Hawaii Vacation Planner

2021 Hawaii Visitors Guide

Consisting of six tropical islands in the South Pacific, Hawaii is a picturesque visitor destination for people worldwide. Here, travelers can enjoy the tranquility that comes with strolling along the beach at night or the thrill of outdoor activities like hang gliding and surfing. On the Big Island of Hawaii, visitors are treated to the United States’ only rainforest zoo, the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo. Oahu, the most populated of the islands, features the world-class resort city of Honolulu and several well-known beaches like Kailua Beach and Waikiki Beach. The island of Maui is another popular spot, harboring two dormant volcanoes and boasting activities that range from biking to whale-watching. Enclosed by more than 100 miles of Pacific coastline, Maui’s destination towns include Kahului, Kihei, and Kapalua. The remaining islands—Lanai, Molokai, and Kauai—offer many other exciting activities including scuba diving, snorkeling and boat tours.

Big Island of Hawaii Visitors Guide

The Big Island of Hawaii is an island of remarkable geographic diversity. Ranging from volcanic slopes to tranquil coasts, the island offers exciting opportunities for any traveler. Visitors to the Big Island have the chance to experience a live volcano up close at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In the city of Hilo, the Mauna Loa Macadamia Visitor Center features guided tours through the nut orchards on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano and allows visitors to see the nut processing plant and enjoy free samples at the gift shop. Trails criss-cross the Big Island, offering prime outdoor activities for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. The rugged Miloli’i Beach Park offers a tranquil, undeveloped getaway from the pampered resort experience. Island museums include the Laupahoehoe Train Museum, which tells the story of the Hilo Railroad which once transported sugar cane across the island. Popular island destinations include Kailua-Kona, which hosts the Kona Marathon and Family Fun Run, and the Kohala Coast.

Oahu Visitors Guide

Oahu is Hawaii’s most-populated and most-visited island, as well as home to the world-famous city of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. Visitors of all ages and walks of life can enjoy a multitude of attractions and activities on the island, from dolphin swimming to historic sites. Two of the most-frequented places on Oahu are Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, which commemorates the attack on the base in 1941. In downtown Honolulu, visitors may tour Iolani Palace, the only palace in the United States that was inhabited by royalty. Also found in Honolulu is Chinatown, which spans 15 blocks and contains historical and cultural finds, galleries, restaurants, and specialty shops. Surfer’s paradise is found on Oahu’s North Shore, with many surfing instructors on hand to teach beginners the ropes. Whale watching, boat touring, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing are other popular Oahu pastimes.

Honolulu, on Oahu, is one of the premier destinations for vacationers in Hawaii’s six islands. Known for a wealth of resort accommodations, Honolulu offers a variety of activities to keep visitors occupied, from scuba diving to deep-sea fishing to swimming with dolphins. Waikiki Beach has a reputation as one of the best beaches in the world and features lifeguards for families and individuals frequenting the sandy shores. Aside from golf and beach-related attractions, Honolulu also features the Waikiki Aquarium, the Honolulu Zoo and the many areas of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, ensuring a full itinerary for guests. Visitors looking for unspoiled Hawaiian flora and fauna can find it just south of Honolulu at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a park dedicated to preserving the local marine life. Pearl Harbor is also located in Honolulu and features the USS Arizona Memorial, a commemoration of the lives lost during World War II.

Maui Visitors Guide

Maui features two dormant volcanoes: Haleakala, the world’s largest, in Haleakala National Park and Puu Kukui. Between them lies a beautiful valley with pineapple and sugar cane fields. The most popular beaches are located on the west shore. These include Ka’anapali Beach and Kapalua. On the east shore, Ho’okipa Beach Park is a world-famous spot for surfing and windsurfing. The historic town of Lahaina is well worth a visit for its resorts, museums, and cultural activities. Of the myriad Maui adventures available, one of the most spectacular is watching the sunrise from the top of Haleakala summit and then biking down 38 mi (61 km) of winding road to sea level. The Molokini Snorkel Cruise visits a half-submerged volcanic crater famous for its unique marine life. From mid-December to mid-May, the warm waters of Maui attract humpback whales and a number of whale-watching cruises are available.

Lanai Visitors Guide

Located just west of Maui, Lanai is one of the smaller islands of Hawaii and features several unique attractions for travelers. Fewer visitors come to this island than to the larger islands of Hawaii and Maui, giving Lanai a reputation as being a good getaway destination. Although the crowds here might be smaller, recreational opportunities are still abundant in this island oasis, with guests easily able to find surfing, swimming and sunbathing opportunities on Lanai’s beaches. Lopa Beach is accessible by four-wheel drive and features the ancient fishpond of Loka Lopa. Once known for pineapple production and as the base of the Dole corporation, Lanai is home to two of Hawaii’s more popular golf courses, the Challenge at Manele and the Experience at Koele, each with enough allure that many golfers come to Lanai just for the day. Resorts and other accommodations are available in the center of Lanai, however, visitors are advised that lodging and services are sparse in the outlying areas.

Molokai Visitors Guide

Molokai is the fifth-largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago, located between Oahu, Maui, and Lanai. Spanning 38 mi (61 km) in length and 10 mi (16 km) in width, Molokai boasts a variety of terrains, from the rainforests of Kamakou Preserve to the sandy shores of Papohaku and Murphy’s beaches to rocky hillsides at Pala’au State Park. Beneath its beautiful exterior lies a tragic past, as the island once held native Hawaiians who were exiled in the 1800s. From 1895 to 1969, the island harbored a leper colony, and today visitors can learn about this history at Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Molokai’s pristine and undeveloped natural environment makes it popular with eco-tourists. Local companies add to Molokai’s enjoyment, such as Molokai Outdoor Adventures, Gypsy Sailing Adventures, and Molokai Mule Ride. As the birthplace of hula, Molokai hosts the Ka Hula Piko festival each May to celebrate the Hawaiian dance.

Kauai Visitors Guide

Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, provides beautiful natural scenery for visitors to explore. The island is well-known for the sandy beaches that line its shores. Fans of the movie South Pacific will remember Lumahai Beach as the film’s setting, but all travelers will enjoy the swimming and sunbathing opportunities at this calm oasis. The resort area of Po’ipu Beach is also quite popular. Kee Beach is noted for its exceptional snorkeling while inviting lava rock pools can be enjoyed in Lydgate State Park. For some local history, visit the Kau’ai Museum in Lihu’e, the island’s main town, which displays the art and artifacts of Native Hawaiians. Further up the coast lies Poliahu Heiau, the remains of an ancient sacred site that was used for ceremonial purposes. Hiking is popular in Kauai—adventurous hikers can challenge the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast on the Kalalau Trail near the resort area of Princeville.