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100 things to do in Hawaii
If you’re planning a Hawaii vacation and looking for things to do in Hawaii, this post is for you. I have gathered 100 things to do in Hawaii, including things to do on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Molokai, Lanai, and even the forbidden isle of Niihau.
Of course, there are thousands of things to do in Hawaii, but this list of 100 things to do in Hawaii will help you get started.
I’ve separated this list by island. If you want even more, check out the links at the bottom for separate posts about things to do in Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Oahu, and more.
Do I need a rental car in Hawaii?
No matter what island you’re visiting, you’ll need a rental car. You can get by without a rental car on Oahu, but I recommend one if you truly want to get the most out of the island. Oahu is so much more than Honolulu and Waikiki.
I recommend reserving a car as early as possible. You’ll find the best prices anywhere at Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
You can reserve your car early, and you don’t have to pay until you arrive. Also, you can cancel at any time for free if you find a better deal.
Things to do in Hawaii
Here are 100 things to do in Hawaii, listed in order by island. I’ve included things to do on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island, Maui, and Lanai. From crystal clear waters to small towns to lava fields to panoramic views, the Aloha State has it all!
Although I will mention things to do in Hawaii on the main islands, did you know that Hawaii officially has 137 islands? Now you know. If you want to learn more fun facts about Hawaii, check out 20 fun facts about Hawaii.
If you’re not sure which island to visit, make sure to check out What is the best island to visit in Hawaii?
Things to do in Oahu
Let’s start this list of 100 things to do in Hawaii on Oahu. Oahu is the most populated island and has the largest city – Honolulu. However, there are so many things to do on Oahu outside of Honolulu and Waikiki!
We will discuss the popular things to do in Honolulu and Waikiki, but I’ll also mention things on the other parts of the island that you won’t want to miss.
Let’s get started!
1. Visit Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist destinations; you don’t want to miss it. I don’t recommend a tour; you can see Pearl Harbor on your own. If you want to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, make sure you get tickets. They are free with a small service charge.
2. Take a surf lesson at Waikiki Beach. Can you imagine a more perfect place to learn to surf than Waikiki Beach? There are better beaches on Oahu than Waikiki, but you have to go to Waikiki Beach at least once, and why not take a surf lesson while you’re there?
3. Take a submarine tour with Atlantis Submarine Adventure. Dive under the waters of the Pacific Ocean (without getting wet) with a submarine tour. This is a great way for those with small kids or limited mobility to see all of the tropical fish and marine life that Hawaii has to offer.
Cultural Activities on Oahu
4. Visit Iolani Palace. ‘Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States. It was the official residence and capital of the last ruling monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Iolani Palace is also a National Historic Landmark and the perfect spot to learn Hawaiian history.
5. Check out the Bishop Museum. The Bishop Museum is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Hawaii’s rich culture and heritage,
6. Attend a Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The Polynesian Cultural Center is also a great place to learn about the history of Hawaii, Hawaiian Culture, and more. You can also check out the best luau on Oahu for more great Oahu luaus.
More things to do in Oahu
7. Take a sunset cruise at Waikiki.
8. Explore local sea life with a Submarine Scooter Adventure.
9. Shop at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Downtown Honolulu. If you’re looking to do some serious shopping during your trip to Hawaii, Oahu is the only place where this is really an option.
11. Visit the Dole Plantation. I have a separate post about pineapple farms in Hawaii that you might enjoy. It’s free to enter the visitor center but keep in mind before you go that all activities are paid for individually.
12. Shop in Haleiwa. Haleiwa and the North Shore are so different from Waikiki; you don’t want to miss them. This is yet another reason why you should rent a car. You can also check out 50 things to do in Haleiwa.
13. Skydive with Pacific Skydiving or Skydive Hawaii. Even if the idea of skydiving is scary, what better place to do it than over beautiful Hawaii?
14. Swim with sharks with One Ocean Diving. Yes, I’ve listed two scary things in a row. You can cage dive with sharks, but One Ocean Diving offers swimming with sharks with no cage.
It might sound dangerous, but the mission of One Ocean Diving is to help these misunderstood animals. I highly recommend checking out their documentary too!
Hikes & Beaches on Oahu
15. Find Sea Turtles in their natural habitat at Laniakea Beach (aka Turtle Beach.) Just make sure to keep a safe distance from the turtles and respect that this is their home.
16. Hike Diamond Head Crater. You will need a reservation to visit Diamond Head State Monument, so make sure to secure it in advance.
17. Visit Lanikai Beach, not to be confused with Laniakea Beach. They have picnic tables, so bring lunch!
18. Check out Pink Pillbox Hike, considered by some to be the best hike in West Oahu.
19. Visit Hanauma Bay State Park. Check out Pure Aloha Adventures for standup paddleboarding, snorkeling tours, and more.
***PLEASE DO NOT attempt to hike the Stairway to Heaven. It’s so frustrating to see this on lists of things to do in Hawaii. It is illegal and highly guarded. You will be fined if you are caught. There are plenty of other hikes in Oahu that are beautiful, perfectly legal, and require no trespassing on private property.
Restaurants on Oahu
20. Dine at the Original Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. This restaurant has been around since 1988 and still offers the same buzz and vibe. Since it is a popular option, reservations for this restaurant are recommended.
I could have made a list of 100 things to do in Hawaii with dining on Oahu alone, so make sure to check out both of those posts, and let’s move on to things to do on the other islands.
Things to do in Kauai
21. Take a shelter dog on a field trip with the Kauai Humane Society. This is a wonderful program, and how many Kauai pups find forever homes! If you love animals, it’s one of the top things to do in Kauai. We took Ellen on a fun hike, and she was the best girl.
23. Check out the small town of Hanepepe. This is where Lili and Stitch are supposed to live in all the Disney movies about them. Friday night is one of the best times to wander through Hanapepe Town, as they have an Art Night every Friday. The weekly art market is a favorite of both locals and tourists.
24. Head out for a sunset sail on the Na Pali Coast with Holo Holo Charters. There are many companies offering sailing or snorkeling adventures, but I highly recommend Holo Holo Charters for the best service and the best time.
25. Drive up to Wailua Falls. There are many beautiful waterfalls on Kauai, and Wailua Falls is one of the easiest to access.
Must-do’s on Kauai
26. Float Down Sugar Cane Irrigation Canals with Kauai Backcountry Adventures. This is one of the most unique things to do on Kauai and a must for almost anyone.
27. Visit the remote Polihale State Park. The drive is a bit rough, but this beach is huge and not crowded at all. If you do visit, please make sure to have common courtesy, pick up your trash, and leave the place nicer than how you found it!
28. Check out Kilauea Lighthouse. There is also an offshore bird sanctuary where you can see some of Hawaii’s birds. The parking lot is a bit far, but there are golf carts available if you have mobility issues. The entry fee is only $10/per person, and children under 16 are free.
30. Enjoy a luau at the Luau Kalamaku. If you want to try a luau on Kauai, the Luau Kalamaku is a visitor favorite.
31. Standup Paddleboard or Surf Hanalei Bay. After taking the time to learn to surf or SUP, you’ll likely be hungry. Check out the many food trucks in Hanalei.
32. Rent a bike and ride down the Kapa’a Bike Path (officially Ke Ala Hele Makalae Path.) I recommend Hele on Kauai, which is easy to find in Kapa’a.
Hikes & Beaches on Kauai
33. Find sea glass (and maybe even an endangered Hawaiian monk seal!) at Glass Beach. Please, make sure to keep your distance from these beautiful creatures along with any other marine or land animals in Hawaii. It’s not just wrong but also illegal to come too close to them.
34. Snorkel at Tunnels Beach for some of the best snorkeling on the island of Kauai. If you want to swim, check out the 16 best beaches in Kauai for swimming.
35. Visit Poipu Beach on the south side of the island. This is the perfect location for a beach day.
36. Hike Sleeping Giant at sunrise. If you love hiking, check out the 7 best hikes on Kauai. Sleeping Giant is a moderate hike and easily one of the best on Kauai. I recommend it at sunrise.
37. Check out all or part of the Kalalau Trail. Make sure you have a permit, which you’ll have to get in advance. If you don’t have time to do the 11-mile (one-way) trek, consider hiking to Hanakapiai Falls or Hanakapai Beach instead. At the very least, head up to Ke’e Beach at the beginning of the trail. It’s a great spot to swim or snorkel.
38. Hike the Canyon Trail in Waimea Canyon. Also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is a must-see for anyone visiting Kauai. If you’re not up for a hike, it’s easy to find a lookout point that you can drive up to.
Restaurants on Kauai
39. Dine with your toes in the sand at Lava Lava Beach Club.
40. Eat tacos with a Hawaiian twist at Tiki Taco in Kapa’a. I know this seems like a weird suggestion, but you will not regret checking out Tiki Taco!
41. Have a juice at Kauai Juice Co. They use many local ingredients and have the best juice and kombucha I’ve ever tried.
42. Dine at Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. You don’t have to stay at the Grand Hyatt to dine at the popular Tidepools restaurant. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, The Grand Hyatt Kauai is fantastic for families or couples. Fun fact, it is the third-largest resort in Hawaii and (by far) the largest on Kauai.
Things to do on the Big Island
43. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Many visitors want to go to the Big Island to see Kilauea (one of Hawaii’s active volcanoes-Mauna Loa is another one) at Volcanos National Park.
You can easily spend a few hours or all day at Volcanoes National Park hiking or exploring lava tubes, so I recommend setting aside a half day (at least!) to enjoy it. Check out Guide to Volcanoes National Park for more information. Alternatively, you can also do Crater Rim Drive, which takes about 2 hours.
44. Check out the Petroglyphs at Pukao Petroglyph field or Waikoloa Petroglyph field.
45. Drive to the summit of Mauna Kea. You’ll either need a 4-wheel drive (check your rental agreement) or take a tour. It can even snow in the winter months! Yes, snow in Hawaii. Mauna Kea is considered the tallest mountain in the world if you measure from the sea floor.
If you’re looking for the best way to rent a car in Hawaii, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. You’ll find the best deals on any of the Hawaiian Islands.
46. Visit Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. This is one of the fun things to do in Kona with kids.
47. Take a snorkel cruise at Kealakekua Bay. You can also kayak (I’ll share that below), but either way, Kealakekua Bay is a must if you want to see dolphins in their natural habitat.
Learn the history on the Big Island.
48. Visit Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park (City of Refuge). This is one of the best historic sites to visit to learn more about Hawaii’s history.
49. Visit Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. You will find ancient fishponds and get a glimpse at how Hawaiians lived many years ago. If you love history, you’ll definitely need to visit.
50. Snorkel at night with Manta Rays. This unique-to-the-Big-Island adventure is a must for anyone who loves animals or snorkeling.
51. Visit a Farmers Market. There are many farmers’ markets spread throughout the island, many of which are in Hilo.
52. Kayak Kealakekua Bay. You can also take a boat tour which I mentioned earlier. Kealakekua Bay almost always has many dolphins, and they will swim right next to your kayak! It’s a beautiful sight to see.
53. Visit Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls.
54. Have an oceanfront dinner in Kona. Get great prices on drinks and apps during the best Happy Hours in Kona.
55. Zipline over a waterfall at Kolekole Falls. There are a lot of ziplines in Hawaii, but this one is unique.
56. Zipline with Kohala Canopy Adventure. This is a completely different experience than the zipline I previously mentioned, but both are highly rated and recommended.
Hikes & Beaches on the Big Island
57. Hike into Pololu Valley. This is one of the seven valleys on the Kohala Coast and the easiest to access via a short (but steep) hike. Arrive early because parking is very limited. At the bottom of Pololu Valley, you’ll find a beautiful black sand beach.
58. Hike the Kilauea Iki Trail at Volcanos National Park.
59. Snorkel at Two Step. This is a popular spot to snorkel on your own; no tour is needed. The Kona coast is a special place and offers some of the best beaches and snorkeling on the island.
60. Visit Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. It’s one of the best places to find sea turtles on the Big Island.
61. Check out the green sand beach at Papakoloa. This beach is very unique. It’s the only green sand beach in Hawaii and one of the few in the world. Please do not attempt to drive to the beach. It is about a 2-mile hike each way.
62. Check out Kekaha Kai State Park. This is one of my favorite places to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Restaurants on the Big Island
63. Have a mai tai at the Kona Inn. This is the best mai tai on the Big Island. Their food is hit or miss but if you enjoy a mai tai, head over at happy hour and try it out.
64. Dine oceanfront in Kona. There are so many places to eat in Kona and on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was hard to choose just a few for this post. I have a blog post with the best restaurants on the Big Island and The Best Happy Hours in Kona.
65. Enjoy the fantastic view at Huggo’s. As a bonus, they have great food too!
Things to do on Maui
66. Snorkel Molokini Crater. In my opinion, this is the best snorkeling tour in all of Hawaii. You can’t get to Molokini by yourself (well, it would be very difficult), and it’s one of the most popular activities in Maui, with good reason.
67. Take a drive down the Hana Highway. I have a full guide to the Road to Hana, and you won’t want to miss it. The Road to Hana features beautiful scenic views, picturesque waterfalls, tropical plants, and some of the best that mother nature has to offer. This is a scenic drive that you won’t want to miss.
You can take a full-day tour of the Road to Hana, but I recommend heading out on your own to enjoy yourself at your own pace.
68. Visit the Maui Ocean Center on a rainy day.
69. Check out Haleakala National Park at sunrise. You can drive yourself or take a tour. I recommend a tour unless you are comfortable driving unfamiliar roads very, very early in the morning (think 3 AM.)
70. Shop or eat in Paia town. This is an ideal place to start (or end) your journey on the Road to Hana.
Adventurous things to do in Maui
71. Bike down Haleakala. If a sunrise tour isn’t enough for you, why not bike down Haleakala after?
72. If you’re visiting during the winter, make sure to enjoy a whale watching tour.
You can learn more about whale watching in Hawaii here: The Best Time for Whale Watching in Hawaii.
73. Take a helicopter tour of West Maui and Molokai.
74. Snorkel at Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach, one of Maui’s many white-sand beaches.
75. Check out the Feast at Mokapu Luau at the Andaz. This is my favorite luau, especially for couples.
76. Visit Iao Valley State Park. There are plenty of things to do here including hiking.
77. Maui is a great place to scuba dive. I recommend Dive with Harmony.
79. Visit Turtle Town. You can take a kayak tour which is what I recommend.
Beaches and hikes on Maui
80. Visit Kaanapali Beach. Your resort might even be located on Kaanapali Beach! Check out the best places to stay in Maui if you haven’t booked yet.
81. Check out Napili Beach, a great beach for kids! This is a white sand beach, but Maui has many fantastic beaches, and I can’t share them all here. Check out Where to find a black sand beach in Maui to learn more about the black sand beaches of Maui.
82. Visit Big Beach. Big Beach is one of Maui’s best sandy beaches and the perfect location to spend the afternoon or have a picnic.
83. Hike Pipiwai Trail-Oheo Gulch.
84. Check out Twin Falls (an easy hike from Paia.)
Restaurants on Maui
85. Have dinner at Mama’s Fish House. This popular restaurant fills up months in advance, so make sure to get a reservation as early as possible. It’s often booked for 6 months in advance.
86. Check out MauiWine. If you decide to make the full loop back from Hana, this is an excellent stop near the end of your journey! I recommend a reservation just to ensure your spot.
87. Eat at Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon’s restaurant, Tinroof.
88. Enjoy local food favorites at Coconut’s Fish Cafe.
89. Have breakfast at Kihei Caffe. This has been a top recommendation from all of my clients, they have RAVED about Kihei Caffe, and I have to agree, they have fantastic food!
Things to do on Lanai
90. Visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. The island of Lanai has no animal shelter and no vets. Lanai Cat Sanctuary filled in a need by taking in the island’s stray cats and taking care of them while protecting the native birds of Hawaii. You can also see some of the available kitties at Cat Cafe Maui.
91. Check out Sweetheart Rock.
92. Visit the Garden of the Gods.
93. Golf at Manele Golf Course. Lanai may be one of the lesser visited islands, but the golf options on Lanai are quite incredible.
Don’t miss even more things to do in Lanai!
Beaches and Hikes on Lanai
94. Check out Shipwreck Beach.
Things to do on Molokai
95. Check out Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
96. Enjoy Live Music at Hale Kealoha.
97. Send a friend a coconut at the US Post Office outside of Ho‘olehua. Most people have never even visited Molokai, but even fewer have sent a friend a coconut from the post office. You have to do this to say you did it!
Beaches and Hikes on Molokai
98. Visit Papohaku Beach Park. We’re running out of things to list on this list of 100 things to do in Hawaii, but know that Molokai has many other beaches. Since Molokai isn’t as populated or popular for tourism, you might have an entire beach to yourself.
99. Hike at Halawa Valley. This is the most authentic cultural experience on Molokai, and perhaps even in Hawaii. It’s an hour and a half from the Molokai Airport, so even getting there is an adventure.
Things to do on Niihau
100. Technically, you can’t visit Niihau without an invitation. However, you can take a snorkel tour to Niihau from Kauai! While you won’t technically go on shore, you’ll get as close as anyone can to the forbidden island of Niihau. If you’re going to visit Kauai and want to snorkel, this is a must, as you’ll get to “visit” two islands in one.
things to do in Hawaii
That was quite the list! I hope this list of 100 things in Hawaii will help you add to your Hawaii bucket list. Did I miss any of your favorite things to do in Hawaii? As I said at the beginning of this blog post, it would be impossible to list everything. If you have a favorite that I missed, please leave it in the comments!
Have you visited the Hawaiian islands? If so, which island is your favorite? Mine changes, but I have to say my favorite is Kauai. Let me know your favorite in the comments, or join my Hawaii Travel Tips Facebook group. You do not have to be a client to join!
Don’t forget that I have over 200 posts with even more information and things to do in Hawaii.
More things to do in Hawaii
- 7 best things to do on the Big Island.
- 7 best things to do on Maui.
- 10 best things to do on Kauai.
- 10 best things to do on Oahu.
- 25 things to do on Kauai.
- 25 things to do in Kona.
- 50 things to do in Haleiwa.
- 50 things to do in Maui.
If you want even more Hawaii travel tips, don’t miss:
- The ultimate guide to Hawaiian animals.
- Maui vs. Kauai
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
- What is the worst time to go to Hawaii?
- What is the best island to visit in Hawaii?
- Is Hawaii safe?
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