15 Socially-Distanced Things to Do in Hawaii
As of October 15th, Hawaii has reopened its doors to tourists (permitting they prove a negative covid test, of course). Although the state is open, things are a bit different. Some attractions remain closed and different counties have varying rules in place. In Hawaiian the word malama means to take care of. Now more than ever it’s important to malama Hawaii by respecting social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask when out in public. To do this, we’ve created this list of 15 Socially-Distanced Things to Do in Hawaii. We think you’ll find you can still have an activity-packed trip!
1. Take a Shaka Guide Tour
Explore Hawaii in the comfort of your own rental car! On a Shaka Guide audio tour, you’ll explore Hawaii with turn-by-turn directions to popular attractions, cultural sites, hikes, beaches and scenic lookouts -- all with stories and music along the way! It’s like have a guided tour, without the strangers. Shaka Guide has a total of 21 GPS audio tours across Maui, Kauai, Oahu and Big Island.
2. Go to the Beach
Kanaha Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / John Hook
Time for some fresh air and sun! Hawaii is known for its beaches and we see why -- it has some of the best in the country, if not the world. In fact, multiple Hawaii beaches have consistently made Dr. Beach’s list of top 10 beaches in America for the past four years.
Pololu Valley, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman
The Aloha State is home to hundreds of hikes. No matter which island you visit you can find a hike that’s perfect for your skill level. Some of our favorites are Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail on Oahu, the Kalalau Trail on Kauai, Pipiwai Trail on Maui, and Polulu Valley on Big Island.
4. Watch the Sunrise/Sunset
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Lee Aeder
Hawaiian sunrises and sunsets are what dreams are made of. Watch the sky’s vibrant colors come to life over the ocean or atop a mountain. In fact, one of the top spots to watch the sunrise or sunset is Mount Haleakala in Maui. Here, you can watch from the mountain’s summit, with your head in the clouds.
5. Visit a Museum
Sure, when you think of Hawaii you probably think of sand and surf, but Hawaii is home to many wonderful museums that display the state’s arts and culture. If you love museums, Oahu is the spot for you. Check out the Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Pearl Harbor are located on Hawaii’s most populous island.
6. Visit a National Park
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Time to take out the National Park passport! Hawaii is home to a number of national parks and now’s the perfect time to explore. Two of our favorites are Haleakala in Maui and Volcanoes National Park on Big Island. At both you’ll find a variety of hikes and scenic lookouts that display the unique landscapes of the islands.
RELATED: Volcanoes National Park Travel Guide
7. But don’t Forget State Parks
Waimea Canyon, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Blake Bronstad
Sure, National Parks get all the glory, but Hawaii has some pretty epic state parks too! Check out Waianapanapa in Maui for it’s black sand beach or Waimea Canyon in Kauai to marvel at the grand canyon of the pacific.
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
While you’re snorkeling in Hawaii you’ll see vibrant marine life all around you. Lookout for tropical fish and take in all the colors of the ocean. You can marvel at these beautiful animals up close, but please remember to respect their habitat. This is their home, not ours.
RELATED: Best Snorkel Spots on the Big Island
9. Go ATVing, Horseback Riding or E-Biking at Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa, Oahu, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Faris
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Head to Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. This 4,000 acre nature reserve has reopened to visitors with safety guidelines in place. It offers a host of activities that you can do solo or in small groups. We recommend ATVing, horseback riding or E-biking to take in the epic views of the Koolau mountains.
10. Go Surfing
Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono
Surfing is an important part of Hawaii’s history. Before it was an olympic sport, it was practiced by Hawaiian royalty. Even if you’ve never surfed before, there are plenty of beaches that are beginner friendly.
11. Learn Hawaiian History
Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Hawaii has a distinct history, different from any other state. Between it’s polynesian culture, unique language, and royal past, there’s so much to learn about what makes Hawaii special. Some of our favorite cultural spots are Iolani Palace -- the United State’s only royal residence, Pu'uhonua -- a place of refuge for ancient Hawaiians, and Pu'ukohola Heiau -- an ancient temple built by King Kamehameha.
12. Try local Goodies
Poke Bowl, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman
Our mouths are watering just thinking about all the amazing local dishes Hawaii has to offer. From a plate lunch piled high with kalua pork, to poke fresh from the sea! Oh, and you can’t forget dessert. After a long day at the beach we love to cool down with a fresh shave ice.
RELATED: Best Places to Get Shave Ice on Oahu
13. Check out Murals in Kaka’ako
Museums aren’t the only place you’ll find art in Hawaii. Head to the Kaka’ako neighborhood of Oahu for vibrant murals that paint the sides of buildings. Commissioned as part of Pow Wow Hawaii, this artwork was created by a combination of both local and visiting artists.
14. Go Kayaking
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono
Explore Hawaii’s beaches and get a great workout while you’re at it. You’ll kayak in crystal clear water where you can take in views of the beach from a completely different perspective. One of our favorite kayak spots? Kailua Beach on Oahu.
RELATED: Lanikai Beach Travel Guide
15. Give Back
We know you love Hawaii, we do too! While you’re here, there are a bunch of ways you can volunteer your time to give back to the community. One way you can help -- join a beach clean up! If you’re looking for an organization to help, check out Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.
We appreciate you taking the time to malama Hawaii and protecting yourself and community. For more information on planning a safe and healthy trip to Hawaii, click here.
Do you have questions about traveling to Hawaii during this time? Check out our guides for traveling to Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Big Island. We've included everything you need to know pre and post arrival, including a list of major attractions that are open and closed on each island.