Things to do in Hawaii
The raw beauty of the Hawaiian islands has long attracted travelers, and rugged nature-lovers will find plenty of things to do in Hawaii—hiking active volcanoes, surfing massive waves, driving dramatic coastal roads, exploring lava rock deserts, and trekking in rainforests with cool waterfalls. From Maui to Kaui to the Big Island and Oahu, there are plenty of activities and attractions for more sedentary types too—museums dedicated to the islands’ Polynesian heritage, public gardens, pristine beaches, art galleries, markets selling local crafts, and great bars serving mai tais.
No matter how or where you choose to embrace the aloha spirit—on one of the world’s most scenic golf courses, under the stars on Waikiki Beach while listening to ukulele music, or on a bus to historic Diamond Head Lighthouse—there are countless places and things to do in Hawaii to keep you coming back. For ideas on how to make the most of your trip, peruse our Hawaii travel guide. All listings are created and vetted by Travel + Leisure editors and writers. Our experts know what to do in Hawaii and will have you planning your photo safari, helicopter tour, and beach excursion even before you step off the plane.
With its name meaning “bay sprinkling food,” the remote Hanakapi’ai Beach on the rugged Na Pali coast sits at the end of the Kalalau Trail, a challeging hike that takes about three hours round trip.
Established in 1910, the Hasegawa General Store, a sundry shop, is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Maui. The small store has survived both a fire and the never-ending challenge of transporting supplies on the winding road to Hana.
A must for any music lover visiting Hawaii, Next Door is known as one of the premier music venues in Honolulu. The combination bar and performance venue has an underground feel, enhanced by exposed brick walls throughout the space.
Longtime Maui resident Pono Fried, an extremely knowledgeable guide and teacher of Hawaiian culture, reveals the unseen island on privately guided, custom-designed tours.
A National Historical Landmark, ‘Iolani Palace is the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy. Built by King Kalakaua in 1882, the fortress was home to both Kalakaua and his sister Queen Lili’uokalani.
This West Maui shooting range hosts open shooting times, as well as competitions, safety classes, and role-playing shooting games. Shooting in the IPSC competition format started in the Western US in the mid 20th-century.
For a dose of history, travel to Agrigento, home to the fifth-century B.C. Valley of the Temples—a collection of seven Doric-style Greek temples that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Since 1916, the Komoda family has taken the flavors of Upcountry Maui — like guava and coconut — and rolled them into handmade pastries.
A Certified Travel Counselor, Laura Woo has nearly 30 years of experience in the travel industry. The China native lived in Hong Kong before coming to the United States and has traveled extensively both in the Far East and Europe.
Located in Honolulu’s Chinatown, this marketplace features a wide range of Asian and Hawaiian foods and merchandise, including meat, seafood, produce, tea, clothing, trinkets, and kukui nut necklaces.
The Waianapanapa beach is part of a 120-acre state park near Hana, in east Maui. The beach is made of smooth black lava pebbles and is surrounded by lava cliffs that are topped with lush, tropical foliage. During calmer weather, the beach is a good place for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Hook up with the naturalists at Trilogy, who pilot small groups in a 32-foot inflatable boat.
Located in the Ala Moana shopping center, Panya Bistro is an offshoot of the Panya Bakery, a Japanese bakery founded by Alice and Annie Yeung. The bistro is a sort of expansion on the original bakery concept, providing customers with a full-service restaurant, a bakery, and a full bar.
The huge, centuries-old temples and 15-foot walls that lie in ruins at this ancient historical site, sacred to native Hawaiians, were built by the Hawaiians to provide a sanctuary for war refugees and those who broke the kapu (taboo) laws.