The Hawaiian Islands are home to majestic sea coasts, stunning waterfalls and amazing natural wonders.  From Akaka Falls in the Big Island to the Hana Coast of Maui, there are numerous sights that will take your breath away.  Which are the top five natural wonders of Hawaii?  Read on to find out.

1) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)

This national park tops our natural wonders of Hawaii list as it is the most visitor-friendly active volcano in the world.  Where else can you walk through a lava tube, cross through a lava rock desert, watch as molten lava pours into the sea, view the world’s most massive volcano Mauna Loa and get a first-hand look at the Kilauea Volcano as it erupts lava?  The 300,000 plus acres of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park features so many wonders of the world you’ll want to spend more than one day here if time
natural wonders of Hawaii

Watch the glow of an active volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

2) Na Pali Coast (Kauai)

The 16-mile stretch of Na Pali Coast in Kauai is perhaps one of the most gorgeous sights to see on all the islands. As one of the natural wonders of Hawaii, the lush, emerald green sea cliffs rising more than 4,000 feet from the ocean are a true treasure.  However, it’s accessible only by hearty hikers or by boat. Accordingly, Na Pali Coast cruises are a popular excursion. I recommend reserving one so you can get the best views of the rugged cliffs. In addition, you’ll be treated to views of stunning waterfalls, lush valleys and isolated beaches.  If you’re up for it, you can hike the Kalalau Trail. 11 miles one way, this hike traverses five major valleys of the Na Pali Coast State Park. It ends at Kalalau Beach.
natural wonders of Hawaii

The stunning Na Pali Coast is unlike any other place on earth.

3) Waimea Canyon (Kauai)

You don’t receive the nickname “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” without being able to live up to the wonder the name suggests.  A conflux of volcanic movement and years upon years of water from the Waimea River created the 10-mile, 3,000 ft. deep canyon.  The name Waimea means “reddish water” in Hawaiian and pays homage to the canyon’s red soil.  The colors of the canyon come from rainfall turning over freshly exposed lava rock from black to various shades of red, contrasted by the greens and browns of various vegetation.  This natural wonder can be seen by auto touring, hiking or by helicopter.
natural wonders of Hawaii

Let’s hope you’re lucky enough to catch a rainbow over Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii.

4) Haleakala National Park (Maui)

Visitors rave about this national park no matter what time of day they visit.  Home to the Haleakala Volcano, the name of the park – Haleakala – means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian. It’s famous for it’s stunning sunrises. As a result, it attracts numerous visitors each morning.  On a clear day, you can also see five other Hawaiian islands from the 10,023 ft. summit.  Of course, star gazing here is spectacular as well. Astronomy buffs marvel at the different formations one can find from atop the summit.
natural wonders of Hawaii

Watching the sunrise over Haleakala National Park is a truly transformative experience.

5) Diamond Head (Oahu)

This sight is one of Hawaii’s signature landscapes.  The dormant volcanic tuff cone received its name from British sailors who arrived in the 19th century. They mistook the calcite crystals in its slopes for diamonds.  However, its Hawaiian name is Leahi, which describes the mountain’s silhouette’s resemblance to the dorsal fin of a tuna.  No matter what you call it, you’ll want to make the 45-minute (0.8 mile) hike to the summit of Diamond Head.  Overlooking Waikiki, Honolulu and Oahu’s South Shore, the views from the top are postcard perfect.
natural wonders of Hawaii

One of the most photographed natural wonders of Hawaii, Diamond Head is a signature element of the Waikiki landscape.

 Seriously Amazing Sights

The natural wonders of Hawaii are some seriously amazing sights. You’ll never forget the first time you see them. As a result, each is totally worthy of being added to your bucket list.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The island of Kauai is an exotic escape featuring a vast variety of landscapes and natural attractions.  In Lihue, Kauai, which is located on the eastern side of the island, is an old sugar mill town.  Situated between beautiful Kalapaki Beach and the soaring mountains  of Waimea Canyon, Lihue is home to numerous historical spots and natural wonders. Want to know which places are the best to explore? Discover more on our list detailing seven unique places to see in Lihue, Kauai. 

Begin your exploring at Wailua Falls. Then, trek to the famous Fern Grotto on the Wailua River. Up next, there are numerous historical spots to visit including a sugar plantation, harbor and museum.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Majestic twin Wailua waterfalls on Kauai, Hawaii

1) Wailua Falls

Drive Highway 583 to the south end of the Wailua River, this waterfall is easy to see from a roadside lookout.  It cascades into two into two streams, dropping 80-feet below.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Image via Michael Napoleon / flickr

2) Fern Grotto

You need to take a leisurely ride up the Wailua River to access the picturesque fern-fringed cave that is the Fern Grotto.  Dewy and emerald green, the grotto is a natural lava-rock lush with hanging ferns and tropical foliage.  It’s a pristine setting making it one of Kauai’s top natural attractions. 

Image via Joel Bradshaw / Wikimedia

3) Grove Farm Homestead Museum

Formerly the 80-acre plantation home of George N. Wilcox, Grove Farm Homestead has been preserved as a depiction of life on a sugar plantation.  Reservations needed.
places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Alekoko Fishpond / Wikimedia

4) Menehune (Alekoko) Fishpond

Built nearly 1,000 years ago, the Alekoko Menehune Fishpond, minutes from Lihue, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.  It can be viewed from an overlook 1/2 mile up Hulemalu Road.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Nawiliwili Harbor via James Brennan / flickr

5) Nawiliwili Harbor

The official harbor of Kauai since 1930, Nawiliwili Harbor is a picturesque setting that ports many cruise ships.  It is located at the mouth of the Hule’ia Stream, the harbor got its name from the Wiliwili trees which once ruled the area.

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Kauai Museum/ Wikimedia

6) Kauai Museum

Stop by this museum to see work by local artisans as well as learn about Hawaii culture and history.  Located in a lava rock structure, it’s easily one of the most unique places to see in Lihue, Kauai. Moreover, a stop at the Kauai Museum is a convenient way to learn more about the island you’re visiting. 

places to see in Lihue, Kauai

Image via Bob Linsdell / flickr

7) Kilohana Plantation

Get a glimpse of life on the islands in the 1930s and this restored plantation estate.  A 16,000 square-foot mansion is open for tours and the 35-acre estate now features tropical gardens and an old plantation village.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Dreaming of a Kauai vacation? There are plenty of things to do on the island known as known as “Hawaii’s Island of Discovery.” Lush landscapes, amazing scenery and plenty of adventure await you. Kauai is a true nature lover’s paradise with beautiful beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls and diverse landscapes creating endless ways to play. Wondering what to do on your vacation in Kauai? I’ve got a Kauai itinerary covering all the highlights of this breathtaking island.

Kauai itineray

Here’s a look at a sample Kauai itinerary for your vacatiob:

Day 1: Settle into your hotel
The first things to do on this Kauai itinerary is check-in to your hotel. A couple of options we recommend are Poipu Shores Resort and Kiahuna Plantation. Then, head to the beach and being your vacation! Poipu Beach Park is great for snorkeling and sunset gazing, while Hanalei Bay and Anini Beach are ideal options if you’re staying on the North Shore.

Kauai Itinerary

A Kauai helicopter tour is a splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime treat.

Day 2: Go on a helicopter tour
Blue Hawaiian Kauai Helicopter Tours give guests the opportunity to see Kauai’s awe-inspiring sights that are inaccessible from the ground. Departing from Lihue, the flight lasts about an hour and is sure to a highlight of your vacation. Afterwards, head to the North Shore for sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling and even hiking. The famous Kalalua Trail in Na Pali Coast State Park will give you a spectacular view of the coastline, but if you’re up for a more strenuous trek try the hike to Hanakapiai Falls, a 3-hour trip one way. Snorkel at Ke’e Beach, have lunch at Hanalei Bay and be sure to go to the Kilauea Lighthouse for fantastic photo opportunities and wildlife viewing.

Kauai Itinerary

The stunning sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

Day 3: Tour the Na Pali Coast
You can’t vacation in Kauai without touring the Na Pali Coast. As a result, it’s a must-do on this Kauai itinerary. The stunning 17 miles of coastline features hanging valleys and steep ridges thousands of feet above the ocean. Numerous excursions are available for the Na Pali coast. We recommend a Na Pali Coast Sunset Dinner Cruise for romance and gorgeous sightseeing, a Na Pali Snorkel Rafting Expedition for up-close views and underwater sightseeing and if you’d like to enjoy both Kauai’s lush interior is one of the few ways to see the lush jungle of Kauai.

Alternatively, you could venture out onto the Wailya River. Rainbow Kayak Tours and Kayak Adventures both operate Wailua Kayak Tours. After paddling past numerous Heiaus (hallowed shrines), you will view ancient Kamokila Village. Soon you will come to the North Fork where you will paddle leisurely through the Garden Isle’s most beautiful jungle river until you come to the trail head for Secret Falls, where you’ll enjoy a short hike to an enchanting 80’ waterfall.

If you plan your day right, you could kayak in the morning. Then, go on a sunset dinner cruise of the Na Pali Coast at night. Pure Perfection!

Kauai Itinerary

Rainbow over Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii.

Day 4: Visit the West Side of Kauai
Make time to visit the historical towns of Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha. You’ll want to make time to hike Waimea Canyon as well. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” highlights include stunning scenery, colorful canyons and scenic overlooks into the valley of the Na Pali Coast. On your way to the Waimea Canyon there are ample scenic overlooks and photo opportunities as well.

Kauai Itinerary

Escape to the paradise that is Tunnels Beach.

Day 5: Hit the Beach
Time to do some full-on relaxing–it is vacation after all. Hit up Kauai’s treasured beaches for a free day of fun under the sun. Some of my favorite spots are Poipu Beach, Hanalei Bay and Tunnels Beach. Throw a towel on those golden sands, soak up some relaxing rays and let the ocean take the rest of your cares away.

These are just some of the adventures waiting for you when you travel to Kauai. Activities in Kauai are endless and the sights to see are breathtaking. Start planning your vacation today and see all the island has to offer.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Maui is famous for its breathtaking sights, especially those at the Haleakala National Park.   When you visit Maui you’ll want to trek to the summit of Haleakala to see gorgeous sunrises and starry nights, as well as the vast landscape of the Haleakala Crater.  The Kipahulu District of the Haleakala National Park, located 12 miles past the town of Hana, is another region of the park that encompasses pristine natural sights worth a visit.  The famous Pools of Oheo Gulch are located at Kipahulu.  Here you’ll discover beautifully tiered pools fed by waterfalls invite you to swim and play – Hawaiian style. 

Kipahulu District

Pictures don’t do this waterfall justice. It’s something you have to see in person to truly appreciate.

To get to Kipahulu, you’ll drive the Road to Hana, a beautiful coastal highway dotted with natural attractions.  Waterfalls, panoramic vistas, black sand beaches and plenty of other historic and cultural stops.  Be sure to make time for experiences at Kipahulu, though, as this area of the Haleakala National Park features spectacular scenery and exotic experiences.

Hiking at Kipahulu is outstanding.  There are three main hikes at the park – the Pipiwai Trail, Kuloa Point Trail and Kahakai Trail.  I highly recommend hiking the Pipiwai Trail.  The 4-mile roundtrip hike is slightly strenuous due to the terrain and elevation changes. Likewise, it winds through freshwater streams, bamboo forests and even past a huge banyan tree along the way to the epic 200-foot Makahiku Falls.  If you’re searching for shorter hiking trails, Kuloa Point and Kahakai Trail are both ½ mile roundtrip. They access the mouth of Oheo Gulch and gorgeous ocean views, respectively.

Kipahulu District

Oheo Gulch is also known as the Seven Sacred Pools.

One of the most amazing things to do at Kipahulu is swim in the pools of Oheo Gulch.  When conditions allow, you can swim in the small set of pools that cascades from Oheo Gulch Stream at Haleakala National Park.  They are only about 30 ft. or so in total height. As a result, they create a tropical paradise in which you can splash and play. 

Elsewhere at the Kipahulu District you’ll find lush vegetation and scenic coastal views. Be sure to keep an eye open for sea turtles, monk seals, dolphins and whales (December-April.)  Guided activities and cultural events are also available.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

No matter where I travel, I think exploring is part of the adventure. Luckily, Hawaii is the perfect setting to put such a philosophy to work. Hiking in Hawaii is a popular activity and the Big Island has no shortage of beautiful places to visit. In fact, Big Island scenic hikes run the gamut of waterfalls to green sand beaches to lava landscapes. The surroundings are immersive, natural wonders only a Hawaiian Island can offer.  There are plenty of places to hike on the Big Island but there are a few can’t miss favorites.

Big Island Scenic Hikes You Don’t Want to Miss 

Big Island Scenic Hikes

The sights on the Kilauea Iki trail are impressive.

1) Kilauea Iki Trail
This four-mile loop is located inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  During the hike, you’ll navigate through the Kilauea Iki Crater, the remains of a massive 1959 eruption.  As you descend the 400-feet of the crater, a variety of scenery welcomes you.  From lush rainforests to active steam and sulfur vents and a solidified lava lake, hiking this trail gives you access to incredible, unique sights only the Big Island can provide.
Big Island Scenic Hikes

Lush and green, the Waipio Valley is a stark contrast to the volcanic landscapes that dominate the Big Island. Paul Bica, via flickr

2) Waipio Valley

On the northern Hamakua Coast, you’ll find the lush Waipio Valley. Surrounded by cliffs up to 2,000-feet high, the deep valley is about a mile wide.  Hiilawe Falls, the Big Island’s tallest waterfall, is a highlight as is a black sand beach and Kuluhine Falls.  Park at the Waipio Valley Lookout and hike to the beach while enjoying all of the scenic sights that surround you.

Akaka Falls on Big Island Hawaii in tropical rain fores

This short hike is seriously stunning.

3) Akaka Falls Loop

Head to Akaka Falls State Park to see the 442-foot Akaka Falls.  Situated on the northeastern Hamakua Coast, you can access the park about 3.5 miles from Honomu, a former sugar plantation town.  You can see both beautiful falls by trekking a short .4 mile paved path laden with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns. As far as Big Island scenic hikes go, this is one has one of the most rewarding sights. Plus, it’s one of the shortest! 
Thurston Lava Tube At Hawaii Volcano National Park

Inside the Thurston Lava Tube.

4) Thurston Lava Tube

When you think of Big Island scenic hikes, a lava tube might not come to mind. However, when you’re on the Big Island a volcanic world surrounds you. Accordingly, exploring this unique sight just makes sense.
Of the 150 miles of hiking trails inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this one is the easiest. As a result, it’s also pretty popular! On the 20-minute walk, you’ll navigate through a thick, fern-filled forest to the Thurston Lava Tube. Once there, you’ll enter a 500-foot cave-like tunnel (tube) that was carved by fast-moving molten lava.  Walking through a lava tube is definitely a highlight of any visit to the Big Island. It’s also one of the most interesting hikes you can experience.

By jonny-mt, via Wikimedia Commons

5) Papakolea Beach
Green sand, created by the mineral olivine, creates a one-of-a-kind environment to discover at Papakolea Beach.  It is one of only two green sand beaches in the world.  The hike to the beach, which is located near Ka Lea or the “South Point”, which is 2.5 miles one way.  During the hike, you’ll gain access to one of the most remote beaches on the Big Island. In addition, you’ll experience one of the most unique settings in the world.

Discover More of the Big Island

The beauty of the Big Island doesn’t end with these hikes. There are truly amazing sights at every turn, creating a marvelous oasis of discovery. Plan your trip with Reserve Hawaii to see just how breathtaking a Hawaii vacation can be.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

One of the top things to do in Hawaii is drive the Road to Hana Maui.  The centuries-old path is dotted with spectacular scenery, rustic towns and plenty of Hawaiian culture.  Fill the car up with gas, pack a picnic lunch and hit the road to discover the “Highway to Heaven.” 

Here are a few of the top Road to Hana Maui sights to look for on your journey.

Add a little adventure to your trip with a jump into a waterfall!

Twin Falls

Location: Mile Marker #2

Park at the Wailele Farms, which is open to the public for free, to access the cascading waterfalls of Twin Falls. They are easily accessible, but the path can be somewhat slippery. However, the falls are a picture-perfect place to snap photos. Plus, you can swim underneath the waterfall and even jump into the falls’ deep pools. Be sure to stop by the snack stands at the farm entrance for some tasty treats. Along the Road to Hana Maui, there’ aren’t very many food opportunities. Take advantage while you can! 
dscf6821_1_rsz Road to Hana Maui

Breathe in the fresh, natural air of Maui.

Waikamoi Nature Trail

Location: Mile Marker #9.5
A short but sometimes muddy trail leads you to coastal views and plenty of floral and fauna.  Great for non-hikers who just want to stretch their legs, the trail is lined with tall eucalyptus trees and fragrant ginger. 
dscf6974_1_rsz Road to Hana Maui

Welcome to heaven on earth.

Puohokamoa Falls

Location: Mile Marker #11
Make sure you see both the upper and lower sections of Puohokamoa Falls. Many people visit only the upper section and miss the gorgeous 200-foot cascading waterfall on the lower section.  A short walk along an easily accessible path takes you to the spectacular waterfall tumbling over a tall green cliff. The falls are best seen from the Puohokamoa Lookout Point. 

Rick McCharles, flickr

Keanae Arboretum

Location: Mile Marker #17

This Road to Hana Maui stop offers a bit more challenging hike, plenty of plant life and is a great spot for photos.  About 150 tropical plants can be found here and the Piinaau Stream meanders around the arboretum creating a swimming pond.  Two short walking trails lead guests to a beautiful forest and if you’re up for even more scenic views head a ½ mile down the highway to Keanae Overlook, which has some fantastic views of Haleakala.  

This lush valley is not only beautiful–it’s historical too!

Wailua Overlook

Location: Mile Marker #21
You can see Wailua Canyon from the parking lot and after you walk up a set of steps you have a view of Wailua Village and signature sight in Hawaii – water-logged taro patches. Make time to see the church made of coral – once known as St. Gabriel’s – as it is steeped in legend.  When locals decided to build a church a storm washed up just enough coral to build the church and then took any excess coral back to sea.  
hawaii-348_1_rsz Road to Hana Maui

Stop for a picture, but make time to swim at Waikani Falls if you can.

Waikani Falls

Location: Mile Marker #21
Also known as “Three Bears Falls,” this stop is an absolute must for any Road to Hana adventurist.  The nickname is derived from the fact each waterfall is taller than the next like a family of bears.  The Waikani Falls are some of the most dramatic falls in East Maui.  

As the only lava tube on the Road to Hana Maui, this is a stop you don’t want to miss.

Hana Lava Tube

Location: One mile off Ulaino Rd.
Also known as “Kaeleku Caverns,” the Hana Lava Tube is Maui’s largest lava tube.  During a visit here, you can take a self-guided 30-40 minute tour accentuated by colorful underworld formations.  The tour is offered daily from 10:30am-4pm.  Cost is $11.95.  
hawaii-373_rsz Road to Hana Maui

This black sand beach is a contrast of lush, natural beauty and lava rock.

Waianapanapa State Park Maui

Location: Mile Marker #32
This 122-acre state park is home to a black sand beach, dramatic sea caves, natural stone arch hiking trails, and has remnants of Old King’s Highway.  If you hike to the lighthouse, you’ll have gorgeous views of the bay.  

The Wailua waterfall is roadside, which makes it hard to miss.

Wailua Falls

Location: Mile Marker #45
Wailua Falls is the easiest waterfall to access on the Road to Hana Maui. With a cascade of 80-feet, it’s also one of the most beautiful. This is the most photographed waterfall along this route, so there’s generally a crowd of people here. Luckily, there’s a decent amount of parking compared to other Hana sights. You can snap a few pictures from the bridge, but I recommend taking a quick (and somewhat slippery) hike to the plunge pool for up close views and even a refreshing swim.

Hamoa Beach

Location: Mile Marker #50
The 100-foot-wide beach is about 900 feet long and sits below 30-foot, black lava sea cliffs. The crescent moon bay is surrounded by lush vegetation, making it one of Hawaii’s favorite beaches. In addition, it’s rarely crowded so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the serene paradise of Hamoa Beach without distraction. 

Oheo Gulch is at the end of the Road to Hana Maui, but is well worth your time.

Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)

Location: Mile Marker #42 (Note: After Hamoa Beach, the mile markers start descending)
Oheo Gulch is simply stunning. Many people don’t make the time for visiting this expansive section of the Haleakala National Park on their Road to Hana Maui tour. Big mistake! Huge. Paradise on earth is embodied at this preserve, which features multiple waterfalls, epic (and endless) coastline views, hiking opportunities and so much more.

Experience the Tropical Treasure that is the Road to Hana Maui

Traveling the Road to Hana Maui provides an up-close look at the true, natural beauty of the island. The road, which has 600 curves and 59 bridges, winds through lush tropical forests, scenic ravines and cascading waterfalls. Ocean cliffs, lava coastlines and incredible black and white sand beaches line the way. The road, which follows and ancient Hawaiian foot trail, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Shimmering ocean waters. Golden sandy beaches. Swaying palm trees. This is what comes to mind when you think of Maui. There’s a whole lot more to Maui than their fabulous beaches, though! The island oasis is a stunning tropical paradise alive with culture, scenery, food, and fun. It’s also the perfect place to travel when you’re in need of a break from the cold, harsh realities of winter.

winter trip to Maui

5 Things to Do on a Winter Trip to Maui

Explosive Breach1) Whale Watching

If you’ve ever wanted to witness a majestic humpback whale in person, whale watching in Maui is for you. Each year, from December through April, North Pacific humpback whale travel from Alaska to the warmer waters surrounding Maui as they have ideal conditions for breeding and calving. The best way to view these creatures is with a whale watching boat tour. You can also count on seeing whales from the shoreline and at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Either way, you can count on whale watching being one of the absolute best things to do during a winter trip to Maui.

Haleakala_4939182192) Haleakala National Park

Truly a wonder to behold, Haleakala National Park is a vast volcanic crater with a summit of 10,023-feet. As you traverse the switchbacks up the mountain you rise above it all, reaching an elevation that somehow feels above the clouds. Indeed, Haleakala translates to “House of the Sun.” The vistas and vantage points are a mix of worlds, with green and blue landscapes in one direction and a desert and lava in another. The best time to visit during a winter trip to Maui is at sunrise or sunset as you’ll see why this National Park earns its name. There’s a lot more to this 30,000-acre plus park, including almost 30 hiking trails. Strike out on your own or join a guided Haleakala tour for insight into this unique environment.

Waianapanapa State Park ThinkstockPhotos-484122506 RSZ3) Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is notorious for its winding roads and endless curves. There’s a reason why there are souvenir t-shirts splattered with the phrase “I Survived the Drive”—traversing this road is an adventure. It’s also beautiful, and dotted with panoramic vistas, rushing waterfalls and distinct beaches. There are Road to Hana tours, but for this activity, I recommend venturing out on your own. The 52-mie route takes about 2 ½ hours to travel, and that’s without stops.  And you’re going to want to stop—a lot. So plan accordingly. You’ll want to bring water and a lunch with you, as there are a few snack and fruit stands along the route but scant options for full meals. That said, some of my favorite Road to Hana sights are Twin Falls, Waikamo Ridge’s bamboo forest, Puohokamoa Falls, Wailua Falls and Wai’anapanapa State Park.

Treat yourself to a delicious meal in Hawaii.

4) Hawaii Cuisine

When you’re on a winter trip to Maui, you’ll find the food scene is thriving. Culinary enthusiasts have collaborated to create the farm-to-table movement known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Founders of the HRC include top chefs of Maui restaurants including Merriman’s Kapalua, Ocean Tavern, and Hali’imaile General Store. Two of my favorite Maui towns for food are Lahaina and Paia. Both are laidback beach towns where the restaurants are casual yet the food is seriously good. Top picks include Lahaina Pizza Co., Fleetwood’s on Front Street, Mama’s Fish House, Milagros Food Co., and Charley’s Saloon.

Snorkel_iStock_000007110005XSmall5) Outdoor Adventures 

Maui’s vast landscape makes it easy to get outside and explore. At every turn, you can experience something new. During your winter trip to Maui, go for a snorkel with tropical fish and sea turtles, then horseback ride through the Maui countryside. Opt for an aerial tour via helicopter, then zipline through the lush Maui canopy. The best part? That’s only the beginning of the adventures that await! Exceptional Maui activities help break the mold of tropical vacations; you’ll see and do things you’ve never done before and come away thinking “I did that!”

With these top five things to do during a winter trip to Maui, escaping the winter blues will be a breeze. To make your trip even better, rely on Reserve Hawaii for exclusive deals on hotels, attractions, and luaus.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Maui to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

One of the most unique things you can do in Kauai is kayak the Wailua River. Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with navigable rivers, and the Wailua is the most popular one to explore. The tranquil Wailua River weaves by gorgeous waterfalls and lush, jungle landscapes. It’s an escape to the past, as the original Wailua River was the home of the first Hawaiians almost 1500 years ago. It’s also an incredible modern-day look at the beauty, and preservation, of this natural treasure. Interested in learning more about a Wailua River kayak adventure? Follow along as I guide you through my excursion with Rainbow Kayak Tours, one of the premier outfitters for the Wailua River.

Rainbow Kayak Tours

Entrance to the Rainbow Kayak Tours headquarters.

The location of Rainbow Kayak Tours, at 440 Aleka Loop, is a nondescript shopping mall. You might think you’re lost, but circle around the parking lot and look for the kayaks and shuttles–a sure sign you’re in the right place.

Rainbow Kayak Tours

All aboard the Rainbow Kayak Tours shuttle!

After waking up extra early for my 7:15am check-in time at Rainbow Kayak Tours, I was feeling less than bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. However, I was eager to start the day and was happy to hear the shuttle ride from the shop to the kayak put-in place was a short one.

Wailua River Kayak

Pick a kayak, any kayak!

At Rainbow Kayak Tours you can choose to kayak solo or as a team.  Just be sure to let your choice be known at time of reservation so they can bring the correct number of kayaks to the banks of the Wailua River.

The beginning of my 4 1/2 adventure tour.

The beginning of my 4 1/2 adventure tour.

The start of the Wailua River kayak tour is rather leisurely, especially if you kayak tandem-style. I paddled past historical Heiaus (hallowed shrines), the ancient village of Kamokila, and under the canopy of swaying palm trees and other vegetation. It. Was. Beautiful.


Paddling to Secret Falls.


Before I knew it, I had paddled past North Fork and the famous Fern Grotto and was on my way to Secret Falls.

Wailua River Kayak

Time to drop off the kayak at the Secret Falls trailhead and hike into the Kauai rainforest.

Part of the Wailua River Kayak experience is hiking through the natural Kauai rainforests, discovering and learning about the floral and fauna around you from your trusty guide, and, of course, splashing into the Secret Falls Waterfall.

Wailua River Kayak

Hiking into the Kauai rainforest.

The hike through the Kauai rainforest is a moderate one, but I cannot stress enough to bring proper shoes. The path can be rather slippery (I had flip-slops on so I ended up going barefoot most of the time). Bring some water shoes or comfortable sneakers.

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The Rainbow Kayak Tour guide sharing his expertise.

As I hiked through the rainforest, the extremely knowledgeable Rainbow Kayak tour guide shared his expertise regarding local flora and fauna. At one point, he pointed out edible plants that I volunteered to try. It was surprisingly good!

Lunch is served

Lunch is served.

The Wailua River kayak experience includes a fresh lunch, served on the banks of the Secret Falls Waterfall.

Wailua River Kayak

Time for waterfall fun!

It’s hard to beat playing in a Kauai waterfall! Secret Falls is an enchanting waterfall descending 80 feet into a natural pool surround by rocks and vegetation. To avoid the crowds from Wailua River kayak tours, be sure to book the early morning tour. The afternoon tours are notorious for being busier which means you won’t have as much solo time underneath this amazing natural feature.

Wailua River Kayak

Scenic sights along the Wailua River.

After frolicking in the waterfall and enjoying a delicious lunch under a warm Hawaiian sun, I hiked back to my kayak with my group. From there, we paddled along the same route in which we came.

I found the Wailua River kayak tour to be one of my favorite activities on Kauai. I felt like I got to experience the natural side of Hawaii, but in a trusted, guided atmosphere. Plus, I got to swim under a Hawaii waterfall, which is kind of the best thing ever. It’s hard not to give this tour two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Add the Wailua River kayak tour from Rainbow Kayak to your Hawaii itinerary to see why this Kauai activity is one of the best.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Planning a vacation to Kauai? If so, you know there are numerous Kauai attractions and activities available in Hawaii, many of which highlight the beauty of the island. Get the full scoop on how to do Hawaii on a budget with our list of free things to do in Kauai.


1) Wailua River State Park
Wailua River State Park is home to Fern Grotto, a fern-covered cave set in a tropical garden, Opaeka’s Falls and Wailua Falls.  The state park also features the Wailua Complex of Heiau, a national historic landmark.

Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii Islands

Waimea Canyon

2) Waimea Canyon
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the park offers stunning views at several lookout points, picnic areas and a variety of hiking trails to waterfalls and other scenic locales. Entrance into the Waimea Canyon State Park is free.

3) Koke’e State Park
Koke’e State Park, home to hiking trails, the Koke’e Natural History Museum, the Koke’e Lighthouse, as well as interpretive programs and exhibits. There are beautiful lookouts to take advantage of and scenic waterfalls to see at this state park. Entrance to the park is free.

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Spouting Horn

4) Spouting Horn
A popular photography spot, Spouting Horn is easily accessed on the Poipu Coastline. A natural lava tube flooded by the surf creates a frequent 50-foot spouts of surge and swells. A legend is built around the sound the Spouting Horn makes, hissing and roaring as the waves come in and out.

5) Kauai Coffee Company
Tour the Kauai Coffee Company on the south side of Kauai. It’s the United States’ largest coffee farm, offering a free self-guided walking tour of the farm and free coffee tasting.


Tunnels Beach

6) Beaches
Tunnels Beach. Hanalei Bay. Poipu Beach. Waimea Bay. These are just a few of the sun-soaked beaches Kauai is known for. These free natural attractions offer endless days of pleasure and are some of the best free things to do in Kauai.

7) Hiking
There are endless epic hiking trails in Kauai. All
of them are free to access, too, so you can spend a day under the island sun exploring some of the best attractions the island has to
offer at no charge. The Kalalu Trail is one of the best with views of the Na Pali Coast. Canyon Trail at Koke’e State Park has panoramic views of Waimea Canyon, making it an amazing free thing to do too.

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Kilauea Lighthouse

8) Koloa Heritage Trail
A self-guided 10 mile trail, the Koloa Heritage Trail has a series of 14 monuments educating visitors of the history, culture and heritage of this site.

9) Kilauea Lighthouse
Pristinely white against a deep blue ocean, the Kilauea Lighthouse draws visitors for its postcard perfect views. After snapping about 100 photos (seriously, it’s so pretty!), take the guided tour of the lighthouse to gain insight into this historical landmark.

These are just a few of the free things to do in Kauai. Plan your Hawaii vacation today to discover all Hawaii has to offer.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Want to experience life under the sea like never before?  Reserve a trip with Atlantis Adventures Hawaii.  They take guests on spectacular submarine adventures in technologically advanced vessels to depths of 100 feet and beyond.  Plus, they have locations on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu. 

Want to know more about what an excursion with Atlantis Adventures Hawaii  is all about?  Read on:
Atlantis Adventures Big Island
After a quick check-in (please check-in 30 minutes prior to your boarding time) at the Atlantis Submarine ticket office on Alii Drive, located across from the Kailua-Kona Pier, you’ll board a submarine and begin your adventure.  During your trip, you’ll explore the majestic waters off the Kailua-Kona Pier, a 25-acre natural coral reef and its marine inhabitants.  The best part is you view all of this in air-conditioned comfort and safety. Allow Atlantis Submarines to show you the other 96% of Kona you can’t see any other way. You’ll descend 100 feet into another version of paradise, one hidden even from the people of Hawaii for centuries.
Atlantis Adventures Maui
Check-in at the Atlantis Maui Logo Shop in Lahaina (about 30 minutes before departure) and begin your submarine adventure in Maui.  The Maui tour takes guests on an underwater discovery tour in the coastal waters surrounding Lahaina.  Guests view the unique fascinating natural coral reefs, fish and marine life in air-conditioned comfort and safety.  Atlantis Adventures recently created a unique underwater reef, too, as they sank a Carthaginian replica of a 19th century supply vessel.  This reed will have lasting marine benefit and is a real sight to see!
Atlantis Adventures Oahu
You begin your trip excursion with Atlantis Adventures Hawaii with a quick check-in at the Hilton Pier in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Alii Tower (30 minutes prior to boarding).  Then, you’ll board one of their 48 passenger submarines and head to the coastal waters surround Waikiki and Honolulu.  The Atlantis Waikiki dive site is home to many Hawaiian fishes, coral, and turtles. Known for its quality and safety, Atlantis is an eye-opening experience that takes you beyond the classroom as you learn about coral, reef life and submersibles while visiting our sunken shipwrecks, airplane and other artificial reefs. Atlantis has a spacious air-conditioned interior, large view ports and comfortable seating. If you haven’t been to the bottom of the ocean before, this tour is a “must do!”

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.