Choose Hawaii for your vacation or honeymoon, and you’ll quickly appreciate why Hawaii tourism is famous throughout the world for its “aloha” spirit of warm hospitality and tropical adventure. Hawaii islands tours offer unique attractions and activities exclusively designed for the comfort and enjoyment of your entire family.
Hawaiian island tours are available for every taste, from romantic dinner cruises aboard luxury liners, traditional luaus, to rugged hiking on special eco-tours, or stays at luxurious five-star resorts. Enjoy world-class golfing at beautiful oceanside courses, sailing the crystalline blue ocean, and of course, all the surfing, sunning, fishing, whale watching, scuba diving and snorkeling you can possibly imagine in the warm, tropical Pacific.
Guided bus tours make enjoying the best attractions comfortable and easy, and island helicopter tours provide aerial views of stunning landscapes and coastlines that can’t be seen from ground level. Hawaii weddings on the beach with stunning sunset panoramas have become famous worldwide.
Set aside ample time on Oahu to include a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a 42-acre site with seven villages representing Polynesian cultures from Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, Tonga and the Marquesas, where resident natives demonstrate traditional Polynesian lifestyles in a natural setting. Evening attractions at the Cultural Center include authentic luau activities, complete with a roast pig, slowly steam-roasted in a traditional stone-lined pit. A large cast enthralls visitors with island music and dance. Many Hawaii vacation packages are available to fit your schedule and personal preferences.
Honolulu, Hawaii activities include world-famous Waikiki Beach, offering sun, surf and close proximity to a full spectrum of dining, shopping and shows. An Oahu sightseeing tour from Waikiki will take you island-wide, visiting many scenic areas and attractions, including Honolulu, Diamond Head Lookout, Dole Plantation, Koko Head Crater, Hanauma Bay, the North Shore, and beautiful beaches along the way. Consult the Oahu map for an overview of major sites and locations of attractions.
If one of your dreams is to experience the wonder of actually swimming with Hawaii dolphins, include a visit to Sea Life Park Hawaii, located at Makapu Park. In addition to shows and exhibits featuring dolphins, seals, whales and beautiful tropical fish, an in-the-water interaction with dolphins is offered. Trainers who put on the main show will guide you through a personal training session with dolphins, and you might actually ride on the belly of one of the enchanting creatures. Don’t miss this an unforgettable experience—your own dolphin swim adventure.
If swimming with dolphins is too tame for you, Oahu is one of the few places in the world that offers you a personal shark encounter. Even protected within a submerged cage off of Haleiwa, coming nose to nose with this voracious predator of the deep is an experience never to be forgotten.
Pearl Harbor tours are a must for everyone visiting Oahu, where the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center presents historical exhibits and compelling footage of the actual bombing of Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field that brought the United States into the World War II. Cruise across the harbor to the USS Arizona Memorial, commemorating the sailors and marines who gave their lives here on December 7, 1941, and are still entombed in the actual vessel below.
An outstanding feature on every map of Maui is Mount Haleakala. Ranging from tropical rainforest at the base to the stark vistas within the crater, this mountain is home to endangered species and rare plants as well. Visit the observatory, take a guided hiking tour or horseback ride into the crater of this dormant volcano or enjoy one of the many bicycling tours down the mountainside. Take a guided bicycling tour down the roadways to the coast. Haleakala—the “house of the sun” awaits you.
The incomparable Road to Hana wends its way east along the north coast of Maui, offering panoramic views, many beautiful waterfalls and more—traveling a head-spinning path with 600 hairpin turns and 56 one-lane bridges. A Hana sightseeing tour traveling the Hana Highway leaves the uncertainty of traveling such a challenging road to the professionals and lets you put all your attention on enjoying the unmatched scenery along this rugged coast. In any case, be prepared for a leisurely pace and enjoy this unmatched scene.
While whale watch cruises are available from most Hawaiian Islands, the waters around Maui are a favorite of the Humpback whales as they while away the winter months resting, mating and giving birth. Thousands have been counted enjoying their winter home here. Whale watch cruises vary in length and type of vessel, and many cruises launch from historic Lahaina—a quaint whaling village from the past. The months of December through April are peak sighting times, so pencil this attraction in your activity schedule, if you are visiting during Maui the winter months. You won’t be disappointed.
Look at a Maui map when planning your trip to locate attractions and prioritize the time you have to spend here. A little planning will help schedule activities and transportation to make the best use of your vacation on Maui.
The island of Kauai is known as the Garden Isle and offers its own unique attractions, including the only navigable river in all the Hawaiian islands. A Wailua River boat cruise is a relaxing way to sit back and enjoy the tropical scenery on the way to a magical lava rock grotto. Rafting tours are also available on this river.
Find Na Pali Coast State Park on the Kauai map. This rugged west coast of Kauai is a must for a hiking tour to remote landmarks unreachable by any road. Na Pali actually means “the cliffs” in Hawaiian, and these come into magnificent relief from the many boat, rafting and kayak tours that cruise this most-magnificent coastline.
You’ll also want to make Waimea Canyon one of your destinations on Kauai. Called “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain, this massive erosional feature offers stark and beautiful scenery not expected on a tropical isle. Brilliant reds, greens and purples of a geological palette, paint the canyon walls with unmatched sunrise and sunset vistas.
Adventurous souls can take a thrilling zipline expedition on Kauai, sailing through tropical rainforests on the way to idyllic waterfalls and swimming spots. Many other hiking, paddling and 4×4 adventure tours are also available to experience Kauai’s unique tropical topography.
If you prefer an effortless birds-eye view of this magnificent, rugged landscape, a Kauai helicopter tour is the way to fly, and it’s only a short hop over to “The Hidden Island” of Niihau on one of the whirlybirds. Breathtaking cliffs, remote beaches, mountain waterfalls and the eternal blue ocean are all splayed out below to see and enjoy and remember for a lifetime.
Big Island Activities
When you think Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Mount Kilauea volcano instantly come to mind. Two of the world’s most active volcanoes are found here—Kilauea, which has been erupting continuously since 1983, and Mauna Loa, the world’s tallest volcano. A Hawaii adventure tour will take you to the flowing lava beds, where you will see nature at work, continuously building new landscapes just as all the Hawaiian islands were created in the beginning. Other volcano activities include star gazing, hiking and biking and guided bus tours.
You can leave the driving to the professionals and take a one-day tour to other sites on the Big Island, including Hilo Town, the Hamakua Coast, Black Sand Beach, Kailua-Kona, Waimea and more. Touring with a local guide takes the guess work out of finding your destination and provides an instant source of information about the local culture, history and natural wonders found only in Hawaii. Package deals are also available offering discounted combo activities like luaus, snorkeling, whale watching and underwater submarine tours.
Check out a Hawaii travel guide for a complete listing of sites to see on each island and activities to enjoy during your Hawaiian vacation. Remember that Hawaii weather can change quickly and varies according to which side of the island(s) you’re on (windward wetter/cooler and leeward drier/warmer) plus higher altitudes are much cooler than beach locations.
– By Brenda Mathews