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Guide from a Local: Top 10 Must See in Hawaii

By Rachel Burt

Top 10 Things Must See and Do in Hawaii...from a Local!

Beyond the deep heavy waters and crystal clear Pacific Ocean, green valleys, golden sands, and colorful rainbows, lies the eight islands of Aloha, also known as Hawaii. Starting from the power of their active volcanos to the pure beauty of the Hawaiian hula culture, I want to show all the beauty, adventure and culture Hawaii has to offer. 

Hawai'i Volcano National Park

Located on the Big Island, the Kilauea Volcano is an active powerful goddess of fire, earth and water that has actual molten laval you can see breaking off and crashing into the sea until it meets the ocean and sparkles into the sky. I would recommend going at sunset time, where the sky is just setting to that deep blood orange and matches the color of lava. If you are headed to the Big Island, it is a must see.

Hawai'i Volcano National Park

Hanauma Bay 

With the most crystal clear water and tons of live coral below, Hanauma Bay, located on the southeast of Oauhu is the best place to snorkel and see the beautiful creatures below. Hana, also known as "Bay," and Uma, known as "curve," can refer to its special curved shape form that which attracts sea turtles and thousands of colorful fish. You will be amazed at the wildlife that exists here. 

Hanauma Bay 
Me Diving in Hanauma Bay 
Polynesian Cultural Center

Located on the northeastern side of Oahu, the Polynesian Center gives you the history to Hawaii's first visitors and south Pacific cultures. The Polynesian Cultural Center takes you through seven native villages, canoeing adventures, and the most authentic luau and Polynesian fire hula show! Be prepared to be totally stuffed at the end of it!

Polynesian Cultural Center
Na Pali Coast

On the northwest coast of Kauai lies my favorite place in all of Hawaii, the 15 mile length untouched wonderland of Na Pali State park. It is filled with seaside cliffs, gigantic waterfalls, narrow valleys, marine life of dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and rugged untouched beaches. We parked our car and started to hike until we were stopped by a heavy rainfall on the way. This is only accessed by the adventurous hikers, kayakers, and boaters; with that said, it is worth to see because of its breathtaking view of the coastline.
Me Exploring the Na Pali Coast 
The Seven Mile Miracle, North Shore, Pipeline

The phrase 'Seven Mile Miracle' describes the most popular and celebrated stretch of coastline located on the North Shore of Oahu, the Capital of the surfing world. The North Shore has the biggest and the most perfect waves, where the best surfers in the world like Kelly Slater, John Florence, and Mick Fanning, come for the challenge of the year. 

The Seven Mile Miracle and
World Famous Surfer Kelly Slater 
The best time to come and see the Seven Mile Miracle would be the high peek winter months from November until February, which serve the heaviest and biggest waves of the year--up to 30 or 40 ft and hosting the world's premier surf competition "Vans Triple Crown." For me, this competition seems more like Christmas in Hawaii than the actual Christmas because it is a time where people stop what they are doing, no work, school or cleaning and come together to celebrate this big event. For instance, there are parties and barbecues, sleepovers with friends, i.e., the whole world stops in Hawaii during this competition. 

Me (left)
Waikiki Beach

My favorite weekend out in the town with the ladies cruising on our longboards, sipping mai tais and pina coladas all day in the sun would be what tourists from all over the world may know Waikiki Beach.

Me (center) at Waikiki Beach
It has everything to do from the birth of longboard surfing to catamaran boat rides. At Waikiki Beach, you can enjoy shopping, dining, dancing and even a romantic evening for two (the place known to have the most weddings hosted in the world)! When finished with studying and yearning to explore the country, Waikiki was my favorite mini "New York City." Celebrities from all over the world come to enjoy this classic Beach. 

Top of Waikiki, Revolving Restaurant

What is more romantic than to sit on top of Hawaii's only revolving restaurant with 360 panoramic views of the world's most famous beach. Top of Waikiki is located on the 21st floor in the center of Hawaii giving you panoramic views of sunsets while eating top notch seafood, steak and cocktails with candlelight ambience. You can always stop by for happy hour from 5-7pm like I do for sunset cocktails. 

Views of Honolulu While Dining 

Ala Moana Shopping Mall 

Sounds silly but this is not your ordinary mall. It is an open air mall, i.e., with palm trees and open skies in the center of it all, and there are luxury brands, bars and fine dining with live music. You can spot many celebrities shopping here. 

First Friday Downtown Arts Scene

Venturing into the amazing arts scene that hides in downtown Honolulu, Chinatown comes alive every First Friday of the month with open house galleries, music, entertainment, and the hippest bars in Hawaii. The Honolulu museum of Art hosts the Afterdark Party, where you can find top international artists, designers, and people from all over the world, locals, and students. It is like New York City meets Honolulu in one night.

Diamond Head

Diamond head, known to resemble a head of a Fish, is a 1.4 mile hike that climbs an elevation of 560 with a view of all Honolulu. It is a beautiful site for whale watching, and a popular place for locals to have a daily run or a hike; this is a must see when going to the island of Oahu.

Diamond Head in Hawaii
Most people think of Hawaii as just a beautiful quiet place to get away with loads of sunshine. While half of that is true, do not overlook the underground scene, copious outdoor activities to partake-in, and the many trendy spots to relax and enjoy. Aloha and A Hui Hoi or until we meet again.

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