Its kind of hard to believe we are even asking this question, given where Hawaii is placed. In the pacific, off the Californian coast of the United States, covered in volcanic beauty and surrounded by stunning reefs. However, with main areas like Honolulu being so built up, and the reputation the islands have gotten for being a bougie millionaires escape, some would-be travellers have turned their back on this state.
No doubt it is enticing, but surely it is too expensive or lavish for regular people. Right? We see if we can break those assumptions by asking: is Hawaii really worth visiting?
We ask all the burning questions: what makes it so special? When should you go? And what would it be like to actually live there?! We bring you the key takeaways from each island, and ask, just how much time does one need to truly get a good sense of Hawaii? Spoiler alert: whatever you are thinking, double it! Let’s see how you’re feeling at the end, shall we?
Is Hawaii worth visiting in 2021?
This simple question deserves a simple answer. Yes! World-class hotels, shopping, nightlife and dining, plus a staggering amount of natural beauty and outdoor pursuits make Hawaii a must-see destination. And with a comfortable year-round temperature of around 80°F (or 26°C) any time is a good time.
Though you can spend your time lavishing in expensive hotels, you also find escapism in simple beach accommodation, or camping in the most beautiful nature parks. If shopping and partying is not your thing, embark on a breathtaking hike through a national park and around volcanos will definitely get you going.
Perhaps a little scuba diving or snorkelling along the glorious coastline? On a time limit and want to see a lot? Getting a birds eye view on a helicopter Island tour gives a fantastic perspective. And this is available on pretty much every island.
Of course, each island has its own specific draw. Big Island, Kaua’i and Maui are famed for its wild adventures through beautiful landscapes, stunning wildlife and local culture. Oahu is better known for its modern amenities, such as shopping and excellent nightlife. However, you will find a bit of everything more or less on each island, and there are more to explore.
Whilst the above are Hawaii’s better known top four, you can also sample the likes of Niʻihau, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi. And that’s not all! There are around 132 Hawaiian islands in an area that stretches to the midway point between Asia and America, where the Midway Atoll can be found.
So, when you’re asking the question, “is Hawaii worth visiting?”, you should really be asking which island is worth visiting first? Well, ideally you would schedule some time in to do some island hopping, but this can be expensive and time consuming. If you want to see each island properly, that is. To get a good overview, and you have the cash for internal flights fitting in two or three islands will give you a good idea of Hawaii’s generous offerings.
If you are into culture and entertainment, hit up the Big Island, and maybe drop in some time on Oahu. Or get lost in nature on Kaua’i and Molokaʻi. The range of national parks and jaw-dropping volcanic ranges will soothe the soul. Don’t forget to schedule a night on the island from which you depart before you head home. This not only cuts out the stress of connecting flights, but gives you the chance to soak up a little sun sea and sand before you head home.
By now, you are likely to have another question: just how much time should you dedicate to this wonderful collection of American islands?
How Long Should you go to Hawaii For?
If travelling from mainland America, and strapped for time, a week will suffice for one or two islands. However, two weeks would give you more time to relax into your trip and see some more sides to the islands. If you are travelling from other countries, however, 10 days should be the minimum time set aside. When you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, first you need to account for travel time. Most international flights will route through mainland United States, and this can knock a day off your trip either side with airport check in and connection times of 2 hours minimum. Allot any less than ten days, and you will be selling yourself short.
Think about it: if you are going to spend that cash on those flights, you want to make sure the trip is worth it right? So do yourself a favour and give Hawaii the time it deserves. If budgeting is your worry, there are cheaper alternatives to those fancy hotels. There are so many campsites you could cover, with everything from tent plots to glamping grounds. And these can a start from as little as $30 a night! Plus, moving around gives you the chance to see more sides of the island. Car hire is relatively inexpensive, and well worth it for the money you can save by booking group tours.
If it’s sun, sea and total relaxation you’re after, there are a number of cheaper guesthouses and quaint beach style accommodation available to those who do their research. If you put in the time, search and discover and book early, you might just find your trip pleasantly affordable!
What is the Best Month to Visit Hawaii?
Whilst Hawaii is worth visiting at any time of the year, with temperatures that never seem to fall below 60°F (15°C), there is still rainfall to think of. Regular sun-seekers will need to stick between the months of March and September to avoid cloud and rain. This is when temperatures will bounce around the 70°F mark (21°C) or above, and rainfall will be inside of 1.5 inches for the month. even outside of spring and summer, you wont be getting more than 3 inches of rainfall for the month. Travellers hoping to avoid the rain should note that the east coast is generally a little wetter than the west. So remember our motto, west ain’t wet, and pick your accommodation wisely!
So! If you are planning to get lots of activities in—and are not so fussed about sunbathing—any time of year will work for you! In fact, you probably want to avoid the mid summer months like June, July and August. This is when many people, mainly families, opt to visit, and this ultimately pushes prices up.
To escape the crowds, head over in late autumn, around October/November time, and breathe in the peace and solitude. If surfing is more your thing, you can find the best surf at the height of winter heading into spring. Plenty of pro-surfers hit up the Hawaiian islands around January to March, where the swells reach dizzying highs. For the novices amongst you, stick to summer and autumn for more gentle waves that can still rip.
Bear in mind that, whatever time of year you can make your Hawaiian escape, the diverse landscapes make for some pretty diverse weather changes within the general range. With the wild variety of adventures possible inside of a temperate comfortable weather range, there will always be something to make this your trip of a lifetime.
What is so Special About Hawaii?
Hawaii has the unique placement of being rich in diverse nature, stunning landscapes, white sandy beaches, amazing surf, brilliant shopping and various entertainment avenues. Its inhabitants are friendly, its temperatures generally fair, and you have the option of divine luxury, or boho escapism. What’s so special about Hawaii is, it pretty much has it all!
When we answered the question, is Hawaii worth visiting, all the way back at the start of this article we gave you a good overview of what you could expect. Now, let’s get a little deeper into that. You can get flights to all of the most high profile islands, so we shall focus on hitting a couple of key points from each.
Naturally we start here! Mainly because it houses the capital city of Honolulu, and one of the busiest beach spots: Waikiki beach. This central hub combines sun, sea, surf, luxury hotels, nightlife and a whole heap of shopping opportunities. Kalākaua Avenue is at the epicentre, providing revellers with places to shop, dine, party, and sleep. The likes of Louis Vuitton and Burberry are here, giving ample opportunity to splash that cash, or window shop and spy on the wealthy. And as the lamps are lit, street performers and street stalls congregate, bringing fun, food and crafts to all.
And when you are in need of tranquility, national parks litter the coast in all directions. Close into Waikiki, you have Diamond Head National Park. Walk to the top on a clear day and you get a birds-eye view of the capital, and the whole island as it stretches away from you. And if you are into culture and history, there are a fair few interesting museums. The Hawaiian Cultural Centre and a trip to Pearl Harbor are a must!
This side of Hawaii is definitely worth visiting as gives you the opportunity to take some time away from everything, whilst still indulging in luxury. To immerse yourself in nature, and get up close and personal to the marine life out there. Poipu beach is a great quiet spot for some sheltered snorkelling. Anini beach on the north shore is a top spot for windsurfing, and a great location to take in the beautiful coral reef that surrounds the island. Further inland, you have a hots of national parks with changing volcanic landscapes, such as Waimea Canyon State Park.
If you do nothing else on this island, however, make sure you get some solid time in Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park. The stunning array of sea cliffs, harbouring canyons and waterfalls between them, will leave you speechless. You might also recognise a few spots from some pretty prehistoric movies! Heading through this scenery to Ke’e Beach close by, you will really get a sense that this is a slice of Hawaii caught in time. Old agricultural practices and ancient native plants pepper the terraces, giving it extra highlights of charm and an other-worldly feel.
Hitting up Maui is likely to suit those laid back hippies amongst you. With around 80 beaches dotting the coastline, getting surf tousled and sandy is the best way to spend your time. Or, you can take one of the many hiking trails to some breathtaking natural beauty spots.
Everything from scenic waterfalls and volcanic outlooks to forests of bamboo await you. So get your sense of wanderlust on and explore your heart out! You can also find some pretty epic tours, and a fair few wonderful luaus to complete your Hawaiian experience!
Last but definitely not least, Big Island. So called because of its size, though we have to level with you. Its official name is Hawai’i, though its former nickname is generally more popular! This is where you will find Hawaii Volcanos National Park, home to the worlds most active volcano, Kilauea. Intrepid explorers can enjoy intrepid hikes through stunning natural beauty, though less active among us can enjoy a 4WD tour, or even a helicopter flight around the volcano!
For the ultimate wildlife, this is part of Hawaii worth visiting. Head to Punaluu Black Sand Beach and witness the green sea turtles sunning themselves. From the shore you can also spot Hawaiian monk seals if you watch very intently. Or take to the seas on a whale watching boat tour! Snorkelers and scuba divers regularly take to the water to get a taste of life amongst the coral. Wherever you are around the island, you never too far from an interesting critter.
When it’s time to relax, heading to the hot springs of the Puna area will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed. And if you’re feeling romantic, you can take a midnight picnic up to Mauna Kea for a spot of stargazing! For a little more high octane fun, zip-lining through the treetops is sure to get your blood pumping.
Is Moving to Hawaii a Good Idea?
We all entertain the idea of moving to somewhere hot and sunny, and on balance Hawaii has a lot of upsides, though with some sizeable downsides. One caveat is the price of housing, making it into a tropical New York. Even a house on Hawaii worth $800,000 is likely to be a fixer upper. Space is at a premium, so prices rise to match. The islands are also prone to sudden, short bursts of rain, so start travelling with an umbrella at all times. Rusting is a genuine issue, with so much humidity in the air, and in such close proximity to tropical forests and that sea air doesn’t help matters.
The islands also have their fair share of crime, though this is the same for any city you might move to. However, if you have the money any of these islands would make a great place to live! Yes, you may have to adjust to island time, and you are putting a lot of distance between yourself and your loved ones. But the slower pace of life can feel like a breath of fresh air, and who would turn down a trip to Hawaii?
Into all mod cons and luxury comforts, or keen to explore the expansive natural beauty of each island? Whatever your driving factor, there is something to delight and fascinate every person. However, it is always worth remembering that the realities of life follow you everywhere. This wont stop if you place yourself in a paradise. Although some problems wont feel half as bad when you have the sun on your face and sand between your toes!
Sometimes a holiday destination is best left as just that, but is Hawaii worth living in despite its caveats? It totally is, if you can afford the housing prices!
Hawaiian Travel Guide Complete! Is it Worth a Visit?
Only you can decide if Hawaii is worth visiting on your time and money. But, as you may have seen, there are a tonne of wonderful things to see and do. Fine dining, fancy nightclubs, shopping, but also hiking, snorkelling, diving and surfing. Everything from turtles to volcanos, 4WDs to helicopters await those who take the leap and head over!
If you are worried about budget just remember: those who plan well, and far ahead, can save themselves a lot of money. Camping, glamping, guesthouses and rustic beach accommodations are available at a fraction of the cost of those high end luxury hotels. Plus, if you hire a care you can make your own tour itineraries!
This is a beautiful collection of islands that is diverse and beautiful, and it deserves time to explore. If you can spare two weeks or more, do it and get some island hopping under your belt. You will not be sorry.
Now you have your inspiration for that next holiday, share it with your loved ones and get planning. Remember, the earlier the better!