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.
Sample Maui Blush, Ulupalakua Red, or the Hula O Maui sparkling wine, made from sweet local pineapples.
Located in Chinatown, this Honolulu department store is easily recognizable by the words “LAI FONG” written in large red letters across the building’s slightly worn, white façade.
Working with CEOs, multi-generational families, and vacation seekers since 2005, Julia Kostenko of Altour Travel specializes in creating unique travel experiences, from honeymoon tours of India to private family getaways in Maui.
A must for any visitor to Maui is Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano (it last erupted in 1790), more than 10,000 feet above sea level. A winding road rapidly ascends past green pastureland to the moonscape summit.
Simmer Sails, located in Paia in northern Maui, has been producing windsurfing gear for over 25 years; the equipment is tested at Ho'okipa beach and is internationally renowned.
Sit under a pink umbrella while drifting off to the island melodies of slack-key guitarist Ledward Ka’apana. Later, sip Hawaiian rum at the volcanic island’s new hot spot.
Opened in 1994, this eatery has been at the forefront of Chinatown’s trendy renaissance.
Probably the best museum complex in the world for everything Polynesian (as well as Melanesian and Micronesian), the Bishop is Hawaii’s most famous museum—and worth the hassle of getting to its out-of-the-way location just off the H-1 interstate.
Located on Baldwin Avenue in the art and rodeo town of Makawao in Maui, the Hot Island Glass Studio is owned by artists Chris Richards and Chris Lowry.
Henry Adaniya might be the city’s most improbable new restaurateur. He closed his acclaimed Chicago restaurant Trio—where chefs Rick Tramonto and Grant Achatz made their names—to bring the upscale hot dog craze to Honolulu in 2007.
The massive lava-rock structure is the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia.
Charles Yee Hoy and staff have been selling antiques at a pair of shops in downtown Kailua for over 25 years. Their first store draws from the mainland and around the globe, and the spinoff around the corner sticks to Hawaii.
Special Booking: A couple requesting a fun adventure were chauffeured to the top of Haleakala at dawn, and then coasted down on bicycles that had been brought to the summit.