Located in the central Pacific Ocean, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago consisting of eight main islands and of many other smaller islands, all formed by volcanic activity. Once governed by a queen, Hawaii is now the 50th state of the United States of America.
The year-round warm weather in Hawaii, along with the unspoiled landscapes, has converted the archipelago into one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
Ever thought of visiting Hawaii? Let us provide you with an overview of Hawaii’s main sights to help you make up your mind.
Top Attractions on the Hawaii islands
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Big Island (or Hawaii Island), which is the archipelago’s largest island, houses many natural attractions. Discover the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which hosts Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes, and enjoy the breath-taking view of the red-hot lava pouring from the crater. The park also houses Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano. Not only is this World Heritage Site renowned for its volcanoes, it is also home to various endangered species (Hawaiian goose, dark-rumped petrel) and many unique creatures (happyface spiders, carnivorous caterpillars). Before leaving the National Park, also make sure to take a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku), a 500 year-old lava cave, where you can feel the great power of nature.
- Mauna Kea: Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain of the Hawaiian Chain. Its summit houses astronomical observatories and powerful telescopes. Despite the archipelago’s warm weather, the top of the mountain is covered by snow every winter, hence its name, which means ‘white mountain’.
- The Panaewa Rainforest Zoo: Located in Hilo on the Big Island, the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo is the only natural rainforest zoo in America. The zoo is home to a rare white Bengal tiger (named Namaste) and houses more than 80 animal species. If you want to attend the tiger feeding, make sure to be there at 3:30pm.
- Diamond Head: On Oahu Island, you can discover Diamond Head (Laeahi, which means ‘brow of the tuna’ in Hawaiian), a unique volcanic formation, which is one of the most popular attractions in Hawaii. The name ‘Diamond Head’ was given by British sailors who thought calcite crystals were diamonds.
- Hanauma Bay: Being Hawaii’s most famous snorkeling destination, Hanauma Bay shelters beautiful coral reefs and various fishes and sea animals, especially sea turtles (called Honu). Near the bay, the Makapuu Point and the lighthouse are also famed sights. Enjoy views of the ocean at the Makapuu Point and get a glimpse of Humpback whales during the winter season.
- The USS Arizona Memorial: Built to commemorate the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack, the USS Arizona Memorial attracts over a million tourists each year. On the way to the memorial (boat journey), take a look at the wonderful scenery through the window.
- Waikiki Beach: Waikiki Beach is one of the most renowned beaches in the world and attracts a lot of visitors and surfers who come to enjoy sunbathing, swimming and windsurfing. The beach is also considered one of the most popular wedding destinations.
- Waimea Canyon: Hawaii features not only beautiful beaches but also marvelous forests and mountains. Located on Kauai Island, Waimea Canyon (known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) draws many visitors and hikers. Enjoy camping in this magnificent nature setting and observe the picturesque view from the canyon. Try to go early in the morning (best chances to have a clear view of the valley).
- Punaluu Beach: Hawaii houses many exquisite black sand beaches made of lava. The most eminent is the Punaluu Beach which catches the attention of many vacationers because of its unique scenery.
- The Haleakala National Park: Located on Maui Island, the Haleakala National Park is one of the most notable Hawaiian attractions. Do not miss the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala, a Must-Do while you are visiting Hawaii. Also, make sure to drive on the highway to Hana which offers some of the most gorgeous views.
Best Activities in Hawaii
- Experiencing snorkeling: Because of its location, Hawaii offers a lot of water activities. Try snorkeling in the ocean and take a glimpse of the colorful and beautiful fishes and sea animals.
- Playing golf: Tired of being surrounded by buildings while playing golf? Then try golf in Hawaii. The state houses some of the world’s greatest golf courses. Play amateur golf or attend a golf tournament in the most fascinating natural environments.
- Taking a Helicopter tour: Take a helicopter tour and have the best point of view to admire the phenomenal landscapes and the volcanoes.
- Enjoying hiking: Do not miss hiking in Hawaii, one of the best ways to enjoy the unique natural environment. Discover amazing waterfalls and swimming holes while exploring forests.
- Visiting coffee plantations: Many coffee farms offer free tours. Among them, the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation is one of the most reputable farms. Located in the Kano district, the plantation attracts a lot of visitors, especially coffee lovers, and provides free Kona coffee tasting.
Unlike other well-known tourist destinations, Hawaii features stunning natural surroundings. The archipelago will therefore seduce all nature lovers who will be amazed by the natural wonders they can admire on its islands.
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