Fun Things to Do in Hawaii
Hawaii: the destination for any reason or season
Whether you’re moving, vacationing, honeymooning or enjoying a long layover on your way to Asia or Australia, any time spent in Hawaii can be an adventure! Hawaii is arguably the most unique and beautiful state in the union, complete with idyllic weather and tons of things to do any time of the year.
If you want to go whale watching, take a dip in the ocean, tour a haunted site or hike through some beautiful landscape, Hawaii will not disappoint. What’s the first thing to do in Hawaii? That’s up to you! We’ve provided some fun ideas below to get you started.
Best Beaches in Hawaii
Hawaii’s beaches are one of the biggest draws. Each of the main islands has beaches that are thought to have the best swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and sightseeing in America. Here are a few of them:
Oahu beach destinations
Oahu is the Aloha State’s most populated island. It’s also home to one of the most famous stretches of coastline in the whole state: Waikiki Beach, where two miles of white sand gives way to crystal-blue waters. Oahu is a well-loved family destination as well; the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo are within a few minutes’ drive.
Located on the North Shore, Sunset Beach is revered by surfers. Professional and highly experienced surfers come to Sunset Beach every winter to ride the waves, which are significantly bigger then than they are during the rest of the year.
Lanikai Beach, ranked as one of the best in the world, is calm and peaceful all year — perfect not only for swimmers, but also for snorkelers and windsurfers. A couple of islands about a mile offshore that double as bird sanctuaries draw kayakers as well.
The Big Island (Hawaii) top beaches
When visiting ultra-private Kauna‘oa Beach, you’ll want to get there early in the morning because it’s limited to only about two dozen people at a time.
Here’s the kicker with Punalu’u Beach: it has black sand! If you’re intrigued by jet black sand, sea turtles laying eggs and beautiful waves, Punalu’u Beach is a must-see. Check it out:
Lahaina Beach is a preferred beach for weddings and it’s also a favorite for tourists who want to get a true taste of the island’s culture. This is a great place to take in some genuine hula dancing!
Beaches in Kauai
Poipu Beach is often voted the best beach in America. It’s actually split into two bays, and on the sand bar separating the two, you can sometimes find napping seals! One of the bays is called Baby Beach because the water is shallow and great for children who aren’t strong swimmers. The other beach is rife with water sports opportunities.
With mountains on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other and two miles of white sand in the middle, Hanalei Beach is like paradise!
Snorkelers and divers love Tunnels Beach, which features a nearby reef and deep-water caverns.
Sandy Beach is adored by swimmers, and the sand there is smooth and easy on bare feet. An offshore reef provides a prime spot for picturesque snorkeling.
You also can find black sand at parts of Halawa Beach Park, which is actually two beaches. When the surf is up, select sunbathing over swimming because riptides are common. Or, instead of sunbathing, make a castle in that beautiful black sand!
Haunted Hawaii: sites with reported paranormal activity
Places in Honolulu
Several places are said to be haunted by ghosts of Pearl Harbor victims. Visitors of Iolani Palace say they’ve seen the ghost of the former queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii, who died in the palace in 1917. Her ghost also has been seen roaming eerily through the Church of Saint Andrew (pictured below).
Oahu haunted sites
Alleged haunts extend beyond houses in the Aloha State. The North Shore, a popular area on Oahu, is home to a pond that is said to not only be haunted, but it also requires a periodic human sacrifice. Legend has it that every few years, a swimmer will disappear — despite the pond being rather small — and the body will reappear three days later. Many stories say this sacrifice is always a white male between the ages of 18 and 21.
Also on Oahu, Chaminade University is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of small children. The university is rumored to have been the site of a children’s hospital during World War II. Doors open and close on their own, children’s voices can be heard when there are no children around and an exorcism has been performed in the notorious room 208.
While you’re on the island, stop by Kipapa Gulch, which is said to be haunted by ancient warriors. Locals say that’ve seen the lights from the torches of these ancient warriors as their ghosts carry them from the mountains down to the ocean.
Famous spot in Maui
After Oahu, head over to Maui to explore one of its most famous haunted sites. Every year, scores of ghost seekers visit an abandoned high school in Hamakuapoko. The school was built more than a century ago upon the arrival of missionaries and sugarcane plantation owners. The building, which now looks more like the setting of a horror movie, and its grounds are reportedly haunted by the spirits of previous students and school staff. Testimonies of a “choking spirit” that attacks the wayward caller and the sound of a girl crying in the bathroom are widely given by locals and visitors alike.
Activity on other islands
All five major islands have multiple locations that are widely reported to be inhabited by ghosts, spirits and apparitions. Since native Hawaiians worshiped a pantheon before the introduction of Christianity, many of these places are said to be haunted by the spirits of the former gods and goddesses. If the spirits move you, Hawaii can be an endless source of history and mystery!
Other things to do in Hawaii
Though Hawaii is more commonly known as a mecca for beach lovers, many people come to the Aloha State just for the hiking — and why not? You can hike lava fields, volcanoes, sandy beaches or the lush green Valley of Kings.
Depending on the island where you’re living or visiting, you can tour Pearl Harbor or the Dole Plantation, go shark diving, or tour the rainforest on Oahu where some of the “Jurassic Park” movies were filmed. You can take a hot air balloon tour (on Maui and Molokai), send a “post-a-nut” at the Hoolehua Post Office — paint a coconut and send it to a friend back in the 48 — and pick your own fruits and vegetables at Kumu Farms on Molokai.
On Kauai, you can ride in or paddle a kayak up a river through the rainforest or take a waterfall picnic tour of Kipu Ranch. If you’re on the Big Island of Hawaii, take a unique-to-Hawaii tour of the Hawaiian Vanilla Company or enjoy a submarine dive off the coast of Kailua-Kona.
These activities just scratch the surface of all there is to do. Most Hawaiian cities also have excellent shopping and relaxing coffee shops. Plus, the state does a great job of making sure residents and visitors have up-to-date information on leisure activities. Check here to learn more.
Any other fun activities in Hawaii?
What are your favorite spots to visit on the islands? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you’re looking to move, check out this ultimate relocation guide for tips on how to get there and what to expect while living in Hawaii.