Eight Spots to Add to Your Hawaii Bucket List in 2020
A new year means new places to explore! Have you started planning your 2020 trips? If not, we’re here to offer eight places that will bump Hawaii to the top of your bucket list! From historic sites that tell the story of Hawaii’s past to iconic hikes that give any adrenaline aficionado a run for their money — Hawai’i has something for everyone.
Here are eight spots that will fuel your wanderlust.
Iolani Palace, Honolulu; Leo Carmona / Wikimedia Commons; CC-BY-SA-4.0
Did you know that Hawaii is home to the country’s only royal residence? A visit to Iolani Palace will teach you about Hawaii’s monarchy and the islands’ history. Learn about Queen Liliuokalani -- the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom and her imprisonment in the palace following the kingdom’s overthrow.
Downtown Honolulu | Photo by little plant via Unsplash
When people think of Oahu, Waikiki often comes to mind. This bustling stretch of beach is famous. It’s been featured in countless movies and TV shows and tourists flock to the area for its 5-star hotels, world-class shopping and upscale dining. But, just 15 minutes east you’ll leave the city behind to find white-sand beaches, scenic hikes, hidden coves, and local eateries in East Oahu.
Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive traverses the eastern side of the island stopping at 19 points along the way.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai; Jelle de Gier / Unsplash
Na Pali Coast
The rugged landscapes of the Na Pali Coast make it one of the most remote places in Kauai. To explore this natural wonder you’ll have to hike or travel by boat. At 22 miles roundtrip, the Kalalau Trail meanders through the wilderness with stops at secluded beaches and campsites along the way. If you want to explore this natural wonder from a different vantage point, there are several operators that offer boat tours of the coast.
Red Dirt Falls
If you’re headed to Waimea Canyon make a quick stop for a photo op at Red Dirt Falls. Located off the left side of the road as you make your way to the canyon, this waterfall is surrounded by Kauai’s red dirt -- a striking contrast to the typical waterfalls you see in Hawaii. The best time to visit is after there’s been some rain, otherwise it’s more of a stream than a fall.
If you’re taking our Waimea & Na Pali Driving Tour, stop at Red Dirt Falls along the way!
Maui's Seven Sacred Pools; Eric Chan / Wikimedia Commons; CC-BY-2.0
Backside of the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is one of the most popular attractions in Maui. Stop at waterfalls, historic sites, and even a black sand beach as you travel along Hana Highway. But did you know with Shaka Guide you can drive along the backside of the Road to Hana? We must warn you -- many rental car companies prohibit this drive and there are moments where you’re driving on dirt roads with nothing but old handrails between you and the coast -- but, if you’re up for the journey you’ll explore a remote side of the island.
Shaka Guide has two tours that visit the backside of the Road to Hana -- our Reverse Road to Hana and Loop Road to Hana Driving Tours. Download our Maui app to learn more about these tours and see if they’re a good fit for you! Remember, these tours are considered more dangerous than the Classic Road to Hana route, so be mindful as you’re planning your visit.
Haleakala National Park
Haleakalā National Park
You'll be hard pressed to find better views of the sunrise than at Haleakalā National Park. Standing atop this shield volcano as the sun makes its way into the sky will have you walking on sunshine -- literally. Sunrise not your thing? The sunset at Haleakalā is just as good.
Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the world's most active volcanoes. Currently, there's no lava flowing, but that doesn't mean a visit isn't worth your time. You'll walk on lava fields, explore lava tubes and learn about Pele, Hawaii's goddess of volcanoes and fire.
Explore this unique corner of Hawaii on our Volcanoes National Park driving tour.
Green Sea Turtle basking on Punaluu Beach
On Oahu you'll find white-sand beaches with turquoise shores; In Maui, you can visit a red sand beach along the road to Hana; and on the Big Island, you'll find a black sand beach home to sea turtles and surrounded by coconut palms. The sand is made from volcanic rock, fitting for an island with two of the world's most active volcanoes.
Visit Punaluʻu Beach on our South Island Epic Coastal Journey Tour.