Is Hawaii worth visiting? Of course it is! There’s hardly a more coveted vacation spot in America than this. A whopping 9.2 million people hopped across to the land of Hula dancing and rolling surf in 2022, putting it on a par with places like Rome and Bangkok. The reason they come? Well…there are loads of them…
From the stunning beaches that fringe the Oahu south shore to the smoking volcanos that peer over the Big Island, there’s some of the planet’s most gorgeous landscapes in these parts. Couple that with chic hotels that can take your honeymoon to the next level, and a history of Polynesian chiefdoms that’s bound to enthrall, and you should begin to see why everyone loves the 50th state quite so much.
This guide runs through seven reasons that we think top the bill. It’s got details about the shimmering sands, the glassy waves, the grand hotels, and a whole load more. We’ll see you on the Waikiki strip, folks…
Is Hawaii worth visiting for the beaches alone? You bet you! There’s simply no question that the sands are one of the top draws of a trip to this corner of the USA. They really are everything they’re cracked up to be, offering pristine white sands, oceans of Greek blue, and strings of palm trees to their back.
Every single island has its stand-out beaches, so it hardly matters which one you pick to visit. However, we’d probably say that Maui, Oahu, and Kauai have the very best beaches of the bunch, including…
- Waikiki Beach – Legendary Waikiki Beach has a whole load of mellow longboard surf breaks, daffodil-tinged sands, and some of the best beach hotels in the state.
- Waimea Bay Beach Park – Oahu’s North Shore is a surf mecca for half the year, with some of the biggest waves around. The other half of the year, it’s calm and paradisical. This white-sand beach showcases its very best side.
- Polihale State Park – A 15-mile run of sand that reminds us a little of Lanzarote. Expect rugged volcanic cliffs overhead and wavy ocean waters out front.
- Po’ipu Beach Park – The highlight of Kauai for the beach lover has to be Po’ipu Beach Park, a string of conch-shell coves on the south coast that’s blessed with some of the best weather in the land of aloha.
Move over California, Hawaii is the real home of surf in the United States. This is the island chain that gave the world Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, or just The Duke for short. He was one of the founding figures of modern surfing is now honored with a statue at his old stomping ground down in Waikiki.
There are waves in the Aloha State to suit all levels of surfer, all styles of wave craft. Take aforementioned Waikiki, which is a land of cruising peelers that are suited to longboarders. The opposite of that would be the North Shore, which gets smashed with tubular barrels in the storm season, or Jaws, one of the gnarliest big-wave spots on the planet.
The peak season for surfing in Hawaii is the winter, between November and March. That said, there are waves all year round, and summer tends to be better for learners anyhow. Oh, and the water’s sure to be nice and warm whenever you decide to come to boot!
The buzz of Waikiki
First time in Hawaii? You simply have to drop by Waikiki. This corner of southern Oahu is the original resort town of the Aloha State. But, where there were once the pleasure palaces of Hawaiian kings and queens, today there’s a strip of slick hotels that rise with glinting swimming pools and opulent spas above the Pacific Ocean.
Mhmm…Waikiki is Hawaii’s good-vibes town. It’s known for its horseshoe beaches. They’re all colored a come-laze-on-me hue of whitish yellow and slope into seas dashed with fish-teeming rock reefs. The surfing there is nothing short of legendary, mainly because it was one of the first spots where The Duke himself rode the swells.
Waikiki also boasts oodles in the way of gastronomy and nightlife. Take to the palm-lined strip of Kalakaua Avenue and you’ll be surrounded by grills that sizzle with Mahi-Mahi and cocktail joints with views of the waves.
Hawaii is a land forged and forged again by volcanos. The whole chain is the product of centuries and millennia of eruptions and movements of tectonic plates, a process that’s still going on today. Visitors can now delve into a series of national parks that preserve the vulcanology of the region for all to see.
Be sure to start at the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It crosses a huge cut out of southern Big Island, encompassing lava chutes, desolate lava fields that are frozen in time, and gaping craters that sometimes spurt magma and smoke into the air. The centerpieces of the reserve are the two summits of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, which remain two of the most active volcanos on the planet.
Just north of the Volcanoes National Park is the soaring height of Mauna Kea. Some say that’s the biggest mountain on the globe, since it measures a whopping 10,000 meters from tip to base if you count from its start point under the ocean. At the top, you’ll encounter observatories above the clouds and even snowdrifts in the middle of winter!
The culture and history
Hawaii has a long and enthralling past that tells a whole other story to the rest of the United States. Yep…it’s thought that these islands were first inhabited by settlers who bravely crossed the seas on handcrafted wooden canoes from French Polynesia some 2,300 miles away to the south and the west. And they made that journey a millennium ago, too!
Later centuries saw the establishment of the Hawaiian royal house after a series of wars between various chiefdoms. Hawaiian society was also codified under a series of strict laws and customs known as the Kapu, which governed almost every aspect of how people lived, from costume to gender roles.
European and north American influence here began with the arrival of the explorer Captain James Cook, who pulled onto the shores around the 1770s. By the 1850s, Christian missionaries and business people from the USA were flocking to the islands, and, for a while, Hawaii became one of the largest sugarcane producers on the globe. Essentially, there’s stacks of amazing culture and heritage to get through during your vacation!
Hawaii is consistently named among the most sought-after honeymoon destinations on the globe. Every isle has its own jet-setter escape and you should never be too far from a five-star resort with its own glorious swimming pool and spa. (Hey, even the hit HBO series The White Lotus, a show specifically focused on the world’s best hotels, made its debut at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Anyone got a cool $2,000/night spare?)
There are a couple of areas that really stand out for those looking to splash the cash and be pampered from start to finish. They include:
- Kahala – A well-known upscale suburb of Honolulu with mansions that would make the folks of Malibu blush.
- Waikiki – The OG of resort towns on Oahu island is now prime US real estate, with some of the fanciest Pacific-view condos around.
- Princeville – A sleek area of bespoke shopping malls and classy golf clubs in northern Kauai.
Last but most certainly not least on our list of reasons to visit Hawaii this year is the weather. It’s no secret that the Aloha State has one of the most pleasant climates in the USA. As if to say “move over Florida,” these islands are blessed with up to 280 days of sunshine each year, plus temperatures that sit pleasantly between 60-90 degrees for most months.
The best of the seasons is the dry season (also known as summer), which hits between May and October. That – just as the name implies – has got the lowest rainfall counts of all, and it’s possible to go days and days without seeing a speck fall from the sky.
Having said that, you can also catch some downright lovely vacation weather throughout the so-called rainy season (or winter). Because of regular easterly trade winds, storm systems are moved over these isles nice and fast. That means downpours only tend to last a couple of hours at most. What’s more, weather is highly localized on Hawaii, so you can often drive an hour to swap pouring rain for blazing sun.
Is Hawaii worth visiting? Our conclusion…
Is Hawaii worth visiting? It sure is. Our list of seven reasons why is just scratching the surface. We could go on an on – there are more tempting, tantalizing things in the Aloha State than you can shake your grass-skirt-clad hips at!
One of the main reasons you’ll want to go is to see some of the most alluring beaches in the USA. From Poipu to Waikiki, they’re all sugar-soft sands and coconut husks. AKA – pure paradise. Then there’s the epic surf, the enthralling Polynesian culture and history, and the weather, which is basically perfect throughout the dry season.