Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by Christine Kaaloa
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!
Table of Contents: 18 Best Reasons to Visit Hawaii, Oahu | Hawaii Vacation Guide
- 1 18 Reasons to Visit Hawaii
- 1.1 1. Rainbows
- 1.2 2. Year round Sunshine
- 1.3 3. Photographic variety
- 1.4 4. Beaches
- 1.5 5. Ocean sports
- 1.6 6. Surfing
- 1.7 7. Aloha
- 1.8 8. It feels like a different country more than a U.S. state.
- 1.9 9. A Hawaiian Santa
- 1.10 10. Hawaii Food culture
- 1.11 11. Spam Musubi
- 1.12 12. Snack culture
- 1.13 13. Flowers of Hawaii
- 1.14 14. Getting Lei’d
- 1.15 15. Ohana
- 1.16 16. Hiking trails and waterfalls
- 1.17 17. Low COVID-19 numbers & less crime
- 1.18 18. Cheap flights to Hawaii
- 1.19 Where to Stay in Hawaii
- 1.20 Travel Resources for your Hawaii trip
18 Reasons to Visit Hawaii
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?
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.
🤙🏾Tip: Experience a Hawaiian sunset with a Waikiki Sunset Catamaran Cruise.
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.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring your reef-friendly sunscreen! Hawaii has banned harmful sunscreen. See my reef-friendly sunscreen tip guide.
- Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen.
- Raw Love SPF 35 All-natural Mineral Sunscreen Paste
- Manda Organic SPF 50 Sun Paste (for Sports)
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.
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.
🤙🏾Save money on your trip and get the Go Oahu: All Inclusive Pass – 1-7 day discount book with 34 attractions
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.
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.
🤙🏾 Tip: Make your way around the entire island and stop at all the top viewpoints from Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, Haleiwa and more with the Circle Island Experience
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.