10 Best Things to Do in Hawaii

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Na Pali Coast, Kauai (Photo: Dara Continenza)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 28, 2014. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Dara Continenza, destination, Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes Natl Pk.

(Photo: Sailing the Na Pali Coast via Shutterstock)

Writer Paul Theroux famously said that Hawaii is not a state of mind but a state of grace. We're inclined to agree. From its natural wonders immense in size to its sheer breadth of things to do, there's a reason that the Aloha State is often the trip of a lifetime, a destination that tops bucket lists and inspires exhaustive research. We've done some of the heavy lifting. Here is our list of the 10 best things to do in Hawaii.


Sail the Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Native islanders say the Na Pali Coast nourishes the soul. This 17-mile stretch of rain-carved cliffs and emerald valleys is punctuated by thin, ribbonlike waterfalls, secret beaches, and sea caves teeming with aquatic life. Landlubbers can hike the winding Kalalau Trail and camp along the otherwise-unreachable beaches of sugar-soft sand, while seafarers can stand on the deck of a catamaran beneath 4,000-foot cliffs to soak in mana, or spiritual power. Slide into the water for snorkeling among green sea turtles and schools of eel and angelfish. When the trade winds are smooth, expect the catamaran to cruise around or even through the sea caves, its sails flapping the mast and spinner dolphins leaping at its stern.

How to Do It: Capt. Andy's or Holo Holo Charters will whisk you away from Port Allen. The latter offers a five-hour ride on its catamaran Leila, with lunch and snorkeling gear provided ($129 for adults if purchased online).

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