Before we all get bamboozled with the endless things to do in Hawaii, here’s a quick guide for you. This guide of what to do in Hawaii will focus is mainly outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, camping, water activities, etc.
When you think of Hawaii, you think of beaches. Everyone is allowed access to all the beaches and shoreline in Hawaii. “Private beaches” are a lie. This is the state law and your rights.
Activities To Do
- Surfing: Check the weather and research about the waves before going.
- Body boarding
- Stand-up Paddle
- Scuba diving
- Swimming & tanning
You can rent equipment from the local shops or book lessons there! Note: it might be pricey.
Surfing is arguably the most popular sport. It’s mainly held on Hawaii’s north shores, so be prepared for the crowd and traffic!
- Best wave season: Nov to Feb
- Surfing competition: Vans Triple Crown of surfing
- Best winter waves:
- Makaha in Oahu
- Waimea Bay on North Shore, Oahu: legendary surf spot
- Waikiki Beach
- Safety Issues
Top 12 Best Beaches to Visit
- [Big Island] Punalu’u Black Sand Beach: black sand from volcanic ash
- [Big Island] Keauhou Bay: manta rays
- [Big Island]Kahaluu Beach Park: great for snorkeling
- [Oahu] Waikiki Beach: best beach for partying & free fireworks every Friday night. Also, surfing
- [Oahu] Hanauma Bay: great for snorkeling in a natural crescent-shaped nook.
- [Oahu] Waimea Bay Beach: also check out Sunset Beach and Ehukai Beach
- [Kauai] Polihale State Park: you need a 4×4 to get there
- [Kauai] Po’ipu Beach: great for snorkeling & first-timer surfers. Also, monk seals.
- [Kauai] Secret Beach: pods of dolphins at sunrise
- [Maui] Kapalua Bay: great for surfing
- [Maui] Ho’okipa Beach: see sea turtles at sunset
- [Maui] Ka’anapali Beach: humpback whales
Hiking is an absolute must. You can check out the official site for more trails.
- Hiking trails are ranked from beginners to advanced. Know your limits.
- You might need a guide for some challenging trails, especially if you are not a hiker.
- Bring plenty of water with you! Safety first.
- Research A LOT. Understand the weather condition, time it takes to hike, proper gear and sufficient food/water.
Stairway to Heaven Hike
Short answer: you hike it from the back.
Long answer: The trail you should be hiking is called Kaulana’ahane trail. The trail itself is legal and easy: 4-hours hike. Hike 4km up Kamanaui Valley Road Trail till a sign on the left for the start of the trail. Cross the Moanalua stream (28 times) till you reach a steep ridge with a panoramic viewpoint of the Haiku Valley.
The most challenging part of the hike is the motivation to keep going on the top of the ridge. One a clear beautiful day, you can see the cars on H3 below when you are above. Otherwise, you can hear them driving away.
At the top of the ridge, you go left and you will be at the top of Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven). The ridge is very dangerous and has no fencing, so you have to be extra extra careful. Use your hands and crawl on your knees if you have to!
Koko Head Crater Trail
Do this in the morning. If you are hiking in the evening, bring a flashlight. You’ll be hiking along the coast, with a great view.
Short answer: access at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai. Then climb 1000 steps up the trail to Koko Crater.
Get directions here:
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Short answer: it’s a paved road. Follow it.
Views you can expect: Koko Head and Koko Crater, Makapuu Lighthouse built in 1909 & migrating humpback whales in season (November-May)
Ka’ena Point Hike
Short answer: there is paved road in the beginning. Follow the trail. The trail is relatively flat.
Olomana Trail (Three Peaks)
Short answer : park on Luana Hills Road to access trailhead. White trailhead sign on the left, after the guard shack of Luana Hills Country Club.
1st Peak: Mount Olomana. It’s challenging. It gets really steep at the top. You have to rock-climb. Views to expect: Kailua Town, Waimanalo, the Marine Corps base, and Kaneohe.
2nd Peak: great views.
3rd Peak: very challenging. Requires ropes and experienced hikers!
Kalalau Trail (Na Pali Coast)
The entire stretch has different difficulty. Check out the map of the hiking area. The 11-mile trail traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach. The trail drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakāpīʻai and Kalalau. Get more details of the different sections.
Check if the area allows camping. Some spots are illegal. There are public campgrounds next to the beach and in many hiking spots. Check the Permit Reservations System for all campgrounds on the islands. Get more information about each island’s campgrounds at the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
- If you are lazy to pitch a tent, sleep in the car.
- Or just get a sleeping bag and sleep on the remote part of the beach.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.