Popularized by the Jack Nicholson / Morgan Freeman film of the same name, the term “bucket list” typically refers to a collection of things one hopes to see, do or experience before dying; or as they say, “kicking the bucket”. While we think that everyone should definitely visit Hawaii before they die, today’s post is essentially a list of things to see, do and experience on your Hawaii vacation. From extreme adventures, to culinary delights, there is something on the 2015 Hawaii Bucket List for everyone!
For the Adventurer
For those who like to take a walk a wild side, Hawaii’s got much to offer in the way of adventure.
Ziplining – Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island are all popular spots for Hawaii vacationers looking to explore paradise via zipline. With rainforests, canyons, and cascading waterfalls, ziplining allows you to discover the beauty of Hawaii from the canopy above.
Swim with the Ocean’s Finest – From night diving with manta rays, swimming with dolphins or green sea turtles, and even scuba diving with sharks at the Maui Ocean Center, seeing the ocean’s most majestic creatures up close and personal is an unparalleled experience worthy of any bucket list.
Haiku Stairs – Located on the island of Oahu, the Haiku Stairs are also known as the Stairway to Heaven. Although considered an illegal hike, with a guard posted at the base to stop those who attempt to do so, there are still hikers climbing the close to 4,000 steps to the top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe on a daily basis. It is closed off for safety reasons, and even prior to its official closing in 1987, it was a climb for experienced hikers only.
Kalalau Trail – If the thought of illegally hiking the steep and dangerous Haiku stairs isn’t your thing, we bet Kauai’s Kalalau trail will be! Covering 11 miles between Ke’e Beach and the Kalalau Valley, this trail offers hikers the most impressive view of the Na Pali coast available from land. Stretches range from moderate to strenuous and a round trip can typically be completed in 7 – 9 hours.
Hawaii isn’t called Paradise of the Pacific for nothing! We’ve got spectacular scenery as far as the eye can see, and below are just a few examples.
The Na Pali Coast – Best seen by kayak, boat or helicopter tours, this 17 mile shoreline on Kauai is the stuff daydreams and post cards are made of! It is a photographers dream with emerald green sea cliffs and waterfalls dotting the terrain. It is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful landscapes.
Drive the Road to Hana – Maui’s famous 64 mile Road to Hana is perhaps one of the most scenic in all of Hawaii. Complete with 600+ winding curves and more than 50 quaint one-lane bridges, the road is a nature lovers fantasy complete with tropical streams and towering waterfalls amongst lush flora and fauna.
Volcanoes Nat’l Park – Located on the Big Island, Volcanoes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two of Hawaii’s three active volcanoes are located here and you haven’t truly seen nature in action until you come to face-to-face with one of Earth’s most powerful natural phenomena.
Whale Watching – You come to Hawaii for vacation, but humpback whales travel here each year to mate and give birth to their calves. Hawaii’s official whale season runs from December through April and for its duration, volunteers are stationed along the coastline providing binoculars, scopes and some great tips to help you spot the whales and their calves!
Star Gazing Mauna Kea – Few places in the world rival Hawaii when it comes to star gazing and the summit of the Big Island’s Mauna Kea is largely considered one of the world’s best locations to view the spectacular phenomena that our night skies have to offer. If you get there early enough, you can catch a glimpse of a majestic sunset too!
Snorkel at Molokini Crater – Part of the Marine Life Conservation District, the Molokini Crater is one of the top ten diving spots in the world with more than 250 marine species, 30 varieties of coral and more than 100 types of algae. Located just off of Maui’s south coast, its crescent shape keeps the area sheltered so there is very little sediment to disturb the view. In the early morning sunlight, you can see as far down as 150 feet!
Waimea Canyon – One mile wide, 14 miles long and more than 3,000 feet deep, Kauai’s Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The panoramic views of endless crags, gorges and buttes make this worthy of a spot on any bucket list.
Culture / History Buffs
Hawaii is as rich in history and culture as it is beauty. Below are some of the best attractions for the vacationer with a passion for both.
Polynesian Cultural Center – Located on Oahu’s north shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center sits on 42 acres of land developed to include streams, a lagoon, waterfalls, and flora. It’s divided in to seven villages representing Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas and Tonga. Each village invites guests to immerse themselves in the customs, games and activities of their native ancestors.
Pearl Harbor – While on Oahu, tour one of the most significant sites in US history and visit the USS Arizona Memorial which pays tribute to the 1,177 crew members who lost their lives here. Visitors can also board the USS Missouri Battleship, the USS Bowfin Submarine and visit the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Iolani Palace – History buffs visiting Hawaii won’t want to miss Oahu’s Iolani Palace. This is the only Royal Palace to have ever stood on U.S. soil. The Hawaiian monarchy was so elaborate that the palace had electricity before the White House.
ArtAfterDark – Soak in some of Hawaii’s arts and culture scene with a cocktail in one hand, and some great food in the other while a DJ spins in the background. The Honolulu Museum of Art’s monthly ARTafterDARK event draws a diverse crowd on the last Friday of each month and is the perfect combination of art and nightlife.
Hawaii is a cultural melting pot and one of the benefits to having such a diverse population, is the variety of top ranked delicious foods!
Hawaii Shave Ice – No Hawaiian vacation is complete without sampling our famous “Shave Ice”. Originally brought to Hawaii by Japanese plantation workers in the early 1900’s, Hawaiian Shave Ice is a favorite snack amongst tourists and locals alike.
Malasadas – Similar to a donut but chewier and fluffier, malasadas are deep fried balls of dough rolled in / dusted with sugar or cinnamon while they are still hot. If they weren’t already delicious enough, some include fillings of custard, chocolate and tropical flavored creams like coconut and mango.
With so much to see, do and eat in Hawaii, it is always difficult to narrow down your choices. For more information on these and recommendations on other Hawaii attractions, our concierge is always available to lend a helping hand. Aloha and enjoy your stay in our beautiful state!
We had a wonderful time at Sail Away and I recommended Hawaii Hideaway to dozens of people. You were a delight to work with and I will definitely use you again the next time we rent a home in the islands.
Like a Dream
Bliss doesn’t even describe our experience. It was almost like a dream. We are ready to do this again with Hawaii Hideaways – you guys are the best. Everything was perfect!!!
Outstanding Experience From Beginning to End
It was in an outstanding experience from beginning to end, I would work with Hawaii hideaways again in the future unquestionably. Sunny Madeiros was terrific with her recommendations of everything from leisure activities to restaurants and even equipment rentals.
Coral Gables, FL
Perfect Combination of Elegance and Comfort
First time to Maui (and Hawaii). This is a spectacular setting and the home is a perfect combination of elegance and comfort. I could stay on the lanai all day long and be happy. Of course there’s a ton of fun activities, but it was great to have Gull Cottage as our base to come back to!
Arlington Heights, IL
You’re Going to Want to Stay
Our family spent a splendid week in Kauai in early 2017, basing ourselves out of the Touching Green house. It’s in a great location, has everything you need, and is just lovely. The pictures don’t do it justice. You’re going to want to stay!
We had a wonderful time in Kauai! We remained in awe at the unimaginable beauty, both of the rental home, as well as Kauai itself. It will be a treasured memory for life. I hope we can come back and make more memories.