Customers looking to avoid the crowds in Hawaii? Book these attractions instead: Travel Weekly


The Covid-19 pandemic has made travel counselors more essential to visitors to Hawaii than at any time since the birth of the internet. As the pandemic’s choppy rebound continues, obstacles to a smooth and stress-free island vacation dot the landscape of planning trips like shrimp trucks along Oahu’s north coast.

First, there is the process of navigating the Safe Travels Protocol to enter and receive a 10-day quarantine exemption. Tourists began flocking to Aloha State in large numbers during the spring break, an increase that continued through the summer, straining functioning hotels, restaurants, tours and attractions. always with limited staff and reduced capacity. Planning ahead for things like car rentals, dinner reservations, surf schools and museum visits has never been more important. When Governor David Ige’s current recommendation against island tourism is lifted on November 1, visitors are expected to return in droves.

Fortunately, the islands are home to many lesser-known but equally impressive attractions, parks, and experiences that are a fitting replacement for items reserved on a customer’s bucket list.


The Bishop Museum is one of the best places in Hawaii to get a full view of the history of the archipelago and its people, while the Iolani Palace, seat of the monarchy and site of Queen Liliuokalani’s captivity during of the overthrow of the kingdom supported by the United States, is a walk through a pivotal period in the past. But besides these two well-known sites, Honolulu is home to several historically rich attractions.

The Hawaiian Mission Houses are a National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu, where Hawaii’s oldest Western-style house and other buildings from the 1800s are preserved. The library houses archival material in English and Hawaiian that illuminates the complex and colorful chronicle of the islands. Tours are offered and it also hosts theater and music performances throughout the year.

An aerial view of Leahi, or Diamond Head, in Waikiki. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

The Manoa Heritage Center in the Honolulu Highlands is a 3.5-acre educational site dedicated to promoting a better understanding of Hawaii’s cultural and natural heritage. The programs center on Kukaoo Heiau, the only reconstructed ancient Hawaiian temple in the ahupuaa (land division) of Waikiki, and its gardens of rare native Hawaiian plants.

When most people think of Pearl Harbor, they focus on the USS Arizona Memorial, the solemn site built over the battleship sunk in the Japanese assault on December 7, 1941. Reservations for the free memorial are filling up extremely well. quickly, but the port is well worth a visit for its many other attractions related to the US military.

After a $ 23 million update, the USS Bowfin submarine museum reopened in March as the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum. Exhibits trace the evolution of the Navy’s submarine service from the turn of the 20th century to the newest Columbia-class guided missile submarines, valued at $ 6.5 billion.

Additionally, the Battleship Missouri, where Japanese authorities signed articles of surrender ending WWII on September 2, 1945, recently underwent a handful of restoration projects, while the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum tells the story. of World War II in addition to documenting the increase in US military air capabilities during the Gulf War.


To access the wild and breathtaking Napali Coast State Wilderness as well as the 35-mile round-trip Kalalau Trail (which requires its own separate permit), visitors must enter through Haena State Park, which has started requiring advance reservations in 2019 for all except Hawaii residents and licensed campers. These seats can only be reserved 30 days in advance and often sell out within hours of their release.

But if visitors fail by land, they can still try to approach the picturesque cliffs, lush tropical valleys, and towering waterfalls by sea or air.

A kayak or boat trip allows you to see more of the marine life and explore the coastal rock formations. From the air, helicopters descend into hidden valleys, offering unparalleled views and photo opportunities of oceanfront waterfalls. Holo Holo Charters, Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures, and Kayak Kauai all offer Napali Coast tours by sea, while Jack Harter Helicopters and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters are options for the aerial approach.

Island of hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Kilauea tends to grab headlines and claim the lion’s share of visitors to the volcano, but outside the park on the west side of the Big Island is a another active volcano that offers a rewarding dive into Hawaiian nature and culture, Hualalai.

The summit crater area is private and considered wahi pana (a sacred place), accessible only via a guided tour through Uluhao o Hualalai or Hawaii Forest and Trail. Tours include a lava tube climb, a hike through a cloud forest, and visits to previous eruption sites.

When it comes to Hawaiian coffee, the Kona region gobbles up the accolades. In recent years, however, coffee production has increased in other parts of the island, including Kau, Honokaa and Hilo. Explore less traveled areas and see what flavors coffee beans grown in different regions and soil compositions produce with stops at Kau Coffee Mill and Hilo Coffee Mill; both offer tours.

T1018HALEAKALA_C_HR [credit: HTA/Tor Johnson]

Maui’s Haleakala Volcano is very popular at dawn, but tours later in the day still provide stunning views. Photo credit: HTA / Tor Johnson


The sunrise sighting in Haleakala, “House of the Sun,” has become so popular that the National Park Service instituted a reservation system for dawn times in 2017. But a visit later today delivers. the opportunity to explore the trails leading to the summit crater, which is cool and less hospitable in the early morning hours. Sunsets aren’t too shabby atop Maui’s highest peak, either, with fewer onlookers obscuring the views.

The route to Hana has become a flashpoint in the return of tourism to Maui, as residents of the remote eastern town demand that authorities take action against visitors obstructing the route. The flight to Hana from Kahului Airport buzzes over the coast for 20 minutes, offering a bird’s eye view of reefs in the turquoise waters and waves crashing against the cliffs. Bonus: Round-trip fares on Mokulele start at under $ 100, far less than the price of a car rental these days.

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