December 2, 2023

Travel Hawaii

It's Your Travel Hawaii

Discover Hawaii’s Best Kept Secrets With These Top 10 Bucket List Tours

There isn’t another place in the world that holds the same charm that Hawaii does. Comprised of 8 major islands, and 130 lesser islets, the 50th state is a unique tropical paradise filled with good people, good food, and beautiful landscapes. From the delightful simpleness of a Loco Moco in Maui to catching waves in Lanikai Beach, there’s always something to do in Hawaii.

But there’s way much more beauty and excitement hidden underneath the island’s surface, and it’s available for everyone who chooses to explore it with the help of day-long tours that focus on the best of the best.

Related: Hidden Treasures: 10 Unforgettable Hawaii Roadside Attractions That Will Leave You in Awe

10 Molokini Crater And Turtle Town Snorkeling

Semicircular island in the middle of blue water with boats sailing in the middle
Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

Molokini Crater, Maui, United States

The Molokini Crater is a perfect example of Hawaii’s beautifully unique landscapes. The crescent-shaped piece of land is a crater formed by a partially submerged extinct volcano, and the side opening is more than enough for boats to enter and spend some time inside.

But the best part of touring here is what’s under the surface, as the coral gardens that surround the crater are known as Turtle Town. Snorkeling within the Molokini Crater ensures a great view of the underwater plants, the huge variety of fish, and, of course, the sea turtles that inhabit the place.

  • Starting point:
    300 Maalaea Road, Wailuku

  • Price:
    $150 per adult, $110 per child

9 Circle Island Tour

Lake between a small canyon with waterfall and people floating in the water
Photo by Mari Sparacino on Unsplash

Waimea Valley, Oahu, United States

As one of Hawaii’s main islands, Oahu has a plethora of sightseeing spots and available activities. And the Circle Island Tour mixes the most picturesque and historical highlights of Oahu along Kamehameha Highway, like Hanauma Bay Lookout and Diamond Head. It also includes a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, voted Hawaii’s #1 visitor attraction by USA Today, to learn about the state’s history and enjoy its culture.

  • Starting point:

  • Price:
    $145 per person

8 Kauai ATV Tour

Kauai Island, Hawaii, United States

Another of the big ones in the state, Kauai Island’s scenery is a bit more peculiar than the rest. Sure, it still has amazing beaches and tropical landscapes, but perhaps its most outstanding feature is the island’s mountains and rustic driveways. Which, for people who don’t mind getting splashed with a bit of mud, is best explored in Kauai’s ATV Tour.

The tour takes people through valleys, canyons, and plantations while learning about local history from the designated guide.

  • Starting point:
    3477A Weliweli Road, Koloa

  • Price:
    $380 for 2 people

Related: The Grand Canyon Of The Pacific: Exploring The Breathtaking Waimea Canyon State Park

7 Kaumana Caves State Park Tours

Sun coming through a small openning in a cave
Photo by Tommy Munoz on Unsplash

Sun coming through a small openning in a cave

Not every adventure has to be in the outdoors while under the sun, and the Kaumana Caves State Park is perfect for spelunkers (and vampires). The Kaumana is a massive system of caves created by the eruption and lava flow of the Mauna Loa volcano in 1881, forming a 25-mile-long tube, and time has made it into a whole underground ecosystem.

Although the travel from the entrance of the park to the caves is more like a hike than a tour, and entry to the caves is almost immediately cut off due to entering into private property, the Kaumana park still makes for a quick activity that showcases Hawaii’s volcanic past.

  • Location:
    1492 Kaumana Drive, Hilo

  • Price:
    No admission fee

6 Volcano Safari

Lava flowing fwom a volcano into water with steam clouds
Photo by Mandy Beerley on Unsplash

Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii, United States

Speaking of volcanoes, for people who want more “active” entertainment, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the Volcano Safari Tour flies travelers high above one of the most breathtaking destinations on The Big Island.

The main focus point of the whole park are the Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes, which are both the largest and most active ones in the state. Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano on the planet today. The helicopters fly well above the “splash zone,” so there’s no need to worry about being in any real danger.

  • Starting point:
    Hilo Airport

  • Price:
    $320 per person

5 Manta Ray Night Snorkeling

Kona Beach, Hawaii. United States

Most people think about going to the ocean in the middle of the night and immediately go “NOPE,” but that’s because they haven’t lived the ethereal-like experience that is being surrounded by alien-like creatures where the only light source is the moon and the suits’ equipment.

Sailing from the shores of Kona, a group of instructors first give a quick training session before getting geared and peacefully sharing the manta rays’ spotlight. The tour also offers an alternative for people who want to tag along on the trip without leaving the boat.

  • Starting point:
    74-425 Kealakehe Parkway

  • Price:
    $138 per person ($94 for only the boat ride)

4 Waikiki Atlantis Submarine Adventure

Sea turtle swimming above a coral reef
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Hawaii, United States

Still want to experience what’s underneath the surface, but aren’t quite sure about getting wet or having to get too close to the animals? Atlantis Adventures offers a unique way of exploring Hawaii’s reefs, fauna, and sunken structures that adorn this treasured site.

Apart from Waikiki, the Atlantis also holds tours along the Kona and Maui areas to show more about the state’s underwater history.

  • Starting point:
    Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

  • Price:
    $180 per adult, $80 per child

The Waikiki Atlantis Submarine does NOT have restrooms installed, so be sure to tag along with an empty tank.

Related: Hana Highway’s Must-See Sights: Top 10 Attractions & Landmarks Along The Maui Coast

3 Mauna Kea Summit Tour

Snowy mountains with a dome-shaped structure
Photo by Vanessa Fortier on Unsplash

Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii, United States

Just like Hawaii has beauty under its blue waters, it also has unbelievable views high above the clouds. Now a dormant volcano with a height of 13,800 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest mountain, and its summit is entirely available for tourists to walk along the strange sight of snow in Hawaii.

At night, Mauna Kea becomes the perfect stargazing place, which is mainly the reason why it hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory.

  • Starting point:
    Several pickup points along Waikoloa Road

  • Price:
    $280 per person

2 Pipiwai Trail

Wooden-paved trail among a bamboo forest
Photo by Madison Olling on Unsplash

Pipiwai Trail, Hawaii, United States

Much smaller but still beautiful places are only accessible by foot, needing to take short hikes through Hawaii’s scenic trails. Also known as the Hana Highway Bamboo Trail, for obvious reasons, the Pipiwai trail differs from every other trail in the state due to going through a forest made entirely out of bamboo.

Along the 4-mile-long trip, visitors can enjoy unique sights, such as passing by Makahiku and Waimoku falls and going through the banyan tree forest.

  • Starting point:
    Hana Highway

  • Price:
    $15 entrance fee

1 Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum, Hawaii, United States

A great part of Hawaii’s beauty comes from its Polynesian culture and rich history, which can be relived at Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

The museum houses the largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific cultural artifacts and natural specimens in the world. Although it doesn’t really have tours included, a visit lets outsiders get a glimpse of how such a marvelous land started. And, for only $3 extra, the J. Watumull Planetarium gives a show that’s (quite literally) out of this world.

  • Location:
    1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu

  • Price:
    $27 entry fee for adults, $19 entry fee for children

The museum also offers special prices for senior citizens, members of the military, and island natives.