You’re Only a True Hawaii Expert If You’ve Done These 11 Things

Hawaii | © Pexels / Pixabay
Wailana Kalama

Fancy yourself an expert of the Aloha State? Check yourself with these 11 things you should do to prove your expert status of Hawaii.

1. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Natural Feature, Park

1. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
© skeeze / Pixabay
At the Big Island’s spectacular volcano park, walk along the floor of Halema’uma’u Crater, peek into the Thurston Lava Tube, and admire steam vents, sulfur slopes and spouting lava. Learn all about volcanoes and Hawaiian myths surrounding these volatile giants at the Kīlauea Visitor Center.

2. Summit Mauna Kea

Natural Feature

Stars over Hawaii
© Robert Randall / Alamy Stock Photo
The tallest mountain in the world below sea level, Mauna Kea is the optimal spot for unmatched stargazing. Astronomers from all over the world collect here to study the universe through some of the clearest atmosphere in the world. Wind up the zigzag road to the summit in your 4WD car in the afternoon and marvel at bright constellations.

3. Explore Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast


The emerald green cliffs of Nā Pali are best seen by boat or helicopter. The magnificent terrain remains as untouched as when Hawaiian settlers once occupied its valleys.

Nā Pali, Kapaa, HI, USA, +1 808 274 3444

Nā Pali Cliffs | © J_Moana / Pixabay

4. Drive the Road to Hana


The Road to Hana is Hawaii’s one road trip that shouldn’t be missed. Circling the windward side of Maui, you get a taste of old Hawaii, away from the island’s built-up west coast brimming with shopping centers and resorts. With amazing waterfalls, sparkling ocean and lush forests, you’ll want to spend the night at an ecolodge or guesthouse in Hana for a real immersion.

Road to Hana, HI, USA

Road to Hana | © nlang06 / Pixabay

Visit a farmer’s market

As an area with many tropical fruits and indigenous vegetables, it’s no wonder Hawaii has so many amazing farmer’s markets. Whether they’re by the roadside stand, next to a gas station or set up in stalls in town, the farmer’s market is the place to pick up the freshest pineapples, birds-of-prey flowers, lychee, mangoes, starfruit, papaya, passion fruit, and bananas.

Lemons and leaf-weaving

5. Admire the Haleakala Sunrise

Natural Feature, Park

Elk284-4989 Hawaii, Maui, Haleakala National Park, crater floor trail with model released hiker
© John Elk III / Alamy Stock Photo
The hike up Maui’s Mt. Haleakala for the sunrise is a moment you will treasure forever. The dormant volcano’s landscape is scattered with cinder cones, subtle colors, and dry pebbles, so at times, you feel like you’re walking on the moon.

6. Take a surfing lesson

Waikiki is synonymous with surfing, and there are plenty of surfboard stands that will teach you how to manage yourself in the waves. Most surf companies promise at least one standing ride in the course of a lesson. With this beach’s small waves, it’s a perfect place to test out your sea legs.

Waikiki, HI, USA

Go surfing | © StockSnap / Pixabay

Take a tour of a Kona coffee farm

Visit a local coffee estate and learn all about the harvesting and roasting process of these famous beans. Indulge in a cup of coffee that’s unique to the islands and find out why Kona coffee is an all-time favorite around the world. If you’re visiting in November, swing by the annual 10-day Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the Big Island for cupping contests and tastings.

Coffee beans

Feast at a luau

Hotels and cultural centers all over the islands frequently host luau, traditional gatherings of food and entertainment. This old-fashioned “dinner with a show” usually includes singing, dancing and occasionally fire-breathing. Food is typical Hawaiian: poi, kalua pig, chicken long rice, laulau, lomilomi salmon, haupia, and poké.


Get a lomilomi massage

Hawaii has its own special massage tradition, called lomilomi. Practiced since ancient times, it tends to be more invigorating than a calm Swedish massage, with or without essential oils and lotions. You can easily book one at any hotel or stop by a licensed massage practice.

Lomilomi massage

Snorkel in a reef

Hawaii is home to fabulous snorkeling, with white sand beaches, teeming tidepools and reefs just a stone throw’s away from the shore. Depending on where you go, look out for turtles, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and schools of colorful fish.

Reef fish

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article