9 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii

9 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii

Complete with tropical beaches, year-round perfect weather, tumbling waterfalls, fresh-cut coconuts, friendly locals and more, Hawaii is a dream come true for most travelers.

I recently experienced the beauty of Kauai, the northwestern most of Hawaii’s major islands. Here I share some of my favorite experiences and what I recommend doing while visiting the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Kauai is nicknamed “the Garden Isle” thanks to the tropical rainforest covering much of its surface. Jurassic Park and many other movies have been filmed there.

As you cruise along the island all you see is raw nature for miles. Breathe in the lush forests, steep mountains and streaming waterfalls. It’s such a refreshing environment! Kauai is perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland for some serious rest and relaxation.

The weather, as you can imagine, is next to perfect: warm and breezy most of the day. Though it can rain – so be prepared! Bring breezy, interchangeable layers.

Once you get settled in, jump in your rental car and start exploring! There is so much to do and see on the island. These are just a few of our favorite experiences.

9 Incredible Hawaiian Experiences You Can’t Miss:

  1. Go Chasing Waterfalls
    Hinas Heavenly Hilo Home Waterfall -Hawaii
    (source: Flickr)
    Waterfalls are sprinkled throughout the green mountainsides. You will see them as you’re driving along the north-east coast. You can even venture inland and hike or helicopter over to some of the stunning waterfalls not accessible by car. Feeling bold? Kick off your “slippahs” (aka sandals in Hawaiian) and dive in for a swim at the base of a waterfall.
  2. Drink Out of a Fresh-Cut Coconut
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    Coconuts are a’plenty on the island. The best? Find a fresh fruit stand, usually located near the beaches where they are chilled for a refreshing treat.With a few hacks of the machete and a poke for the straw, you’re all set to go. There’s nothing like that first sip of cool, fresh-cut coconut. It’s a little salty, not too sweet and ultra-refreshing.
  3. Watch Sunset at the Beach
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    Need we say more? Take a deep breath as you watch the blazing ball of fire sink down below the horizon and behind the seemingly endless ocean. If you’re lucky, you might even see dolphins swimming and jumping out of the water at sunset, it’s when they feast.
  4. Hang Out with the Locals
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    Don’t go to the overpriced restaurant that’s marketing to you at the hotel or airport. Find out where the locals hang out and head there for an icy, tropical drink.
    You’ll also notice roosters, everywhere, roaming free! These will become your wild and crazy, make-shift yard pets for the weekend (like the black alley cat you never wanted but secretly love). Don’t get upset if/when they wake you up in the morning, it’s their nature! Warning: They also do not like getting their picture taken and may run away from you if you attempt a photo shoot.
  5. Indulge in a Hawaiian Barbecue Plate
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    Trust us on this one: Hawaiian BBQ chicken is simply the best! The meat is slow cooked and will literally fall apart in your mouth. Don’t forget the macaroni salad on the side.
  6. Go Surfing
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    Rent a longboard and hit the crystal clear ocean water. The best part? The water is so warm you won’t even have to wear a wetsuit! It’s the ultimate dream for surfers.
    Check out the local shops to rent a surfboard for the time you’re in Hawaii. We like Tamba Surf Co., Kauai.
  7. Snorkel with Sea Turtles
    Hawaiian Sea Turtle
    (source: Flickr)
    This was my ultimate FAVORITE part of the trip. Head south of the island to Poipu where wild sea turtles drift right up to the beach and float around the bay. It’s incredible to swim right up next to the majestic creature in its natural habitat.
    Right next to where the sea turtles float you will find a reef complete with bright, tropical fish. Dip your head under the water and get lost in the sea of colorful fish!
  8. Enjoy a Mai Tai on the Lanai
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    This classic Hawaiian cocktail mixes rum, Orange Curacao, orange juice, lime juice, dash of orgeat and dash of simple syrup.
    What is a lanai you ask? A lanai is the Hawaiian word for patio or balcony. Most Hawaiian homes and rentals will have one, so you can sit outside and appreciate the year-long beautiful weather. Enjoy the ocean breeze while you sip your tropical Mai Tai!
  9. Experience as Many Beaches as Possible
     8 Things You Must Do When You Visit Hawaii
    – Each beach offers a slightly different environment, view and wave.
    – Watch out for sharks on the north shore of the island, near Hanalei Bay! The week before we arrived there was a great white shark siting and the beach had to be cleared.
    – Just after dropping our rental long board into the water a hammerhead shark is spotted off the pier! While we did still get into the water and surf (after the shark swam away of course), I was very nervous about swimming and surfing in that location!
    – The east coast near Kapaa is windy, but offers consistent waves for surfers. Watch out for strong rip currents if swimming in this area.
    – If you want a more relaxing experience, head to the south bay to snorkel in Poipu.

There are so many reasons to love Hawaii! This just scratches the surface.

Is there something that you love to do in Hawaii that we missed?

Share your favorite aloha moment in the comments section below.


  1. jake@gadgetonic.com' February 3, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Loved this guide of Kauai! Just a few years ago we visited Waikiki for our honeymoon and like number 7 the sea turtles were the highlight of our week! Although we wouldn’t change our trip for the world because of the hustle and bustle we’d love to visit a more quiet and private for our next vacation. Are there any restaurants off the beaten patten you’d reccomend?

    • February 9, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      Kauai is a nice secluded island vacation! I haven’t been to the other islands but know my time on Kauai was magical and serene. I loved the atmosphere of Brennecke’s Beach Broiler in the south. The lava cake was INSANE! And they happened to have live music the day we went. It was perfect after a day at the beach swimming with sea turtles (this is right by where we saw them).

      We stayed in a hotel with a kitchenette, which was nice so we could grocery shop and even do some cooking at home! It was Plantation Hale Suites.


  2. info@bestpogosticks.com' March 18, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    I love those lists you posted here. Thanks for sharing your blog post with us. I’ve been meaning to visit Hawaii very soon with my family. And this blog is perfect guide for us. I would like to try surfing. I hope it’s not that hard. I’m just wondering if you know any activities for children there?

    • March 21, 2017 / 10:25 am

      You’ll never know until you try! It’s a little tricky, start with a long board. And you’ll enjoy the warm water! Plan for lots of playtime at the beach with kiddos. 😉

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