Best outdoor activities in Hawaii

words Alexa Wang

Hawaii, also known as the Aloha State, is one of the world’s most visited destinations. Every year, millions of tourists — both national and international — travel to the famed tropical islands to enjoy their dreamlike beaches and colorful culture.

One of the most prominent reasons contributing to its global popularity is the vast array of outdoor activities it offers. Between the numerous water and land-based activities, the Aloha State is definitely a haven for travelers who never want to stop exploring. 

Here are some of the best outdoor activities you can enjoy there.


If there’s one thing Hawaii is famously known for, it’s the glorious beaches. These beaches meet some of the best surfing waves in the world. Now, when and where to go surfing will mostly depend on your experience and skills. As the surfing enthusiasts at this URL explain, the biggest waves tend to hit all the Hawaiian shores in the winter — from November to February. These months, usually, attract professional or advanced surfers.

As for the novice and the beginners, the best time to surf is probably in the summer, specifically during the months from May to September when the waves are significantly calmer. However, if you’re a beginner who wants to test their surfing skills during the winter, you can safely do so at any of the south coasts where the waves are generally more forgiving at that time of the year. 


activities in Hawaii

Kayaking is another water-based activity that can be enjoyed on many different coasts across Hawaii. However, kayaking the Nāpali coast on the island of Kauai has long been considered one of America’s best outdoor adventures. While it might involve some long and hard paddling, kayaking the entire length of the Nāpali coast is the adventure of a lifetime, and will definitely be well worth the effort.

Although it pays to have some kayaking experience and be reasonably fit, this activity doesn’t really require intense preparation or stamina. Kayaking generally has a minimal learning curve and once you get the hang of it, you will be able to bask in the glory of nature and the great Hawaiian outdoors from a completely new perspective.


Between the crystal-clear waters, the calm tropical weather, and the protected marine areas surrounding the islands, Hawaii is home to some of the best snorkeling spots world-wide. You can’t possibly go to Hawaii and miss the extraordinary experience of swimming with sea turtles in Maui or the one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with reef manta rays on the Big Island. Wherever you choose to go, you are sure to enjoy your underwater adventure.


Some of the world’s best hiking trails are found in Hawaii, especially in Kauai where you can hike the Waimea Canyon and the Nounou Trails, both of which are two of the state’s most popular hiking destinations. The glorious, ten-mile-long Waimea Canyon overlooks one of Hawaii’s most fascinating scenic treasures, providing astounding views of various landscapes, waterfalls, and rock formations. The Nounou Trails, on the other hand, traverse the Sleeping Giant mountain ridge and will give you fantastic views throughout the hike with a breathtaking lookout point from the mountain’s peak.


activities in Hawaii

Throughout history, fishing has been a fundamental part of Hawaii’s culture. This still holds true to this day. Hawaii is basically every fisherman’s paradise. With a wide variety of species to catch and numerous locations to catch them from, no matter where you are in Hawaii, you’ll definitely find a prolific fishing spot. Thanks to the consistent weather and the varied locations, the Aloha State allows you to practice any type of fishing you prefer, including shore, offshore, deep sea, and reef fishing. 

Whale Watching

Every year, from late November to early May, the North Pacific humpback whales migrate to Hawaii for the winter where they mate and give birth. During this period, the best opportunities for sightings are from late January to early March. Getting the rare chance to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is unlike anything else you might experience. While you can spot them from the shore of any island, Maui’s western coast typically offers the best views.

As you can see, in Hawaii, there’s no shortage of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Each and every one of its islands is unique in its offerings for both tourists and locals alike. So, whether you want to relax on the beach with a refreshing Mai Tai or you would rather grab your surfboard and tackle those world-renowned waves, the Aloha State can fulfill all your travel fantasies. It doesn’t matter if you’re the adventurous or the laid back type, Hawaii is definitely a bucket-list-worthy destination that will surprise you in all the best possible ways.


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