By Evie Carrick
February 12, 2020
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You can add exotic island destinations like Bali and Fiji to your 2020 bucket list, but the reality is that some of the world’s most beautiful islands can be found right here in the U.S. And you won’t need a passport (or a lot of money) to visit the Hawaiian islands. Thanks to increased airline competition in 2019, airfare to the state has been dropping, and the experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights expect that trend to continue in 2020.

Great flights aren’t the only thing driving tourists to Hawaii, though. Alongside new hotels, tours, and restaurants, the state is rolling out plenty of fresh experiences in 2020. From whale watching by kayak to climbing a volcano and stargazing, even Hawaii regulars will find something new to do, see, or experience this year.

Below are some of the most exciting new things to do in Hawaii in 2020.

Credit: Courtesy of our Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, A Sensei Retreat

Treat yourself to an adults-only wellness retreat on Lanai.

Hawaii’s brand new Four Seasons is doing things a bit differently. Located on the exclusive island of Lanai, the property takes visitors off the typical tourist track and transports them to an adults-only all-inclusive wellness destination. Thanks to a partnership with Sensei, a well-being company, and the renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the Four Seasons Hotel Lanai at Koele, a Sensei Retreat is offering programs and experiences that are expertly tailored to each guest.

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Watch the sunset and stargaze from a volcano on Maui.

During this tour, you’ll have the chance to watch the sunset from the summit of Haleakala, a shield volcano on Maui, before enjoying dinner and an evening of stargazing. According to Hoku Hawaii Tours, guests will “discover the ancient art of wayfinding” and hear “legends passed down for generations that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.”

Stay in a bungalow with private beach access.

Skip the island of Hawaii’s busy (albeit beautiful) Punalu'u Beach and enjoy the ultimate luxury: a two-bedroom, three-bath bungalow with a private pool, spa, and beach access. It’s all possible at the newly renovated Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, a hotel that also boasts standard guest rooms and suites, five restaurants and lounges, three pools, and a spa and wellness center.

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Look for whales from a kayak on Kauai.

Winter is humpback whale season in Hawaii, but instead of watching from shore, why not book a sea kayak tour for a closer look? On Kayak Kauai’s new Po’ipu Whale Watch & Snorkel by Sea Kayak tour, you’ll paddle the same canoe paths taken by early Polynesians and whaling captains. In addition to occasional whale spotting, guests can spot spinner dolphins and green sea turtles. The tour is available to book through April 17, 2020 on the island of Kauai.

Check out the all-new luau show on Oahu.

You’ve always been able to dine like royalty at the Polynesian Cultural Center's authentic Polynesian luau on the island of Oahu, but now you can top off your meal with the venue’s all-new Onipaa show. The performance is a tribute to Kingdom of Hawaii’s monarch Queen Liliuokalani.

Credit: Courtesy of Bishop Museum

Take a tour of surf history in Honolulu.

Surfers traveling to Hawaii before May 2020 will want to schedule in a rest day to make a stop at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum. The museum’s new exhibit, dubbed Mai Kinohi Mai: Surfing in Hawaii, explores the ins and outs of surf history, including the ongoing technical and cultural developments that made the sport an international phenomenon. The exhibit includes traditional Hawaiian surfboards, interactive displays on surf forecasting, and archival photos and memorabilia that showcase surfing’s roots in traditional Hawaiian culture.

Test out solar-powered bikes while exploring mountain rainforests in Honolulu.

If you’ve been wanting to explore the island on two wheels, but aren’t up for those uphill climbs (you are on a volcanic archipelago, after all), Bike Hawaii has you covered. The tour company recently introduced a solar-powered bike tour, allowing guests of all levels to experience the magic of Honolulu’s Koolau mountain rainforests.

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Make Hawaii your own.

If you’re over the one-size-fits-all tour mentality, check out Hawaii Forest & Trail's new personalized excursions. On the company’s private, exclusive trips, everything is customizable. Guests can opt for a waterfall swim, beach walk, or two great hikes within a four-hour minimum tour. Up to 12 guests can join in, and Hawaii Forest & Trail takes care of transportation, snacks, and drinks.

Fly over Oahu in a helicopter.

For a next-level air tour, test out Paradise Helicopters' new five-hour trip over Oahu. During the company’s Oahu Eco Landing Tour, participants will have the opportunity to plant native trees at Gunstock Ranch’s Hawaiian Legacy Forest. And if a near five-hour experience is too much, Paradise Helicopters also recently announced a 30-minute Legends of West Oahu Tour.

Go rum tasting on Kauai.

No island vacation is complete without some time spent on the beach, with rum cocktail in hand. Take that experience up a notch with a rum tasting at Koloa Rum Company's new Koloa town headquarters. The 45,000-square-foot distillery and warehouse on Kauai should be complete by Sept. 2020, giving you just another reason to make Hawaii your 2020 holiday destination