18 Best Reasons to Visit Hawaii, Oahu | Hawaii Vacation Guide

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa

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11 Top reasons to visit Hawaii now


As the 50th state in the U.S.A., there’s many reasons to visit Hawaii. Aside from the shopping malls, Targets and modern conveniences of America, it can feel like you’re taking a trip abroad. This Hawaii vacation guide shares iconic things to do and see in Hawaii, which is sure to make your vacation a special one!

18 Reasons to Visit Hawaii

1.  Rainbows

If there were truly a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow then the residents of Hawaii would be rich. However, living in a land of rainbows, they already are!  Maybe that’s why the University of Hawaii Manoa’s fighting mascot is the rainbow. Hardly intimidating but it comes with trickster menehune too!

Wanna see a rainbow? They’re free and we’ve got a lot of em! Even doubled ones. What more could you want?


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Catch a Hawaiian Rainbow

2.  Year round Sunshine

Being from Hawaii, the one thing which never plagued my childhood was bad weather. December is the rainy month; expect high surf and winds. Otherwise, the island’s average temperature is mid 80s Farenheit. Lows are 70 degree Farenheit and if ever gets to the 60’s, we break out the electric heater.

It can get hot during the summer. Thankfully, trade winds are a gentle breeze passing through the islands, cooling it off.

Save money on your trip and get the Go Oahu: All Inclusive Pass –  1-7 day discount book with 34 attractions

3.  Photographic variety

Just aim at a coconut tree and you’ve got a postcard photo.  A sunset, beach, food, outrigger paddlers… Hawaii’s got a lot of photogenic appeal. You won’t have to look too far to find it.

Shot of Waikiki
Shot of Waikiki
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Top 5 Travel Instagrams of October: Honolulu, Hawaii


🤙🏾Tip: Experience a Hawaiian sunset with a Waikiki Sunset Catamaran Cruise.

4.  Beaches

Being an island, each island is surrounded by beaches. Each beach has its distinct personality, atmosphere, sand variation and crowds.

Ala Moana Beach known as the gentle family beach, great for paddle boarding and picnicking. Lanikai Beach has got the finest and whitest sands. Waimanalo Beach is a mellow beach with occasionally good body boarding conditions. Banzai Pipeline in the North Shore is a place to spot famous surfers, more than it is to swim.  Kailua Beach is a dog-friend activity beach for kayaking, windsurfing, picnic on the beach and tanning.

Then there’s the top Waikiki beaches and the list goes on… For more, see my post on Best Beaches in Hawaii.

Tip: Don’t forget to bring your reef-friendly sunscreen! Hawaii has banned harmful sunscreen. See my reef-friendly sunscreen tip guide.

surf pipeline, pipeline beach, banzai pipeline beach hawaii
Surf Banzai Pipeline
waianae beach
waianae beach


5.  Ocean sports

The waters in Hawaii average at 70degrees Farenheit, which make it comfortable to spend your day in the ocean without a wetsuit. Outrigger canoe races, body surfing, boogie boarding, windsurfing, parasailing,  swimming, diving, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and the island  favorite– surfing.

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Lanikai Beach
outrigger canoe race, canoe paddling
outrigger canoe race


See Best things to do in Hawaii, Oahu

6. Surfing

Each year, surfers from around the globe come to surf the waters of Hawaii.  Banzai Pipeline is one of the most celebrated spots for surf contests.  But that’s not only it, locals surf the waters fairly religiously too. For some it’s a way of life to get up early in the morning to surf, then slip on a suit to go to the office.

Wanna give yourself a shot at surfing too? Take a surf class.

surf pipeline, pipeline beach, banzai pipeline beach hawaii
Surf Banzai Pipeline


🤙🏾Save money on your trip and get the Go Oahu: All Inclusive Pass –  1-7 day discount book with 34 attractions

7.  Aloha

Aloha means many things~ Hello, Goodbye, Love, Friendship… But the vibe one that is made to feel like Ohana (aka “family”).   There’s a down-to-earth politeness, a warm and beautiful smile, a thoughtful and sincere way of treating people with warmth. Sure, people are doing their job and good performance is part of their employment, but oddly, many locals really mean to help. It’s an innate expression cultivated in the island and Hawaii tradition.  Local people sincerely want to share their island and traditions, as if you’re a guest in their home. Call it pride or just a simple and sincere way of living at peace with all around you.

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Things to Know about Hawaii: King Kamehameha Day Parade

8. It feels like a different country more than a U.S. state.

As the 50th State, Hawaii is a melting pot of ethnic minorities with roots tracing back to native Hawaiians and immigrant plantation workers.

The demographics of this island range from Polynesia to Asia : Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Samoan, Hawaiian, Micronesian, Portuguese and Caucasian. Hawaii is a chop-suey of influences and cultural equalizer.

The 50th state celebrates this cultural mix with food and beautiful cultural pageantry and festivals: King Kamehameha Floral Parade, Memorial Day Lantern Floating, New Year’s Eve statewide fireworks, Mochi Festivals and Bon Dance Festivals.!

You don’t need to leave the U.S. to feel like you’re traveling abroad.


Check out our Reef Safe Sunscreen guide to see which sunscreen is banned in Hawaii.


mochi festival
Hawaii Mochi Festival

9. A Hawaiian Santa

Who says Santa comes  on a sleigh, with reindeer and snow? Our Hawaiian Santa  is Hawaiian, tan, wears an aloha shirt and flip flops, while riding a surfboard.

🤙🏾 Tip: Experience a Hawaiian Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & Show

10.  Hawaii Food culture

One of the best reasons to visit Hawaii is because Hawaii’s local pastime is eating. Being a Pacific-Asian culture, cultural foods are highly influenced by (but not limited to) Hawaii’s main melting pot ethnicities: Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese.

Hawaii life is steeped in various cultural foods.

Check out Hawaiian foods you MUST try

11. Spam Musubi

Spam on a bed of rice, sandwiched together by a strip of salted seaweed. You may think that Spam is mystery meat, but it has a loving place in the hearts and stomachs of Hawaii. It has to do with World War II history when the canned meat was sent as food rations. These days, Hawaii has expanded its simple Spam musubi vocabulary to embrace other variations such as teriyaki spam and spam katsu. You’ll find a wide selection at your local 7 Eleven.

10 Must Try foods in Hawaii, Spam Musubi
10 Must Try foods in Hawaii: Spam Musubi

12. Snack culture

Next to eating, a local specialty is snacking and there is an endless variety. From malasadas to taro donuts, pickled mango, macadamia nut and guava cookies, cracked seed, dried seafood jerky and basically, anything with li hing powder.

Some locals even like to make their own traditional snacks in their kitchen.



13. Flowers of Hawaii

Stepping off the plane, the air immediately hits you with its fragrance… a light scent of island beauty, a combination of flowers, beaches, foliage, humidity and trade winds balled into one.

The flowers of Hawaii perfume the air with their variety of scents: Plumeria, pakalana, ginger, Hawaiian Gardenia, pikake.

14. Getting Lei’d

Getting lei’d in Hawaii is a more than a saying; it’s a tradition.  Flower leis are a traditional form of local celebrations (birthdays, graduations, office parties, etc…) and a warm welcome greetings between friends.


Flowers of Hawaii, Plumeria
Flowers of Hawaii: Plumeria


15.  Ohana

If you are cool to Hawaii, Hawaii is cool to you and it will treat you like ohana (aka family). The Hawaiian islands are very family-oriented. It is in our belief to honor and care for family. The Island lifestyle values simplicity, politeness, respect, sincerity and we protect our children and elders.

Check out my 10 Best Reef-Safe Sunscreen for Hawaii

16. Hiking trails and waterfalls

From scenic hiking trails to beaches, you’ll find there’s a lot to enjoy in Hawaii and it’s free. Hawaii has a choke amount of hiking trails all around the island taking you to secret Hawaii beaches, waterfalls and scenic lookouts. Chase the waterfall at Waimea Falls Park to feeling Jurassic while hiking Manoa Valley trails. Here is a growing list of Hawaii hikes.

Read How is Hiking in Hawaii different?

17.  Low COVID-19 numbers & less crime

Hawaii’s always prided itself on having a lower crime rate than the rest of the United States. As a mask-wearing state during the pandemic, the island mindset has always valued community and keeping its residents, children and elders safe. This is one of the best reasons to visit Hawaii.

While it is a generalization, being a largely Asian mindset culture, there is a strong respect towards keeping the peace and doing things for the greater good. Folks know there is a time and place to celebrate individuality and it should never come at the cost of others. Check out the latest COVID travel restriction updates.

Tip: Get travel insurance with Covid19 & quarantine coverage.

18. Cheap flights to Hawaii

While Hawaii isn’t always the cheapest vacation spot, you’ll definitely find cheap flights to Hawaii now and then. Vacation deals to Hawaii occur regularly; moreso if you’re coming from the mainland USA.  Unfortunately, for local residents, leaving the islands to other destinations is not as cheap.

Where to Stay in Hawaii

Disney Aulani Resort. Family friendly and fun Disney resort located in Kapolei. Waikiki

Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel, Budget.  Great place for solo travelers to make friends.

Moana Surfrider, Landmark hotel with beach front view, reminiscent of old plantation days. My favorite hotel.

Don’t forget to bring your reef-friendly sunscreen! Hawaii has banned harmful sunscreen. See my 10 Best reef-friendly sunscreens.

Travel Resources for your Hawaii trip

Go Oahu: All Inclusive Pass –  1-7 day discount book with 34 attractions
– Hotel bookings. No cancellation fees
Safety Wing – affordable travel insurance with COVID & quarantine coverage
NordVPN – Online security and the ability to watch Netflix. Use “grrrltraveler” for 70% off 3-year plan + 1 month free
Klook – Book tours in Hawaii and Asia
Get your Guide – book tours in Hawaii

Hawaii Car Rental Discounts

Where can you get car rental discounts in Hawaii? While you can easily book from the car rental company or surf Kayak for a cheap rate, Discount Hawaii Car Rental offers discounts on car rentals and the prices. They have some of the cheapest prices I’ve seen!

What are your best reasons to visit Hawaii now ? What would you add to this Hawaii vacation guide?

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