Hawaii Attractions

Pearl Harbor, Oahu 

Forever a piece of American History, Pearl Harbor is a historical experience not to be missed! Pearl Harbor houses a collection of memorials, the USS Arizona Memorial, being the top attraction. Only accessible via boat, the Arizona memorial sits above the sunken USS Arizona Battleship. Don't forget the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial to see a once-working battleship. 

Kilauea, Hawaii

Kilauea is Hawaii's youngest and most active volcano. Start at the visitor center as volcanic activity constantly changes. Your best bet to see lava is at the eastern rift zone where magma meets the ocean. Views are best at night. It's a bit of a drive from Kailua-Kona, much easier to access from Hilo. Or consider staying in Volcano for a night.

Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Na Pali Coast, Kauai 

Remote. Rugged. Visually stunning. Accessible only by foot, boat, or helicopter, the Na Pali Coast is awe-inspiring, whatever route you chose. A boat tour is the easiest way to see the coastline, but a helicopter tour is worth the expense if you can spare it. Hiking requires a permit if you want to hike more than 2 miles in. Only serious hikers - the cliffs are not for the faint of heart. 

Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Garnett

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

The summit at Mauna Kea is the best place in the world for stargazing. Stop at the visitor center and stay there for a half hour to acclimate to the altitude change.  Then continue to the summit. A 4-wheel vehicle is recommended, but not necessary. Or take a commercial tour. Temperatures can drop below freezing, so pack accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Kirk Lee Aeder

Haleakala, Maui

One of the best places to catch a sunrise in Hawaii. You can easily drive there yourself, though you might be competing for a parking spot to catch a sunrise. If you prefer to sleep in, the scenery is still worth the trek and there is plenty of hiking to do. Sunrise will be cold, seriously cold, but you also get a great view of a starry night and temperatures rise quickly with the sun.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Ron Dahlquist

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", Waimea Canyon is the result of an acient earthquake that merged several streams into a large river which has been carving the canyon ever since. There are miles of trails to tempt any hiker. If you lack the time, there are several viewpoints along Waimea Canyon Drive providing imressive views of Kauai's dramatic interior. 

Image courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Once a place where only Hawaiian royalty could fish, now a protected nature preserve - but they let you snorkel in it! You will have to pay an entrance fee, but its a great place for a first time snorkeler with gentle waters protected by an outter reef. There will be a short video which is mandatory to watch, but it mostly shows and names the colorful fish you are about to swim with and how to interact safely with them.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Heather Titus

Fern Grotto, Kauai

Only accessible via the Wailua River, Fern Grotto is a natural lava rock amphitheater where you are likely to be serenaded by Hawaiian musicians. Boat tours take about 40 minutes, or you can kayak to the grotto.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Kirk Lee Aeder

Seven Sacred Pools, Maui

Known by several names, most commonly seven sacred pools (tourists) or Oheo Gulch (locals). By any name, this captivating series of pools & cascading water attracts a lot of attention. Located just outside of Hana, Ohea Gulch is part of Haleakala National Park, although you cannot drive from here to the summit. 

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Ron Dahlquist

Iolani Palace, Oahu

The only royal palace in the United States. Guided or audio tours are recommended. The Palace is just a few miles outside Waikiki and there are several historical buildings nearby and ecclectic restaurants to eat at in nearby Chinatown.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson