Jetting off to Hawaii fills the daydreams of just about everyone. And it’s easy to see why, as this network of islands has everything you need for the vacation of a lifetime. We’re talking barely believable rainforests, cascading waterfalls, idyllic beaches, active volcanoes, and much more. So, without further ado, here are eight reasons you need to visit Hawaii at least once in your life… 
Snorkel with experts at world-famous Molokini reef.

1. The seas are packed with wildlife

Hawaii is the place to go if you want to see nature’s most magnificent ocean-dwellers. Everyone who’s anyone in the underwater world calls the coast of Hawaii home. You can snorkel with turtles, dive with sharks, and even swim alongside dolphins and manta rays. If you’d rather stay dry, Hawaii’s got you covered. Head to Lahaina Harbor and swap flippers for flip flops as you set sail on a whale-watching excursion.
Climb aboard a 48-passenger submarine and adventure through the underwater passages of the famous Waikiki Beach. Photo by Kimberly Jeffries.

2. Unique experiences are easy to find

Hawaiians are not afraid to do things differently, and this results in some truly unique experiences. In Waikiki, you can trade the standard sightseeing boat for a futuristic submarine. Yes, you read that correctly ⁠— a submarine! The vessel plunges 100 feet (30.5 meters) below the surface, meaning you’ll get to see all kinds of wildlife and coral. If you’d rather swim side-by-side with Nemo and friends, you can ditch the submarine for something a little faster.
Learn how to hang 10 (well, almost) on this group surf lesson.

3. You’ll ride some super gnarly waves 

Not only is Hawaii the birthplace of surfing, but it’s also an absolute paradise for swell-chasers of all skill levels. Those who want to battle big waves ⁠— and we’re talking really big ⁠— need to pack their wax and head to Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu. If riding 30 feet (9 meter) waves is a bit daunting (and who can blame you!), the more gentle swells of Waikiki Beach make for a great intro to this cooler-than-cool activity. 
Kick back with live music and sunset views on this 2-hour catamaran cruise.

4. The sunsets have to be seen to be believed 

Hawaii benefits from a whole host of amazing natural spectacles due to its remote location, and camera-filling sunsets are most definitely one of them. In Maui, romantics can take to the seas and watch the sun go down while tucking into a fine dinner. For a more active sunset experience, head to Oahu and learn the tips and tricks of snapping such a striking event. Whatever island you’re on, you’ll soon discover there are sunsets — and then there are Hawaiian sunsets. 
Explore Kauai’s tropical rainforest, dramatic cliffs, and superior waves.

5. The landscapes are ridiculously amazing 

From waterfalls and canyons to lava fields and rainforests, Hawaii is ready-made for hikers. Oahu is home to two of the most famous hikes in the US: to the summit of the Diamond Head Crater and to the Manoa Waterfalls. The latter is perfect for movie buffs, as it winds through the rainforest used in Jurassic Park. A little less famous, but just as beautiful: the easy, yet breathtaking (and family-friendly) hikes around Maui. On the flip side, real adventurers can get their wilderness fix at the Waimea Canyon in Kauai
Head to Oahu’s south shore to enjoy Waikiki Beach.

6. The world’s greatest beaches are right on your doorstep

Hawaii has a beach for every type of vacationer. If you’re looking for the classic experience, head to the Na Pali Coast. This stretch of Kauai is the perfect place to set sail from on this eco-friendly sunset cruise. Those looking for a quirky experience need look no further than the black sand of Punalu’u Beach. Not only is this volcanic beach awesome on the eye but it’s also where green sea turtles lay their eggs. However, if you just want to kick back and relax, Hawaii more than has you covered. Head to Waikiki Beach for the classic Hawaii experience or Lanikai Beach for an added dose of chill.
Discover Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see active steam vents and sulfur banks.

7. You can get up close and personal with active volcanoes 

No trip to Hawaii is complete without venturing to some of the state’s most epic volcanoes. In the Volcanoes National Park, you can check out black sand beaches and lava flows as well as active steam vents and sulfur banks. The early birds among you are in for a treat atop Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest volcano. The summit is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise over this island paradise.
Whichever island you visit, a trip to Hawaii is a guaranteed good time.

8. Each island is different from the next

Hop around Hawaii’s main islands, and you’ll soon discover just how diverse they are. From the lush landscapes of Kauai to the lava fields of the Big Island, each one comes with a distinct culture, scenery, and cuisine for you to experience. There are eight islands in total — but only six are open for visits. Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island are the most populous and popular, while Lanai and Molokai provide a more secluded experience. 
Plan your trip to Hawaii