Hawaii Travel Guide
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.
Ride TheBus, and stop at historic Diamond Head Lighthouse, on the Eastern end of Waikiki Beach.
This slightly off-the-beaten-path bar in Chinatown is known among locals for its impressive selection of beers — more than 150 from around the world.
For a funky, homegrown look into the Hawaii of yesteryear, the Tahiti Nui in the beachside hamlet of Hanalei is the real thing. The unpretentious bar-restaurant caters to the locals, and it was the first watering hole to open up on Kauai’s north shore a half-century ago.
Women’s clothing designer Tamara Catz moved to Maui with her husband, surfing champion Francisco Goya, and began designing her own lines in 2000. After success selling to department stores and boutiques, Catz opened her first shop in Paia in 2005.
Special Booking: For several Texan clients, Arklind orchestrated a classic Scandinavian Christmas holiday, with an airport transfer by dogsled and an arrival greeting from the Finnish Santa Claus, Rovaneimi. They then attended a New Year's Eve dinner in Stockholm.
A dark, rock archway constructed in 1920, adds to the charm of Hawaii's first ever Christian church, located by the ocean and the Hulihe'e Palace in Kailua-Kona.
Make a picnic lunch of four-cheese focaccia, a butter avocado, and mangoes
Hanaiakamalama was the summer retreat of Queen Emma, the consort of King Kamehamena IV, and their son Prince Albert Edward. It is situated in the Nu'uanu Valley, a mountain pass overlooking the Honolulu plains (and only a 10-minute drive by car from downtown).
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.
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.
The six-acre Kahuna Valley retreat draws healing masters from around the globe to teach Qigong, Taoism, Reiki, and Hawaiian Kahuna healing. At the spa, choose from hot-stone therapy, deep-tissue massage, or a starlit watsu session with mineral-rich waters from the nearby Makaleha Mountains.
Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is home to this old-school bar that's traditionally Hawaiian with plumeria trees, torches, and thatched roofs.
With its protected beach, this is one of the North Shore's safest places to learn the sport. The school also runs classes in Waikiki.
Excited About: The hip new microbreweries popping up across Alaska. Phillips can organize a tour of his favorite spots, including Denali Brewing Company, in Talkeetna. Years as agent: 22. Specialties: Hawaii, Europe.