How to Plan a Perfect Day in Hawaii

A Perfect Day in Hawaii Opener

The amazing tourist destination of Hawaii has so many different activities to do. I mean, I came up with a list of 100 for just the island of Oahu! That gives you a lot of options when it comes to deciding what to do on your vacation. So here are some local tips on how to plan a perfect day in Hawaii.


Feel Like Doing Something Active?


The first question you need to ask yourself when planning a perfect day in Hawaii is, “Do I feel like doing something active?” Most of the things to do in Hawaii are active, but you can have a chill morning if you’re not up for it quite yet.


Yes, Of Course!


If you want to do something active, your options are to get in the water and snorkel or to go hiking! There are many great snorkeling spots on all of the islands – as a matter of fact, here is a list of the best places on Oahu to spot and swim with turtles! Or you can also swim with dolphins in the wild!


I tend to go for the hiking option. I absolutely love going on waterfall hikes in the morning, but if you’re more of a stunning sunrise views person, we have many of those too!


*Local Tip: If you are staying on the island of Kauai, I’d definitely go for a waterfall hike. The waterfalls on Kauai are exceptionally stunning!


No Way


If you’re not quite feeling like tackling an active morning, sleep in and grab some brunch! My favorite Oahu brunch spots are Koko Head Café and Heavenly.

Koko Head Cafe Bibimbap

Lunch Time!


If you are hanging out in Hawaii, you have to take the time to try our awesome fusion food. That’s why lunch time has been made an essential part of a perfect day in Hawaii. Consider one of the restaurants on my list of the best Oahu restaurants! Or my list of the best Kauai restaurants, depending on which island you’re on.

Chinaman's Hat Kayaking

Ready for Round Two?


It’s post-lunch. Do you feel like doing something active and outdoorsy or not so much?


Yes, We Want Active and Outdoorsy!


If you feel like doing something active and outdoorsy, my pick would be to go for kayaking. Here are 7 of my favorite places to kayak on Oahu. Besides, if you went hiking in the morning, you’d be using different muscles anyways!


Hmm…Can We do Outdoorsy, But Not Active?


If kayaking sounds like too much of a workout for your liking, head to the beach! Every island has stunning beaches that are worth your time – I mean, the Big Island has a green sand beach and a couple of black sand beaches! And did we mention that Maui has a red sand beach (it is quite difficult to get to)! Oh, and Lanai has a pretty awesome beach with a shipwreck. If you’re spending time on Oahu, here is a list of my ten favorite beaches on the island. If you’re spending your time specifically on the North Shore of Oahu and want to have more freedom in choosing your beach, here are ALL of the beaches on the North Shore.


I’m Not Really Feeling Like Outdoors Today


And if you don’t feel like spending some time in the sun, the mall is a great option. Oahu has Ala Moana Shopping Center and Ka Makana Alii, although the trendiest shopping area on the island is probably South Shore Market. The Big Island has The Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort and the Queens’ Marketplace. Maui’s shopping scene consists of The Shops at Wailea and the Maui Swap Meet. And Kauai, the last of the four largest Hawaiian Islands, has Poipu Shopping Village and Princeville Center.


A lot of the non-outdoorsy activities to do on Oahu actually line up with the activities to do when it’s raining. And the same applies for the list of things to do on Kauai when it’s raining.


Looking for an Evening Activity?


The day is getting late. The sun is setting, so now you have two options: grab dinner and go to bed or find a festival or luau.


If you’re looking for a luau, many hotels actually host luaus, so do a little bit of shopping around before picking one. On Oahu, my three favorite luau picks are actually not hotel-based. Germaine’s Luau and Paradise Cove Luau are the two long-standing luaus with great reputations. I’d also like to throw the new Diamond Head Luau into the mix, as it is Hawaii’s only farm-to-table luau.


If you’re looking for a festival, you’ll likely only find those on Oahu. Eat the Street and Honolulu Night Market are great Oahu festivals. Or, if you’re looking for an annual or one-time festival (rather than a monthly one), check out HONOLULU Magazine’s weekly post on what’s happening each weekend!


Do you have any tips on how to plan a perfect day in Hawaii? Tell me about it in the comment! (I promise I’ll respond!)


Hoping for a trip to Hawaii? Pin this guide on how to plan a perfect day in Hawaii for that dream trip!

A Perfect Day in Hawaii Flow Chart

Disclosure: I may use referral links in this post, and I might make a commission on my recommendations at no extra cost to you.

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