9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hawaii
Waikiki, with its beautiful stretch of oceanfront beach, is Hawaii's biggest tourist attraction. A suburb of Honolulu, Waikiki is easy to reach and offers all the amenities and entertainment of a modern city. At the end of the crescent shaped beach is the extinct volcano known as Diamond Head Crater, adding a spectacular backdrop to the incredible sun drenched beach.
2 Volcanoes National Park
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Volcanoes National Park offers a unique, close up look at an active volcano and the recent landscape produced by a volcano. Hot lava flows down the mountain side, and dry lava covers the road, showing its unstoppable force.
3 Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
This memorial to those who perished with the sinking of the USS Arizona, stands above the remains of the sunken ship. Some portions can be seen protruding up from the water. The Visitors Center provides historical information on the harbor and the Japanese attack, and a ferry shuttles visitors out to the actual memorial. The Battleship USS Missouri is also docked here and visitors can walk the ship's deck.
4 Waipio Valley
One of the most scenic spots on the Big Island of Hawaii is the lookout over Waipio Valley. Surrounded by lush cliff walls the fertile valley opens out to the ocean, where the black sand beach is met with white waves and blue water. The high viewpoint gives an awesome perspective.
5 Haleakala National Park
Located on Maui, Haleakala National park offers access to the inactive Haleakala Volcano which stands at over 10,000 feet. Views from the summit stretch across the entire island and are particularly beautiful at sunrise. The dormant crater is also exposed, showing a lunar-like landscape.
6 Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center allows visitors a chance to see close up what lies beneath the ocean's surface. Sharks, rays, turtles and all kinds of interesting sea life are presented in huge aquariums. A walk through glass tunnel is a favorite feature at the facility.
7 Mauna Kea
The highest mountain in Hawaii, Mauna Kea offers some unique sights for this tropical paradise. Snow and skiing are not uncommon during the winter months. A rough road, suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles, provides access to the summit, which is also home to the Mauna Kea Observatory.
8 Hana Road
The dramatic Hana Road on Maui is a scenic stretch of highway that runs from Pa'ia, through lush forests and along the ocean, to the remote town of Hana. This trip is worthwhile both for the stunning drive and to see the town itself. Hana's location, relatively cut off from the rest of the island, has allowed it to maintain more of a traditional Hawaiian culture than other towns.
9 Polynesian Cultural Center
Located on Oahu, less than an hours drive from Honolulu, is the Polynesian Cultural Center. Through music, dance, craft demonstrations, and games, the center portrays the culture and daily life of the Polynesian islanders in Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji as well as that of the Maoris in New Zealand. The center is divided into sections representing each of these locations. Many of the performers come from the islands which they represent, providing a high degree of authenticity. Visitors can tour the facility during the day or see a show in the evening.