Hawaii’s stunning beaches, incredible scenery and Aloha spirit are reasons enough to visit. But there’s so much more to do here – whether you’re diving for rare fish at Hanauma Bay, riding a wave on a world-famous surf beach or learning how to dance the hula or play ukulele. From touring a pineapple plantation to sipping a cocktail at sunset on a cruise, you’ll find unforgettable experiences in every corner of this Hawaiian paradise.

The islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth’s mantle. Eruptions over time left a trail of island chains stretching across the Pacific, called the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain.

Hawaii is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, including many that exist nowhere else in the world. Many of these endemic species live in protected national parks and state forests, including the Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Despite the conservation efforts, these native plants and animals face ongoing pressure from introduced species that have been introduced by humans.

Some of these invasive species have been intentionally brought to the islands, others were accidentally introduced to create agricultural crops such as sugar cane and pineapple. Invasive predators and parasites also threaten native species, especially seabirds.

The most well-known Hawaiian attraction is Waikiki Beach, a famous stretch of white sand where visitors swim, relax and have a picnic. It’s best visited during the morning to avoid the crowds, but be sure to bring sunscreen and water to stay hydrated.

Other beach resorts on Oahu include Kailua, where surfing is a popular activity. Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu, is known for its cliff diving off Black Rock and snorkeling trips to Molokini Crater, where you can often see Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu).

Hilo is home to lush rainforests and scenic valleys, with waterfalls such as Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls within the city limits. It’s a good idea to book tours in advance, as the area is popular with hikers.

Hawaii’s windward coast is more wet and green than the rest of the island, making it ideal for botanical gardens such as Liliuokalani Park and Gardens on Banyan Drive and the Byodo-in Temple.

On a clear day, a spectacular view of the entire Hawaiian archipelago can be seen from Mount Haleakal, an active volcano on Maui. The summit offers views of the surrounding valleys and craters, as well as the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great place to watch the sunrise, but be aware that it can be cold at that time of year.

A helicopter tour is a unique way to see the island from above, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re not a thrill seeker, opt for a guided hiking tour and don’t forget to pack warm clothes. Other things to do on Maui include whale and dolphin watching at the Lahaina Harbor, visiting a lavender farm or taking a guided tour of Haleakal Temple.

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