We live in Hawaii for many of the same reasons you visit us. Here's our top touristy things that locals love.
General: Kid Friendly
Living in Hawaii (see Hawaii Living: Getting Started) can be a pretty amazing experience. Most tourists who visit the Hawaiian Islands only get to do so once a year, once every several years, or maybe just once in their lifetime.
For locals, we have easy access to all that Hawaii has to offer. When we're not working to support the crazy-expensive cost of living here (see Hawaii Living: The Paradise Tax) we're going to be out and enjoying as much as possible. That often means we're out doing the same touristy activities that you are when you come here on vacation. So here are some of our favorite touristy places and things to do.
That's right, Waikiki Beach! Even though it isn't a single beach, as we explain in The Beaches Of Waikiki, Waikiki Beach is an amazing experience even for those of us who live here. Sure, we don't want to spend too much time in the insanity but it's a fun place to spend a day or weekend playing tourist for us too. More at: Waikiki Beach (Main / Center)
There is something special, magical even, about a waterfall. Big or small, we love them all. The best part is that there are so many to choose from. Some require a difficult and long hike, others are short and simple hikes, and we even have a few drive-up style waterfalls to see. You owe it to yourself to go on a waterfall hike while in Hawaii. More at: Lulumahu Falls Hike
Being able to get into the ocean and view sea creature up close and personal (but never touching) is one of the biggest reasons people come to Hawaii and snorkeling is one of the easiest ways to do that. You can do this in a place like Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Beach Park, a snorkeling boat / tour company, or a long list of beaches that are good for snorkeling.
Winter time means big waves and big wave surfing in Hawaii. While most of us aren't foolish enough to jump in the waters, we can all appreciate the sport just by watching. In fact, it doesn't even have to be about the surfing itself. Just watching and experience massive waves crashing on the shore is an incredible experience. You haven't lived until you've felt the beach shaking from a massive wave crashing onto it. More at: Banzai Pipeline / 'Ehukai Beach Park
The Na Pali Coast is famous, or infamous depending on your view of difficult hikes, around the world as the ultimate Hawaii hiking experience. While this hike isn't for everyone (not even for most really), the beginning sections of it aren't as difficult. The best part is that you can come here and walk 10 feet and enjoy the beauty of the area and turn around and leave which is what some will do. Others will hike the first two miles to a secluded beach before heading back. Only the brave and well prepared will do the full 11 mile hike. More at: Kalalau Trail
That's right, locals love shave ice just as much as you do. This popular treat is perfect on a hot, sunny day. Well, it's also perfect on a hot, cloudy day. Or even a cool, rainy day. Basically, it's perfect all the time. It's so great that we list it in our Top Must Try Hawaii Foods article. We can argue about who makes the best shave ice all day long (and we do), but the best shave ice is the one in your hand right now. More at: Find Shave Ice
Farmers' Markets are fun for everyone and all ages. As a tourist you probably love going to grab some fresh fruits and vegetables, possibly even some fruits you can't easily get on the mainland. Or maybe you're hoping to try a new Hawaiian salsa, grab a souvenir, or just pick up some lunch at a local booth or foodtruck. Either way, locals go for the same reasons, as well as to support local farmers businesses. More at: Find A Farmers' Market
There aren't many better ways to wind down your day than with a gorgeous sunset. Luck for you, and us, Hawaii is loaded with amazing places to view a sunset. Maybe you'll spot the elusive Green Flash, or maybe you won't. Either way, we all love Hawaii sunsets. More at: Sunset Beach
Finding Happy Places
Finding our happy place is a never ending quest and one that is always changing. Maybe it's the view from the top of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike / Kaiwa Ridge Trail. Or maybe you're happy place requires the perfect turquoise-blue waters and soft sand beaches like Bellows Field Beach Park or the uniqueness of a black sand beach like Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach. Or maybe you're looking for something more primal like the Kalapana Lava Flow. In the end, Hawaii is that happy place and we hope you found your favorite section of it just like we have.
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