Hawaii Attractions

These are our Hawaii must-see attractions + top 10 list and tips for visitors to the beautiful islands

Hawaii sunset
Hawaii sunset

The best Hawaii attractions for tourists are Honolulu, Aloha Tower, the famous Waikiki Beach, Polynesian Cultural Center, Haleakala National Park, Pearl Harbor, Volcanoes National Park and much more.

Our Top 10 Hawaii attractions

Hawaii is a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean that has belonged to the United States since 1959. More than 135 islands and atolls belong to the so-called Aloha State in the South Pacific. The capital Honolulu is located on the southern coast of the island Oahu. Those who vacation in Hawaii feel as if they have been transported to paradise. White beaches, warm climate and lush vegetation attract visitors. Furthermore, exotic island inhabitants ensure that you can escape from everyday life 100 percent and really switch off.

But besides seemingly endless beaches like Waikiki Beach and lonely islets, Hawaii offers various sights that are worth a visit. The most famous of them will be presented below. Surely you would like to see something as a tourist from the beautiful islands like Maui where there are many attractions for the visitors to see. Take a look at our list of the best highlights in Hawaii that you should not miss. But there are certainly many more.

These are the top 10 attractions in Hawaii:

1. Honolulu
2. Waikiki Beach
3. Pearl Harbor
4. Volcanoes National Park
5. Aloha Tower
6. Polynesian Cultural Center
7. Haleakala National Park
8. Diamond Head
9. Honolulu Zoo
10. Iolani Palace

1. Honolulu

Honolulu
Honolulu

The capital of Hawaii Honolulu is also the epicenter of tourist interest. Here, in addition to countless hotels, bars, restaurants and other points of contact for vacationers, you will find an interesting architectural mix of typical American architecture and historical-colonial buildings. As a rule, most tourists land at Honolulu International Airport.

This coexistence of styles symbolizes the varied history of the island chain, which was once a mix of different kingdoms and then an independent republic, and was finally annexed by the USA in the late 1950s. We recommend visiting the capital city, as there are many attractions for visitors.

Number of inhabitants:
350.000

Metropolitan area:
Over 1 million

On which island is Honolulu located:
Oahu Island

Is there an airport there:
Yes, the Honolulu International Airport

2. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach

Hawaii is known for its picturesque beaches. But hardly any beach is as famous as Waikiki Beach on the south coast of the island of Oahu. Here, the vacationer is not only offered a magnificent view, but also the best conditions for surfing, snorkeling and swimming. Those who want to take it easy will surely find a place to sunbathe on the 1,8 miles long sandy beach.

However, you should go there early because there are always a lot of tourists there in the afternoon at the latest. Of course, it is best to stay in a beach hotel. Then you can also go there on foot. This is very practical. As a rule, most vacationers imagine Hawaii in this way and this impressive scenery is certainly known from many postcards. Thus for us one of the top Hawaii sights for tourists.

How long is the beach:
About 1,8 miles

Why is it so famous:
Central location and most beautiful beach

3. Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor

A must for tourists interested in history is the former US military base Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. On the extensive grounds of the most important Pacific troop base of the U.S. in World War II, you can learn a lot of interesting facts today and walk in the footsteps of bygone times. So it is especially worth seeing.

Of course, special attention is paid to the attack by the Japanese in 1941. At that time 2,403 US-Americans lost their lives. You should definitely see this and it is one of the highlights what you can do. Furthermore, there is a visitor center with the Pearl Harbor Museum. Also interesting is the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri BB-63.

USS Arizona Memorial:
1 Arizona Memorial Pl
Honolulu, HI 96818

USS Missouri BB-63:
63 Cowpens St
Honolulu, HI 96818

Visitor Center Hours:
Monday to Sunday
7:30 AM – 5:00 PM

4. Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park

On Big Island, which is also called Hawaii and is the largest island in the United States of America, is the Volcanoes National Park. The park represents the southernmost point of the USA and impresses with its volcanic landscape. Founded in 1916, the national park includes the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea.

Of course, a visit to a national park belongs to the mandatory program of a Hawaii trip, otherwise you would certainly have missed something. A great view you have from Kilauea Overlook where you can also make beautiful photos. By the way, the national park has a size of 1,335 square kilometers and there are good hiking trails. Our tip is to visit the Kilauea Visitor Center where you can learn a lot.

Kilauea Visitor Center:
National Park
1 Crater Rim Drive
Volcano, HI 96785

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday:
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

5. Aloha Tower

Aloha Tower
Aloha Tower

A particularly worth seeing place in Honululu is the Aloha Tower. Here, in the 20s and 30s, arriving sailors were traditionally welcomed with hula dances and flower wreaths. Today, these customs can no longer be admired there, but many Hawaiian traditions are still maintained around the tower.

Furthermore, you should visit the Aloha Tower Marketplace where there are numerous stores where you can buy souvenirs. Our tip is to visit the visitor platform where you have a great view. If you are lucky, there is even a cruise ship in the harbor and you will want to take a ride.

Address:
Aloha Tower
155 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96813

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday
8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

6. Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center
Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center is also located on the island of Oahu. In this center, which is very popular with tourists, you can learn a lot about the culture and traditions of the Polynesians. Until today, many Hawaiians hold on to their cultural roots and are proud of their origins. It is always interesting to visit a show that you may have seen on television.

So tourists naturally imagine Hawaii as it is presented there. By the way, the open-air museum has a size of 17 hectares and you should plan enough time for the visit. There is much to discover there. You can also see the famous hula dance and that will certainly be a highlight of your vacation. You can only marvel at that there.

Address:
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy.
Laie, HI 96762

Opening Hours:
Monday to Tuesday
12:45 AM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday ( closed )
Thursday to Saturday
12:45 AM – 9:00 PM

7. Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is located on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Here visitors will find the highest elevation on the island. The 2,4 miles wide and 7,45 miles long Haleakala Crater. It is well worth the climb. In addition to pristine, rugged volcanic landscapes, the mountain also offers gorgeous sunrises that will be remembered long after your vacation is over.

There you can also take great photos of the Hawaii trip that you will certainly not forget so quickly. It is also important to wear the right clothes. You are there at an altitude of 9842 feet where it can be very cold. Our tip is to visit the Haleakalā Visitor Center where you can learn a lot. The visit is certainly a highlight among the Hawaii sights for tourists.

Address:
Haleakala Hwy
Kula, HI 96790

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
Around the clock

8. Diamond Head

Diamond Head
Diamond Head

You should also take a look at the famous Diamond Head. By the way, this is the landmark of Honolulu and because of its height you can see it from afar. It is estimated that the crater was formed about 300,000 years ago. The best view is from Diamond Head Lookout and there you can also take pictures. The panoramic view of Honolulu is very beautiful.

For a visit you should plan about 1 hour. One should go there between 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and then it has not yet quite so many visitors. This is certainly a tip that you should consider. Interesting is certainly the numerous animals live there such as rabbits and pale chickens. By car you can park at Diamond Head State Monument.

Address:
3483 Diamond Head Rd
Honolulu, HI 96816

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Sunday
6:00 AM – 6:00 PM

9. Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo

A great destination for the whole family is the Honolulu Zoo where there are about 1,000 animals to admire. Important to know is that the zoo is very large with an area of 42 hectares. So you should also plan enough time. It was opened in 1947 and since then it is one of the most popular Hawaii attractions if you have children with you.

We recommend to plan between 2 to 3 hours for a visit. On weekends it always has more visitors what you can imagine. Most of the animals are from Africa. But you can also see special animals that you may never have seen before. That would be the White-Handed Gibbons, Red-flanked Duiker, the African Kamm Duck and also the Wrinkled Hornbill.

Address:
151 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Sunday
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

10. Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace

Surely you don’t expect Hawaii to have a beautiful palace. But there is and that is the Iolani Palace. This is the former royal residence that can be visited by tourists today. If you are interested in palaces then you are exactly right there. One will certainly be impressed by the magnificent rooms.

Many of the rooms are still in a good original condition and therefore particularly interesting to look at. These include the Grand Hall, Blue Room, State Dining Room and the Throne Room. Even earlier the palace had been very modernly equipped and there was already electricity. The palace was one of the first buildings in Hawaii where this was available.

Address:
364 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96813

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday to Monday ( closed )

11. Byodo In Temple

The Byodo In Temple in Hawaii
The Byodo In Temple in Hawaii

Certainly also among the spectacular Hawaii attractions is the Byodo In Temple. This is a beautiful Japanese temple on the island of Oahu. It is a religious and cultural site built about 100 years ago by the first Japanese immigrants. You have to pay an entrance fee to visit it. But it is definitely worth it. Especially worth seeing is the golden Buddha from the temple.

Address:
47-200 Kahekili Hwy.
Kaneohe, HI 96744

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

12. Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Makapuu Point Lighthouse
Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Of course, there is also a beautiful lighthouse in Hawaii and worth seeing is the Makapuu Point Lighthouse. It is one of the most picturesque places to visit on the island of Oahu. By the way, the lighthouse has been around since 1909 and you can still see the beacon easily at a distance of 17 nautical miles.

Address:
Makapuu Lighthouse Rd
Honolulu, HI 96825, USA.

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Sunday
12:00 AM – 12:00 PM

13. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

If you like to look at beautiful plants and flowers then you should visit the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This is located in the city of Hilo and is a highlight for botany lovers. The garden has a size of 16 hectares and you can see 2,500 different plants. We definitely recommend taking photos there as well.

Address:
27-717 Mamalahoa Hwy.
Papaikou, HI 96781

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

14. Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole
Halona Blowhole

Also one of the most spectacular Hawaii attractions you should not miss is the visit of Halona Blowhole. The best view is from the observation deck called Halona Blowhole Lookout. There you can also take pictures. If you have never seen something like this before, it is very impressive. The water shoots up to 32 feet into the air.

Halona Blowhole Lookout:
8483 HI-72
Honolulu, HI 96825

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
12:00 AM – 12:00 PM

15. Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center
Maui Ocean Center

If you have children then you should visit the Maui Ocean Center. It is a great destination where you can see an impressive underwater world. Of course you can see the marine life of Hawaii like turtles, starfish, rays and seals. It is also possible to dive with a shark. But for this you have to make an appointment in advance.

Address:
192 Maalaea Rd
Wailuku, HI 96793

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

16. Liliuokalani Park and Gardens

Liliuokalani Park and Gardens
Liliuokalani Park and Gardens

In Hilo you can also visit a beautiful garden that is worth seeing. This is the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens where you will certainly be thrilled. Because this is particularly well maintained. By the way, the park has an area of 120,000 square meters and therefore particularly large. That means you have a lot of space where you can relax. On weekends, however, there is always a lot going on there.

Address:
189 Lihiwai Street
Hilo, HI 96720

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
5:45 AM – 7:30 PM

17. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls are one of the Hawaii attractions when it comes to impressive nature. By the way, they are located on Big Island near Hilo. The height of the waterfall is 78 feet and the width is 98 feet. In any case, very beautiful to look at. In our opinion the best time for a visit is always in the morning. There you can then also make beautiful photos.

Address:
2-198 Rainbow Dr
Hilo, HI 96720

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
12:00 AM – 12:00 PM

18. Sea Life Park Hawaii

Sea Life Park Hawaii
Sea Life Park Hawaii

Maybe you would like to swim with dolphins and this is possible at Sea Life Park Hawaii. But you have to book in advance. There are many other marine animals like sea lions, sharks and sea turtles. It is a great destination for a family with children. The park was opened in 1964 and it has an area of 8 hectares.

Address:
41-202 Kalanianaʻole Hwy.
Waimanalo Beach, HI 96795

Opening hours:
Friday to Tuesday
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

19. Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay

Our insider tip for snorkeling in Hawaii is Hanauma Bay. This is located in the southeast of Oahu and you have there turquoise green water which is very impressive. If you want to marvel at the underwater world itself then you are exactly right there. You can say it is a snorkeling paradise that is also suitable for beginners.

Address:
Hanauma Bay Parking
Unnamed Road
Honolulu, HI 96825

Opening Hours:
Wednesday to Monday
Tuesday ( closed )

20. Iao Valley State Park

Iao Valley State Park
Iao Valley State Park

For hiking enthusiasts on the island of Maui, Iao Valley State Park is highly recommended. But you also have to know that there is one of the most humid areas of Hawaii. Therefore always pay attention to the right clothes. But the green landscape is very impressive. Furthermore, this is also a famous movie set and parts of Jurassic Park were shot there.

Address:
Wailuku
HI 96793
United States

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Our opinion

Now you have learned a lot about the Hawaii attractions. There are certainly many more and this is a small selection. But surely one vacation will not be enough to see them all. Therefore, we always recommend to think about what you want to see on which island. Furthermore, you should always have a rental car so that you can reach the attractions.

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