A trip to Hawaii is a journey to paradise. On its islands, you’ll enjoy tropical rainforests, rugged mountain landscapes, and breathtaking cliffs. Hawaii offers travellers the opportunity to trek over dormant volcanoes, discover waterfalls, sunbathe on beaches with sand of infinite colours, and swim in waters with dozens of different shades of turquoise. Located in the middle of the Pacific, this volcanic archipelago consists of 19 islands and atolls, with 6 main ones, making it a paradise every traveller should experience at least once in a lifetime. There are so many incredible places to visit in Hawaii that you could spend months and months without repeating a single one. To ensure you don’t miss any of the must-see sights, today at IATI Travel Insurance, we bring you a list of the top 10 things to do in Hawaii. Let’s get started! (…and as always, remember to travel with the best travel insurance for the United States!)

Have fun with paddle surfing lessons at Waikiki Beach

If you’re travelling to Hawaii, your likely landing spot will be Honolulu International Airport on the island of Oahu. Oahu is the most developed of the Hawaiian Islands and serves as the capital of the state. It is also home to the most famous beach in all of Hawaii, Waikiki Beach.

Once you arrive, what better place to learn how to paddle surf than on the very beach where it all began? In the early 1960s, John Zapotocky was already paddle surfing at Waikiki, inspired by Duke Kahanamoku, who is considered the father of modern surfing.

man with a surfboard in waikiki in hawaii

Welcome the new day from Diamond Head Volcano

One of the top 10 things to do in Hawaii is watch the sunrise from the top of the Diamond Head Volcano while taking in the spectacular views of Honolulu.

Situated on the eastern coast of Waikiki, this volcano is known as Le’ahi (Tuna Ridge) to the Hawaiians and is considered one of the iconic landmarks of Hawaii.

Experience the best snorkelling at Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay, an extinct volcanic crater, is located southeast of Oahu.

To protect its coral reefs and the marine species that call it home, this magnificent beach has a limited daily capacity. Additionally, an entrance fee must be paid for access. At IATI, we encourage responsible tourism and urge visitors to respect the natural wealth of the area.

Hanauma Bay in hawaii

Indulge in the local cuisine

Tasting the delicious dishes of traditional Hawaiian cuisine is another top 10 things to do in Hawaii. With influences from various countries, the local food is incredibly flavorful, leaving you licking your fingers in delight.

Start your day with a cup of their famous Kona coffee, renowned as one of the best coffees in the world. As expected from an island destination, fish plays a prominent role in their cuisine. During your next visit to Hawaii, make sure not to miss out on Lomi Lomi, a traditional Hawaiian dish consisting of grilled salmon accompanied by tomato and onion. And of course, don’t forget to try Poke, the Hawaiian version of Peruvian ceviche. This dish, originating in Hawaii, features tuna marinated in various dressings, usually including soy sauce and sesame, and topped with a variety of fresh ingredients such as seaweed, avocado, cucumber, sesame, and spring onion. It is all served in a bowl with rice. Just thinking about it makes our mouths water—how about yours?

poke bowl in hawaii

Soak up the sun on Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is renowned as one of the most stunning beaches in the world and has held the title of the best beach in the United States for years.

You’ll be mesmerized by its white sand and the captivating array of turquoise shades in its waters. Relax under the sun and relish in the beauty of this Hawaiian gem. From the shoreline, you can admire two pyramid-shaped islets. Visiting Lanikai Beach is unquestionably one of the top 10 things to do in Hawaii.

Catch some waves on the North Shore

Hawaii, and specifically the island of Oahu, is hailed as the ultimate surfing capital. Surfing on the North Shore is not recommended for beginners, as it hosts the world’s top surfing championships each year.

In the waters of North Oahu, the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, considered the father of modern surfing, gracefully rode his board over Pipeline – the most renowned wave in the world. This natural masterpiece entices thousands of surfers to this Pacific island annually.

man surfing in Hanauma Bay in hawaii

Discover the fateful history of Pearl Harbor

Learn more about the events that led to America’s entry into World War II. This US naval base also serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives on December 7th, 1941, during the Japanese attack. At this site, you can visit a museum showcasing real videos and artefacts from that fateful day. Additionally, you can see the monument honouring the fallen, which is built on the sunken ship USS Arizona (BB-39).

This is the first part of our recommendations for the best things to do in Hawaii. Now it’s time to bid farewell to beautiful Oahu and explore the attractions the neighbouring islands offer.

Visiting Hawaii with protection

By now, you know that this is one of the most expensive countries in the world for health care. A minor setback here could easily translate into an outrageous bill of thousands of euros in medical expenses that could jeopardize your trip. For this reason, and as even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists, it is essential to have international insurance for the United States to ensure the best coverage from the beginning to the end of your trip. The IATI Star is the best policy on the market and has been 100% designed for a destination like this. So, thanks to it, you will have the best coverage not only in health but also in cases such as theft, problems with luggage, or flights. Don’t wait any longer, choose to travel protected and get your insurance now:

What to do in Hawaii outside Oahu

Visiting Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui

We landed on Maui, specifically in Haleakala National Park. This breathtaking Martian landscape and its towering 3,000-meter-high volcano are the main reasons to visit the island of Maui.

The Hawaiian Islands are the most remote group of major islands on Earth, making them a place with truly unique flora and fauna. In Haleakala National Park, with a bit of luck, you’ll be able to see beautiful Nēnēs, the native Hawaiian geese, in the wild.

people watching the sunrise in Haleakala National Park in Maui

Be mesmerized by Kauai’s scenery

Kauai, also known as Garden Island, is located northwest of Oahu. It offers travellers breathtaking waterfalls, sea caves, Hawaiian monk seals, pods of dolphins, and green sea turtles. The island of Kauai is the only island in the state with navigable rivers, making it perfect for a kayaking adventure.

It’s no wonder this island has been the setting and inspiration for several Hollywood films such as Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’, numerous scenes from Jurassic Park and Disney’s hilarious animated film Lilo & Stitch.

Visit Big Island and its active volcanoes

The state of Hawaii currently has 5 active volcanoes, four of which are located on the Big Island. One of the most impressive to see in Hawaii is the Kilauea Volcano, this perfect cone has been erupting constantly since 1983 and is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Get the best views of the crater from mile 11 of the Crater Rim Road. If you’re a thrill-seeker, we invite you to drive the Chain of Craters road which descends 3700 feet down the coast to enjoy the spectacle of lava falling into the ocean.

Kauai's seen from above