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Top Things to Do in Hawaii

Hit the Road to Hana on Maui

Spectacular views of waterfalls, lush forests, and the sparkling ocean are part of the pleasure of the twisting drive along the North Shore to tiny, timeless Hana in East Maui. The journey is the destination, but once you arrive, kick back and relax.

Visit Oahu's Pearl Harbor

This top Honolulu site is not to be missed—spend the better part of a day touring the Missouri, the Arizona Memorial, and, if you have time, the Bowfin.

See a Lava Show on the Big Island

At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, watch as fiery red lava pours, steaming, into the ocean; stare in awe at nighttime lava fireworks; and hike across the floor of a crater.

Explore Kauai's Napali Coast

Experiencing Kauai's emerald green Napali Coast is a must-do. You can see these awesome cliffs on the northwest side of the island by boat, helicopter, or by hiking the Kalalau Trail. Whichever you pick, you won't be disappointed.

Hike Maui's Haleakala

Trek down into Maui's Haleakala National Park's massive bowl and see proof, at this dormant volcano, of how very powerful the earth's exhalations can be. You won't see landscape like this anywhere, outside of visiting the moon. The barren terrain is deceptive, however—many of the world's rarest plants, birds, and insects live here.

Surf at Waikiki Beach on Oahu

Waikiki, with its well-shaped but diminutive waves, remains the perfect spot for grommets (surfing newbies), though surf schools operate at beaches (and many hotels) around the island. Most companies guarantee at least one standing ride in the course of a lesson. And catching your first wave? We guarantee you'll never forget it.

Catch the Views at Kauai's Waimea Canyon

From its start in the west Kauai town of Waimea to the road's end some 20 uphill miles later at Puu O Kila Lookout, you'll pass through several microclimates—from hot, desertlike conditions at sea level to the cool, deciduous forest of Kokee—and navigate through the traditional Hawaiian system of land division called ahupuaa.

Drive Big Island's Hamakua Coast

The views of the Pacific are absolutely breathtaking along this stretch of road between Kohala and Hilo. Make sure to take the Old Mamalahoa Highway's scenic four-mile detour off Hawaii Belt Road.

Enjoy Oahu After Hours

Yes, you can have an umbrella drink at sunset. But in the multicultural metropolis of Honolulu, there's so much more to it than that. Sip a glass of wine and listen to jazz at The Dragon Upstairs in Chinatown, join the beach-and-beer gang at Duke's Canoe Club, or head to Zanzabar, where DJs spin hip-hop and techno.

Whale Watch on Maui

Maui is the cradle for hundreds of humpback whales that return every year to frolic in the warm waters and give birth. Watch a mama whale teach her one-ton calf how to tail wave. You can eavesdrop on them, too: book a tour boat with a hydrophone or just plunk your head underwater to hear the strange squeaks, groans, and chortles of the cetaceans.

Watch a Luau

There are luau that are spectacles and those that lean toward the more authentic. Both have their merits, depending on the experience you're after. Two that are worthy of mention are the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and the thrilling performances at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu.

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