Best beaches, waterfalls and volcanoes: what to do, see and eat in Hawaii

·3-min read
Dramatic cliff edges and moody skies on Kauai  (Unsplash)
Dramatic cliff edges and moody skies on Kauai (Unsplash)

One of the United State’s 50 states, Hawaii is an archipelago of six main islands — each with its own official flower and colour.

The Big Island of Hawaii has active volcanoes, as well as beautiful beaches and coffee farms which are well worth taking a tour of. Maui is also famous for its beaches, as well as the Haleakala Crater, a volcano which looms 10,023 feet above sea level and takes up three quarters of the island. The national park is a popular spot for sunrise hikes and stargazing.

Oahu, known as “The Heart of Hawaii,” is home to the capital Honolulu and popular surf towns, such as Haleiwa. Hawaiians are credited with having invented surfing, or he’e nalu, which translates as “wave sliding.” Kauai, is known as the “Garden Isle,” with its dramatic mountainous landscapes. Molokai, meanwhile, at less than half its size offers the most rustic charm. Finally, Lanai is an island of great contradictions, where you’ll find both rugged terrain and chilled beaches.

Things to do

Burning sunsets at Lanikai Beach (Unsplash)
Burning sunsets at Lanikai Beach (Unsplash)

On Oahu, head to Kapena Falls for your waterfall fill, they’re far less crowded and you’ll also have the opportunity to check out ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs (Hawaii’s version of the Egyptian Hieroglyphs) along the way. Hawaii is known for its gorgeous sunrises, but instead of heading to the touristy Diamond Head hike, drive up to the Lanikai Pillbox trail. It’s an easy enough hike, offering incredible views of clear blue waters, and has the Lanikai beach at the end to relax and take a dip afterwards. Kayaking at Kailua Beach is also popular with both locals and tourists.

A visit to the Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii is another must. Meaning “curved water,” the valley is covered in lush greenery, tropical birds and spectacular waterfalls - just be prepared for some steep inclines.

Finally, skip a resort-led luau for a local hula, originally a religious dance performed to honour the gods and increase new growth and fertility. Head to a hula school for an authentic spiritual experience (rather than just a show for tourists danced after a big buffet).

What to eat

Colourful poke bowls originated in Hawaii (Unsplash)
Colourful poke bowls originated in Hawaii (Unsplash)

Eat poke! It’s all the hype here now but having originated in Hawaii, this is the place to sample truly authentic poke bowls. The dish is basically chopped up raw and marinated fish with lots of different toppings. Instead of waiting in line for the touristy, Instagrammable places, locals simply head to the grocery store. Foodland is the top spot for delicious poke, among those in the know.

Raw fish not your thing? Enjoy a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch, usually consisting of a choice of meat, either kalua pork, kalbi ribs, mochiko chicken, lau lau, katsu curry or beef stew, two scoops of rice, and one scoop of macaroni salad. Loco Moco, meanwhile, is a Hawaiian take on the hamburger, and consists of steak, eggs and rice all drenched in gravy - it’s the perfect hearty meal after a long day spent exploring.

Cool off from the heat with a traditional “shave ice,” a popular iced dessert topped with syrup and other sweet treats. Shimazu Store in Honolulu is the spot popular with locals.

5 things you didn’t know about Hawaii

You can post a coconut to your friends just like a postcard! It costs about £7-15 depending on the size and weight of your chosen coconut.

The length of your surfing board was historically a status symbol. Royalty boards are said to have been four to five metres long.

More than a third of the world’s Pineapples come are from Hawaii.

Instead of smog, Hawaii has vog! When the volcanic haze mixes with the fog, you get vog.

Also, just like “ciao” in Italian means both “hello” and “goodbye”, the same applies for “aloha.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting