40 Hawaii Bucket List Adventures & Things You Must Do! (2023)

Looking for things to add to your Hawaii Bucket List? You are in the right place, I am about to uncover all the best things to do in Hawaii! Visiting Hawaii is a truly unforgettable destination. 

There are endless opportunities for adventure and one of a kind bucket list and cultural experiences that you will only find in The Aloha State.

Since most people travel to just one island each time they visit, this list of things to do in Hawaii is sorted by island.

You will find the top things to do in Oahu, Maui, The Big Island, and Kauai. 

Since some experiences can only be found on certain islands, it’s helpful to first plan your adventures, and then choose the best island for you. 

Table of Contents

Things to do in Hawaii

Let’s explore all the incredible places to see, unique island experiences, and fun things that you’ll want to add to your bucket list. 


1. Hike Diamond Head Crater

view of Honolulu city from diamond head

The iconic Diamond Head Crater that sits as the backdrop to Honolulu’s skyline is a famous Hawaii landmark.

Hiking to the top of the summit is one of the most popular activities in Oahu. The Diamond Head Summit Trail is located just a few minutes outside Honolulu. This 1.6-mile round trip hike can be steep in certain sections but it is a paved path.

Once you reach the top, the hike will be worth it, as you enjoy the epic view of Honolulu City and Waikiki Beach. Some even say that this is the best view in Hawaii! 

Tip: This hike does require reservations in advance, so make sure you reserve your time slot here.

2. Drive the North Shore

Haleiwa Town welcome sign

The North Shore of Oahu is worlds apart from the more touristy side of the island.Wake up early for a short road trip to Oahu’s North Shore. It’s only about a 60-minute drive from Honolulu. 

Slow drive down this beautiful lush countryside, and make sure you stop to take in the chilled-out surf vibes and spectacular views. 

Explore Haleiwa Town for some of the best souvenir shopping, check out the local surf shops, and eat at one of the town’s many roadside food trucks. 

While there, you can visit the world-famous surf break at Banzai Pipeline, tour The Dole Plantation, and make an afternoon stop at Laniakea Beach to spot some sea turtles resting in the sun.The North Shore is a fun way to spend a day experiencing the countryside of Oahu. 

3. Escape to Lanikai Beach

sunset on the beach in Hawaii

When you imagine what the perfect tropical beach looks like, Lanikai Beach is probably close to what you have in mind. While there are many beaches in Oahu, if you visit Lanikai Beach then you will discover for yourself why it has been ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. 

Miles of powdery white sand lined by palm trees and endless views of aqua-blue water. Lanikai, which translates to “Heavenly Ocean” is what you dreamed paradise would look like. The sunrise and moonrise, seen from this beach are also incredible. 

4. Visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial

Pearl Harbor memorial in hawaii

When talking about the best things to do in Hawaii, of course, we have to include the Pearl Harbor Memorial. 

This is one of the most visited sites on Oahu and is the perfect place to go back in time and learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Wander around the four different Museums and pay tribute to all that lost their lives in the attack. 

Tip: The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and ferry ride to the USS Arizona are free, however, you must reserve a ticket here in advance.

If you plan to visit the other three museums, you will have to purchase “The Passport to Pearl Harbor” at the visitor’s center. 

5. Watch the Sunrise at Lanikai Pillbox

blue ocean with two small islands

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is one of the best hikes on Oahu. It has become even more popular as a sunrise hike. If you don’t mind waking up early, you can bring a flashlight and follow the trail that leads you up the mountainside about a ½ mile to the “pillbox” and old military bunker and watch the sunrise. 

Lanikai Pillbox is one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Hawaii. There are amazing views of Lanikai Beach and the little Mokulua Islands (the ‘Mokes’) out in the ocean. 

Tip: You might want to try this hike at least once in the daytime before attempting the “sunrise hike” so that you know what to expect. 

Don’t like to wake up early? Don’t worry, this is also one of the best places to watch the sunset! 

6. See The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

lush green field and mountain

While most people are enjoying the beaches of Oahu, you can drive about 30 minutes inland from Waikiki Beach and walk through a lush tropical paradise. 

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden also called “Hawaii’s Best Kept Secret” is a stunning 400-acre garden of paradise. Don’t expect to see many flowers in this garden, instead, you will find every shade of green you can imagine. 

It is full of tropical plants from Hawaii, the Philippines, and more. The scenic views of the cliffs in the background make this an incredible destination to take some pictures.

If you have spent any time on Instagram looking at photos of Hawaii, chances are you have already seen pictures of this garden, as this is one of the best places to take Instagram photos on Oahu. 

7. Experience the Polynesian Cultural Center 

entrance to Polynesian cultural center

When thinking about the best things to do in Hawaii, your list must include attending a Luau. The perfect place to check this item off your Hawaii Bucket list is at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu’s famous North Shore. 

This is one of Oahu’s top tourist attractions, and it’s a full-day experience. Think of this like a mini Hawaiian theme park.You can spend the day touring the six island villages while participating in cultural activities and demonstrations. 

Make sure you stay for dinner and attend the traditional Hawaiian buffet and the award-winning authentic Luau. This unique experience ends with the “Ha: Breath of Life” action-packed evening show where you can watch over 100 Polynesian performers sing and dance.  

Tip: If you don’t want to stay the full day, you can opt to purchase tickets to just tour the island villages, or just for the evening buffet and performance. Check the website for more information. 

8. Hike The Koko Head Railway Trail

steep stairs and view of ocean

If you are up for climbing a mountainside of over 1,000 steps then you need to hike the Koko Head Stairs.While it will be challenging (and you will get your workout in for the day!) you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head Crater, and the incredible coastline of Oahu. 

You should know that this is no ordinary trail. It is steep and when you are climbing the Koko Head Stairs, you are walking up an old railway that is mounted to the hillside. 

You might question why you are doing this as you are climbing up the stairs, but there is no better feeling than once you reach the top! This is truly a unique experience that you will never forget. 

9. Learn How to Surf at Waikiki

girls picking out surfboard on beach

Hawaii is known for its surfing! From top surf competitions and big waves to the fact that surfing is part of Hawaii’s history and culture, there is no better place to learn to surf. 

While you won’t be learning how to surf on the big waves of Oahu’s North Shore, the gentle rolling waves at Waikiki Beach make it the perfect place for a first-time surfer. 

If you have surfing experience, you can rent a board right at the beach. If you are a complete beginner, many surf schools offer private or group lessons. Some of the surf schools even guarantee that you will stand up and ride at least one wave on your first lesson. 

10. Enjoy Nature at Waimea Valley

waterfall in lush forest

Experience Hawaiian nature without the busy crowds by taking a day trip to Waimea Valley on the North Shore. Entrance to Waimea Valley lets you enjoy a tropical botanical garden, swim at the base of a waterfall, and participate in Hawaiian cultural activities such as learning how to make a Lei Po’o. 

Waimea Valley also offers Luau Shows, and it’s a great place to learn about Hawaiian culture and get a real island experience. 

When visiting Waimea Valley, don’t leave before spending a few hours at the famous Waimea Bay Beach Park which is located across the street. This sandy beach has crystal-clear turquoise-blue water and is great for snorkeling. You will often see sea turtles and tropical fish. 

If you are up for an adventure, there is a large rock in the middle of the bay that is a popular spot for cliff jumping. 

Tip: The waters of the bay are smooth in the summer, but can be dangerous in the winter. 


1. Drive the Road To Hana Highway

road through tropical forest

The famous “Road to Hana” on Maui is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. The 64-mile-long segment of highway follows the rugged coastline of Maui from Kahului to Hana. 

You will be driving through a lush green tropical highway with dramatic ocean views and thick rainforests. Take your time and stop to see all the incredible stops along the Road to Hana. This experience isn’t about getting to your destination, but enjoying the journey. 

Famous stops along the highway include many waterfalls, a black sand beach, tropical gardens, and fresh local fruit stands. The drive is only 52 miles but you should plan on making this a full-day adventure. 

The average speed on the road is 25 mph since there are over 620 curves and 59 narrow bridges. It normally takes most people about 4 hours to complete. 

Don’t feel comfortable driving this road? Book a van tour, they will pick you up from your hotel, drive for you, and make sure you see all the best stops!  

2. Swim at Black Rock (Ka’anapali Beach)

rainbow over the ocean in Hawaii

This beach is one of the most visited spots in Maui. Once you spend the day here you will see why! Ka’anapali Beach, also known as Black Rock Beach has something for everyone. This beautiful wide sandy beach stretches along some popular resorts that line the area. 

The beach is most known for its incredible snorkeling and “Black Rock” a large lava rock that is the perfect spot for cliff jumping.

Tip: Stay until the evening and you will get to see the cliff-jumping ceremony that is held at sunset.

Make sure that you bring your snorkeling gear because this beach is one of the best places in Maui for snorkeling. Below the water, you will find coral-covered lava rocks, tropical fish, and even sea turtles.

3. Go Whale Watching

whale jumping out of water

The waters that surround Maui make it one of the best spots in the world for whale watching.Whale watching in Maui is a one-of-a-kind item that you need to add to your bucket list. 

Every year from December through May, thousands of humpback whales travel to the warmer waters of Hawaii. You might spot some whales off the shore of Maui, but to treat yourself to an incredible up-close experience, you should book a whale-watching tour. 

There are many different tours offered, from charter boats to passenger rafts. Tours normally take about 2-4 hours. Your tour guide will take you out to the best spots to see whales. 

While on the water you will get to hear underwater whale songs, and see the majestic humpback whales in their natural habitat. Most tours offer a refund or allow you to book another tour for free if you don’t see a whale while you are out. 

Tip: Whale watching season in Maui is December through May, but the best time to see whales is between min-January and March. 

4. Snorkeling at Molokini Crater

boat next to island in Hawaii

With over 250 species of fish and over 38 different types of coral along the reef in the clear waters surrounding the Molokini Crater, this is one of the best snorkeling spots in the world. 

Jump aboard one of the snorkeling or diving tours that will bring you out to this small island which is about a 1-hour boat ride from the shore of Maui. 

Here you can explore the incredible underwater world of Hawaii. Most tours last about 4 hours and include breakfast or lunch. 

They even bring snorkel gear, floatation devices, or scuba gear, depending on the type of tour that you book. Occasionally during the boat ride to the crater, you might spot dolphins, whales, manta rays, or Hawaiian monk seals. 

If you are feeling adventurous you could even try SNUBA diving. Similar to scuba diving, but you don’t have to be certified or carry bulky equipment on your back. 

You can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes while you breathe compressed air that is attached to a tank that floats above the water. 

5. Watch The Sunset at Haleakala 

sunset above the clouds in Hawaii

There is a reason why so many visitors drive up to the summit of Haleakala National Park to watch the sunset.It is the place to watch pure magic as the sun fades down below the clouds leaving behind a golden sky.

Haleakala is a sacred place, for many years only priests were allowed to walk the summit, but today it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset on Maui.It’s also an incredible place to watch the sunrise!

Tip: Sunrise at Haleakala gets so busy that you must make a reservation here ahead of time.

Currently, as of writing this, no reservations are required to watch the sunset as it’s not as busy as sunrise.Just make sure you check the website first. Just in case this changes, so that you don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

6. Snorkeling With Sea Turtles at Honolua Bay

view of crystal clear ocean bay

Hawaii is famous for snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles. When visiting Maui, you want to make sure you get to swim with sea turtles before you leave.Snorkeling in Honolua Bay is one of the best places on Maui where you can regularly spot sea turtles. 

The best conditions for snorkeling are during the summer months of May through September. During the winter large surf can sometimes make the bay inaccessible. Not only are you most likely to see sea turtles in this bay, but you will also enjoy vibrant corals, octopus, and many other species of fish. 

Tip: Please do not touch the sea turtles. Make sure you stay 10 feet away. It is illegal to touch a sea turtle in Hawaii, and you could be fined up to $10,000. 

7. Visit a Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park

people enjoying a black sand beach

While there are many incredible beaches in Hawaii, there is no better unique bucket list experience than visiting a black sand beach. Maui’s most famous black sand beach is located in Waianapanapa State Park. 

When you are there you can enjoy the park’s lava caves, Hawaii’s largest temple, stone arches, and blow holes. The famous black sand beach is the highlight of the park. The black sand is due to lava flow that has hardened and then broken down. 

While you can’t swim at this beach, the black sand surrounded by green tropical foliage makes it an incredible place to experience and it is the perfect backdrop for photos. 

Tip: Visiting the Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa now requires a reservation. Make sure that you reserve your spot here in advance. 

8. Hike to Waterfalls at Twin Falls 

waterfall surrounded by lush greenery

One of the first and easily accessible waterfalls at the beginning of the famous Road to Hana is Twin Falls. Hiking to these waterfalls is an epic adventure that you will want to add to your list. 

When hiking to the waterfalls you will get to experience stream crossings, lush scenery, and tropical plants. The easy trail is about 1.8 miles out and back. 

While the first waterfall at the beginning of the trail is small and easy to miss, the second waterfall is a tall tier that plunges into a large pool of water.

Access to these falls is made possible by parking at and crossing through Wailele Farm. The farm has kept the access open to the public to share the beauty of the falls. 

Tip: Parking at Twin Falls is $10 per car and limited to 55 spots. It is on a first come first serve basis, so plan on arriving early before all the spots fill up.

Twin Falls even has a snack stand that sells fresh home-grown fruit, smoothies, coconuts, and baked goods right in the parking lot. 

9. Stroll Along Lahaina Front Street 

historic shopping center

Step back in time and visit the historic Front Street area in Lahaina. This adorable little town is the second most visited spot in Maui, so while it can get crowded, it’s a fun place to spend an afternoon. 

Take in the ocean views as you walk along the shops right next to the ocean. The town is easily walkable, and you will find great shopping, museums, amazing food, and bars. 

There are a variety of stores for finding the perfect Hawaiian souvenirs to bring home with you. Make sure you stop and visit the old Banyan Tree. This is one of the largest Banyan trees in the United States. 

Stay to watch the sunset over the harbor and enjoy live music and entertainment in the evening. While this area is a bit touristy, it’s a fun way to spend the day exploring a timeless little seaside town. 

10. See The Iao Valley State Monument 

palm tree in lush green valley

When visiting Maui, it will be worth the quick trip to see the Iao Valley State Monument. Located in Central Maui, Iao Valley is the second wettest place in Hawaii (Kauai is the first). Due to the constant rainfall, the valley is covered in lush tropical greenery. 

This awe-inspiring valley has a rich history and is a sacred place. Most visitors come here to learn about the history of the valley and to see the iconic 1,200-foot Iao Needle rock. 

The Iao Needle Lookout Trail is a quick and easy 0.6-mile-long hike. The path is paved and some steps lead you to the observation tower. The mountains surrounding the valley are normally covered in thick mist and clouds that add to the stunning views. 

It should only take about an hour to hike to the lookout and explore the park. If you have an extra few hours while in Maui, then you should add this to your list of things to do in Hawaii. 

Tip: Check the website before you visit to be sure the valley is open. Due to flooding, it can often be closed for repairs. 

The Big Island

1. Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

steam rising from Hawaii volcano national park

Located on the Island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an incredible sight to see. It is home to two active volcanoes. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Mauna Loa is a massive shield volcano. 

Experience all the volcanic landscape has to offer by exploring the park. You can view the diverse landscapes by trail, by car, or with a tour guide. You will get to see active steam, massive craters, lava tubes, and awesome views of an active volcano. 

The park is open 24 hours a day and when the lava flow is active many people visit after dark to see the glow of the lava. 

2. Night Snorkel with Manta Rays

manta ray in ocean at night

The famous night snorkel with Manta Rays adventure is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. There are only a few places in the world that offer this incredible experience! 

If you want to check night snorkeling with manta rays off your bucket list you will have to visit Kona on the Big Island. Just book a tour, board the boat after dark, and you will be taken out to the snorkeling location. 

Strobe lights from the boat light up the water which attracts plankton for the Manta Rays to feed on. You then get to witness the manta up close as they swim through the water and feed.

Night snorkeling with Manta Rays might even be one of the most memorable experiences you have in Hawaii. The Travel Channel says, “It’s one of the top ten things to do in your lifetime.” 

Tip: If you are scuba certified, you can book a dive with the Mantas.

3. Visit Akaka Falls State Park

large cascading waterfall

While on The Big Island, take a trip to Akaka Falls State Park. It is located along the Hilo Coast and is home to two beautiful waterfalls. 

The easy 0.4-mile loop hike takes you through the lush rainforest, filled with bamboo trees and tropical flora. You will first see the 100-foot Kahuna Falls, and then you will reach the incredible 442 feet Akaka Falls. 

This waterfall is known as one of the best waterfalls in Hawaii! The hike is easy, and it will only take you a few hours to see both waterfalls. 

4. Zipline Over a Waterfall

See The Big Island from a different angle by adding zip lining to your list of things to do.

One of the best places to zipline in Hawaii is by signing up for the Hawaii Zipline Tours Course. This tour has even been voted as the #1 in all of Hawaii! 

The Big Island Zipline Over KoleKole Falls is an incredible experience. You will get to ride 7 different zip lines with awe-inspiring ocean and mountain views. 

On the final and longest zip line of the course, you will soar above KoleKole Falls, a 250 ft waterfall. Definitely an experience that you will never forget! 

5. Visit Waipi’o Valley

view of waipio valley and ocean

Visiting Waipi’o Valley or “The Valley of the Kings”, is a place of dramatic tropical beauty. This Valley is an important site for Hawaiian History and culture. It is also one of the most stunning places on the Big Island. 

While the road into the valley is closed to all visitors, you can still view this incredible valley from the Waipi’o Valley Lookout. Where you will see most of the lush green Valley and the stunning sea cliffs. 

It is one of the best spots in Hawaii for taking photos and it might even be one of the most amazing views in the United States. 

6. Explore Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

two tiki statues next to ocean

Pu’uhonua O Honaunau was once a “place of refuge” that provided protection and redemption to disgraced members of society. 

Today, it’s a sacred spot and also one of Hawaii’s best National Parks. You will enjoy a visit to this unique place where you can learn more about Hawaiian history. Not only is the park culturally significant, but it’s also right on the ocean and has some beautiful views. 

With the black lava, white sand beach, and coconut palms, you will get a chance to see why this area was a peaceful place of refuge. 

Spend an afternoon exploring the park and taking the self-guided walking tour that features replica buildings and some unique tiki statues. 

7. Experience the Pepeekeo Scenic Drive 

This short four-mile drive is one of the most scenic drives on the entire island. This road follows the coast before entering the dense tropical forest.You will get to experience one-lane bridges, streams, waterfalls, and breathtaking ocean views.

Just remember to slow down and enjoy the drive. With something to see around every corner, you will have plenty of photo opportunities. 

Tip: Visit the nearby Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden to enjoy more waterfalls and ocean views, and walk through a tropical paradise. 

8. View Sea Turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

green sea turtle on the beach

There is no shortage of black sand beaches on The Big Island. Black sand beaches were formed as basaltic lava rapidly cooled after hitting the ocean water. 

Since The Big Island has the most volcanic activity of all the Hawaiian Islands, it has the most black sand beaches. One of the most famous in all of Hawaii is Punaluu Black Sand Beach. This incredible beach is covered in black sand and lined with rows of coconut palms. 

It is the perfect place to spend the day snorkeling and relaxing under the shade of the palms.One of the reasons that Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is a popular stop, is that you will often see sea turtles warming themselves on the warm black sand. 

Hawaii is one of the few places in the world where you can spot sea turtles laying on the beach! The chance to see a unique picture-perfect beach and possibly spot some sea turtles makes this one of the best things to do in on The Big Island.

9. Go Snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay

tropical yellow fish underwater

A list of things to do in Hawaii is not complete without snorkeling! The Big Island is home to some of the best snorkeling. 

Kealakekua Bay has a stunning coral reef, and crystal clear water and is packed with schools of tropical fish. It is known as one of the best spots for snorkeling on The Big Island. The center of the bay is very deep and you can often spot a pod of spinner dolphins. 

While this is a must-do experience while on the Big Island since the bay is remote, it takes some planning to get there. The easiest way to access the bay is to book a snorkel tour by boat. You can also rent a kayak or take the difficult four-mile round trip trail down the mountain. 

Tip: Plan your trip in the morning when the water is calmer and the sea life is more active. 

This bay is the spot where Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii and a monument stands at the north end of the bay. 

10. Watch The Sunset on the Summit of Mauna Kea

sunset over clouds at Mauna Kea Summit

At 14,000 ft, Mauna Kea is the highest point on The Big Island. There is a reason that it is home to some of the best observatories in the world!

If you are looking for an unforgettable experience, then watching the sunset above the clouds at Mauna Kea is something that you need to to your list of things to do in Hawaii. 

There are great views from the visitor center, but if you want to go all the way to the top of the summit you should book a sunset tour because you have to have a 4×4. 

Most sunset tours include dinner and stargazing after dark. Mauna Kea is one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. 

Tip: It gets cold after sunset, so make sure you bring warm clothes and gloves. 


1. Get a Better View on a Helicopter Tour

view Nepali cliffs from helicopter

A visit to Kauai isn’t complete without a helicopter tour of the island!The best way to experience Kauai’s dramatic beauty and natural wonders are by air. Since Kauai is mostly undeveloped some of its stunning sites are not accessible by land. 

On the tour, you will get to see the famous Napali Coast, lush green valleys, stunning rivers, canyons, and beautiful cascading waterfalls. A helicopter tour over Kaui should be at the top of your list of things to do in Kauai! 

2. Take a Boat Ride on The Napali Coast

view of napali coast by boat

Kauai is home to the incredible Napali Coast, while these towing cliffs are a must-see sight, they are very hard to access. 

One of the best ways that you can get up close and experience the beauty of the Napali Coast is by boat. Taking a boat tour on Kauai is something you will want to check off your list. 

Since boat tours are one of the most popular things to do on Kauai, there are endless options to choose from. You could enjoy a comfortable ride on a large catamaran or a more adventurous inflatable raft speed boat tour. 

A visit to Kauai isn’t complete without a boat tour around this incredible island. 

3. Visit Poipu Beach One of America’s Top Rated Beaches 

white sand Beach with palm trees

When visiting Kauai make sure you include a trip to Poipu Beach on your list of things to do in Hawaii. Located on Kauai’s sunny shore, this popular beach has been voted as one of the best beaches in America numerous times. 

Poipu Beach has two golden sand-shaped crescent bays that are surrounded by palm trees. The calm waters make it the perfect place for snorkeling, surfing, bodyboarding, and swimming. 

You can often spot green sea turtles and Hawaiian Monk Seals enjoying this beach. Stay till dusk as Poipu is an incredible spot to watch the sunset. 

4. See the Waimea Canyon 

rainbow over Waimea canyon

Also called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” the Waimea Canyon is a stunning sight to see. Waimea Canyon State Park is a popular place for visitors. Here their many options for hiking, a natural history museum, and a campground. 

If you want to experience the most epic views, you should drive along Waimea Canyon. Make sure you stop at some of the top lookout locations to get the best viewpoints and different perspectives of the canyon. 

Along the drive, you can spot waterfalls, stand at the rim overlooking the entire canyon, and experience some of the best views in Kauai. 

Tip: Try to plan your drive early in the morning or late in the day to avoid crowds. 

5. Go Snorkeling at Tunnels Beach

lush green covered cliffs next to ocean beach

Makua Beach, which is also known as Tunnels Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. It features shallow protected areas of coral reefs that are filled with schools of tropical fish. 

Snorkeling at Tunnels Beach should be on your list of things to do in Hawaii. You might even spot some sea turtles.

Tip: There is limited parking so plan on arriving early to get a spot. Visibility in the water is also best in the morning. 

This beach is also a popular destination for diving and surfing. 

6. Hike the Famous Kalalau Trail

ocean and cliff view from trail

If you are an experienced hiker, then the Kalalau Trail would be a perfect item to add to your list of things to do. This 11-mile (one-way) trail is a difficult and dangerous hike. Each year, seasoned hikers travel to Kauai to conquer the trail. 

While the hike through paradise is only for the experienced, if you are a hiker, then the chance to hike along the rugged Napali Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

To hike the entire 11-mile trail it takes about 3-5 days. Don’t worry if you don’t want to hike that far, most hikers just brave the first 2 miles of the trail which can be done in a day.

Tip: Hiking and camping permits and reservations are required for certain parts of the trail, so make sure to check the website to learn more. 

7. Watch The Sunset at Hanalei Bay 

sunset over bay in Hawaii

There is no better thing to add to your bucket list than watching a picture-perfect Hawaiian Sunset. This stunning bay on Kauai’s north shore is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. 

With spectacular views in every direction and a historic pier that stretches out into the bay, this is truly a magical spot to watch the sunset. 

You can walk out onto the dock to watch the sunset or just find a spot on the beach, either way, it will be the perfect ending to a day spent exploring the island. 

8. Visit Wailua Falls

double rainbow over waterfall

This incredibly easy-to-access waterfall is a must for your Kauai bucket list! You won’t have to worry about a long hike as it’s located just steps from the roadside. 

Wailua Falls is a popular waterfall that is most known for being featured in the opening scene of Fantasy Island. The waterfall consists of two streams that cascade down 80 feet, but many say that it looks much taller. 

Tip: Visit as the morning sunlight meets the mist of the falls and you might get lucky enough to see a rainbow. 

9. Spend the Day at Ke’e Beach

view of beach and palm trees from above

Located at the tip of the North Shore, Ke’e Beach is one of the best beaches on Kauai for snorkeling,The reef includes a nice variety of corals, small fish, and gentle water during the summer months. During winter, the water can be dangerous. 

Stunning turquoise blue water, soft white sands, and lush mountains are just part of the reason that Ke’e Beach is one of the best beaches on Kauai. 

Sometimes called the gateway to the Napali Coast, because it’s tucked away where the road dead ends on the North Shore. The Hula dance is said to have originated from here. Also, wild chickens frequently roam the beach. 

A visit to this beach will take a lot of planning. There is a limited capacity of visitors allowed per day so reservations must be made 30 days in advance. Most of the time these sell out the same day they are posted. 

Visit the reservation website to learn more about reservations and planning your trip to Ke’e Beach.

Tip: While on the beach walk 20 yards down the beach (away from the lagoon) and you will get to see an incredible view of the Napali Coastline.

10. Kilauea Lighthouse

lighthouse and ocean water

While you’re in Kauai, take a trip to see the Kilauea Lighthouse. It is perched on the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands and is one of Kauai’s most popular attractions. 

Make sure you bring your camera because the views and photo opportunities are incredible. The lighthouse is located in a sanctuary for seabirds, so you will also get to see plenty of wildlife. If it’s whale season, you might even spot some whales off in the distance! 

Tip: You must make a reservation on the website in advance to see the lighthouse. 

Final Thoughts 

From world-class beaches, tropical rainforests, and endless adventures, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is one of the best tropical destinations. 

There is no shortage of incredible views and amazing things to do in Hawaii. I hope that this article has helped you to create your bucket list! 

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