The archipelago that forms the state of Hawaii lies in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii was the last state to join the Union (on August 21st, 1959). The breathtaking natural splendor of these islands remains unmatched making it a very popular tourist destination. The beauty of Hawaii was best described by the writer Mark Twain-
“For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack”
Let us take a look at some of the most popular attractions in the beautiful state of Hawaii
Oahu – Home to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu. Oahu is one of the largest islands in the archipelago and is also one of the most visited places in the state. Not only is it known for its iconic beaches and adventure sports, it is also a very significant place in American history.
- Pearl Harbor – Pearl Harbor, to the west of Honolulu, needs no introduction. It is the bombing of this harbor in 1941 that marked USA’s entry into World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the top attractions at Pearl Harbor and marks the resting place of the soldiers killed in the attack. It is also a National Historic Landmark in the US.
- Diamond Head – Diamond Head State Park and its numerous trails are another popular tourist destination. The 300,000-year-old crater and the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean that the park offers make the hike worthwhile.
- Waikiki Beach – The Waikiki beach bordering Honolulu is one of the most recognized and legendary beaches across the globe. Apart from enjoying the sun and sand, it offers great surfing, snorkeling, and water skiing opportunities.
- North Shore – Oahu’s North Shore is one of the world’s premier surfing destinations. The seven-mile-long North Shore offers the “perfect wave,” for pro surfers. It attracts thousands of surfing enthusiasts from across the globe each year.
Hawaii Island (The Big Island) – The Island of Hawaii or the Big Island is the largest among the Hawaiian Islands and is also the southernmost island. The greatest attractions of the Big Island are the numerous volcanoes on the island. Two of these, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, are among the world’s most active and most massive volcanoes respectively.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Attracting over 1.5 million visitors each year is the Volcanoes National Park of Hawaii. The Visitors Center and strategic viewing points provide information of volcanic activity in this region, dating back 70 million years. Check out this Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Map article for all the other information about the national park.
- Waipio Valley – Capital of the early Hawaiian kings, the Waipio Valley is a breathtaking stretch of land surrounded by steep mountainous terrain. The hiking trails of the valley are popular with hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The island of Kauai – Often referred to as the Garden Isle, Kauai is indeed covered by lush green tropical rainforests. The island is often spoken of as one of the most photographed and one of the most beautiful (natural) places on earth.
- Nāpali Coast State Park – The Nāpali Coast is considered to be Kauai’s best feature. The dramatic coast and sharp cliffs along the fringe make it a must-see attraction. The best way to see the coast is to take a helicopter tour or sail along the coast.
- Koke`e State Park – The Koke`e State Park to the north is a favorite with hiking enthusiasts. The trails are steep but the scenery is incredible.
- Hanalei Bay – Hanalei Bay to the north of the island is a two-mile-long stretch of beach with lovely views and calm waters surrounded by mountains. It is a particular favorite with families and honeymooners visiting Hawaii.
- Waimea Canyon – The 10-mile-long, 3,600 feet deep Waimea Canyon offers great natural views and challenging hiking trails. The natural waterfalls are a beauty to behold.
Maui – The second largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui is another top tourist destination. With 30 miles of serene beaches, the island is also famous for the Maui Ocean Center, the Bailey House Museum, the Baldwin Home Museum, and the Wo Hing Temple Museum.
- Haleakalā National Park – The Haleakalā National Park encompasses the dormant Haleakala Volcano and the surrounding mountains and forests. The sunrise views from the summit are beautiful. Check out this Haleakala National Park Map article for all the other information about the national park.
While the list comprises some of the better-known tourist attractions of Hawaii there are numerous places to visit in each of the islands. These are best explored by the tourists with a quest for adventure. Honolulu itself is a rich and diverse city. Some of its key attractions include – Iolani Palace, the Ala Moana Center, the Sea Life Park Hawaii, Waikiki Aquarium, and Bishop Museum.
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