The top 5 natural attractions of Hawaii – any adventure loving tourist would surely want to know which sites to visit. Whether you enjoy sightseeing, hiking, or beach hopping, there’s a place in Hawaii that will make your vacation a memorable one.
Hawaii is a place blessed with natural beauty; from awesome landscapes to majestic volcanoes to amazing clear water beaches. The Hawaiian Islands are located in the Central Pacific Ocean, where the mighty waters meet the spectacular land masses of the archipelago.
THE TOP 5 NATURAL ATTRACTIONS OF HAWAII
- Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is one of the well-known tourist attractions in Hawaii. Located in the state capital of Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the beach is easily accessible. Visitors can relax at the beach and enjoy the amenities of a modern city all at the same time.
Originally reserved for the Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki Beach is now open for tourists all over the world. You can choose from several resort hotels like the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Sheraton Hotel, and Marriott Hotel. Or, you can opt for historic hotels like the Moana Surfrider Hotel or the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
As an added treat, guests can see the Diamond Head at the edge of the beach, an extinct volcano which became a defining feature of the island’s landscape. Aside from swimming, you can also take canoe rides and surfing lessons. Learn to ride a surfboard or paddle board. Overall, you can expect to have a fun time in Waikiki Beach.
On the eastern edge of the beach, you can find the Kapiolani Park, home to the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. The Honolulu Zoo houses both exotic and large animals while the Waikiki Aquarium features marine life species like sharks, jellyfish, octopus, coral, and seals.
- Napali Coast State Park
Located along the north shore of the island of Kauai, this 16-mile long coastline features na pali (high cliffs) rising 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The remote location and the ruggedness of the terrain mean it is off limits to land vehicles.
The only (and more exciting) means of land access is by hiking the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile route which crosses five major valleys before reaching Kalalau Beach. If you are the adventurous type, you can go on a helicopter tour for a breathtaking aerial view.
The Napali Coast can also be accessed from the ocean by using a kayak or paddleboard. Chartered tours are also available in Port Allen and Hanalei Bay, using an inflatable boat or a catamaran.
Camping in Napali requires a valid permit, so make arrangements beforehand to avoid any hassles. There are two camping sites along the Kalalau Trail – in Hanakoa and Kalalau. The maximum allowable stay is five nights, so if you want to get the most out of this experience ala “Survivor,” you can do so, especially if you are in a big group.
- Waimea Canyon
Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific,’ this long and deep canyon is situated on the western side of Kauai. It is approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) long and 3,000 feet (900 meters) deep.
Waimea is a Hawaiian word meaning “reddish water,’ in reference to the canyon’s red soil. One of the natural wonders of Hawaii, the canyon has a fascinating geological history as it was formed not only by erosion, but also by the collapse of the volcano that led to the creation of Kauai.
Four million years ago, a portion of the island of Kauai collapsed. This event formed a depression which eventually became filled with lava flows. Over time, rainwater coming from the slopes of Mount Wai’ale’ale created the Waimea Canyon.
The cliff walls on the east side of the canyon were built from the lava flows of a volcano millions of years ago. As time passes by, the exposed basalt has changed color from black to bright red.
The Waimea Canyon State Park is a wilderness area which provides numerous hiking trails for nature lovers and hikers. So, bring your backpack and camera, and get ready for an adventure.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Located on the Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Hawaiian Islands. It is where you should be if you want to see two of the most famous volcanoes in the world.
Mauna Loa is considered as the largest volcano on Earth (in terms of mass and volume), making up half of the surface area of the Big Island. It is a shield type volcano which means it has gentle slopes resembling a warrior’s shield. Mauna Loa’s eruptions can be described as non-explosive; instead, it is characterized by fast-flowing lava.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Kilauea volcano – probably the most active volcano on Earth. Its last eruption began on January 3, 1983, and continues up to this day. Kilauea’s lava flows engulfed the subdivisions of Royal Gardens and Kalapana Gardens. A black sand beach at Kaimu also fell to its wrath.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is designated as a World Heritage Site, attracting 2.6 million visitors annually. It is a popular destination both for tourists and scientists, as you can see first-hand how volcanic activity formed the islands of Hawaii.
Some of the spots that travelers can visit are the Volcano House – the only hotel situated on the borders of the park, and the Thomas A, Jaggar Museum, which offers exhibits and a close-up view of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater.
- Hana Highway
Breathtaking views of mountains, tropical rainforests, and the Pacific Ocean – you can see all of that when you traverse this 64.4-mile (103.6 kilometers) stretch of highway. See the beauty of nature up close and personal as you take a leisurely drive like no other.
The Hana Highway is a well-known tourist destination in Maui, one of Hawaii’s main islands. The 2 ½ hour-long journey will take you to winding curves as you cruise along the mountain’s edge overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean.
Have a swim in the waters of the Hana Beach Park or better yet, have a great time with the family at Hamoa Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. Other tourist spots include the black sand beach of Wainapanapa State Park, the Hawaiian temple of Hale Pi’ilani, and the Kanahu botanical garden.
You can visit the Haleakala National Park in Kipahalu. It is where you will find the Pools of Oheo Gulch, otherwise known as “The Seven Sacred Pools.” Families can set up camp at the park or they may opt to do a four-mile hike to reach the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. Access to the Haleakala National Park is from the north via the Hana Highway.
The Hawaiian Islands are blessed with the natural beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes, national parks, and of course the wonderful people. Tourists from all corners of the world converge in this archipelago to see the natural attractions of Hawaii.
If you plan to spend a vacation in Hawaii, it is advisable to plan ahead what sites you will visit, the accommodations needed, and research the actual conditions in that particular place. Go beach-hopping, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and sightseeing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.