Your Hawaii Itinerary: 3 Must-See Spots On 4 Of The Main Islands

hawaii itinerary

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Planning your ideal Hawaiian vacation can be overwhelming: There’s simply too much tropical perfection for any one person to take in. But here are three must-do things on four Hawaiian islands visitors should try to fit in during their visit.


hawaii itinerary

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Drive: Hamakua Coast

For one of the most beautiful tropical drives in the entire world, travelers should check out the Hamakua Heritage Corridor from Hilo to Waipio Valley Lookout. You’ll see waterfalls, jungles and unbelievable coastal views.

Explore: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Recent volcanic eruptions closed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park temporarily, but now the park is open again for visitors. You can visit the famous Kilauea volcano, but because of the eruption, you can’t see the wild lava flows like before. There’s also nearby Mauna Kea, the highest volcano in Hawaii.

Chill: Kona Coffee

When in Hawaii, you can’t miss drinking the exceptional Kona coffee. Even middle-of-the-road java fans will appreciate the rich flavors and spicy tasting notes on the farm or in one of the local shops.

RELATED: Here’s Why Kona Coffee Is The Gold Standard


hawaii itinerary

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Drive: Hana Highway

The famed Road to Hana drive is the kind of route where you can’t stop pulling over to the side of the road, whether it’s to snap a photo, find a swimming hole or purchase fruit from a roadside produce stand.

Explore: Haleakala National Park

This national park is so large that you have to choose between two major regions for your visit: the summit or the coast. But if you have the time, do both. The hiking will blow you away in either area.

Chill: Makena Beach State Park

Maui’s southern beaches offer a plethora of swimming spots, but this park’s white sand beaches draw visitors for its quiet respite from nearby resort locales. Heads up: Many people swim in the nude at Little Beach, which is part of Makena.


hawaii itinerary

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Drive: North Shore

Driving from Waikiki, you’re going to pass all things surfing. And by the time you reach the North Shore’s seven miles of surf, you’ll be ready to grab your own board or at least watch some of the pros show off their skills.

Explore: Kaena Point

This spiritual hiking spot has a dramatic story. In ancient local tradition, it was the place where Hawaiians would meet the souls of their ancestors — and it’s easy to see the roots of the story when you’re there. So be prepared for an intense experience, both visually and emotionally, when you reach the summit.

Chill: Lanikai and Kailua Beaches

The two neighboring beaches are some of the most beautiful on all the islands, but they’re the most stunning on Oahu. The water is calm, with small waves perfect for splashing around or paddling in a sea kayak.

(If your idea of good chill time is learning about history, there’s also Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.)


hawaii itinerary

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Drive: Highway 560

This 10-mile highway on the National Register of Historic Places follows the ocean on a one-lane road. It’s a terrifying but stunning drive. Just pay attention to the road, even when the view is beyond belief.

Explore: Waimea Canyon State Park

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea is a must. The hiking can be steep and tough, but the colors of the natural landform will make the effort completely worthwhile.

Chill: Napali Coast

Take a break from swimming and bust a river kayak out on one of the Napali Coast beaches. They’re calmer than nearby surfing spots, but if you’d rather avoid waves entirely, you can check out Wailua River.


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