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.
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.
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.
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.
Located in an old clapboard building in Paia, Mana Foods is a health food store that offers organic, international, and gourmet foods and health care products. Island-grown produce such as lychee and durian are available; the butcher also offers local seafood, beef, and chicken.
Hawaiian shirts sell for as little as $4, but vintage varieties from the 1930s will set you back thousands of dollars.
One of the last of the old-school tiki bars, this everyman’s establishment has occupied the waterfront of Keehi Lagoon for more than five decades—in a location even island residents rarely get to.
Kona’s Keauhou Bay is one of the best places on earth to swim up close to huge and harmless manta rays, elegant nocturnal beasts that feed on plankton.
The Viewpoints Gallery, located on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao in Maui, is a cooperative of about twenty artists. The gallery is housed in a green board-and-batten building with white trim that's surrounded by a courtyard with restaurants and other galleries.
Some of the most envied views in town of curved Waikiki Beach can be had from this 30th-floor restaurant, accessed by a ride in a glass elevator. It’s somewhat touristy, sure, but the view is amazing, the food stacks up, and it’s been a Waikiki favorite for decades.