Sep 30, 2022



Travel Inspiration

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Hawai‘i

Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

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The concept of an "island paradise" may sound like a cliché, but Hawai‘i proves the phrase true.

The archipelago is a veritable paradise, and its combination of scenic shores, flourishing jungles and fiery mountainscapes are like few other places in the world. Here, we’ve gathered 10 of the best places to visit in Hawai‘i, a taste of what awaits on a potential island vacation. 

Or, if you're eager to get your trip to Hawai‘i rolling, connect with Fora and start planning today. Advisors know all the best places to stay, eat, relax or adventure. Plus, they unlock VIP hotel upgrades and perks to level up your trip even more.

Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your getaway today.

Where to visit in Hawai‘i: the 10 best places to go

The best places to visit in Hawai‘i are spread out across the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island (the other four major islands don’t receive as many visitors).

Be sure to check out our guide on how to travel between the Hawaiian islands. And your Fora Advisor can help with island-to-island travel.

Without further ado, the 10 best places to visit in Hawai‘i.

1. Waikiki Beaches, Oahu

Oahu is perhaps the best island to visit in Hawai‘i for first-timers because it offers a bit of everything that makes Hawai‘i vacations so great. And the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu is one of the island's biggest draws.

On Oahu, you can snorkel, sail, surf or paddle board to your heart’s content through Hawai‘i’s most popular, sapphire-blue waves. To refuel, you’ll find tons of amazing local and fusion dining options, as well as a booming nightlife scene. Check out our local's guide to Oahu for some of the best suggestions.

Our beginner’s guide to Oahu offers more detail, but suffice to say there’s a lot to do in Waikiki. You’ll also find Waikiki Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium within a few blocks of the beach (one of the reasons Oahu is one of the best Hawaiian islands for families). 

And remember, booking with Fora means free upgrades and perks galore, so you can splurge elsewhere (like zoo tickets, fine dining and so much more).

2. North Shore, Oahu

The only downside about Waikiki’s gorgeous beaches is that they’re some of the archipelago's most popular. If you want a more intimate experience, the beaches of North Shore are much less crowded.

In fact, if you’re spending a lot of time in Oahu, visiting the island’s North Shore is definitely worth the hour-long drive. Outside of winter, when surfing season is at its peak (another reason to visit), North Shore’s beaches are fairly calm, so they’re great for watersports and swimming. 

One of the best places to stay in Hawai‘i, North Shore offers a more relaxing environment than the capital, with picturesque beaches and a delicious gastronomic scene. If you’re not sure where to look for accommodations, connect with Fora; they have the inside scoop on all the best places to visit in Hawai’i. 

3. Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Oahu

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial commemorates the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, when over 2,300 Americans were killed in a surprise attack — and which prompted the United States' entry into World War II.

The memorial is free to visit, but there are also paid ferry tours available that will take you to the USS Arizona Memorial, which rests near the shores of Ford Island within the harbor. It’s a more somber day trip, but no list of the best places to visit in Hawai’i is complete without it.

4. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu

Voted Dr. Beach’s best US beach in 2016, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a beautiful conservation project that’s only about 30 minutes outside of Honolulu (which is perhaps the best area to stay in Oahu). 

The crescent shape of the beach speaks to its uniqueness while also offering an incredible opportunity to swim and snorkel with a number of rare and endangered species of tropical fish and other critters. 

Visiting Hanauma Bay is just one of a thousand reasons Oahu is bucket-list worthy. Just be sure to arrive early because the park only allows a limited number of people in at a time. (Plan your trip with Fora to get all these details.)

5. Kaanapali Beach, Maui

If you’re wondering where to stay in Maui, the resorts at Kaanapali Beach are among the best in all of Hawai‘i. Here you’ll find a luxurious variety of four- and five-star resorts along with stunning views of Maui’s westernmost coast. Or, look to the east and you’ll find nothing but the gorgeous tropical forests of the West Maui Natural Area Reserve.

Kaanapali Beach is easily the best place for a relaxing vacation to Maui. Sit back, reset and take in the views. And, be sure to check out our guide to Maui's must-see destinations.

6. Haleakala National Park, Maui

If you want a more adventurous getaway to Maui, however, then a stop at Haleakala National Park is in order. You can even have an outdoors adventure with your whole family.

The park sits on the opposite shore of Kaanapali (the drive is only about two hours) and features a drastically different landscape. Rocky crags overlook seas of red and brown sands that feel almost out of place among Hawai‘i’s more verdant scenery. 

Hiking opportunities in the park are abundant, as are the rare species you’ll only find here. Connect with Fora if you want insider tips on how to explore Haleakala. It really is one of the best places to visit in Hawai’i.

7. Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Kauai is just as beautiful as Maui, with stunning natural beauty, and no place better demonstrates that than Na Pali Coast Park. The rugged reserve is essentially inaccessible for cars, but you can take helicopter tours over the scenery, sail to its shores or hike through the Na Pali trail. In other words, the Na Pali Coast is probably the best place to visit in Hawai‘i if you want a true jungle excursion.

A Hawaii travel planner can help you with accommodations if you’d like to visit the park, which offers an amazing escape into untapped nature that you won’t find in many other places.

8. Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai

If you want a more on-the-rails adventure into the wilderness, Waimea Canyon State Park is an excellent choice. The park’s main attractions are its hiking (and mountain bike) trails, which feature a series of lookouts that showcase the island’s breathtaking backdrop. 

Also, the park is less than an hour away from all the best areas to stay in Kauai (which a Fora Advisor can help you with).

9. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Big Island

Hawai‘i Volcanos National Park is as imposing as it is fascinating. There aren’t many places in the world where you can visit an active volcano, let alone two: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Any long adventure on the Big Island and easy vacation on the Big Island has to include a stop here; for many, it’s a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And since the park is located near the center of the island, it makes for a great day trip from most of the Big Island’s best resorts. And don’t forget, booking with Fora means you'll get the lowdown on where to stay on the Big Island.

10. Hapuna Beach, Big Island

Hapuna Beach on the Big Island is another one of Hawai‘i’s top destinations. Popular with tourists and locals alike, you’ll find that Hapuna isn’t nearly as crowded as the beaches in Waikiki, but offers similarly gorgeous views and plenty to do. 

Camping, snorkeling, sailing and more can all be done here, and as soon as you’re hungry, you’ll find plenty of heavenly options (check out our foodie’s guide to the Kohala Coast). If you’re wondering where to visit in Hawai’i that satisfies the eyes, the ears and the stomach, this is the place.

Eager to visit the best places in Hawai‘i? A Fora Advisor can make it happen

Still not sure where to visit in Hawai‘i? Book your trip with Fora and let them do the heavy lifting. You can visit all the best places in Hawai‘i and enjoy great hotel perks, upgraded rooms and more, all for the same price as booking directly.


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