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Popular Attractions in Hawaii

A tropical visit to Hawaii is once in a lifetime experience filled with culture, tradition, and surrounded by paradise that makes you want to soak in every second. From hiking to Diamond Head summit to scuba diving in the Molokini Crater, you will take home with you experiences that you will carry forever. Follow along as we give you an island account of the best attractions in Hawaii that are just too tempting to pass up.

Popular Attractions in Hawaii

Iolani Palace State Monument

Located in the downtown capitol district of Honolulu, the Iolani Palace State Monument is the former official residence of King Kalakaua during the Hawaiian monarchy of the 19th century. The Oahu palace, built in 1882, has been restored to its former grandeur and is included on the National Historic Landmark Register. Visitors can enjoy extensive tours through areas like the throne room, the dining and reception room, and the Iolani Coronation Pavilion – as well as many other significant areas. Apart from daily tours, the palace hosts several special events, including weekly free concerts performed by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Lahaina Town

One of Hawaii’s most visited towns, Lahaina is located on the western shores of the island of Maui. Downtown Lahaina is a tourism hot spot, boasting dozens of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. The town’s rich whaling history, along with numerous sites like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital and Hale Paaho on the Lahaina Historic Trail, have landed the town on the National Register of Historic Places. Front Street offers visitors fresh Hawaiian Cuisine, access to seaside luaus, and even a glimpse of Hawaiian culture with the award-winning show, Ulalena, at the Maui Theatre.

Maui Ocean Center

Considered the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, the Maui Ocean Center features over three acres of discovery area with an aquarium and marine science center. Located in the town of Lahaina, the center includes an open ocean tank accessible to scuba divers with over 20 sharks, stingrays, and tropical reef fish.

During a tour of the center, you will see exciting exhibits like the Living Reef, Sea Jelly Gallery, Hammerhead Harbor, Turtle Lagoon, and the Tide Pool. If you find yourself spending the day at this thrilling discovery center, you can take break for a quick bite eat at the restaurant or go shopping in the gift shop.

Molokini Crater

Set in the Alalakeiki Channel, the Molokini is partially-submerged volcanic crater, creating a scenic crescent-shaped cay just off the Maui shoreline. This 23-acre area is filled with clear turquoise waters and is a hot spot for bird-watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, and even snuba – a combination of the two. If you don’t dive, you can still check out the underwater beauty of Molokini by booking one of the glass-bottomed-boat tours that take you right over the reef. The Preserve is also home to a multitude of seabirds, marine species, species of algae, and coral.

From late December to early May, Molokini Crater is excellent spot for whale watching. You should be able to spot a few humpback whales, and possible see a mother and calf breach the surface.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Located on the northern shore of Oahu, the Polynesian Cultural Center allows visitors to "travel through Polynesia in a single day." Enjoy the tropical flora, the "erupting" volcano, waterfalls, and lagoon while participating in the Polynesian culture. Must-see shows include the Rainbows of Paradise canoe show and the Ha Breath of Life evening show – showcasing the rich Hawaiian and Polynesian heritage.

The center is just a short drive from Honolulu, where hands-on activities at the center's eight island villages include spear throwing, fire walking, Tiki carving, tree climbing, tattoos, Haka dance, and coconut husking. Visitors also enjoy the center's award-winning Alii Luau – including Hawaiian music, entertainment, Hula, authentic Hawaiian food, and the imu ceremony