Are you planning your next vacation? Why not visit Hawaii, the tropical paradise of the United States? The Hawaiian Islands are full of natural wonders such as beautiful sandy beaches, cascading waterfalls, amazing jungles, starry skies, and volcanic power. Each island offers something unique.
Before you take in everything that Hawaii has to offer, you’ll want to find the best deals on airfare. Scout Expedia to compare Hawaiian flights.
There are numerous natural wonders on the Hawaii Islands, so you’ll want to make a list of things you’d want to do. We recommend seeing these five natural wonders of Hawaii.
Tip: There’s a lot of adventure to get into on every island, and you can do most of it over a weekend, but not everything. A 7-day or more trip would be ideal to visit Hawaii’s wonders.
Now, let’s talk about some of the must-see natural wonders of Hawaii.
1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
Get up close and personal with nature witness the destruction and creation of new land at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located 45-minutes southwest of Hilo, the 333,000-acre park is a popular tourist attraction and a sacred place. Explore the 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, a walk-in lava tube that opens to a tropical rainforest, scalded deserts, petroglyphs, museum and two active volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kīlauea.
Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984, is the world’s largest shield volcano. Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. They call it a “the world’s only drive-in volcano” because it has been erupting since 1983, producing 250,000 to 650,000 cubic yards of lava per day. That’s enough to resurface a 20-mile, two-lane road every day. The continuous lava flows have created an additional 491 acres of land to the Big Island. Scientists aren’t sure how long it will continue to erupt, so be sure to visit the park to witness the lava flows meeting the Pacific Ocean.
2. Nā Pali Coast (Kauai)
Visit Kauai’s 17-mile sacred north shore, the Nā Pali Coast State Park. Nā Pali means high cliffs; with the emerald-hued nā pali as high as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean, the name for this rugged terrain is fitting. The coast is inaccessible by vehicle but can be experienced by air, sea, or by hiking the only land accessing trail, the Kalalau Trail, each with unique expeditions.
The Kalalau trail is an 11-mile trek that crosses five major valleys and smaller ones before reaching the Kalalau Beach and the base of the Kalalau Valley. Side trails of off the Kalalau trail lead to majestic waterfalls.
If by sea, boat tours, and guided summer kayaking trips are a great way to get up-close to the soaring cliffs. When conditions are right, guided raft tours are available to transport you to hidden sea caves and remote beaches.
If by air, you will surely marvel at the panoramic view of the coast. You will get a front-row seat to many scenic areas that can not be reached by water or by land, like Manawaiopuna Falls, famously known as the backdrop in the film “Jurassic Park.”
3. Waimea Canyon (Kauai)
Famously called “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the Waimea Canyon stretches 14-miles long, 1-mile wide, and is more than 3,600 feet deep. The canyon was formed by erosion from the Waimea, Hawaiian for reddish water, River and exudes a color array of red, brown and green hues. The colors come from rainwater turning over freshly exposed lava rock from black to red, mixed with the greens and browns of the surrounding vegetation.
As a hiker’s haven, there are numerous hiking trails for beginners and advanced hikers alike. The scenic park is full of waterfalls and majestic rainbows created from the splashing waters. The main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, allows you to tour by car and leads you to the lower lookout point and the Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering panoramic views and parking. The massive canyon can also be explored by helicopter to truly grasp “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’s” wonder.
4. Haleakala National Park (Maui)
The Haleakala Crater towers 10,023 above sea level over Maui; this dormant volcano is visible from nearly any point. Hawaiian for “house of the sun,” visitors wake-up early to drive to the Haleakala Visitor Center to watch the most breathtaking sunrise.
According to the legend of the “house of the sun,” the demigod Maui stood on the volcano’s summit and lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. Reservations are required to view the sunrise at the summit to prevent overcrowding.
Haleakala National Park is also home to Mars-like red deserts and rock gardens near the summit, lush waterfalls and streams near the park’s coastal Kipahulu section, and the beautiful tiered Pools of Oheo.
5. Diamond Head (Oahu)
The 300,000-year-old Diamond Head crater got its English name from British sailors who mistook calcite crystals on the slope for diamonds. Diamond head is known to Hawaiians as Lē‘ahi, “brow of the tuna” because of the shape of the ridgeline resembles the form of a tuna’s dorsal fin. Both iconic and majestic, Diamond Head is a favorite for hikers. The moderately challenging trail includes two staircases, totaling 175 steps, as well as dark underground tunnels and old military bunkers that require a flashlight. The panoramic views of Waikiki beach and the state capital Oahu greet you at the summit.
Hawaii is a wealth of natural history and culture. There’s so much to do and see there, that no one blog or even one trip could sum it all up. Use sites like expedia and travelocity to find the best deals on flights and hotels and book your Hawaiian adventure getaway today! If you have ever visited Hawaii in the past, what were your favorite natural wonders to behold? Leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below.