Young couple paddling in kayak in Hawaii

Must-Do Adventures on 4 Hawaiian Islands

Adventurous Excursions in Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai

Hawaii is a sunny dream destination that attracts nearly 10 million visitors each year, and it’s not hard to understand why. Hawaii combines incredible natural beauty with fascinating Polynesian culture and a wide variety of adventure-themed activities perfectly suited to thrill-seeking vacationers and adventurous couples, too!

Adventure excursions in Hawaii run the gamut – from hiking and mountain biking through the Manoa Valley’s flower-filled rainforests, to scuba diving in Maunalua Bay to kayaking along Hawaii’s only navigable river, the Wailua River.

Manoa Falls, Oahu
Manoa Falls, Oahu 

First-time visitors have dozens of adventurous experiences to add to their customized trip itinerary when visiting the Hawaiian islands. And it’s no surprise why this tropical paradise has a growing appeal among adventure travelers. Vacation recommends consulting an expert travel agent to help you avoid the crowds and arrange amazing jaw-dropping excursions to create your dream vacation. But first, let’s take a look at some of the adventure that awaits visitors heading to four Hawaiian islands: Oahu, The Big Island, Maui and Kauai.


Oahu’s Honolulu Airport is Hawaii's major gateway and thus the island is frequently the first stop for adventurous travelers who want to hit the ground running. Oahu offers visitors a variety of lush mountain trails that traverse tranquil streams and picturesque pools to reach towering waterfalls, including 150-foot Manoa, where hikers can also view ancient lo`i (rock terraces).

Consulting a travel agent is one of the best ways to avoid crowds and to ensure a serene hiking experience. They can arrange a private tour through the 75-acre rainforest in Manoa Valley. For an amazing underwater experience, vacationers can opt for a Maunalua Bay scuba excursion to see green sea turtles and explore the island’s indigenous, colorful marine life.

Maunalua Bay in Oahu
Maunalua Bay, Oahu 

The Big Island 

Looking for a mind-blowing adventure you’ll never forget? Consider visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – now open again after the active Kilauea volcano shook up the audience and its residents last May. For hikers, the 500-square-mile park features amazing vantage points to see the incredible physical changes wrought by the volcano’s eruption and subsequent earthquakes.

Bubbling mouth of Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcano National Park
Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (The Big Island) 

For example, a brisk hike along Crater Rim Trail from Volcano House toward Kilauea Military Camp takes adventurers to the Kilauea Iki Overlook, which offers panoramic views of the recent volcanic activity.

From here, guests at the park can journey less than one mile along Devastation Trail to a clearing where visitors will encounter sweeping views of the Kilauea caldera and the Mauna Loa volcano.

Holei Sea Arch, Big Island
Holei Sea Arch on the Big Island 


If you enjoy a kayaking or snorkeling excursions, then you should plan a visit to Maui, Hawaii’s second-largest island. This island’s calm, clear waters along the Olowalu coastline provide the ideal environment for watersports. A hike along the coast provides majestic views of the West Maui Mountains; and snorkelers and kayakers can spot endangered green sea turtles and colorful tropical fish.

Hawaiian Sea Turtle
Hawaiian Sea Turtle

Maui’s most popular shoreline dive sites including Black Rock, Honolua Bay, Kahekili, Five Caves at Makena and Mala Shark Dive. You can work with a Vacation travel agent to help arrange a night dive at the Black Rock site.

From an underwater excursion to a view high in the treetops of Maui’s rainforest… get a bird’s-eye view of the island’s lush forest on an adrenaline-pumping canopy tour. Traverse the Keanae Peninsula’s oceanside cliffs on a zip-line adventure through the jungle.

Whale Watching in Hawaii
Whale Watching in Hawaii 


Wildlife lovers will find Kauai, Hawaii’s "Garden Isle” and the oldest of the main islands, to be prime whale-watching territory. From November to May gentle Kohola (humpback) whales return annually to this island’s warm waters to breed and give birth to new calves.

Boat tours traveling north towards the Na Pali Coast or south towards Kipu Kai, allow passengers to observe as whales surface, slap tails and blow air from their blowholes. It’s not uncommon to see sea turtles and dolphins swimming alongside these majestic creatures.  

Wailua Falls in Kauai
Wailea Falls on Kauai 

For kayakers, a Hawaii specialist can arrange a Wailua River tour that combines hiking with a kayak journey down Kauai's only navigable river. Paddle along the river through the lush greenery of the dense rainforest to find hidden waterfalls. Refuel with a picnic lunch followed by a refreshing dip in a pool at the base of a cascading waterfall.

See the beauty of Kauai from above with a 70-minute ride on a vintage biplane. Passengers soar over the Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Mount Waialeale, buzzing by cascading waterfalls and white-sandy beaches. And while you enjoy the scenery below you, an expert pilot, through two-way headsets, provides you with the details and facts you need to know about the sites you see along the way.

Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable vacation to the Hawaiian Islands? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent , who can customize an itinerary you’re going to love.

Helicopter Tour near Kauai's Na Pali Coast
Helicopter Tour along Kauai's Na Pali Coast