Did you know that there are over 100 islands that make up the Hawaiian island chain? Although there are only 8 Major islands, 7 of which are inhabited, and only 6 are possible travel destinations. As a family, we have only experienced 4 of out of these 6 major islands with Lanai and Molokai still on our HAWAII BUCKET LIST!
SHORT ON TIME IN HAWAII?
We thought about how if we only had one thing to on each island for a first time visitor, what would be the one thing a tourist should do on each Hawaiian Island? Regardless of how difficult it could be in choosing which Hawaiian Island to visit, there is one thing that makes each island unique. Here are the top natural sights to see on Oahu, Big Island (Hawaii), Maui, and Kauai.
THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO ON EACH HAWAIIAN ISLAND:
Oahu, AKA “The Gathering Place”, is home to Honolulu, capital of the Hawaiian Islands and home to world-famous beaches like Waikiki Beach. Here you will also find, arguably, the most famous landmark of the state, Diamond Head, AKA Leahi, the Hawaiian name for the most iconic mountain on the Oahu. Diamond Head Hike is one the one thing to do on Oahu.
How much is it to hike Diamond Head?
It’s $5 per car to park or $1 per pedestrian. They only accept cash.
Diamond Head hiking tips:
– Open daily 6 am to 6 pm, every day of the year including holidays.
– Use the bathroom before the hike, there are no bathrooms along the way.
– Perfect for all ages!
– NO pets allowed (unfortunately)
– Bring sun protection!
– Stay hydrated before, during, and after the hike.
– Hike early in the morning or late afternoon to beat the crowds and the hot sun.
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The biggest island (in the US) aka “The Orchid Isle” and where the state gets the official name, Hawaii is the largest of the islands. Drives are long on the Big Island and can be daunting to visit but if you’re crunching time, the top thing to see is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Quite literally the most unique park of all the National Parks in the USA. No other park has active Volcanoes (respecting the fact that Yellowstone does not have lava/magma spewing out). Visiting the steam vents, the Jaggar Museum, and the active Halemaʻumaʻu Crater can all be complete within a few hours.
If you only have a day on the Big Island of Hawaii and need ideas, we were able to spend 12 hours exploring the massive island.
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Maui, “The Valley Isle”, home of luxurious hotels, Jaws, and House of the sun, AKA Haleakala! Maui is a couple’s dream getaway and no other romantic way to spend it than at the Peak of Haleakala during sunrise or sunset. Taking up near 75% of the island’s mass, Haleakala National Park is the one thing you need to see on Maui.
Fun fact: Oblivion (2013 Tom Cruise Movie) was filmed on Haleakala’s summit.
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Rightfully nicknamed “The Garden Isle”, Kauai has much natural beauty and having to choose between Waimea Canyon (A mini-grand canyon of the Pacific), breathtaking waterfalls, muddy hikes, or the world-famous Na Pali Coast, it’s hard to choose one thing to see and do on Kauai. However, if it were up to us, the Na Pali Coast is the one thing you should visit on Kauai.
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Unfortunately, for us, we are unable to fully elaborate on Lanai and Molokai as we haven’t had the first-hand experience, however, we know they are both desirable visits for both locals and tourists. Therefore, we listed what sites we would visit if time is of the essence:
LANAI, “The Private Isle” – Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
MOLOKAI, “The Friendly Isle” – Kalaupapa National Historical Park, an isolated former leper colony below towering cliffs.
There you have it! Hope this post gives you an idea of things you can do to make the most out of a limited Hawaii visit! As always, Mahalo Nui Loa for reading and if you have any questions, comments, concerns, we’d love to hear from you!
THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO ON EACH HAWAIIAN ISLAND MAP