Top Rated Attractions on the Hawaiian Islands

Lava flowing at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

If you had a chance to see the top rated tourist attraction on each of the largest Hawaiian Islands, would you know what they are?  If no, we’ll tell you what they are as well as how to get there.  The ratings are based on the number of reviews from TripAdvisor, one of the most popular and well known travel ratings website.

Oahu

By far, the most visited attraction on Oahu, which incidentally is the most visited island in Hawaii, is the Arizona Memorial.  Since 2008, the Arizona Memorial is now a part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which also has sites in Alaska and California. The Arizona Memorial pays tribute to the sacrifices of over 1,100 sailors and marines who are still entombed within the sunken battleship USS Arizona which was attacked by war planes of the Japanese Navy on that fateful day of December 7, 1941.

Perhaps one of the reasons why this attraction is so popular might because there are so many other things to do immediately nearby after you visit the Arizona Memorial. Right next to the visitor center is the USS Bowfin Submarine museum, where you can get into an actual submarine to get a sense what life must have been like in a fighting vessel like this during World War II. Also, a free and short bus ride from the visitor center will take you to Ford Island where you can visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial, one of the most historic battleships ever launched, and the Pacific Aviation Museum, where you can see historic military aircraft, many of them of World War II vintage, on display.

Maui

The Valley Isle of Maui is the second most visited island in the State of Hawaii. The most popular tourist attraction is Haleakala National Park which is situated on the island’s tallest mountain of the same name. The 10,023 foot summit offers spectacular view of the Hawaiian sunrise as well as a breathtaking panorama of Haleakala crater. You can also see the rare and endangered silversword plant as well as the Hawaiian nene goose near the summit.

Many may not be aware that there is an eastern part of the park called Ohe’o Gulch and the Seven Sacred Pools, a group of idyllic and tranquil stream-fed pools near Kipahulu.  The area also features dense tropical forests and a number of beautiful waterfalls. One can reach this area by driving 42 miles past the iconic town of Hana on the famous Hana Highway.

Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island’s biggest and most popular attraction is Volcanoes National Park. The park offers visitors the unique opportunity to see one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea, which has been continuously erupting since 1983 as well as to witness molten hot lava flowing to the sea. The park, which is a World Heritage Site as well as an International Biosphere Reserve, also allows visitors to walk through an ancient lava tube hidden under a thick tropical rainforest.

Kauai

The Garden Isle of Kauai’s most popular attraction is Waimea Canyon, which is accessible through the southeast part of the island.  Its nickname, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, should give you an idea of why this is one of the most visited spots, not only on Kauai, but in all of the Hawaiian Islands.  A close second is the spectacular Na Pali Cliffs, which would probably have a higher rating, if not for the fact that is accessible only through a long hike, by boat or by helicopter. The beauty of the Na Pali Cliffs has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood blockbuster movies such as Jurassic Park, King Kong and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Most travelers to Hawaii get there by air. Many of the major and regional domestic airlines, such as American, United, Delta, Hawaiian and Alaska, have direct flight to these islands from the US mainland.  Many international and the domestic carriers that service Hawaii also offer direct service to Honolulu, and from there, you can also travel between the Hawaiian Islands though daily interisland flights offered by Hawaiian Airline and Island Air.

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& Affiliations
  • Hawaii's Best 2011
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  • American Society of Travel Agents
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