United states honolulu hawaii mountain ocean sky
United states hawaii poipu beach sunset palm trees
United states hawaii waimea canyon
United states hawaii lahaina ocean cliff

9 Sunny spots in Hawaii you can't miss

Do the winter blues have you dreaming of somewhere sunny?

Look no further than Hawaii! In this blog, you'll read about nine spots scattered throughout the islands that you cannot miss. From crescent moon shaped beaches, to active volcanoes, and small towns off the beaten path oozing with culture and history, go on a journey to one of the best holiday destinations.

You'll be itching to book your tickets as soon as you're done reading.

The beaches of Hawaii will leave you glowing with more than a tan
© Justin Lam
Hawaii is a tropical paradise bursting with abundance
© Fiona Smallwood

1. Poipu

Poipu means “crashing waves” in Hawaiian. Found on Kauai’s south shore, this area has near perfect weather year-round and is home to some of the island’s most popular beaches.

Surrounded by palm trees, the crystal clear water of Poipu beach hugs the golden shore in mesmerising crescent shapes. Beach-goers venturing here will find a natural ocean wading pool, as well as activities from snorkelling, swimming, boogie-boarding, and surfing.

This area also boasts the finest collection of resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, activities and services. Zip-lining is a favourite activity of many - but make sure you don’t miss the Spouting Horn blowhole. As water enters a natural lava tube here, it releases a huge spout of water that can reach as high as 15 metres into the air. You’ll also hear a hiss and a roar with it that is the basis of many Hawaiian legends.

Aerial view of a golf course on the coastline of kauai
Poipu means “crashing waves” in Hawaiian
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA
This area has near perfect weather year-round and is home to some of the island’s most popular beaches

2. Waimea

Waimea, which translates to “red water” in Hawaiian, is on the southwest part of the island of Kauai. The first Europeans (Captain Cook, in fact) to reach Hawaii landed in Waimea in 1778, giving rise to Kauai's cheeky slogan: “Hawaii's Original Visitor Destination”.

If you’re a nature lover, Waimea Canyon is just for you. Nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, it provides panoramic views of rugged crags, deep valley gorges, as well as specks of mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, and tropical greenery throughout. If you’re an avid hiker, make the most of your time in the Waimea area by stepping foot onto the Kukui Trail.

On your way to Waimea Canyon, don’t forget to stop in Waimea Town. An off the beaten path discovery, this area was once the home of sugarcane plantations and is rich in Paniolo history (Hawaiian cowboys). Today, the town has a charming variety of small shops and businesses.

Old fence with Maunakea
If you’re a nature lover, this area is for you
© Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Waimea Canyon is nicknamed, “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Ben Ono

3. Kaanapali and Lahaina

On the upper west side of the island of Maui, you will find the areas of Kaanapali and Lahaina tucked between the shore and the West Maui Mountains.

Kaanapali, which means "rolling cliffs" in Hawaiian, is a perfect five-kilometre stretch of white sand beach, gentle waves, and warm sunny days. This area was actually Hawaii’s first planned resort and is lined with hotels, a world-class shopping complex, exceptional restaurants, and championship golf courses. One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff diving ceremony held every evening at sunset.

On the other hand, Lahaina, which means “relentless sun” in Hawaiian, is a historic town with front street shopping, oceanfront restaurants, and art galleries. In the mid 1800s, this area grew as the whaling industry boomed. Up to 1,500 sailors from as many as 400 ships took their leave from here, including Herman Melville, who immortalised the era in his classic novel, Moby Dick.

Kaanapali Resort Area
Kaanapali is a perfect 5km stretch of white sand beach, gentle waves, and warm sunny days.
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Tor Johnson
Lahaina was known for the 1800s whaling industry

4. Wailea

In Hawaiian Wailea means, “the water of Lea”, who is the goddess of canoe makers. Unsurprisingly, this area is known for its five beautiful, crescent-shaped beaches in the south of Maui. But that’s not all the area has to offer.

Sports fans will also get their money's worth here: the area is famous for its world-class golf and tennis facilities. The area’s signature beaches have excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities, and Ulua Beach Park is great for early morning and sunset walks.

You can browse the numerous shops and art galleries for the perfect souvenir before sampling your way through the award-winning restaurants, like the Spago or the Duo. After an eventful day, you can relax in a spa in a tropical atmosphere that exudes a sense of privacy, serenity, and freedom.

Wailea is a beautiful spot for any holiday
Chef Isaac scales a fresh fish
Sample your way through award-winning restaurants
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA John Hook

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5. Paia

Paia is a historic town on the north coast of Maui. It's famous for Hookipa beach, known as the windsurfing capital of the world.

This is a small, pleasant town where you can take it easy as you stroll past the charming storefronts of shops selling fresh, local produce. Walk along the gorgeous golden sands of Baldwin Beach Park and maybe even take a surfing lesson while on the stunning coastline. You can visit the Buddhist Peace Stupa, consecrated by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in 2007, or the Temple of Peace Cleansing Spa.

The Haiku Marketplace is a great place to try out the local cuisine from restaurants and food trucks; there is a delicious fusion of Asian, American and European food with an emphasis on healthy fresh ingredients. Also, leave some time to explore the Sacred Garden of Maliko.

Paia is a historic town on the north coast of Maui
Small businesses along Paia's main street
Stroll past the charming store fronts
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Tor Johnson

6. Hana

Hana is a peaceful town in the east of Maui that is home to many natural wonders, including the Hana Lava Tube, a cave trail that is interesting to explore on foot. The area is fairly remote and unspoiled as it’s surrounded by Hana Forest Reserve.

Kaihalulu Beach is an uncrowded beach, accessed by a steep path and famous for its dark red volcanic sand. Other interesting places to visit are the Pi'i-lani Temple, the largest temple in Hawaii, and the Kaia Ranch Tropical Botanical Gardens.

The winding road to Hana is one of Hawaii's most famous drives. Along the way, you'll see amazing beauty, fresh local food stands, gardens, beaches, rainforests and more. Take care driving this route as it has one-lane bridges and hairpin bends with spectacular views.

Hana from the sea
Hana is a peaceful town in the east of Maui
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Tor Johnson
The area is fairly remote and unspoiled
© hawaii tourism authority | tor johnson

7. Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park stretches all the way from sea level to the peaks of two of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, at over 4000 metres above sea level. The park is located in the southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii and is open 24 hours a day.

Take a boat tour along the coast to see molten lava pouring down into the ocean or drive along Crater Rim Drive and see the steam vents close at hand. This national park covers an area of 1,309,000 square kilometres and is an International Biosphere Reserve and a Unesco World Heritage Site.

You can go on day hikes, organised tours, or scenic drives to see all the different aspects of the national park. Stop by at the Visitors Centre to get up to date information about eruptions and lava fountains happening during your stay on the island.

Catch a glimpse of molten lava
See the steam vents close at hand
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Kirk Aeder

8. Honalo

Honalo is an area of natural beauty on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is famous for its stunning beaches and some of the best snorkelling spots in the world. You may be lucky enough to swim with a giant tortoise or to spot the humuhumunukunukuapua, Hawaii's state fish, while snorkelling.

There are great restaurants specialising in an exciting fusion of Japanese, American and delicious health food. Try a true Hawaiian poke bowl followed by Japanese vegan red bean ice cream or watch the famous Kona coffee being ground just for you.

There are many water sports and boating activities to enjoy during your visit, from surfing lessons to sport-fishing trips. Honalo is just a few miles south of the town of Kailua Kona, the home to the start and finish of the annual Ironman world championship triathlon, which is a spectacular event to see. Staying in Honalo you are very well located to explore the lush green forests or the volcanic national parks of the Big Island.

You may be lucky enough to spot a giant tortoise at Honalo
Honalo is an area of natural beauty

9. Honolulu

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the biggest, most populated city on the island of Oahu. The word Honolulu means "sheltered harbour" or "calm port" in Hawaiian. Fittingly, Honolulu is an important hub in the Hawaiian archipelago.

The city is very popular with tourists from all over the world due to its stunning beaches, rich natural scenery, and pleasant tropical climate. There are endless opportunities for water sports, snorkelling, fishing and swimming. This is a great starting place to explore the quieter places of the islands. Before you get off the beaten track, enjoy the many art galleries, museums and music events that the city has to offer.

The island of Oahu is home to about two-thirds of the population of Hawaii but there are still areas of unspoilt natural beauty to explore.

Ala Wai Canal and Waikiki
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii
© Hawaii Tourism Authority HTA Tor Johnson
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