25 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Hawaii from 25 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Hawaii
25 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Hawaii
25 Beautiful Reasons to Visit Hawaii
The fresh air boosts your mood, the calm and warm waters rejuvenate you, and the majestic views everywhere you turn inspire you. Hawaii is unlike any other place on Earth – a combination of thrilling adventures, laid-back atmosphere, beach life, and even seclusion, if you need it. If you haven’t already decided where to spend your hard-earned vacation, consider the Aloha State as your next destination.
Waikiki and other beaches
Waikiki is the most famous beach in the state but all of them are absolutely stunning. Hawaii’s beaches belong to “no one and everyone.” All beaches are public property. Regardless of whether you’re staying at a high-end resort, you are welcome to go to the beach in front of it. Don’t miss the Secret Beach, also referred to as Paako Cove, which is rarely visited,; or the Kehena Beach, which is one of the few unofficial “clothing optional” beaches in Hawaii.
This isolated bay, an unspoiled marine sanctuary filled with colorful marine life and coral where you can see, among other fish, whales and dolphins, is a dream location for snorkeling. Tucked along this bay are ancient religious temples and also the historic monument where world explorer Captain James Cook met his fate, according to Hawaii Activities. Archaeological sites are only accessible by rugged foot paths or by kayak.
Mauna Kea is a 13,796-foot volcanic mountain with a top that occasionally gets just enough snow for people to ski. There are no lifts, no grooming, no resorts, but a road that goes to the summit to serve the observatories located at the top, according to Hawaii Info Guide. Go camping under the stars here. The place is home to the world’s largest astronomical observatory which has the largest optical telescope. You can find the 2017 stargazing calendar for Hawaii here.
You won’t find any resorts, fancy hotels, and big restaurants there. And the locals, many of whom are Native Hawaiian, prefer it that way. There is not much to do there but to see Hawaii’s natural untouched beauty and get a taste from the past if you drive from Kaunakakai to Halawa Valley. Locals there surf and swim. Hike into the East End’s classic cathedral valley to see Hawaii back in time.
As the most active volcano in Hawaii, Kilauea has had a history of eruptions. A major one in 1983 produced Pu'u 'Ō'ō vent which still produces lava flows. Kilauea is one of the most incredible active volcanoes you can actually hike. Try the Kīlauea Iki Trail. You will descend through a lush rainforest to the floor of the solidified but still steaming Kīlauea Iki Crater lava lake, according to NPS. But, maybe, you should avoid taking rocks from area. Tourists do it all the time, but many return them because they, allegedly, bring bad luck.
These are the world’s highest sea cliffs. The superb cliffs soar between 3,600 and 3,900 feet above the ocean, according to GoHawaii.com. Tourists can’t really drive to see them because there are no roads to take them there, but people can take a helicopter tour, a direct flight to Molokai, or go to the Kalaupapa overlook from Pala’au State Park.
Winter is the only time in Hawaii you can see migrating humpback whales, which is just one reason why this is the season to visit the Aloha State. Thousands of them come to the islands’ protected waters to mate. January, February and March are the peak months for humpback whale-watching. The best places are Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island, according to GoVisitHawaii.com.
Kapu refers to an ancient Hawaiian code of conduct that was very important to Hawaiian culture. You may see a sign that says “kapu” as you walk by a beach or a park. This means this is a sacred site and you should treat it with respect. Don’t leave trash or take anything. If you come across two sticks crossed in the shape of an X with two ball shapes on top, take notice. This is a symbol of kapu.
Hawaii is the only state with a one. Molokai’s east end is a tropical rainforest that receives 240 inches of rainfall a year. Go on a gorgeous hike through the lavish woodland along mountain streams and pools and past ancient Hawaiian taro patch and hale. Make sure you make it all the way to see the 150-foot waterfall in the jungle where scenes from LOST, Hawaii Five-0 and Jurassic Park were filmed.
Honolulu is absolutely stunning year-round and makes a visit worth your time and money. It’s a great place to escape the snow, offers many family-friendly adventures, skydiving, and historical landmarks such as the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S. Hawaii’s capital that has some of the lowest ozone and PM 2.5 particulates levels in the country due to its location in the Pacific Ocean, which means the air is very clean.
Na Pali Coast
This is a place you can only see by kayak, and the trip is worth it. The 17 miles of ocean shores is one of the most popular attractions on Kauai. The 4,000-foot tall cliffs along the coastline are some of the most dramatic in the world. You’ll see dolphins, seals, sea turtles, sea caves, mangoes, waterfalls, and many stunning and secluded beaches. Visit the state park and hike the rugged, but beautiful Kalalau Trail. It may be tough, but you’ll never forget those views.
Garden of the Gods
Keahiakawelo, also known as Garden of the Gods, is an ethereal rock garden. The location’s mysterious lunar topography is populated with boulders and rock towers that were arranged centuries ago. Locals say this windswept landscape is the result of a contest between two priests from Lanai and Molokai. Each was challenged to keep a fire burning longer than the other, and the winner's island would be rewarded with abundance. The Lanai priest, Kawelo, used every piece of vegetation in Keahiakawelo to keep his fire burning, which is why this area is so barren today.
The sunset cruises in Hawaii vary but they are all spectacular. Kauai’s ships leave from Poipu in the winter months. Go on a sunset snorkel cruise this time of the year for a more adventurous experience (they are also cheaper in the winter). Enjoy dining, dancing, and even live entertainment on some ships. This is a perfect romantic getaway from the crowds in Hawaii.
Mt. Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano. Rising more than 10,000 feet, Haleakala offers some of the most mesmerizing views you’ll ever see. The crater is huge – 7 miles across, 2 miles wide and 2,600 feet deep. It last erupted in 1790. Some of the best adventures in Haleakala National Park include paragliding, camping, biking down a volcano, stargazing, and zip lining.
This is a lavish jungle with waterfalls and fresh water swimming holes. Go there and you will literally see what the “Old Hawaii,” as locals say, used to be like. If you’re looking for dreamlike beauty in Maui, the Bamboo Forest is the place to go. The regal sight is well worth the one-mile hike to reach it. You’ll pass the-200 foot Makahiku Falls with the “infinity pool” at the top.
The trail starts at Polipoli Springs State Recreation Area at 6,200′ elevation, winds through stands of redwood and other conifers, past Tie Trail junction and down to the old ranger’s cabin at 5,300′. The trail, which has stunning views of redwood trees and untouched nature in general, is about 1.5 miles long and is ideal for bikers and pedestrians.
Niihau is the “Forbidden Island” of Hawaii. There are about 200 Native Hawaiians who reside there. They have kept their traditional way of life and even still speak Hawaiian. The main form of transportation is biking. You can see the island if you are on a helicopter tour but won’t be able to land unless you have permission from the Robinson family, which owns the island. Thanks to its location, it is one of the most incredible scuba diving locations.
The Kaumana Caves County Park Trail, which is mostly used by hikers, is an out and back trail. It is good for all skill levels. The thick greenery, pillars and stalactites swinging from the ceiling are stunning to see. The lush plant life in the cave is in large part due to the consistent rain in Hilo. Explore deeper into the two caves that are about 16 feet in diameter, according to Hawaii Guide.
Lanai is an idyllic tropical getaway. The privately owned island is just about 9 miles away from Maui. The conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving are perfect. And it’s never crowded. Don’t miss a chance to swim in Hulopoe Bay, which is a marine preserve, go whale watching, horseback riding, and hiking. Two Four Season Resorts on the island will pamper you.
The Halema'uma'u Crater
The lava lake is one of the most active in the world. The Halema'uma'u Crater is a pit crater located in the Volcanoes National Park. The crater itself is the remnant of a past explosion, according to Live Science. Scientists think the lake is like no other place on the planet because the lava is as light as water. The lake level rises and falls by the minute, hour, and month.
The secluded Kapena Falls drop about 15 feet. Royalty used to bathe there. The waterfall is close to downtown Honolulu. You can jump off a 50-foot cliff as seen in this video. The water, though, is freezing cold. The pool at Kapena Falls, behind the Memorial Park on the Diamond Head side of Nu‘uanu Valley, is one of the largest pools of Nu‘uanu stream.
The Hana Highway
This is one of America’s most scenic roads. The Hana Highway is by far Hawaii’s most famous, and treasured pathway. It is almost 65 miles of pure beauty and thrill. You’ll drive by steep sea-cliffs, see flourishing mango trees, and stop to soak in views that look like they are from the Jurassic Park movies with breathtaking waterfalls. If you go all the way, you’ll make more than 600 turns and drive through shorelines, bridges, and hills.
The Waihee Ridge Trail
The lush greenery and tropical scenery are perhaps most incredible in the summer. This five-mile hike in Maui climbs more than 1,500 feet through forest and over a winding ridge. The beginning of the hike is a bit brutal but the views of water cascading off Makamaka'ole Falls are astonishing. Seeing the valley from the farthest peak is exceedingly dreamlike.
Polihale State Park
If you want to camp out on a wild isolated coastline with a large sand beach backed by dunes and rough waters, tall cliffs and no facilities, head to Polihale State Park. Locals often go for tent camping on the weekends. It is a great location if you’re looking for a place with few people, according to Hawaii State Parks. The beach has large sand dunes – some that may reach 100 feet high.
Waimea Canyon is referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It stretches 14 miles long; it is one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep. This geological wonder provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. The grand inland vistas go on for miles, according to GoHawaii.