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The best Hawaii tours
When it comes to decided which tours to do in Hawaii, it’s hard to choose! In this list, I will share the 7 best Hawaii tours.
There are plenty of tours in Hawaii that aren’t worth the time or money. However, these are the tours that are worth your valuable time and money.
If you’re new around here, I’m Amy. I’m a Hawaii Travel Agent and travel blogger who lives to share my favorite things to do in Hawaii.
You can do most of the following tours on every island, and I’ve highlighted my favorite on each island. Some of the trips are unique to a particular island, and I’ve noted those as needed.
Tours in Hawaii that are worth it
There are a lot of websites, travel bloggers, and travel agents that will recommend Hawaii tours just to get a commission. The truth is, not all of the tours in Hawaii are worth it.
There are a lot of things to do in Hawaii that you can do on a tour, but in general, I recommend doing on your own. Here are a few examples:
- The Road to Hana (Maui)
- Waipio Valley (Big Island)
- Hiking in Kauai
- Pearl Harbor (Oahu)
There are reasons why some people might want to do these as a tour, but the majority of the time you can do them on your own.
The ability to do things on your own is one reason why I recommend renting a car. Discount Hawaii Car Rental offers the best prices on rental cars in Hawaii. You can reserve now and pay at the airport upon arrival.
I have included links to all of my favorite tours on each island. I like to book through Viator. Viator offers a 100% refund up to 24 hours before the tour.
Viator offers a price matching policy. If you (or your Travel Agent) find a better price, Viator will match it.
1. Helicopter tour
A helicopter tour is a must-do on any of the islands! All of the islands have areas that can only be accessed by air. Kauai, for example, is only about 10% accessible by car.
To truly see all of the beauty of the islands, you will need to take a helicopter tour. While this can be a splurge, all of my clients have told me that it was worth every penny. Here are my favorite tours on every island:
Check out my review and see pictures of a Kauai helicopter tour.
2. Snorkel Tour
A snorkel tour is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. Even if you aren’t a strong swimmer, you’ll enjoy the boat tour, food, and also snorkeling with the assistive devices that many tour companies provide.
Most tour companies offer life jackets and other floatation devices, and many have glass bottom boats. These tours are perfect for the whole family and so much fun!
- My favorite tour on Maui is a Molokini Snorkel Tour. You can read about my own Molokini Snorkeling experience, or check out this top-rated tour company.
- You may have heard that Ni’ihau is the forbidden island, but did you know that you can take a tour from Kauai and snorkel there? It’s true! This unique experience is my favorite Kauai snorkeling tour.
- One of my favorite places to snorkel on the Big Island is Kealakekua Bay. One of my favorite ways to explore the bay is with a deluxe snorkel cruise that includes breakfast and lunch.
- On Oahu, you can snorkel two different reefs with my favorite sail and snorkel cruise.
Snorkeling Molokini Crater with black Hawaiian triggerfish.
3. Shark dive
This Hawaii tour is exclusive to Oahu, but I had to share it on the list of the best Hawaii tours because it’s unique and worth it!
Head up to Haleiwa on Oahu’s beautiful North Shore and hop in a cage to see some sharks. If you aren’t comfortable in the water, you can watch the sharks from the boat. This Oahu Shark Dive is one tour that you won’t want to miss.
If you’re interested in learning more about shark conservation or diving without a cage (yes, you read that correctly!) check out One Ocean Diving. They are doing amazing things to save sharks and their cage-free shark drive is one-of-a-kind.
If you’re planning a vacation to Oahu, make sure to check out 10 things to do in Waikiki and things to do in Haleiwa.
While a luau may not be a “tour,” it is a popular activity, and I thought it was worth making the best Hawaii tours list.
Keep in mind that some of the more popular luaus do sell out, particularly during the summer months. I always recommend booking luaus early to ensure that they get to go to the one they want. Here are my favorite luaus on every island.
Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center, Paradise Cove Luau (Kapolei), and Rock-a-Hula Luau (Honolulu.)
Maui: Feast and Lele and Old Lahaina Luau
Big Island: Island Breeze Luau
Kauai: Smith Family Luau and Luau Kalamaku
You can also check out the best luaus in Hawaii, the best luau in Oahu, and the best luaus in Maui for even more options.
5. Na Pali Coast dinner cruise
Here is another tour that is exclusive to one island (Kauai), but I promise that the best Hawaii tours list wouldn’t be complete without it.
Take in the beautiful views of the stunning Na Pali coast on a sunset dinner cruise. Remember that this tour is weather-dependent and may not be available during the winter months as the surf is very high.
High-surf on the Na Pali coast in March.
6. Manta Ray Snorkel
The Manta Ray snorkel is only available on the Big Island, but it’s easily one of the best tours of all of the islands combined. You can snorkel with these gentle giants at night for a truly unique experience.
7. Whale watching tour (seasonal)
Coming in last on the list of best Hawaii tours is seasonal whale watching tours. The good news is that these tours happen year-round, but you’ll only see whales in the winter.
In the summer, you’ll have the opportunity to do things like swim with (or near) dolphins, turtles, snorkeling, and other activities.
Many of the activities mentioned above could also include whale sightings in the winter.
The best Hawaii whale watching tours by island:
Oahu: Oahu Wildlife Cruise, snorkeling, and buffet.
Kauai: Kauai whale watching cruise.
Big Island: Whale watch excursion with Body Glove.
Maui: Whale watching from Lahaina.
Ziplining may not be for everyone, but it’s a great way for adventure-seekers to explore Hawaii. Here are some of the best zipline tours in Hawaii:
Big Island: Kohala Zipline and Hilo Zipline (over waterfalls)
Oahu: North Shore Zipline and Kua Loa Jurassic Valley Zipline
Maui: North Shore Maui Zipline
9. Tour a Hawaii Pineapple Farm
Pineapples are an iconic Hawaii fruit. I have an entire blog post about the best pineapple farms in Hawaii.
Check it out to learn more, or go straight to the tours here:
Oahu: Dole Plantation
Maui: Maui Pineapple Tours
Kauai: Kauai Sugarloaf Pineapple
10. Take a surf lesson
Again, taking a surf lesson isn’t really a “tour” but it’s a must-do in Hawaii. Many people are worried that they won’t be good at surfing.
Almost everyone who takes surf lessons ends up being better at it than expected! Even if you aren’t very good at surfing, it’s a lot of fun to try!
Kauai: Learn to surf in Hanalei
Oahu: Surf Lessons at Waikiki Beach
Maui: Maui Surf School
Big Island: Surf Lessons in Kona
Hawaii Tours honorable mentions
I skipped some of the must-do Hawaii adventures like the Road to Hana or visiting Pearl Harbor.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I only recommend tours that are truly worth it and most often, things that you can’t do on your own.
I understand that some people do not wish to drive to Road to Hana or prefer a guided tour so that I will link some options for those, but in general, I would recommend doing both on your own.
- Road to Hana day trip from Kahului
- Half-day Pearl Harbor Excursion
- Go Oahu Card (This is well worth it, but remember that everything must be booked in advance!)
Haleakala sunrise is another tour that can done on your own. If you don’t feel like driving very, very early, or are uncomfortable driving at higher altitudes, a tour might be right for you.
Many of my clients have enjoyed the tour. You can choose from a sunrise tour with breakfast or if you’re feeling more adventurous, bike down Haleakala! If you love biking, this is the perfect tour for you.
Lastly, you might want to kayak and snorkel Turtle Town in Maui with a guided tour.
Things to do in Hawaii
If you’re looking for more things to do in Hawaii (beyond the best Hawaii tours) then check out some of my blog posts with things to do on each island.
- 50 things to do in Maui
- 50 free things to do in Hawaii
- 100 things to do in Hawaii
- 25 best things to do in Kona
- 25 things to do in Kauai
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- The 7 Best Things to do on the Big Island
The Best Hawaii Tours
So, what do you think? Did your favorite Hawaii tours make the list?
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients for 2021. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I would recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
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