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The Best Outdoor Activities in Hawaii

Explore the beautiful Hawaiian outdoors with these blood-pumping activities

Outdoor activities in Hawaii

Posted on

29 Mar 2017

There are a number of things that come to mind when you think of Hawaii: the incredibly dramatic landscape, the world-class surfing, a beautiful kaleidoscope of colours and the countless active pursuits on offer across the islands, and what better way to take this all in on a Hawaiian cruise

Michele Lopez is the managing editor at Guide of US, which provides guides and tours of Hawaii. When describing the popular cruise destination, she said:

"Hawaii is a veritable playground for vacationers and the islands easily lend themselves to active adventures. The Aloha State’s waters are the perfect place to snorkel, SCUBA, and SNUBA dive with some of the world’s most captivating marine life.”


Hawaii is fortunate to exhibit some of the world’s most diverse and dramatic landscapes – the perfect hiking terrain.

For the best of the best, lace up your boots or trainers and head towards Kalalau Trail, a 22-mile round-trip through the rural and unspoiled tropical backdrops.

Making your way through the Na Pali Coast you will walk past the dramatic cliffs, following a path that will throw sheer drops, narrow trails engulfed by the jungle and turns that hug the cliff-side. 

Hawaiian landscape


Coming out of the end of five valleys and one of the busiest hikes you are likely to go on, you reach the golden Kalalau Beach which acts as a Hawaiian oasis.

Alternatively, you can walk amongst raw beauty in the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – Kauai.

The picture-perfect setting will transport you from your luxurious cruise holiday into a world that looks hand-picked from a scene in Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. In fact, this part of the Hawaiian archipelago hosted the 1993 classic Jurassic Park as well as the 2015 Jurassic World film.

It really is an untouched, unspoilt wonder that should attract not just movie buffs but those who love nature and being outdoors.


Hawaii is famed for its glorious surf conditions and has been a luxury destination for surfers for decades.

The group of eight main islands is blessed with swells from all directions which offers up countless locations for unspoilt surf spots. Whether you are a beginner looking to try your hand during your Hawaiian cruise or you are an experienced surfer, you will find some waves to suit you.

Glassy waves from the varying swells above the transparent water creates a whole host of idyllic surfing spots in Hawaii.

Though you may have seen the professionals cutting their way through the waves on TV or through social media, these islands really do offer conditions for all abilities and competences.

For the thrill-seeking and more seasoned surfer, get the blood pumping with one of the Triple Crown of surfing spots on the north shore of Oahu. The Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Haleiwa Beach Park are all found here and are celebrated as being some of the finest surf locations on Earth.

If you are hunting the biggest waves then take a trip out to Waimea Bay, arguably one of the most iconic waves in the world.

Sea kayaking

The blend of crystal clear waters, tranquil conditions and stunning coastlines makes sea kayaking a must-do activity in Hawaii.


Sea kayak



You may be familiar with the pyramid-shaped Mokulua islets just off from Lankikai Beach, but elsewhere you will guide yourself around the sands and islets through the turquoise waters.

Taking out a sea kayak around Lanikai for the day unlocks a host of pebble and white sand beaches for your choosing, perfect if you are hoping to escape the crowds.

Na Pali Coast

Na Pali Coast is the best destination for guided tours, which are easily found around the local beaches.

However, do bear in mind that if you are visiting outside of the peak summer season then they may be less readily available, as the tours aim to avoid the northern ocean swells and surf which is notable around this area. 

Honolua Bay

Hawaii’s marine life is rich and diverse and by taking a sea kayak out along Honolua Bay you can explore Kapalua’s waters and even the marine preserve for a spot of snorkelling.

This is another destination best appreciated during the summer when the waves are quieter, but this whole spot is gorgeous and pristine thanks to a recent reef clean-up by Surfrider and Trilogy Excursions.

Scuba diving and Snorkelling

With a bountiful underwater ecosystem and some of the finest waters on earth, scuba diving and snorkelling is a must-do active adventure during your Hawaiian cruise.

The manta ray, one of the most beautiful water based animals on the planet, can be found beneath the waves here.


Manta ray


The larger and stingless cousin to the stingray, manta rays can range in size from having a six foot – twelve foot wingspan. Specialist tours and dives are readily available off the shores of Hawaii where, once the sun begins to set, you can strap on a tank and swim alongside these graceful animals.

It is believed there are around 200 manta rays in the waters around Hawaii, including Lefty, a female who has been documented since the 1970s.

If these large manta rays still aren’t big enough for you, then hop on one of the many whale-watching cruises. Your trip includes the chance to go snorkelling and scuba diving at the designated dive spots, with many of the trips leaving from Lahaina Harbour.


Fancy gaining a whole other perspective of the Hawaiian Islands? Then soar up amongst the clouds with a parasailing tour.

You will find that the majority of parasailing opportunities are available around Waikiki Beach and Honolulu, given the higher tourism numbers. Parasailing allows you to see areas of the islands that you would never have been able to, opening up new sights and scenes.

Volcano Tours

If you really want to consider your significance and appreciate the power of the natural world, then take a tour around Hawaii’s volcanoes.

Explore Hawaiian mythology and hike around the Halema’uma’u Crater, home of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. You can follow the trail around the crater, which is particularly staggering at sunset and at dawn.

If you are fortunate, Pele may treat you to the sight of an active lava flow that is within walking distance.

Hawaiian volcano


These small islands in the Pacific Ocean host the world’s largest volcanoes and one of the finest is Kilauea – the largest active volcano in the world.

Here you can see lava flowing on a constant shift, as well as being able to explore the Rainbow Falls, Queen Liliuokalani Gardens and the Volcano National Park, as you make your way through an unforgettable lava tube.

Whether you are planning a cruise to Hawaii for a luxurious and romantic holiday or an unforgettable family trip, you are spoilt for choice when you finally want to leave the powder-soft beaches and be active in Hawaii. As Michele says:

“You can paddle on a kayak, outrigger canoe, or SUP adventure and surf the state’s famous waves. If you’d rather stay on land, you can explore stunning volcanoes, valleys, waterfalls, and more via hiking trail, horseback, ATV, or bicycle. And when you’re ready to fly, you can soar over breath-taking landscapes on a zip line, hang glider, parasailing, or skydiving excursion. There is practically no limit to the exciting experiences the Hawaiian islands have to offer."

Image Credit: Chakorn Amornset Kuznetcov_Konstantin Heather Goodman

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