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.
Fresh flowers and good prices are the norm at the M. P. Lei Shop, on Maunakea Street, in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Look for the storefront with sky-blue trim, colorful Asian lanterns hanging from the eaves, flowers in the open doorway, and a sign that includes Chinese characters.
This open-air swap meet has everything from T-shirts dyed with island red dirt to baskets woven from coconut palm fronds. Stop by Captain Danno's stand for Hawaiian-style shaved ice.
The Experience at Koele, located at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, the Lodge at Koele, is a 7,014-yard, par 72 championship course designed by Greg Norman and Ted Robinson.
Hours are easily whiled away digging through the hodgepodge of Hawaiian paintings, Depression glass, aloha shirts, collectible toys, costume jewelry, and kitschy hula girl figurines at this circa-1997 shop.
The most popular outfitter on the island offers ziplining, ocean and river kayaking, and more.
A local institution, the shop for surf gear, mountain bikes, and Franko's Oahu Surfing Map, a vital guide to the legendary surf breaks of the North Shore.
Located at the Moana Surfrider Hotel, the Beach Bar faces famous Waikiki Beach and provides customers with unparalleled views of the sand and water from beneath its signature banyan tree.
Tobacco heiress Doris Duke stipulated in her will that her opulent and fanciful home (called Shangri La) on the shores of Diamond Head be turned into a museum.
The seldom-visited and fascinating island of Niihau off the coast of Kauai is inhabited only by a handful of native Hawaiians, and is generally closed off to tourists.
A variety of half- and full-day excursions are led by one of 15 experienced Maui guides.
In the 1990’s the project committed $585 million in public and private funds to transform eight acres of dive bars and budget hotels within an elbow of land framed by Lewers Street, Fort DeRussy Park, and Kalakaua Avenue.
Mokuleia is a popular destination for water activities including kite- and wind-surfing in south winds, snorkeling, camping, and hiking. Located on the North Shore just off Farrington Highway, this narrow beach has views of the mountains across the highway.
This remote retreat on the North Kohala Coast fuses Polynesian healing traditions with a green ethos. Book a lomilomi massage with a practitioner trained at the best school for the technique. Bring home the essential oils custom-blended from tropical plants by Warrent Botanicals.
Owned by the Kona Brewing Company, the Koko Marina Pub is located on the docks of the Koko Marina Center and provides diners with expansive views of the marina and the surrounding mountains.
Lish Jens and her husband opened this funky store, named after the famous island song “My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii,” nearly 40 years ago.