Which island to visit in Hawaii? Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Big Island? What to do ? Well I spent 3 months on the 4 main islands named above, which offer magical landscapes very distinguished from each other. I’m giving you my opinion on the highlights of every islands
Big island for its rainforest or its volcanoes, Kauai for its deserted beaches and its vegetation (Garden island), Oahu for its night life, epic point of view, the surf culture and much more! I give you my top 10 of the best things to do in Hawaii
Those are free or inexpensive activities for everyone on the Hawaiian Islands. Here are my top 10:
#1 Banzai pipeline (Oahu)
Personally it was an incredible experience to see with my own eyes the iconic international surf spot which housed all the best surfers on the island. Also the Billabong and Volcom house with their whole team, phew! If you are lucky enough to be there during the Billabong pipe master event, you will be amazed by the waves and by the talent of the best surfers in the world. Banzai Pipeline is a world-renowned surf reef break located on the North Shore of Oahu. Banzai is known for its perfect barreling waves and is rated as one of the most dangerous surf breaks on the globe. Many surfers experience injuries and hundreds of surfboards are broken each year on the shallow reef
#2 Stairway to heaven (Oahu)
Also called Haʻikū Stairs. This staircase is a popular and breathtaking hiking trail located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The stairs are famous for their steep incline and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including lush green valleys and the sparkling blue ocean. However, it’s important to note that access to the Haiku Stairs is currently restricted due to safety concerns and trespassing laws, as the trail is officially “closed” to the public.
#3 Kalalau trail, Na pali coast (Kauai)
The Kalalau Trail is an iconic trail along Nā Pali that runs approximately 11 miles along the picturesque cliffs of the coast. Personnally this is my top #1 highlight in the whole archipelago. The panoramic views throughout the hike are breathtaking. The first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail is an extraordinary experience. You’ll get a good taste of the NaPali Coast with it’s stunning views, and a beach to rest and recover. To get to the waterfalls you will hike for 3-5 hours total ( an extra 4 miles round trip from the beach) along coasts to valleys, over freshwater streams and finally, to the magnificent Hanakapi’ai Waterfalls . It is not an easy hike, but it is rewarding and definitely worth the effort. I recommend to bring lots of water, stay hydrated and invest in some good hiking shoes.
#4 Waimea canyon (Kauai)
Waimea Canyon, is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” due to its breathtaking beauty and vastness. It offers several hiking trails for different skill levels. Some popular trails include the Canyon Trail that takes you along the rim of the canyon, the Waipo’o Falls Trail leading to a beautiful waterfall, and the challenging Awa’awapuhi Trail offering panoramic views of the Na Pali Coast.
There are several lookout points along Waimea Canyon Drive that provide stunning views of the canyon and its vibrant colors. Popular lookout points include Waimea Canyon Lookout, Puu Hinahina Lookout, and Kalalau Lookout.
#5 Hanalei Bay (Kauai)
Hanalei Bay is known for its stunning sandy beach, which stretches over two miles along the coast. The bay itself is a crescent-shaped, shallow body of water, making it ideal for various water activities. Hanalei Bay is a popular destination for both locals and tourists due to its natural beauty, recreational activities, and relaxed atmosphere. Whether you want to soak up the sun on the beach, indulge in water sports, or simply enjoy the stunning surroundings, Hanalei Bay has something for everyone.
#6 Big beach / Little beach (Maui)
Big Beach, also known as Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach, is a spacious beach known for its strong shorebreak. There is decent amount of boogie-boarding and surfing activities on this beach, and there are a handful of food trucks. Most people spend their day relaxing on Big Beach. As the sun goes down quietly, people cross onto Little Beach to enjoy the hippy vibes of djembe music and fire dancers. This event happens every sunday afternoon. It has been generally accepted that Little Beach is a nudist beach, therefore clothing is optional. Approximately 20% of the people take off their swimwear to fully live the experience. You cannot miss a Sunday on Little Beach.
#7 Road to Hana (Maui)
The Road to Hana is an iconic curvy road with scenic views and countless attractions. The adventure begins in Paia: fill up your gas tank and prepare for the journey. Do not rush; drive slowly and stop at every parking lot on the side of the roads. You will bump into some picturesque waterfalls, bamboo forests, crazy cliff jumping spots, some scenic lookouts and much more. It would be difficult to name every single attraction, but here are some highlights on the Road to Hana: The Seven Sacred Pools, Twins Falls, Red Sand Beach, Blue Sapphire Pools, bamboo forests, Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls.
#8 Volcano national park (Big island)
Volcano National Park is home of the Kīlauea volcano, wich is the most active volcanoes in Hawaii. The Volcano National Park is open 24 hours a day. You can observe glowing lava in the craters at night. The park also provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. The entrance fee to the park is $25 per vehical. Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park provides a unique opportunity to witness the power of volcanic activity and explore a diverse range of volcanic landscapes
#9 Mauna Kea Volcano (Big Island)
Mauna Kea is considered one of the most sacred places in Hawaiian culture and is an important site for cultural and spiritual practices. Geologically, it is a shield volcano, characterized by its broad, gently sloping shape. The summit of Mauna Kea is home to an internationally renowned astronomical observatory. Due to its high elevation and clear skies, it offers excellent conditions for stargazing and astronomical research. The observatory complex houses several telescopes operated by different institutions from around the world.
#10 Natural Hidden slide (Big Island)
The hidden 35-foot water slide located in the jungle of Waipio Valley is a reckless journey itself. The two hour hike includes walking through dense forests, dark tunnels and breathtaking views. The slide is polished enough to slide down on your own, but feel free to bring your flotable devices!
Hawaii is a fantastic travel destination known for its stunning natural beauty, warm tropical climate, and unique culture. I think that this is the destination with THE MOST outdoor things to do ever. There is so much to do and so much to see. Each of these islands offers a unique experience, so consider the type of activities and atmosphere you’re looking for when choosing your ideal Hawaii travel destination.