Hawaii is more multifaceted than you might presume. As you glide into the capital of Honolulu you’ll be met with a metropolitan hub that rivals that of LA or NYC, but is set amongst a striking landscape of jungles, volcanoes and sandy shorelines. Across the six islands, you’ll find a chest of Pacific Ocean treasures just waiting to be discovered. If you’re planning on visiting soon, we recommend ticking these 39 activities off your bucket list.
1. Come face-to-face with an active volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (if you visit at night time, you can witness the lava glowing out the crater!)
2. Get a view of the other islands by hiking to the top of Koko Head.
3. Drive the scenic Hana Highway, arguably the best drive in Hawaii.
4. While driving to Hana, remember to stop by the Pipiwai hiking trail.
5. Swim with sea turtles.
6. Take in the breath-taking views from a helicopter tour.
7. Grab your fork and dig into a Poke Bowl (local delicacy made of cubed raw fish, seasoned any way you like it).
8. Find the Kaniakapupu Ruins (they’re on the Nu’uanu Oahu hike).
9. Visit Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.
10. Go mountain tubing through caves.
11. Stroll through Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-foot ancient tunnel formed by flowing lava.
12. Gasp at the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
13. Snorkel around Molokini – a crescent-shaped volcanic crater that peaks out of the Alalakeiki Channel between the islands of Maui and Kahoʻolawe.
14. Visit the historic Iolani Palace (the only palace on United States soil).
15. Stargaze at the top of Mauna Kea, home to the world’s largest astronomical observatory.
16. Practice your golf swing at one of the archipelago’s 70 courses.
17. Skydive over the islands.
18. Walk along one of Hawaii’s black sand beaches, such as Punaluu Beach.
19. Kayak to Mokulua Islands.
20. Grab a tasty dinner form the food trucks on the North Shore.
21. Take in amazing views of Waikiki at the top of Diamond Head State Monument.
22. Whale watch off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.
23. Visit the Oloupena Falls, the tallest waterfall in Hawaii and the fourth largest in the world.
24. Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial that went down during the events of Pearl Harbour.
25. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, the most popular snorkelling beach on Oahu.
26. Walk around Old Lahaina Town, a Maui town of historical and cultural significance.
27. Watch lava flow into the ocean (this isn’t a regular occurrence, but is once in a lifetime if you do see it).
28. Try some Shave Ice – a local delicacy that can be likened to a grown-up Snow Cone.
29. Hike the Napali Coast along the Kalalau Trail.
30. Hop on board a submarine and discover Hawaii’s colourful aquatic life.
31. Visit The Polynesian Cultural Center – a Polynesian theme-park with six areas representing Fiji, Tonga, Samao, Tahiti, Hawaii and Aotearoa.
32. Gaze out at the Pacific Ocean at Ka Lae – also known as South Point, the southernmost area of the USA.
33. Feel déjà vu as you keep a look-out for film and television sets from Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lost, Pearl Harbour, and King Kong.
34. Spot a Hawaiian Monk Seal, the only seal native to Hawaii.
35. Get your surf on (the South Shore is best for beginners) or watch the professionals at one of the many championships.
36. Walk on Hanalei Beach Pier.
37. Visit the Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu Beach).
38. Explore the Haleakala National Park and look out for the 400-foot tall Waimoku waterfall.
39. Visit Post-A-Nut on Molokai, and send a coconut back home to your friends and family.
Hawaii is one of the world’s top bucket list destinations – is there anything you think we’ve missed?