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Best Hawaii Travel Guide 2023: Explore the Hawaiian Islands

Discover the ultimate island getaway with our insider’s guide to Hawaii. Find breathtaking beaches, thrilling outdoor adventures, vibrant culture, and local secrets to plan your perfect 2023 vacation in paradise.

Get ready to fill your heart with lasting memories.

As a traveler in paradise, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do. From snorkeling with sea turtles or discovering hidden waterfalls on jungle hikes – Whatever you need to plan the ultimate getaway. Explore a new culture and uncover all the best-kept secrets these islands offer.

Overview Of The Hawaiian Islands

islands of hawaii map

Welcome to the magical islands of Hawaii! It’s a place where palm trees sway in unison with the cool ocean breeze, and sand beaches stretch for miles.

Hawaii is an archipelago of 137 islands, 8 larger and more populated than the others. The Big Island, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Lana’i are the most popular among these. Ni’ihau, however, is privately owned, and Kaho’olawe lacks fresh water, making them off-limits to visitors.

If you’re looking for a memorable tropical experience, the Big Island, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, and Lana’i are the way to go. With their stunning beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant cultures, these islands will surely bring you a vacation to remember for life.

The Big Island is home to some of the most stunning vistas imaginable, from snow-capped mountains to lush jungle valleys.

Waikiki Beach on Oahu is one of the most iconic places in Hawaii, luring surfers and beachgoers alike. Maui offers its unique beauty, boasting world-renowned golf courses and picturesque waterfalls.

Kauai features spectacular hikes, kayaking trails, and vibrant botanical gardens.

And last but not least, Honolulu serves as the state capital—the largest city in Hawaii—offering tourists plenty to do day and night. 

From volcanoes to pineapple fields, these Hawaiian Islands offer something special for everyone who visits them. So come explore this tropical paradise – you won’t regret it!

Best Time To Visit the Islands of Hawaii

sandy beaches
Hawaii’s beaches offer consistent tropical weather with temperatures ranging from 78 to 88°F (25-31°C) year-round.

The Hawaiian Islands offer an array of activities year-round, and each season has its own unique charms.

In winter, for example, you can observe humpback whales migrating from Alaska to breed in the warm waters off Maui or Kauai (Find out the best time to see whales).

During spring, the wildflowers bloom with vibrant colors, making any hike more beautiful! Summer is a great time to explore the islands’ beaches and waterfalls.

Autumn offers cooler temperatures ideal for outdoor adventures such as kayaking or snorkeling in search of sea turtles.

Make a plan to enjoy maximum delight when visiting the Hawaiian Islands. Research popular attractions and book reservations beforehand if necessary. Be sure to check weather patterns to know what type of clothing and gear will be needed during your trip.

Finally, consider booking flights well in advance as they tend to fill up quickly around peak seasons like summertime or holiday periods like Christmas break. With careful Trip Planning, you’ll have a memorable stay on these unique islands!

Hawaii travel itinerary and vacation planning

Additional Budget Travel Tips

Picture yourself standing on the shore of Hawaii’s tropical islands, watching as palms sway in a gentle breeze and turquoise waves cascade onto white sand beaches. With planning, you can make this dream come true!

Here are some tips to help you plan your perfect Hawaiian vacation:

  • Start by researching what sights, activities, and attractions interest you most. There is something for everyone in Hawaii – from surfing and snorkeling to hiking volcanoes or exploring the local culture.
  • Map out an itinerary that allows enough time to see all the places you want to visit without feeling rushed. You’ll be able to save money if you book flights and lodging ahead of time too.
  • Consider any special needs or dietary restrictions when booking hotels or restaurants. Make sure they have accommodations available for your group beforehand.
  • Budget wisely so you don’t overspend while visiting Hawaii; plenty of great free activities are here, like enjoying local parks and festivals!
  • Finally, get travel insurance – it may seem expensive initially, but it could save thousands if something goes wrong.

What To Pack And Bring

Now that you have a plan for your Hawaii vacation, it’s time to decide what to pack and bring.

You will need comfortable walking shoes to explore Pearl Harbor or other attractions. If you’re looking for luxury resorts, pack light – most high-end hotels provide beach towels and shampoo/conditioner. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat!

Regardless of where you stay, email the property beforehand to see if they offer complimentary amenities like coffee makers or a hair dryer, so you don’t have to pack anything unnecessary. Then all that will be left to do is enjoy the fantastic Hawaiian islands!

Transportation and Getting Around Hawaii

getting around with honolulu city bus
Taking a Honolulu City Bus is a convenient and affordable way to get around.

Getting around Hawaii is a breeze. From the island in the Hawaiian chain to Honolulu, plenty of options are available for travelers wishing to explore this Pacific paradise. Tour operators offer many types of transportation packages and services that can help you quickly get from one place to another. Whether by plane, ferry, or car, these tour operators ensure your journey is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to travel around the islands, consider renting a car or taking public transport. You’ll find rental cars at airports throughout the state, and public buses frequently run between popular tourist destinations such as Waikiki Beach and Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve. If you prefer something slower-paced, take advantage of the boats that ply their trade along the coast – raw fish, anyone? Prices tend to be cheaper than tour operators, but check out all your options before committing yourself!

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Ferry from Maui to Lanai

Embark on a journey to Lana’i City with the Expeditions Lana’i Passenger Ferry. The ferry departs from the dock in front of the Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, Maui, four times a day, and the voyage lasts about an hour. Ticket prices for the ferry ride are $30 for adults, $20 for children, and for infants to ride free. Military members and residents of Maui (Kama’aina) are eligible for discounts.

Not many other ferries are available, but you may charter a boat.

Fly between the islands

flying between hawaiian islands

Traveling by air is the fastest and most convenient way to go, with flight times ranging from 20 minutes to one hour, depending on the distance. Plus, there is a broad selection of commercial and charter flights available, from private charters to affordable commercial flights.

Let’s take a look at the airports on the Big Island. There are four airports to choose from, apart from heliports. Kona International Airport (KOA), Hilo International Airport (ITO), Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE), and ‘Upolo Airport (UPP).

Maui boasts three airports:

  • Kahului (OGG) is the island’s central hub that hosts international and mainland flights.
  • Kapalua (JHM) is a private airstrip located close to the Lahaina resorts on the western side.
  • Hana (HNM) is mainly used by local islanders.

On the other hand, O’ahu provides two airports: Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL), the main gateway to the island, and Kalaeloa Airport (JRF), a private option for accessing resorts and the North Shore.

Kaua’i features only one commercial airport, Lihue Airport (LIH).

Moloka’i has two airports: Moloka’i Airport (MKK), the main one, and Kalaupapa Airport (LUP).

Lanai has only one airport: Lanai Airport (LNY)

Hawaiian airlines

The best way to get from island to island is by air! Here are your top three choices for inter-island flights:

  • Hawaiian Airlines – Offering a variety of routes and destinations, this carrier is a great way to get around the archipelago.
  • Mokulele Airlines – With flights to all the major islands, Mokulele Airlines is an excellent option for those exploring Hawaii.
  • Southwest Airlines – This well-known carrier provides a safe and reliable way to get from one island to the next.

In addition, there are also smaller companies and charter airlines that allow you to charter an airplane, such as Lāna’i Air. These charter airlines are perfect for those who want to get from one island to another quickly, and you can rent them as a single person, a family, or a travel group.

Whatever type of transport you choose, getting around Hawaii is easy if you plan well and know what to expect on arrival. There are car rentals, private chauffeurs, motorcycle rentals, bicycle rentals, boat rentals, helicopter tours, fishing charters, and more.

Accommodations In Hawaii

Do you prefer ocean views near the beach, or a bungalow in the jungle?

Hawaii is a world-famous vacation destination, and there are many accommodations to choose from that will provide a luxurious stay.

From beachfront resorts on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai islands to secluded cabins in the rainforest, travelers can find the perfect place for their holiday.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Hawaii has something for everyone.

AccommodationLocationPrice Range
Beachfront ResortOahu & Maui & Kauai$$ – $$$$
Secluded CabinRainforest & Jungle Areas$ – $$

Here is a quick overview of what the different locations offer regarding accommodation.

LocationAccommodation Types
WaikikiHigh-rise waterfront hotels,
Variety of accommodation styles
Oahu North ShoreLaidback charm,
Cottages to luxury resorts
Kailua-KonaVast selection of accommodation
HiloClose to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
MauiLuxury resorts on the west coast near Kaanapali
South Maui: major resorts
KauaiNorth Shore: upmarket accommodation,
Coconut Coast: affordable options,
South Side: hotels and holiday rentals

Popular Tourist Attractions, Sightseeing, and Unique Experiences

Kalalau Valley and Na Pali coast in Kauai
Kalalau Valley and Na Pali coast in Kauai

From the tranquil accommodations of Hawaii to its breathtaking attractions, there’s something for everyone in this tropical paradise.

Here are some more ideas depending on which island you are traveling to.




  • Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
  • Waimea Canyon State Park
  • Wailua Falls

Island of Hawaii:


Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is one of the most popular tourist destinations with its lush greenery, intricate waterfalls, and pristine beaches.

And don’t miss Ni’ihau – the only inhabited Hawaiian island that can only be accessed by boat. Here visitors will find stunning black sand beaches and crystal clear waters.

For outdoor activities, head up to Mauna Kea on the Big Island, where you can access some of the best hiking trails. There’s also Haleakala National Park on Maui which offers incredible mountain biking opportunities and magnificent sunsets from the summit.

Remember to see Molokini Crater off Maui – a must-see snorkeling spot boasting colorful coral reefs and abundant marine life

Embarking upon one (or more!) of these activities will give you a glimpse into what makes this island chain so unique – each has its flavor of culture and beauty, which you won’t find anywhere else. There aren’t many places in the world where you can visit an inhabited island, see manta rays, witness volcanic activity, go on a scenic tour, and see natural beauty from coastline to mountain top.

What’s more, locals and native Hawaiians are always eager to share their knowledge about the islands with visitors – from travel information to tips on where would be best to explore. Whatever your plans are, check out these top attractions during your stay in Hawaii – they won’t disappoint!

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Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Activities
Beautiful beaches and abudant marine habitats for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and other actvities.

Hawaii is a paradise for outdoor lovers, with the Island of Hawaii being home to some of the highest peaks in the state. The lush landscape and warm climate make it ideal for various activities you cannot miss when visiting this tropical paradise.

Here are just three of the fantastic outdoor activities on offer:

  • Hiking: With its towering mountains and dense rainforest, there’s no better place to explore than the great outdoors! Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or something more challenging, Hawaii has trails suitable for every level.
  • Surfing: What could be more thrilling than riding some of the world’s best waves? From experienced surfers to beginners, this sport will give you an adrenaline rush like no other!
  • Snorkeling: Exploring what lies beneath the surface is one of the most incredible experiences in Hawaii. Home to vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, snorkeling here promises unforgettable memories.

In addition to these popular activities, visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, and much more. Whatever adventure you seek, rest assured that Hawaii has plenty to keep you busy during your trip!

Shopping Destinations

Shopping in Ala Moana Boulevard and Waikiki
Ala Moana Boulevard in Waikiki

This guide to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without shopping. With a wide variety of stores, boutiques, and malls scattered across the islands, there are plenty of good pieces to take home as souvenirs. Here’s a guide on where to go for your next shopping spree!

  1. Ala Moana Center: Located in Honolulu, this giant mall has something for everyone. From designer brands to local shops, you can’t miss it when visiting Oahu.
  2. Waikiki Beach Walk: This open-air marketplace is full of unique finds from small vendors who sell everything from clothing to jewelry. It’s also a great spot for grabbing food or drinks after a long shopping day.
  3. The Shops at Mauna Lani: Head over to the Big Island side of the island and explore the luxury shops at The Shops at Mauna Lani. You’ll find high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton and Gucci here, making it an ideal stop for those looking for upscale items during their Hawaii travels.

No matter what type of souvenir you’re searching for in Hawaii, these three spots make it easy to find something that captures the spirit of this amazing paradise. Whether you want something special or window shop around town, there’s no shortage of options available throughout all the Hawaiian Islands – so get out there and start exploring!

Local Cuisines And Restaurants

eating hawaiian food
Try local Hawaiian food

The culinary scene in Hawaii is truly one of a kind. The islands are bursting with unique flavors and ingredients with their tropical climate, and Hawaiian-style poke and sweet guava desserts are a few delights you may come across. And if you’re looking for a truly incredible meal during your travel experience, these restaurants will satisfy your appetite!

If you’re looking for unforgettable dining experiences in Hawaii, then look no further than these restaurants:

  • Mama’s Fish House on Maui is a seafood restaurant featuring some of the freshest catches from local fishermen and has become a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike. Their menu includes delicious dishes like coconut shrimp tempura or macadamia nut-crusted mahimahi – all cooked over Kiawe wood fire grills so that each bite bursts with flavor. You mustn’t miss it while exploring the island!
  • Lanikai Juice Bar & Café near Honolulu specializes in healthy acai bowls and smoothies.
  • Rainbow Drive-Inn serves tasty plate lunches like loco moco and kalua pork sandwiches.
  • Big Island Grill is known for its hearty breakfast burritos on The Big Island.
  • Da Poke Shack is also found on The Big Island, serving fresh fish marinated with shoyu sauce and other secret spices.

Festivals And Events In Hawaii

Festivals And Events In Hawaii
There are festivals and events every month

Hawaii is a great place to travel if you’re looking for exciting festivals and events. Whether it’s world-class music, upcoming artists, or local artisans showcasing their creations, nowhere can beat Hawaii. The Aloha Festivals are some of the best on the islands. Celebrate Hawaiian heritage with parades and hula performances. Don’t miss these festivities:

Join one of the many unique festivals and discover why people love this magical land.

Safety Tips For Visitors

When you visit Hawaii, you must know the safety measures and stay alert while exploring. Here are some tips that will ensure a good and safe experience for all visitors:

Research your destinationFamiliarize yourself with the area so you can plan accordingly and feel more confident when travelling.
Don’t go aloneAlways travel with someone else or let someone know where you’re going. That way if something happens, help is nearby.
Follow local laws & customsRespect the culture by following local laws and customs, including dress codes. This will keep you out of trouble during your visit.
Invest in travel insuranceAccidents happen – make sure you have coverage in case something unexpected occurs. Travel insurance can provide peace of mind for any traveller.

By taking these steps before embarking on your journey and being mindful throughout your travels, you’ll enjoy a hassle-free vacation in one of the most beautiful places on earth – Hawaii!

Aloha and Cultural Considerations For Visiting Hawaii

Aloha and cultural considerations
Did you know? “Aloha” is not simply a greeting or farewell, but in Hawaiian culture, it has a deeper spiritual meaning of love, peace, compassion and mercy

For those unfamiliar with the Hawaiian culture, learning about and understanding its unique customs is essential before your journey begins.

A good travel guide will provide visitors with insightful information on navigating this beautiful destination without offending locals.

The Hawaiian people value respect for nature and each other – something you should always consider when traveling around the islands.

As a visitor, you may immerse yourself in traditional ceremonies or cultural events during your stay; taking time to observe these rituals can make all the difference when trying to understand local life.

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Additionally, learning some basic phrases like ‘Aloha‘ will go a long way toward forming meaningful connections with Hawaiians.

Hawaii is known as one of the most peaceful places in the world, and while visiting here, try not to disrupt that balance. Respectful behavior goes a long way, and by being mindful of your actions, you’ll ensure everyone has an enjoyable experience – both locals and tourists alike!

Other Things To Do In Hawaii

Pearl Harbor Historic site and museum
Pearl Harbor Historic site and museum

Hawaii is a fantastic place for all kinds of outdoor activities and exploration. There’s so much to experience, you won’t be able to fit it all in even if you stay the whole week! But don’t worry; we have a great list of can’t-miss things that will make your trip unforgettable.

If you want something more adventurous, why not try snorkeling or scuba diving? The waters around Hawaii are teeming with life, making them perfect for exploring underwater. You’ll get up close and personal with colorful fish, coral reefs, and other sea creatures. It’s worth checking out if you’re into aquatic adventures.

On land, there’s plenty to keep you busy too. A visit to Haleakala National Park is a must-do during any trip to Hawaii – it’s one of the most stunning landscapes on the islands. Hiking trails crisscross the park, leading through lush forests and past breathtaking waterfalls. And at night, they offer stargazing tours where visitors can gaze up at the Milky Way and enjoy a unique natural experience. Or you can go out for a night on the town and explore the nightlife of Honolulu and other cities.

Whether you come for relaxation or adventure, our travel guide is here to help make your Hawaiian vacation an incredible one you won’t forget anytime soon!

What Are Some Affordable Places To Stay In Hawaii?

Are you looking for an affordable place to stay in Hawaii? Regarding accommodations in Hawaii, there are so many choices and prices. Hotels and Resorts are the most expensive options, and here are typical prices:

  • Three-star hotel: $350/night
  • Four-star resort: $455/night
  • Bed-and-breakfast: $190/night
  • Statewide average: $375/night

If you are looking for the most affordable place, that would be Oahu. When looking at price statistics, one can add the price modifiers to the statewide average to calculate an estimated average price for each location.

Here are examples of pricing based on price modifiers:

LocationPrice ModifierExample price (comparison)
Big Island105.90%$397.56

Vacation Rental Homes are cheaper, and their prices do not fluctuate as much during the season as with hotels and resorts. Here are typical prices:

  • Average rate: $170/night
  • Tax rate: 18%
  • Luxury homes: over $1,000/night
  • Statewide average: $335/night

You can opt for luxury resorts with all the bells and whistles, cozy bed & breakfasts tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life, or even Airbnb rentals with breathtaking views – whatever suits your needs best. 

And don’t forget about the campgrounds! If you have a tent (or rent one) and want to get closer to nature, camping is an incredibly economical way to enjoy this tropical paradise. Plus, some campsites offer bathrooms and showers, making roughing it much more manageable.

What are the cheapest cities to live in Hawaii?

What are the cheapest cities to live in Hawaii

If you are looking for a cheap place to stay in Hawaii, here are the top 5 cheapest cities and their average costs for living expenses:

TownAverage Monthly RentAverage Monthly MortgageUtilitiesCable and Satellite Bills
PahoaPretty AverageLess than $1,000AffordableAffordable
Kea’au$1,255$1,340ExpensiveBelow Average
Hilo$1,050$1,330Above AverageBelow Average
Kailua Kona$1,400$2,070Above AverageBelow Average
Kapa’a$1,465$1,860ExpensiveBelow Average

As you can see, if you stay outside the most central areas and rent long-term, you can save a lot of money. You can stay a whole month by renting an apartment in these places at the same price as a few nights in a hotel in the popular tourist spots.

5 Quick Fun Facts About Hawaii

– Hawaii is the only U.S. state located outside of North America.
– Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada, not Hawaii.
– Surfing originated in Hawaii around the year 400.
– Hawaii has its own time zone and does not observe daylight saving time.
– The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Get From One Island To Another?

When it comes to traveling between the Hawaiian islands, there are several options available. But which one is best? With its picturesque beaches and stunning landscapes, Hawaii provides unparalleled freedom, making your quest for a great travel experience much more enticing. Here’s what you need to know about getting from island to island:
Air Travel: This option is often the fastest way to get around the islands since flights usually only take 30 minutes or less. Plus, all airports have interisland terminals with great ticket deals.
Boat Travel: Boat travel is also an option for those looking for a more adventurous journey. There are ferry services between some of the larger islands and private charters if you want to explore at your own pace.
Driving: The roads in Hawaii are generally good quality, and many visitors like to rent cars so they can take their time exploring each island independently. It’s worth noting that driving times may vary depending on traffic conditions, especially during peak tourist season when congestion can be high. No bridges connect the islands, so you can’t drive from one island to another.

Are There Any Child-Friendly Activities Available in Hawaii?

There is plenty of fun and exciting ways to keep the kids entertained while enjoying your vacation: beach days, amusement parks, exploring nature or visiting a museum, snorkeling with sea turtles, riding horses along a beautiful beach, zoos, aquariums, miniature golf courses and more.

Are There Any Restrictions On What I Can Bring With Me To Hawaii?

When it comes to packing for a trip, there are certain items that you can’t bring with you.
Some items you can’t bring into Hawaii due to quarantine regulations are fresh fruits or vegetables, plants, soil, live animals (except cats and dogs), and fireworks.
Additionally, you must declare all firearms and ammunition upon arrival at the airport.
To avoid delays or confiscation of these items, travelers should ensure they’re familiar with the rules before departing.
Visitors must also remember that many personal care products, such as sunscreens, may contain ingredients that could harm coral reefs if released into ocean waters.
Visitors should opt for reef-safe sunscreen alternatives whenever possible to protect the environment.
Additionally, tourists should check local laws regarding alcohol consumption while on the islands – certain areas have specific guidelines for drinking in public spaces or purchasing liquor from retailers.

No matter what type of adventure you seek, Hawaii has something special waiting just for you! So start planning your trip today and get ready for some unforgettable experiences with your family.