24 Oct Hawaii Sites You Can’t Miss on Your Next Visit
A trip to Hawaii is unlike any other experience! Most people simply picture a beautiful beach destination, but the Aloha state offers much more. One thing we love is the endless array of Hawaii sites and activities. Hawaii has options for those looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure or a relaxing getaway. Below we show you our top nine favorite Hawaii sites.
1. Sunrise at Haleakala – Maui
The desert-like landscape surrounding Maui’s highest peak at Haleakala is best seen during sunrise. We suggest making a reservation (which is now required) for your first or second morning in Hawaii while your body is still used to an earlier time zone. For sunrise and sunset times, as well as drive times, this chart is helpful.
2. The Road to Hana – Maui
The Road to Hana is among the most famous of Hawaii sites. Hana Highway (Hwy. 36) runs 50 miles past taro patches, lush rainforests, waterfalls and botanical gardens. You may consider staying overnight in Hana. If not, we suggest arriving before sunrise and returning after sunrise to avoid traffic. Do your research (or consult your travel agent) to narrow down the Hana sites you want to see along the route. Our favorite stops include Honomanu Bay Lookout and Upper Waikani (Three Bears) Falls.
3. Polynesian Cultural Center – Oahu
Travelers interested in immersing themselves in the island cultures of Hawaii need not look any further than the Polynesian Cultural Center. The cultural center is home to the award-winning Ali’i Luau. The Luau offers travelers a lesson on Hawaii’s royalty as well as a traditional Hawaiian meal and entertainment. During the day, the lagoon is open for canoe tours and the Hukilau Marketplace is open for you to browse Polynesian goods. In addition to the Luau, the new show “Ha: Breath of Life” features Samoan fire knife dancing.
4. USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor – Honolulu
Built in 1962 to honor the 1,102 military personnel who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial is likely the most visited of all the Hawaii sites on the list. Entry to the memorial is free but a ticket is required. 1300 tickets are given out on a first-come, first served basis at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center every day. You can also pre-book a free ticket here up to 2 months in advance. Plan to spend a whole day at Pearl Harbor, which is home to a few other family-friendly attractions including the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – The Big Island
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to Kilauea, which is one of the greatest volcanoes in the world. We suggest taking Crater Rim Road, which spans 11 miles and circles, Kilaue Caldera. The Kilauea Caldera region is the most accessible part of the park. Crater Rim Road takes you past many of the top attractions of the park including Devastation Trail, Jagger Museum, and Thurston Lava Tube.
6. Whale Watching – Maui
Each year, thousands of North Pacific Humpback whales make their Winter migration through the North Pacific Ocean. This occurs between November and May and Maui is the best place in Hawaii for whale watching. During peak months you should be able to see the whales right from your hotel room lanai (balcony/deck) or while on the beach. The stretch of Highway 30 between Ma’alaea and Lahaina is one of the best roads to see Humpback Whales.
7. Snorkeling and Scuba at Molokini Crater – Maui
Molokini, located three miles off Maui’s southern coast, is considered one of Hawaii’s best dive spots. Expect crystal-clear waters and endless colorful fish, as this Hawaii site is home to 250 fish species. The crescent shape of the islet provides a barrier from currents which is great for beginner snorkelers. Scuba is also popular here because it offers areas for divers of all skill levels and experience. Book a half or full-day boat tour with an early morning departure for best viewing conditions.
8. Shangri La – Oahu
For a unique history-filled Hawaii site, tour Shangri La on Oahu. The former home of Doris Duke, an American philanthropist, and heir to a huge tobacco tycoon, is now the Center for Islamic Arts and Culture. Her home is decorated with inspiration from her worldly travels including Lebanon and Egypt. While touring you can meet Islamic scholars and artists, and learn more about Doris Duke and her life.
9. Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park – Kauai
Surely this list of Top Hawaii Sites would not be complete without mentioning the Na Pali Coastline. The coast boasts lavishly flowing waterfalls and freshwater rivers and is rich in Hawaiian history. It has remained somewhat authentic and raw because it is only reachable by foot or boat. The best options for exploring this area is by boat or by foot. Ask your travel agent to help you find a sunset dinner cruise or a scuba excursion to the Na Pali Coastline. Another option for exploring is by foot through the Kalalau Trail, which runs 22 miles roundtrip. Here you will see natural waterfalls and streams, dramatically rugged coastlines and two gorgeous beaches; Hanakap’ai and Kalalau Beach.
With so many resorts to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Get in touch with an Enchanted Honeymoons travel agent today to book your next getaway! You can reach us at 402-281-3022.