Things to Do in Hawaii

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Ultralight Flying at Kaena Point, Oahu, Hawaii

Ultralight aircraft flying over Kaena Point - far western side of Oahu - does this look like fun, or flirting with certain death?!

What Fun Things Can You Do in Hawaii

On Oahu there are quite a few things to do. There is a lot of shopping, multiple malls to shop at, concerts to see… many different sporting matches to go watch. There is every sport imaginable to take part in if you’re active that way. There are beaches everywhere – with all those cool things to do at the beach: Snorkeling, swimming, diving, surfing, bodyboarding, bodysurfing, looking for crabs, playing cards & backgammon, sleeping, etc.

During my years in Hawaii I often had trouble figuring out each day what I wanted to do for fun after work. There was just SO MUCH to do that my head was always spinning.

I’m an outdoors and adventuresome type. If you are too – you’ll probably never ask yourself what there is to do, you’ll just be doing it. There are amazing mountain hikes with different levels of difficulty. There are scores of great beaches on each island. There are so many things to explore. There is more shopping than you could ever want.

There are places out of the way that are amazing to explore… the tide pools at Dillingham Air Field on the North West shore is one such place that is just amazing and somewhere that most visitors never see. Pity. Whether or not you surf or bodyboard you can learn to bodysurf. Bodysurfing in Hawaii is excellent because there are some beaches that are bodysurf only! Bodysurfing is a lot of fun, and pretty safe.

There are hundreds of touristy things to do, and many ways to enjoy Hawaii’s natural beauty. Here are a few things you might enjoy doing if you’re bored.

Kayaking

Ocean kayaking is great on Hawaii during low-wave periods. Kailua Beach on Oahu is a great place to do it.

Snorkeling

Hanauma Bay is one of the best snorkeling places on the planet, but, it is not the only one! Honolua Bay in Maui is spectacular for snorkeling, and so are a handful of other spots. Ask around and find the best places – people are happy to share their favorite spots. On Maui I used to walk to the beach from our home and jump in and snorkel for hours when the water was calm.

Surfing, Bodyboarding, Body Surfing

There is usually surfable waves available somewhere on the islands at all times. Surfable, meaning 1-2 feet or bigger. The waves are very strong in Hawaii – that much you probably know. You might see many people enjoying them – and think that you can enjoy them too. Keep in mind that if anyone is in waves bigger than about 3 feet, they likely live in the island and have experience playing in waves that big.

The waves are big – and the riptides – the currents, are strong at some beaches –and depending from which direction the waves are coming. Take some time to learn about the ocean’s amazing waves in Hawaii by going slowly and not jumping into a situation that can prove dangerous, and even fatal.

In the winter the north shores of the islands have the bigger and more consistent waves. In the summer – it’s the south shores where everyone goes for the best waves.

Ocean temperatures are usually between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it’s similar to bath water if you take cold baths!

Body surfing is a past time enjoyed by older folks mostly – but it’s really a blast to slide down a wave using nothing but ‘you’ as a board. Good places to body surf are Makapu’u and Point Panic in town, in front of the Ala Moana Mall.

Ride the Wind – Hang Gliding and other Sports

Makapu’u has become a favorite location for hang gliders riding the updrafts like birds. Sometimes there are five or more hang gliders up in the air at the same time. In addition to hang gliding, Hawaii’s beaches are filled with kites, kite surfers, and wind surfers.

Rainbow Gazing

Anuenue’ in Hawaiian, rainbows can be seen frequently, and sometimes daily in Hawaii. You can often see two or three rainbows at a time.

Don’t stop looking at night either – there are moonbows, believe it or not. After food shopping in Kahana, Maui one time at about 10:30 pm we looked up to see the most incredible rainbow at night – illuminated by the bright full-moon! I hadn’t known there was such a thing… but, if you use Google images (images.google.com) you can find many photos of moonbows in the Hawaiian islands.

Explore Lighthouses

There are lighthouses on all the islands. The Makapu’u lighthouse near Makapu’u beach is a nice hike up a windy path and gives great views once you’re there. There is an exceptional lighthouse viewpoint on Kauai – Kilauea lighthouse – that I’ve visited a couple of times. You can see rare birds there like the blue-footed booby! or maybe it was red-footed booby. Not sure – anyway, there are some cool birds flying around that place.

Wilderness Trails

There are many great hiking trails on Oahu, and some on Maui, Kauai, and Big Island that I know about. Hiking trails on the islands almost always have scenic views where you can see all the way to the ocean. In particular some of the Ku’uloa mountain trails that reach the ridge halfway between southern Oahu and the windward section of Kailua and Kaneohe – are just stunning.

Biking

Buy or rent a bike. Outside of Waikiki many areas are easy to ride in. I especially like to ride past Diamond Head by the ocean, and back into the residential area back there. It’s quite a nice ride.

Photos or Videos

Set off on a day trip on the bus or your own vehicle and see what photos or videos you can come up with. Share them on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.

Exploring Volcanoes

Diamond Head Volcano – Oahu. There is a path up the side that is a little strenuous –but well worth the trip when you arrive at the top and are treated to panoramic views. Well worth the trip.

There are so many things you can do if you live on the islands. When you think you’ve seen all an island has to offer – start exploring the other islands.

As a resident you’ll find things to do that tourists never thought of. The blowholes remained like that for a long time, they were kind of hidden, and tourists didn’t usually get to see them much. Locals sure did! I remember making many trips to the blowholes on Oahu, as well as the toilet bowl – which was even more hidden.

There are volcanic cones all over the islands, Haleakala is the coolest view you might ever see. Looking down into the crater, it’s as if you are on Mars.

There are more fun things to do packed into the small land area of Hawaii than maybe anywhere else in the USA. That’s my perspective of course, but, what other place in the USA besides California has amazing weather, waves, gorgeous mountains, a lot of wind and so much natural beauty?

[Photo credit – flickr.com member, matt.boman]
2017-05-18T20:52:59+00:00

About the Author:

Moving to Hawaii was one of the most amazing moves ever. I strongly encourage you to consider it if you're in the financial position to make it work. Living in Hawaii has a fair bit of both positive and negative experiences awaiting each of us who give it a try. Read some of the articles here and try to get a feel for whether you might thrive in the islands. I wrote an entire book on the subject and it's usually less than $5. It's up there on the right side column. Best of luck and life to you! Aloha! - Vern L.

4 Comments

  1. Jack Campbell 09/28/2016 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Im thinking about moving to the Big Island east side for a small farm and to have my Ham Radio antennas and for Ham Radio its a great location for the signals to reach out off the island to all over the world.

  2. Andy Fling 01/16/2012 at 1:00 am - Reply

    My father-in-law owns a parasailing business in Maui. Perhaps Parasailing would interest your readers as well.

    • Vern 01/16/2012 at 1:25 am - Reply

      It likely would Andy – do you have more info?

    • Peter Kay 09/28/2016 at 8:15 am - Reply

      I think it would! We’d love to have a Maui sponsor for that part of the site. LMK if he’s interested.

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