actually rappelling down waterfalls into spectacular canyons. You can swim beneath the waterfalls in pristine pools under the warmth of the Maui sun.

Surfing

Learn to surf from some of the best surfers in the world on any of the islands of Hawaii. Somewhere in Hawaii, you will find the perfect-sized wave for your skill level.

Windsurfing

This is a sport for the physically fit. If you have good balance, and the winds aren’t too strong, you can learn quickly to windsurf at Anaehoomalu Bay.

Big Game Hunting

Hunt wild game at the Parker Ranch on the island of Hawaii. Wild boar are very challenging because they are so aggressive and fierce tempered. Have a head-mounted and shipped home.

Kayak and Canoe

Kayak to the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay on the big island. Take a Hawaiian Canoe ride tour at the Polo Beach in Wailea, Maui. It will take two hours as you sail and snorkel along the Wailea Coast.

Ride a Mule

Take a mule train and visit the beautiful Kalaupapa Peninsula, where lepers once spent their last days. Accessible only by mule, foot, or plane, it is one of the most unspoiled places left on earth.

Camping

Camping at the beach, beneath salt-encrusted pine trees in Hawaii, is like no other camping trip in the world. The salty air gives you a voracious appetite for whatever you catch and the waves lull you to sleep at night.

Natural Hot Tubs

On the big island, you can soak in a natural hot tub at Ahalanui Pond where the water is 90 degrees and crystal clear.

Quieter Endeavors

If all of this sounds too wild or energetic for you, don’t worry, you can still find plenty of creative things to do in Hawaii. There are beautiful shells to be found on the beaches and various classes to take.

You can learn the art of making a lei, making a breadfruit quilt, learn to hula or visit one of the many museums. If you’re a bird watcher, Hawaii has many beautiful specimens. Be sure to attend a luau and try the traditional roast pig and poi.

There is something for everyone in Hawaii. It is a place full of arts, crafts, music, food, and fun. The people are warm and friendly, the weather is fantastic and the flora is beyond compare. You can always find creative things to do in Hawaii if you are lucky enough to ever land on these beautiful shores.

Exploring the Islands of Hawaii on a Budget 

The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the world. It offers more unique sightseeing opportunities than anyone could ever find the time – or money – to see in one trip. 

As a result, deciding what to do with your valuable vacation time can be tough. Especially if you’re on a budget. The brochures found at visitor’s centers and hotels may appear to simplify your options and give some direction to your plans by highlighting popular attractions and activities. But they’re also usually trying to sell a tour or some other service – tourism is, after all, Hawaii’s leading industry.

If you have the money to spare, many of these offers can be well worth it. But if you don’t, chances are that you can have just as much fun and get just as much out of your trip to the Big Island on your own. Here are just a few things to do and places to go without breaking the bank.

Waipi’o Valley

The magnificent Waipi’o Valley, located on the Hamakua Coast, is a must-see for any nature-lover visiting the Big Island. Since the largest tsunami in Hawaiian history in 1946, the valley is virtually uninhabited. But it offers some of the most beautiful views on the island. Many tremendous waterfalls descend over the valley’s walls. They are the sources of the numerous streams and small rivers that wind through Waipi’o. Also, they irrigate a handful of taro patches that are farmed by a few people who still live there.

Much of Waipi’o Valley is covered in dense forest and jungle, but most of it is still accessible by narrow roads or trails. Perhaps the highlight of the valley is the mile-long black sand beach at its mouth, along with the majestic waterfalls cascading over the nearby cliffs. Keep in mind that most locals advise against swimming here because of the notorious undertow.

Access to Waipi’o is free, but getting down there can take some effort. The road from the top lookout down to the valley’s floor is supposedly one of the steepest in the United States, and requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate, so most choose to hike. Of course, there are companies that offer tours by van, horseback, or even mule-drawn wagon, but these services are generally not very budget-friendly.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This one isn’t completely free, but it’s still a great deal for the frugal traveler, with an entrance fee of just $10.00 per private vehicle, which buys a 7-day pass. It’s a small price to pay to visit the location of the most active volcano on earth, Kilauea. While a long hike might be required to actually see an active lava flow (depending on the status of the flow), the park offers a number of other worthwhile attractions, with activities available to suit a stay of almost any length.

One quick way to enjoy the park is via Crater Rim Drive. It will take you through a number of diverse terrains with scenic lookouts and other points of interest. A favorite pit-stop includes a sulfur bank and billowing steam vents. Be sure to check out the Jaggar Museum. With its wealth of information on volcanology and caldera overlook, and the Thurston Lava Tube, an ancient tunnel forged by ancient lava flows (the bold will enjoy venturing beyond the lit area of the lava tube – bring a flashlight and watch your head!).

Other activities include free camping on one of the two campsites in the park. Maybe biking or hiking one of nearly a dozen well-kept trails. Like the fascinating Kilauea Iki Trail, which meanders through the rainforest to the crater floor.

Hike to the Captain Cook Monument

Kealakekua Bay is the largest bay on the Big Island. This is the site at which the Hawaiian Islands were first discovered by Westerners.

This location has become a tourist destination, not only for its historical significance but also for its magnificent snorkeling. Kealakekua Bay deserves its reputation, as its waters are pristine and clear, and the coral reefs below are vast, beautiful, and home to thousands of colorful tropical fish. Giant green sea turtles and spinner dolphins are also frequent visitors to the area.

The Captain Cook Monument and this lovely nearby marine preserve, however, are inaccessible by car or 4-wheel-drive, and can only be reached via boat or trail. Some companies offer pricey catamaran cruises to the Monument, and many choose to access the spot by kayak. 

However, kayak rentals can be expensive, so the trail is often the way to go for penny-pinchers. This footpath zig-zags down approximately three miles of steep, rocky terrain from its head just off of Napo’opo’o Road, so be warned that while the payoff is significant, this hike is quite a physically demanding undertaking.

Snorkel at Two-Step

If the hike down to Kealakekua Bay sounds too daunting, “Two-Step” may fulfill your snorkeling needs. This popular spot, just a few miles south of Kealakekua Bay, is named for the two large lava shelves that act as convenient “steps” into the ocean.

Tropical fish and sea turtles flock to these waters in abundance to feed on the reef. The calm, sandy cove of Honaunau Bay, just steps away, provides a safe place for the kids to swim.

Take a Stroll Down Ali’i Drive

Ali’i Drive is packed with souvenir shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. So if you’re watching your wallet you may be tested by temptation. But if you can resist, the atmosphere will make up for it. The area is bustling with activity. And depending on what time of day, week, or year you’re there, you can watch the day’s catch come in at Kailua Pier. Or catch a concert on the lawn of the lovely Hulihe’e Palace. Or cheer for the first athletes to cross the finish line of the world-famous Ironman Triathlon.

Food

Certainly, Oahu, and Hawaii in general, have a generous mix of ethnicities and cultures that come together to make an otherwise unique “Ohana” or family.

With that diversity comes a vast array of different foods. And it makes for a great way for you to not only experience the island but the many different cultures that populate it as well.

There are many fine restaurants to eat at in Hawaii. If you want to save your money I’d advise you against eating in Waikiki. Most of the places there can be overpriced and definitely not worth the money.

Hawaiian food is available at many different restaurants. The most well-known restaurants include Ono on Kapahulu Avenue, Helena’s in Kalihi, and Young’s also located in Kalihi. The prices are reasonable and you can expect to be full after getting your plate of food. The main staple of a Hawaiian food experience is a Lau Lau, which is pork and fish wrapped in taro leaves which are then wrapped in ti leaves and steamed.

You don’t eat the ti leaf, but you do eat the taro leaves. They almost have the consistency and flavor of spinach. While the fish and pork are usually cooked to perfection and left tender and moist due to the steaming process, it’s quite tasty. Another thing you may want to try is Lomi Lomi salmon. This is basically a tomato, Maui onion, green onion, and salmon salsa. Kalua pig is a pig cooked/smoked in an imu (underground oven) and then pulled apart and served with rice, cabbage, and onions.

The other thing to try while in Hawaii and most definitely wallet-friendly is the plate lunch. The plate lunch is a Hawaiian institution. When ordering your plate lunch you can expect two things: 1) A good deal, and 2) to be full.

A plate lunch normally consists of the main entree, grilled chicken, for example, it would then come with two servings of rice and macaroni salad. Now, to make it a little more “local”, change out that grilled chicken for chicken katsu.

Another local favorite (for breakfast) is the Loco Moco. The Loco Moco consists of a hamburger patty (or a few of them) on a pile of rice with gravy poured on it topped off with a sunny-side-up egg. Healthy, isn’t it? There are several plate lunch places to go to that will offer your stomach gut-busting fullness at a reasonable price. Some of these establishments include L&L; Drive-In, Grace’s Inn, and Rainbow’s Drive-In.