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Hawaii Travel Guide

Hawaii travel advice, things to do, accommodations, tours, and activities, aloha - e komo mai, welcome to hawaiiguide.

Hawaii is a land of great  diversity , beauty, and many contradictions. The permeating spirit of Aloha , the rich culture of the people, and the sacred and historical traditions passed down for generations continue to define these isolated islands. Mother Nature pulled out all the stops when forming this incredible place. 

From lush rainforests to barren deserts , Hawaii is as eclectic a place as you'll ever visit. A favorite getaway for people worldwide, Hawai'i has become famous for its miles of beaches , erupting volcanoes , lush rainforests , exquisite food , and exotic flora and fauna .

— article continued below —

Makua ‘Tunnels’ Beach on the North Shore of Kauai

Makua ‘Tunnels’ Beach on the North Shore of Kauai

At HawaiiGuide.com , we understand that planning a trip to Hawaii can seem a bit overwhelming. From which island to visit , when to travel , what tours and activities to try, what to pack , where to visit, and what to expect once you get there- it can all make your head spin!

That's why we've assembled this website and organized it accordingly; to help make your Hawaiian vacation seamless - from start to finish . If you're just getting started, we recommend you begin your journey here .

Explore the Hawaiian Islands

Kauai | Oahu | Molokai | Lanai | Maui | Big Island

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FREE Hawaii Summary Guidesheets

Updated with a new summary map for  each Hawaii Island  + estimated driving times from popular starting points.

Includes the top  must-see & do  attractions,  best times to visit ,  where to stay  briefing,  airport detail , a monthly  weather summary , and where to find the most  noteworthy local ono 'grindz'  (best eats) on each respective Hawaiian Island.

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Torch Ginger

Torch Ginger

John & Victoria Derrick - Editors

About Hawaii-Guide

Our team & website.

Hawaii-Guide.com (HawaiiGuide.com) was developed by John & Victoria Derrick, two certified Hawaii destination experts , to provide Hawaii visitors with everything they’ll need to create the perfect Hawaii trip. Each year, we currently help as many as  15 million travelers  with planning their ideal Hawaii trip(s). Since 2002, our Hawaii website has assisted tens of millions of additional visitors in the process of planning and booking the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams. For 20 years now, this website, and our team have been dedicated to being the  one-stop resource for all things Hawaii . We'd genuinely love to be your virtual guide to the islands of Hawaii; Plan, Book, Pack, and Go with Hawaii Guide! Now, more than ever, we believe in the promotion of  responsible travel and sustainable/regenerative tourism . Be a pono traveler and malama Hawaii !

Kilauea Eruption on the Big Island

Kilauea Eruption on the Big Island

DISCOVER THINGS TO DO

Hawaii sights, beaches, hikes, and more....

Plumeria - Hawaii's most popular lei flower

Plumeria - Hawaii's most popular lei flower

EXPLORE HAWAII

Which island & when to visit.

What is the Best Time to Visit Hawaii? Image

What is the Best Time to Visit Hawaii?

When is the best time of year to travel to hawaii.

Ultimately, in our honest opinion - there isn't an inopportune time to go to Hawaii. Visiting Hawaii is a dream come true for many visitors, and who can blame them? The weather is  fantastic  nearly year-round, there's  something to do  for  everyone , and the food is  phenomenal  (try laulau, trust us!).

In this article, we'll tackle a number of important topics to help you decide when to visit, including monthly Hawaii Hotel & Airline Rates, the Best Time for FAQ (Whalewatching, Hiking, Getting Married, etc.), Weather through the year, and we even have a quiz to help select your top four months!

Best time to visit?

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Which Hawaii Island should you visit? Image

Which Hawaii Island should you visit?

Take our quiz to find the best hawaiian island for you....

Like many visitors to Hawaii, you're probably wondering  which Hawaii island to visit  and thinking about which one would be best for you and your travel party. Unlike many destinations, Hawaii is not really one destination - but six unique, eclectic, and diverse island destinations that all happen to be within the same state.

The islands are very diverse, and each one has its own unique offerings, making choosing an island rather difficult, especially for first-time visitors. And once you've started visiting the islands, coming back to a different island can often feel like a totally different place with a whole new set of experiences, sights, and attractions. Like us, we’re sure you’ll soon have a personal favorite. But until you know from experience, take our handy ' Which Island to visit Quiz ' to determine your best match.

Which Island?

Endemic Iiwi - Native Hawaiian Honeycreeper

Endemic Iiwi - Native Hawaiian Honeycreeper

Nene - Hawaiian State Goose

Nene - Hawaiian State Goose

Brazilian Cardinal on the Big Island of Hawaii

Brazilian Cardinal on the Big Island of Hawaii

Moa - Red Jungle Fowl (a.k.a. Kauai Chicken)

Moa - Red Jungle Fowl (a.k.a. Kauai Chicken)

Things To Do On Each Island

Maui - The Valley Island Image

Maui - The Valley Island

Travel guide to maui.

Maui has been a favorite tourist destination for decades because it represents the quintessential tropical getaway . With its beautiful coastal views, eclectic volcanoes, wildlife sanctuaries nearby, and a vast majority of the island left wild and free from rampant development; there are countless things to do in Maui that will leave you authentically charmed!

With its resorts along the coastline, picturesque beaches, majestic palm trees, and rich agriculture, it's no wonder that people from all over the world flock to this verdant island to get a taste of what Hawaii is really all about.

Maui is the second-largest landmass in the Hawaiian island chain, at approximately 727 square miles, and the second-most visited island in Hawaii. In our opinion, it makes for a great choice for those who are first-time visitors.

Explore Maui »

Maui Attractions »

Oahu - The Gathering Place Image

Oahu - The Gathering Place

Travel guide to oahu.

Known as the "Gathering Place," Oahu is Hawaii's most populous island; and many believe it the perfect representation of paradise. Oahu is primarily defined by the state capital of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and the world-famous Waikiki Beach. These areas host thousands of tourists daily. To say Oahu is brimming with amazing things to see and points of interest is a massive understatement. Nearly anywhere you go on Oahu, you're bound to find something fascinating.

Oahu is the third-largest island in the state of Hawaii, but it is definitely ranked first in population. Nearly a million people share Oahu's 600 square miles of mountains and beaches - that's a full three-quarters of the state's population.  Oahu is also the most visited of all the Hawaiian islands.

Explore Oahu »

Oahu Attractions »

Kauai - The Garden Island Image

Kauai - The Garden Island

Travel guide to kauai.

Kauai is an island full of splendor, raw beauty, and culture; an island that, like no other, represents the true spirit of aloha. The island really is a true hidden gem of sorts . Over 90% of the island cannot be reached by road. In fact, the most beautiful part of the whole island, the majestic Na Pali Coastline, has no road near it - and most Kauai lovers like it that way. The island, arguably we'll admit, also boasts more coastline filled with amazing beaches than any other island in the chain. If you love verdant scenery, enjoy hiking, and are looking for a more rural Hawaiian vibe, this is the island for you!

Kaua'i is the oldest of all the main Hawaiian Islands, dating back some 5.1 million years. The island is nearly circular in shape with a land area encompassing 533 square miles. Kauai is both the fourth-largest island in the Hawaiian chain and is the fourth most visited island in Hawaii.

Explore Kauai »

Kauai Attractions »

Hawaii - The Big Island Image

Hawaii - The Big Island

Travel guide to hawaii island.

The Big Island of Hawaii seems determined to break the norm; the stereotype of the average tropical island, that is. Here you'll find the ongoing battle between green forests, black lava fields, the ocean, and the rain almost incomprehensible; the  diversity  is simply stunning . On the Big Island, it's always best to expect the unexpected. Even the beaches don't follow the rules here. It's almost easier to find a black sand beach than a white one, and if you're adventurous enough, you can even sink your toes into one of the world's few green sand beaches.

The Big Island of Hawaii is the third most popular Hawaiian island among visitors and is, of course, the largest island in the state. The landmass of the Big Island is approximately the same size as the state of Connecticut, about 4,050 sq. miles, and still growing regularly thanks to Kilauea Volcano on the eastern coast of the island.

Explore Big Island »

Big I Attractions »

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Near Kalalau Lookout on Kauai

Near Kalalau Lookout on Kauai

Visiting Hawaii

Upcoming months of travel.

We think it is safe to say that any month of the year you will not be disappointed when you visit the Hawaiian islands. Here's an overview of what to expect in the coming months. Not sure when to visit? Read about the  Best Month to Visit , where we present an overview of each month OR take the quiz on our Best Time to Visit Hawaii page.

Gecko - common on all the main Hawaiian Islands

Gecko - common on all the main Hawaiian Islands

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Learn how destination management and stewardship is advancing throughout Hawai‘i. Join our efforts and help move your island’s Destination Management Action Plan forward.

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He Lei Hoʻokipa Mural Unveiled at Hawaiʻi State Capitol

Jun 04, 2024

He Lei Hoʻokipa Mural Unveiled at Hawaiʻi State Capitol

Honolulu Named Safest City to Visit in the World

May 29, 2024

Honolulu Named Safest City to Visit in the World

Experts to Address Coexistence and Support for Endangered Species at Kaua‘i Visitor Industry Wildlife Summit on May 16

May 14, 2024

Experts to Address Coexistence and Support for Endangered Species at Kaua‘i Visitor Industry Wildlife Summit on May 16

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Launches New Campaigns to Stimulate Meaningful Travel Demand

Apr 30, 2024

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Launches New Campaigns to Stimulate Meaningful Travel Demand

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Oahu Travel Guide

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Waikiki, honolulu, oahu july 4th fireworks & events maui july 4th fireworks & celebrations hawaii, big island, july 4th fireworks & celebrations kauai july 4th fireworks & celebrations, aloha friday photo: black (and blue) sand beach.

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Pacific Islander surfers carry their boards to the water.

© Adam Hester/Getty Images

Visitors relax at a small waterfalll after a day of volunteering Papahana Kuaola Oahu Hawaii.

It's easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise. Just look at these sugary beaches, Technicolor coral reefs and volcanoes beckoning adventurous spirits.

Best Time to Visit

Best places to visit, attractions, must-see attractions.

Outrigger canoe near the beach of Hanalei Bay just after sunrise.

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is Kauaʻi's postcard-perfect beach, embracing surfers, paddlers, bodyboarders and beach bums alike. It's a perfect crescent of golden sand…

Smoke plumes from the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea volcano lies at the center of activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The unassuming bump on Mauna Loa's southeast flank would be easily…

Shangri La

In the shadow of Diamond Head, the former mansion of billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke is a sight to behold for art-lovers and celebrity hounds…

The Stones of Life - four stones on Waikiki Beach that were placed there as tribute to four legendary mahu.

Stones of Life of Kapaemahu and Kapuni

Near the police substation at Waikiki Beach Center, four ordinary-looking volcanic basalt boulders are actually sacred and legendary Hawaiian symbols…

There is a fisherman about to cast his line in the water over a tall cliff. Spitting Caves Hawaii is a hidden gem of East Oahu.

Spitting Cave

This impressive, little-known viewpoint is at the end of Lumahai St in Portlock, makai (toward the sea) from the traffic lights at the Koko Marina Center…

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Piʻilanihale Heiau & Kahanu Garden

The Road to Hana

Probably the most significant stop on the entire Road to Hana, this site combines a 294-acre ethnobotanical garden with the magnificent Piʻilanihale Heiau…

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Mauna Kea's Summit Area

At 13,796ft in the air, you are above 40% of the atmosphere and 90% of its water vapor – apparently perfect conditions for growing the giant mushroom-like…

The USS Arizona Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it.

USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor & Leeward O‘ahu

This somber memorial is one of the USA's most significant WWII sites, commemorating the Pearl Harbor attack and its fallen service members with an iconic…

Top picks from our travel experts

9 of the best things to do in hawaii.

Puakea Ranch

Puakea Ranch

North Kohala

Live the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) dream in one of four meticulously restored cottages. Ranging from two to six bedrooms, each cottage enjoys its own…

Kahua Ranch

Kahua Ranch

Looking for a down-home country barbecue on a gorgeous piece of sloping pasture with wide-open views? Busloads of lei-wearing tourists join the Richards…

Koloa Rum Company

Koloa Rum Company

Kauaʻi's own rum label is a relatively new brand, which means it doesn't have a fine aged rum yet, but its dark and spiced versions win awards. Learn how…

13 top free things to do in Hawaii: how to see the islands for less

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Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve

South Kohala

This collection of petroglyphs carved in lava rock is so easy to access that it merits a stop, although the Puako Petroglyph Preserve further north is…

Island X Hawaii

Island X Hawaii

North Shore & Central O‘ahu

In the rambling warehouse building at the far end of the parking lot of the old Waialua Sugar Mill, Island X has all sorts of good stuff to interest…

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center

Touristy, no doubt. But mac nut fans might enjoy glimpses of Mauna Loa's plantation and working factory. From windows above, watch the prized mac nut move…

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Geared for kids, this center aims to educate the public about pristine Hawaiian ecosystems. Even adults might not know that the Hawaiian archipelago…

Hawaii Maui Big Beach vacation landscape in Makena State Park

Makena State Park

Kihei & South Maui

Makena State Park should be high on every traveler’s itinerary. Its crowning glory, Big Beach, is the scene that people conjure up when they dream of a…

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

The largest contiguous fully protected conservation in the US, this marine reserve is home to over 7000 species and 14 million seabirds. It covers 139,797…

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Puako Petroglyph Preserve

With more than 3000 petroglyphs that date back as far as the 16th century, this preserve is among the largest collections of ancient lava carvings in…

Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument

Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument

One of the most important ancient sites on the island, Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument is located in a 5-acre field just north of Wahiawa township,…

Sheraton Maui

Sheraton Maui

This sleek resort bumps against the striking Puʻu Kekaʻa at the northern end of the Kaʻanapali Beach Walk. Selling points include the sunset cliff dive,…

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Lava Tree State Monument

An easy 0.6-mile paved loop takes you past ancient ‘lava trees,’ created in 1790 when pahoehoe (smooth-flowing lava) from Kilauea’s East Rift Zone…

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Isaac Hale Beach Park

This rocky beach park was the local surf spot serving all of the greater Puna area, but where once flowed ocean peppered with local talent battling over…

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Lapakahi State Historical Park

This park was a remote fishing village 600 years ago. An unshaded, 1-mile loop trail traverses the 262-acre grounds, passing the remains of stone walls,…

 The North Shore soap factory and shop at the old Waialua Sugar Mill.

Waialua Sugar Mill

The sugar mill that was the heart of the town for over a century until it closed in 1996 has been redeveloped to house a number of shops and businesses…

Kaʻu Coffee Mill

Kaʻu Coffee Mill

Hawaiʻi the Big Island

This down-to-earth, someday-to-be hydro-powered coffee farm roasts its own award-winning beans – the wonderful aroma floors you – which some connoisseurs…

Green Sea Turtle at Kaloko-Hono Kohan National Historical Park, Kailua Kona.

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

Just north of Honokohau Harbor, on the ocean side of Hwy 19, this 1160-acre national park may be the Kona Coast's most underappreciated ancient Hawaiian…

Kauai Coffee Company

Kauai Coffee Company

Waimea Canyon & the Westside

With more than 4 million trees planted on former sugar fields, Hawaii’s largest coffee estate produces around 60% of the state’s entire crop. In the…

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse

Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse

Oʻahu's easternmost point was the landfall for all ships from the American west coast to Honolulu. The lighthouse dates to 1909, when it was finally built…

Little Beach

Little Beach

Those folks with the coolers and umbrellas, walking north from the sandy entrance to Big Beach? They’re heading to Little Beach, which is part of Makena…

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Puʻukohola Heiau National Historic Site

By 1790 Kamehameha the Great had conquered Maui, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi. But power over his home island of Hawaiʻi was a challenge. When told by a prophet…

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Hawaiian Planner

Map out your Perfect Hawaiian Getaway. We help you plan every aspect of your trip: online trip tracking; discover flights , hotels , car rental , activities ; provide you with a plan; and final itinerary for your trip to Hawaii.

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Before You Travel

Safety tips, top activities in hawaii.

Koloa Landing is widely regarded as one of the best shore dives in Hawaii, offering an immersive experience that will leave you in awe.

SCUBA Diving $ --> $155.00

Koloa Landing Shore Dives

Raft tours may include viewing and entering sea caves as well as snorkeling; your tour captain will make the decision whether it is safe enough.

Dolphin Excursions $ --> $189.00

Na Pali Coast Raft Adventure

Bite Me Sport Fishing makes your sport fishing adventure truly exciting while creating unforgettable memories aboard this stunning vessel!

Fishing Excursions $ --> $155.00

Sport Fishing - 40' Egg Harbor

Kohala Canopy Adventure offers an unforgettable treetop adventure in nature's paradise - book now to experience it for yourself.

Zip Line $ --> $225.00

Kohala Canopy Adventure

Snorkel the most popular and beautiful spot in all of Hawai’i, Kealakekua Bay.

Snorkeling Tours $ --> $99.00

Captain Cook Afternoon Snorkel

Oahu’s top luau with an award-winning production and show, unlike anything else!

Luaus $ --> $119.00

Ka Moana Luau Classic Seating

The Big Island has 10 of the world's 14 different climate zones, and Hapuna Beach sits right in the middle of a dry zone. This beach only ...

Top 5 Swimming Beaches on The Big Island

Rainbow Kayak Tours/Ancient River Kayak is an all inclusive quality, guided tour company. Safety is our #1 priority along with exceptional ...

Kayaking $ --> $131.75

Rainbow Kayak Tours

Avoid Crowds and Stay Close to Waikiki - Oahu's Premier Surf Lessons!

Surfing Lessons $ --> $139.00

Surf Ala Moana

Tour the Na Pali coast, one of the Top 10 Wonders of the World in comfort and style with The Makana (The Gift).

Sightseeing Boat Tours $ --> $189.00

Na Pali Coast Tour on the Makana. Max 12 passenger

The Myths of Maui oceanfront luau features a sumptuous all-you-care-to-eat buffet, complimentary cocktails and a beautiful celebration of ...

Luaus $ --> $115.00

Myths of Maui Luau

Experience Stand Up Paddle at Pokai Bay - Multiple Options Available!

Paddle Boarding (SUP) $ --> $109.00

SUP Pokai Bay

One Ocean Diving's Marine Research and Conservation Shark Snorkel Experience is an unforgettable opportunity for marine lovers, while promoting sustai...

Shark Excursions $ --> $150.00

Shark Dive (Snorkel with Sharks)

The pristine coral gardens, brilliantly colored tropical fish, and the green sea turtles ( Honu) are not to be missed!

Snorkeling Tours $ --> $129.00

Capt. Cook AM Deluxe Snorkel Adventure

Garden Isle Diver’s Boat dives are the best way to see Kauai’s premier diving sites. Two tank boat diving remains the most popular ...

SCUBA Diving $ --> $185.00

Spend an inspiring and exhilarating day in North Kohala, a land of stunning beauty and profound cultural significance. Zipline high above ...

Zip Line $ --> $299.00

Kohala Zip & Dip

The Dolphin Discoveries tour offers anyone eager to experience Hawaii's marine environment a memorable, safe, and exciting journey.

Dolphin Excursions $ --> $139.00

Dolphin Discovery Adventure

Start your trip out right by being welcomed to the island by Native Hawaiians with a Lei of your choice.

Lei Greeting $ --> $75.00

Airport Lei Greeting

Close your eyes to imagine a beautiful Hawaiian waterfall. The Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo are likely even more beautiful than what's in ...

The Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo

Town and beaches provide an idyllic environment for relaxation and exploration, and Hawaii Shark Encounters will give you an entirely new appreciation...

Shark Excursions $ --> $125.00

Shark Cage Diving

Popular information.

The Big Island's defining feature is the best place to watch the sunset, but you need to be prepared. Standing more than 13,000 feet above ...

The Five Best Places to Watch the Sunset on The Big Island of Hawaii

Camping on Kauai? Well, you've picked the right island. Kauai is for the nature lover, the outdoor adventurer and for those who want to ...

Beach Camping on Kauai

You'll watch the sun set on the Unites States of America on Kauai. Besides Niihau, there are only a handful of uninhabited Alaskan Islands ...

5 Best Places To Watch The Kauai Sunsets

The Road to Hana is FILLED with one incredible distraction after another! Waterfalls and banyan trees, bamboo forests and black sand beaches.

Road to Hana

You can see a lot of the island from your car, and you'll find scenic landscapes in every direction. As you drive around the island, notice ...

Best Scenic Driving Tours in Kauai

Hawaii is one of the hottest destinations for vacations, honeymoons, and business trips, but what is there to do, once you get there?

Top 10 things to do on The Big Island

You'll be treated to a beautiful view of Hanalei Bay on the Kuhio Highway as you descend a cliffside to Hanalei town.

Top 5 Swimming Beaches in Kauai

Honolulu is an international city that draws some of the world's best chefs. You'll find an array of incredible food on offer in The Gathering Place.

Top 10 Restaurants on Oahu

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Hawaii Travel Spot

Welcome to Hawaii Travel Spot, your source for insider information to plan an epic Hawaiian vacation! On this Hawaii travel blog you’ll find must-read tips for every island and every type of travel, all written by someone who has seen and done it all during dozens of Hawaii trips.

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Guidebook Shop

Want to eliminate the stress of planning your Hawaii vacation? Grab our expert, in-depth guides to jump-start your trip!

Oahu Travel Guide and 7-Day Oahu Itinerary by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel Spot

Best of Hawaii Travel Spot

Find out the best time to visit Hawaii recommended by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel Spot. Image of Happy carefree woman free relaxing in Hawaii on hawaiian beach vacation. Beautiful woman in the golden sunshine glow of sunset breathing fresh air enjoying peace, serenity in nature.

Hawaii Happenings

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Latest Updates

Check our this Rock-a-Hula review by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel Spot. Image of an Elvis tribute artist at the Rock a Hula show in Waikiki. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Molokai Hawaii Visitor Guide Logo

Welcome to Molokai, The Most Hawaiian Island. Often called “The Friendly Island” because the aloha spirit flourishes here.

If you’re looking for the real Hawai’i, this is it.

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If you’re looking for breathtaking natural beauty, rain forests or deserted beaches, this is it.

If you’re looking for glitz and glamour, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

This is an honest look at an island lost in time.

An island where no building is taller than a palm tree.

Where aloha is not just a word, it’s a way of life.

Where one of the longest white sand beaches in Hawai’i will probably have only your foot prints on it.

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An island where there is so little automobile traffic, there’s not a single traffic light.

There’s no mall, no elevators and no neon. No burger wars here.

Shopping is done in small, friendly businesses in Kaunakakai, the largest town, and in the villages of Kualapu’u and Maunaloa.

Life here is slow and relaxed.

It’s rural and peaceful.

It’s like stepping back in time 50 years.

It’s a place like no other.

VISITOR CENTER

To plan your Molokai vacation, Use all the tourist information in The Visitor Center . It contains everything you’ll need to know about;

  • Lodging & accommodations
  • Rental cars & taxis
  • Visitor activities & attractions
  • Vacation rentals
  • Everything a visitor needs to know

You’ll also find cultural info, attractions, maps to everything, driving instructions, special events, even visitor tips and a bit of the local lingo so you’ll feel right at home while you’re here.

ATTRACTIONS

Attractions on Molokai are as varied as the topography and as relaxed as the island attitude.

On Molokai, you can do as much as you want or nothing at all. Perhaps a little of both? Snorkeling, scuba, fishing, whale watching, golf, hikes, tours? Or maybe try to complete that book you’ve been reading. Or a nap at the beach under a palm tree.

ACCOMMODATIONS

If you’re visiting our beautiful island, you’ll be needing a place to stay. You can find the perfect choice on the Accommodations Page .

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A celebration of the birth of hula which occurred here

Men’s and women’s outrigger canoe races across the 26 mile channel to Waikiki on Oahu

And a plethora of parades, festivals and other “only on Molokai” events.

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HISTORY & CULTURE

Here you’ll find historical & cultural information about Hawai’i in general and Molokai in particular.

CLIMATE & WEATHER

Our island’s climate is delightful. See for yourself.

PHOTO TOURS

Take a photo tour on, around and above our beautiful island.

MAPS & DRIVING TIPS

Consult this Molokai map to get the lay of the land, plus driving tips and directions. You’ll also find the maps directory with Google maps for everywhere you wish to go.

You’ll find answers to the questions we’re most often asked, plus a way to submit your own.

We are always pleased to hear your questions, comments or suggestions regarding this site.

MOLOKAI RANCH

For 100 years, the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) of Molokai Ranch have molded a heritage that continues to influence the island and her people.

Images, text and graphics on this web site were contributed by Molokai residents. Some famous, some soon to be famous and some not so famous.  All of whom love Molokai and its people.

James H. Brocker, Richard A. Cooke III, Adrienne Jumper, Jeffrey Jumper, Dewitt Jones, John Kaimikaua, Ellen Osborne, Wainwright Piena, Barbara Schonely, Susan Forsberg, Pilipo Solatorio, Catherine Buchanan, Molokai Museum, Molokai Ranch

Mahalo to Jeffrey Jumper – Web Sights Crafted for creating this site and providing server space.

Copyright © 1996 – 2018, visitmolokai.com. All rights reserved.

Copyrights to all photographs and images are the property of the respective copyright owners and may not be used in any way without prior written permission from the copyright owner and are protected by US and international copyright laws. No images are within Public Domain and may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated in any way. The use of any image as the basis for another photographic or illustrative concept is a violation of copyright.

SafeTravels Hawaii

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🔥 Breaking: Domestic pre-travel requirements have ended. However, a lot has changed since the pandemic for visitors. Get the requirements .

SafeTravels Hawaii Portal

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ALERT: There are NEW MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS that ONLY apply to Hawaii VISITORS. . These requirements will adversely impact your ability to access top attractions & more in Hawaii! A LOT HAS CHANGED for visitors since the pandemic. Uncertain about the changes? We suggest you choose to get the requirements, plus updates whenever enacted, by our convenient messaging service . We assure you, the simplicity & added peace-of-mind is well worth it. 2

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NEW requirements for visitors

Below are some of the new requirements that may directly impact your stay in Hawaii. Be certain you understand all requirements prior to your arrival. SafeTravels Hawaii is here to clarify the changes with our messaging service .

Mandatory Site Reservations

All visitors are now required to have a reservation to top attractions across Hawaii. If you don’t have the right reservation at the right time, you will be DENIED access.

Entry Fees For Travelers

There are also new visitor entry fees for access to certain locations/attractions. Know before you go so you can plan accordingly and not miss out!

Short-term Rental Restrictions

During the pandemic, it became clear to locals the impact short-term housing had on their quality of life. Due to this, new restrictions may impact your stay.

Avoid Being Denied entry

 To help you avoid denied entry to top attractions and more, we at SafeTravels Hawaii re-imagined our original Covid-era Text Message Service Alerts , post pandemic.

“Reservations are now required for all out-of-state visitors – and on the first day of the new required reservations for this Hawaiian most popular site, nearly 40% showed up without one and were turned away! They were out of luck, but we knew in advance.” [SafeTravels Hawaii messaging service was a huge help in clarifying what is now necessary for visitors when trying to enter its’ epic attractions, parks and monuments!]

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Aaron - May

SafeTravels Hawaii Talk 1

Michael H. - March

Approved activities.

Choose from some of these highly-rated Hawaii activities. Many are still providing  COVID safety measures for your peace-of-mind. Get the ultimate experience with the approved  Premium Hawaii Activities – offering private, once in a lifetime experiences.

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Uncertain about the new requirements choose to get the requirements, plus updated alerts - when/if enacted, by our convenient message service . we assure you, the simplicity & added peace-of-mind is well worth it. includes our satisfaction guarantee (see contact us for details).

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SafeTravels Hawaii airline Ohana

You can choose the airline you prefer, however the following airlines are preferred by SafeTravels Hawaii as they excel at improving your experience during this time.

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SafeTravels Hawaii provided a valuable supplemental service that complimented & clarified all that was required (travel & health form, etc.) by the State for travelers to Hawaii. We know a lot has changed during the pandemic and it’s not easy for visitors to understand and follow everything.

I just traveled to Hawaii: Here's what it's like for tourists right now

Madison Blancaflor

Located more than 2,000 miles off the coast of California, Hawaii is an idyllic beach destination that — in a normal year — attracts more than 10 million visitors.

But many people had their vacations to the Aloha State put on hold as the islands, and the world, battled the novel coronavirus pandemic.

With 2020 thankfully coming to an end and a promising vaccine on the horizon, Hawaii has begun the process of carefully reopening to vacationers.

To give you a better idea of what it's like to travel right now, I flew to Hawaii as a guest of Hawaiian Airlines and the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau. This was my first-ever trip to the island state, so I didn't know exactly what to expect — especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Would I feel safe during my flights there and back? Would the resorts have open amenities? Will tourists even feel welcome?

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

At the end of my four-night stay in paradise, I was pleasantly surprised both by the new safety protocols, as well as the overall vibe in Hawaii. It was quickly easy to understand why Hawaii has so many repeat visitors. And, while the system isn't perfect, I was able to enjoy my trip with few concerns.

If you're considering a trip to Hawaii next year, here's what you can expect.

Hawaii COVID-19 testing procedures

After a few false starts and last-minute changes, Hawaii reopened to tourism on Oct. 15 .

There are, however, barriers to traveling to the island destination. You'll have to quarantine for 14 days after arrival unless you are visiting an island that allows you to opt out of the quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test.

Right now, Kauai has opted out of the program that lets you avoid quarantine with a test so visitors will need to quarantine for 14 days in Kauai. Unfortunately, even for other islands, getting a valid test isn't as simple as heading to your local clinic of choice the week before you leave. You need to take your test within 72 hours of departure from one of Hawaii's approved testing facilities and have to have the correct test results in hand before your trip. That tight turn around can be extremely challenging.

We've covered the full run-down of what you need to know prior to visiting Hawaii , but here's my experience with Hawaii's pre-travel testing program.

I ordered an at-home testing kit through Vault, one of Hawaii's accepted testing facilities.

The at-home test is a "supervised, saliva-based test," which means you don't have anyone excavating your nose, but you do have to spit into a test tube while making awkward eye contact via video chat with a Vault employee.

Vault's site has a Hawaii-focused page that helps you plan out when you should order your test, schedule your test and mail it back in order for your results to arrive on time. If your flight to Hawaii is set for Tuesday or Wednesday, Vault is not a great choice for you because UPS doesn't ship on Sundays and increased holiday shipping traffic could delay your results regardless of travel date.

Getting test results in time is a hurdle not every traveler from every location will be able to overcome right now. You are better off doing an in-person test at an approved facility that guarantees results in time than relying on the mail.

Related: Hawaii's reopening highlights problems facing tourist destinations, but there's hope for 2021

After sending in my test, I registered my trip on Hawaii's Safe Travel website . The website is easy enough to use — you'll want to create a trip for each leg of your journey.

For example, I flew from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) and onward to Maui (OGG), so I created two trips — one for each leg. You'll need the information for your flights, accommodations and your ID handy.

Closer to your departure, you'll fill out the health questionnaire on the site for each trip and upload your negative test results (once for each leg of your trip). Then, you'll receive QR codes via email you use to check in once you've landed in Hawaii.

I downloaded the QR codes to my camera roll for easy access, which helped me go through the check-in process much faster.

travel website hawaii

The process is cumbersome, but if you prepare properly, going through the actual check-in process on the ground is simple. They'll ask for your name, scan your QR code, verify your test results and then send you on your way.

Alaska Airlines flyers can now get pre-clearance at the departure gate from Anchorage to Maui and for flights to Honolulu and Kona beginning Dec. 14. If your Safe Travels profile is updated with your negative COVID-19 test and completed health results before departure, you'll be given a pre-clear wristband so you can skip the arrival screening.

My flight and airport experience

I'm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, so I took a positioning flight to San Francisco that was completely full (likely runoff from the holiday weekend). American Airlines did notify me of this ahead of time through the app in case I wanted to change to an emptier flight.

While I had a full row (American Airlines is not currently blocking middle seats), the couple occupying the seats next to me kept their distance as much as possible, wiped down their tray tables and seatbelts and were great about wearing their masks. It wasn't ideal, but I didn't feel unsafe.

San Francisco International was mostly empty. While there were other travelers, there were no lines (which made security a breeze) and most people were very mindful about distancing from others in line for food and at the gates. Some of the shops and restaurants were closed, but I had no problem finding a morning coffee and breakfast before my flight.

travel website hawaii

I did fly as a guest of Hawaiian Airlines to Hawaii, and since they are blocking middle seats , I ended up with a row to myself to spread out during my flight to Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines has also implemented new boarding and deplaning procedures and modified inflight service to mitigate the risks. Wearing a mask for the duration of the flight to Hawaii sounds cumbersome, but in practice, it really wasn't that bad.

Related: Spotlight on safety: How airlines are keeping passengers safe

Things to know while in Hawaii

I was in Maui for four nights and stayed at two different resorts — Wailea Beach Resort and the Westin Maui. Despite both being Marriott resorts in Maui, they each had a distinct vibe. Here are a few things to know about visiting Hawaii right now.

There are fewer people

The first thing I noticed was the lack of crowds. At the almost residential-style Wailea Beach Resort, which is spread across 22 acres, it's easy to keep your personal space. But with occupancy down due to the pandemic, even the communal areas didn't have an abundance of people.

"The people who have made the choice to come [to Hawaii] during this time have been able to get this really boutique, personalized experience like never before," said Laurie Garzon, director of sales and marketing for Wailea Beach Resort.

I spent one morning lounging by the adults-only infinity pool here, which overlooks the ocean and is perfect for whale watching (I even got to see one breach!). Only three other people were in the pool, and perhaps six total occupied the lounge chairs. It was relaxing and quiet — perfect for a morning in the sun.

It was the same that evening when I came back to watch the sunset from the pool's edge.

travel website hawaii

One afternoon, I had a private surfing lesson with Maui Surfer Girls (a bucket-list experience that surpassed all expectations), and there were only a couple of other people out on the waves with me — perfect for a newbie trying to learn. The same was true the following morning when I went on a kayaking and snorkel excursion offered by the hotel. Only five other people were in our group, which made it easy to spread out for safety and enjoy a more personalized experience.

In the Lahaina area of the island, near where the Westin Maui is located, there were a few more people.

I did venture out to do some souvenir shopping for family and friends (mostly checking out a local farmers market and stopping by a local coffee shop for Maui-grown beans), and there were a significant number of people enjoying dinner and the local shopping scene. But everyone was wearing a mask and trying to keep a safe distance when possible.

The Westin Maui, while a little busier, was also far from crowded. I mostly stuck to the beach, but the resort has a number of pools (including some adult-only options) so you can pick a spot away from other guests.

travel website hawaii

While we're all excited about travel returning in full force once it's safe, I will admit the lack of crowds meant my first trip to Hawaii was even more enjoyable than I'd ever imagined.

You still need to wear your mask

Just because you've tested negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival doesn't mean you're exempt from wearing a mask. The state of Hawaii is still requiring everyone to wear a mask when in public, unless you're in the water or participating in an activity exempt from the mask mandate.

Unless I was at least 30 or 40 feet away from others out on the beach, kayaking or surfing, I was wearing a mask. I know mask-wearing isn't everyone's favorite hobby, but it's still an essential part of keeping yourself and others safe while you travel.

Related: Does my child need to wear a face mask while traveling

Tourist activities and local spots are still open

While tourism in Hawaii is far from fully recovered, it was great to see so many places open — both at the resorts and in the local communities. Restaurants and shops in both the Wailea and Lahaina areas were open (with mask policies in place, of course). Not everything is open and some places have reduced hours, but by and large, my trip was unaffected by any closures.

I took a surf lesson, went snorkeling, enjoyed the pool areas, did some shopping, hit up a farmers market and tried out food from restaurants both at the resorts and in nearby towns. Hiking trails are also open to the public, as well as parks along the beach.

travel website hawaii

One of my concerns was that tourist activities would be limited, but by and large, businesses were open. In fact, customers were a very welcome sight based on my conversations.

Contactless experiences are on the rise

Both resorts I stayed at during my trip had implemented multiple ways for guests to go contactless during their stay.

The Wailea Beach Resort, for example, has new mobile check-in and pre-arrival processes in place to ensure each guest feels welcomed and safe. The resort's navigator team calls every guest before arrival to walk through the arrival process and to introduce them to the digital hub.

The Wailea Beach Resort now has an online guest "hub" accessible with QR codes you can find around the resort. Through the hub, you can order food, schedule a spa appointment or excursion, reserve pool chairs or a private cabana and more.

The Westin Maui also used QR codes for menus at their restaurants.

travel website hawaii

While going contactless helps minimize the risk of being around others during your stay, it's also just an easier way to coordinate activities and food plans.

I hope these new contactless options are permanent because I preferred making lunch plans and arranging activities from my phone versus having to call or seek out a hotel staff member.

Hawaii is dedicated to offering ways tourists can learn about Hawaiian culture and give back

I'll admit, I'm normally someone who swears by Airbnb and similar vacation rental platforms in part because I enjoy meeting my hosts and getting to experience a bit more of a destination's culture when I travel.

But both resorts I stayed at in Maui did an excellent job of incorporating traditional Hawaiian with modern, luxury amenities.

At the Wailea Beach Resort, there are hula and lei-making classes for guests. The resort is also participating in a state-wide Malama program , where you can get a fifth night free (about 20% off your stay) when you volunteer some of your time to give back to the community while there.

Each participating hotel has its own experience for the Malama program, and Wailea Beach Resort offers a quilt-making experience where you can learn about the Hawaiian quilting technique and help stitch together a quilt that will be donated.

travel website hawaii

As part of the Westin Maui's resort transformation, it will offer a number of new cultural experiences for guests staying in the Hōkūpaʻa beachfront tower. Think: coconut leaf hat weaving, a star navigation class, Hawaiian language classes and more. The Westin Maui has also partnered with a local beach cleanup organization as part of the Malama program.

Learning about the culture of the places I visit is one of my favorite things about traveling, and it was great to see both resorts making efforts to include cultural learning opportunities as part of the overall resort experience. These offerings dramatically impacted the richness of my experience on Maui.

Bottom line: Is traveling to Hawaii worth it?

If you aren't a high-risk individual, and you're able to adhere to the state's testing mandates (which could be a serious roadblock), a trip to Hawaii isn't out of the question. I had a great time, felt safe and was able to visit a very popular destination without any crowds. While I didn't have Hawaii all to myself, at times, it felt like it.

After months spent mostly at home, the time I spent outdoors on Hawaii's postcard-perfect beach, engaging in a new-to-me culture and simply breathing in the ocean air made all the hurdles it takes to safely get there right now worth it.

Still, the CDC is recommending people stay home over the holidays to combat the surge in cases across the U.S., as well as other considerations (such as testing availability and any risks associated with nonessential travel).

While things certainly aren't business as usual with Hawaii tourism right now, the resorts and tourism-focused businesses have taken additional precautions to make sure guests and employees can stay safe while still experiencing the magic of Hawaii to the fullest.

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Aloha, welcome to hawaii.gov The official website of the Aloha State

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  • Fourth Proclamation Related to Heavy Rains and Flooding Friday, June 21, 2024 11:25 AM from Office of the Governor
  • 6/21/24 – MAKAPU‘U TRAIL AND PARKING LOT TO BE CLOSED ON JUNE 25 Friday, June 21, 2024 11:25 AM from Department of Land and Natural Resources (HONOLULU) – The Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (state park) and Makapuʻu Lighthouse Trail will be closed on Tuesday, June 25 from 6:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for removal of de-energized...
  • DHHL SEEKS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2025 LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE Friday, June 21, 2024 10:29 AM from Department of Hawaiian Home Lands           DHHL SEEKS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 2025 LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 21, 2024   HONOLULU – The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL)...
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Business ( ʻ oihana ), residents ( kama ʻ āina ), visitors ( mea māka ʻ ika ʻ i ).

I was born and raised in Honolulu. Here are 7 things I wish tourists knew before they visited Hawaii.

  • I was born in Hawaii and spent 18 years living in Honolulu. 
  • I wish tourists knew more about our history and how  tourism is displacing Native Hawaiians.
  • Visitors should be careful to use terms like "Hawaiian" and "aloha" correctly. 

Insider Today

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Honolulu.

When I tell people that I grew up there, they often ask me what life was like there or what they should do when they visit.

However, Hawaii is home to much more than beautiful beaches, and visitors should take it upon themselves to learn more about the rich history and culture that have shaped the state into what it is today.

Here are seven things I wish people knew before they visited Hawaii so they can be educated, more responsible tourists.

Hawaii is the most culturally diverse state in the US

Growing up in Hawaii, you could take a good look around you, and it would be easy to recognize that Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures.

I'm Japanese, Alaska Native, and white, and many of my friends were also multiracial.

In fact, nearly a quarter of people living in the state identify as multiracial, and more than a third identify as Asian alone, according to the 2023 US Census .

Such cultural diversity trickles down into the food we eat, too. Hawaii is home to foods like spam musubi , manapua, and malasadas, which have all been influenced by the rich mix of immigrant communities.

The term 'Hawaiian' is reserved for those who have native Hawaiian ancestry

I've noticed many people use the term "Hawaiian" to refer to anyone from the state of Hawaii. But a lot of people are surprised to learn that Hawaiian is an ethnicity .

Just as you wouldn't call a white person living in Japan "Japanese," the same principle applies to "Hawaiian."

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If you're referring to someone who simply resides in Hawaii without Hawaiian ancestry, it's more accurate to call them a local or resident.

Tourism is displacing Native Hawaiians at a disproportionate rate

According to CBS, every year, around 15,000 Native Hawaiians are left with no choice but to leave Hawaii , in part due to the increasing cost of living.

Growing tourism and expanding luxury housing developments, coupled with a lack of economic opportunities, are making it unfeasible for many to live in the state.

In fact, according to census data obtained in September 2023 , more Native Hawaiians live on the mainland than in the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii used to be its own kingdom until the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown

Before becoming the 50th state, Hawaii was a thriving sovereign nation . Its last queen was Queen Liliuoukalani, who led her kingdom to economic and civic success.

During her reign, Hawaii was recognized by over 80 embassies in the world, and the state enjoyed universal healthcare and a 95% literacy rate.

This all eventually changed when she was arrested and forcefully removed from the throne in 1893 in a US-military-backed coup.

When you litter, it ends up in Hawaii's oceans, threatening marine life and various ecosystems

When you carelessly toss trash on the ground, it'll likely end up polluting the pristine beaches of Hawaii, and there's a good chance you'll encounter it firsthand.

Tragically, it's not uncommon to see marine life like turtles, sea otters, and monk seals trapped in plastic or trying to eat a piece of garbage.

If you have any garbage to dispose of while you're in Hawaii, place it in a trash can.

Your TikTok has the power to ruin a beach

Although it's OK to take plenty of photos and appreciate the beauty of Hawaii , it's important to be mindful about sharing your photos on social media.

Just one viral TikTok or Instagram post promoting a beach or hike can quickly turn a once serene spot into an overcrowded nightmare.

Therefore, it's crucial to consider the potential impact your posts will have and the importance of preserving the beauty of Hawaii for generations to come.

In Hawaii, 'aloha' has a much deeper meaning than 'hello'

You may know that "aloha" is used as a greeting to mean "hello" or "goodbye." But what you may not have realized is that aloha is also a human value that embodies love, peace, compassion, and respect.

The importance of embodying the "aloha spirit" is taught in schools, which I think contributes to the genuinely warm and kindhearted nature of Hawaii's people.

So, if you do plan on visiting Hawaii, it's important to also have aloha for the land and its people.

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Do you want to travel with your pet to another State or country? Before you go, you may need to complete certain paperwork or tasks, such as getting a health certificate for your pet. Meeting these requirements takes time, so contact your veterinarian for help as soon as you decide to travel (whether by plane, car, boat, train, or other means).

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Treat yourself to the best cookies in America: 10 shops you can't miss

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Best Cookie Shop (2024) June 19, 2024

Visitors to these 10 independent cookie shops in the U.S. enjoy yummy treats that come in a range of flavors and varieties, crafted with top-notch ingredients and the utmost love and care.

From small businesses to family-owned endeavors, these shops have been selected by an expert panel and voted by readers as the best in the country for their outstanding confections that keep customers returning over and over again.

Extraordinary Desserts

No. 10: Extraordinary Desserts - San Diego, California

Chef Karen Krasne, once a featured dessert chef at the James Beard House, doesn't shy away from experimenting with new desserts and flavor profiles, proudly serving up showstopping treats. One of the most popular picks? The Luxe Cookie which, true to its name, includes Valrhona white chocolate, caramelized cocoa nibs, and a sprinkle of French sea salt, and is embellished with a 23-and-three-quarters-karat edible gold leaf.

The Sweet Shoppe of the South

No. 9: The Sweet Shoppe of the South - Blue Ridge, Georgia

Owners Nikki Kaylor and Susan Catron from The Sweet Shoppe of the South in Blue Ridge, Georgia, gained national fame when their cupcakes won Food Network's "Cupcake Wars." But if you haven’t tasted their cookies before, then you’re in for a real treat. Funfetti, lemon cheesecake, and salted caramel sugar cookies are just a few of the scrumptious flavors featured.  

Christie Cookie Co.

No. 8: Christie Cookie Co. - Nashville, Tennessee

A Tennessee institution for more than four decades, Christie Cookie Co. offers a diverse array of treats for Nashville locals and visitors alike. While cookie options span from snickerdoodle to rocky road, the Great 8 pack is perfect for sampling a multitude of different flavors.

Oakmont Bakery

No. 7: Oakmont Bakery - Oakmont, Pennsylvania

A favorite for Pittsburgh natives since the late '80s, Oakmont Bakery serves as one of the largest retail bakeries in the nation, with plenty of room to craft superbly designed cookies for guests to enjoy. Visitors can spring for a classic pumpkin spice, black-and-white cookie, or M&M cookie, while custom portrait cookies are available for anyone hosting a graduation party, themed dinner, or baby shower.

SugarBot Sweet Shop

No. 6: SugarBot Sweet Shop - St. Charles, Missouri

Situated in the heart of St. Charles, Missouri, the owners of SugarBot Sweet Shop opened this charming bakery in 2012 with the goal of specializing in “childhood favorites, better than you remember them.” To that end, all their baked goods, ranging from cakes to cookies, are made from scratch using only high-quality ingredients. As for the cookies, one of SugarBot's bestsellers is a double chocolate mint.

Hello Robin

No. 5: Hello Robin - Seattle, Washington

Since 2013, Hello Robin has been consistently churning out what many say are the best cookies in Seattle, Washington. Everyone raves about the bakery’s Mackles'more cookie (a s’more cookie with a chunk of Theo chocolate), but the choices don’t end there. Other goodies worth pursuing include brown butter snickerdoodles and the orange habanero chocolate chip, a chocolate chip cookie with citrusy notes and a spicy kick.

Famous 4th Street Cookie Company

No. 4: Famous 4th Street Cookie Company - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This iconic Philadelphia cookie producer has been doling out chocolate chip cookies since 1978. Today, Famous 4th Street Cookie Company has expanded operations and its award-winning cookie lineup to now offer over a dozen different flavors, including tempting picks like toffee pecan, white chocolate cranberry, and blueberry muffin.

Katiebug's Sips & Sweets

No. 3: Katiebug's Sips & Sweets - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Serving shaved ice in the summer, hot chocolate in the winter, plus an array of sweet treats out of a mint green bungalow, Katiebug's Sips & Sweets is clearly the place to go for a sugar fix in downtown Oklahoma City. Find everything from cake slices to homemade marshmallows to a rotating roster of cookie flavors with options like brown butter oatmeal and butterscotch crack.

Please & Thank You

No. 2: Please & Thank You - Indianapolis, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky

It’s impossible to look up any Louisville travel guide without this cookie cafe popping up on the list. And there’s a reason for that: Please & Thank You’s chocolate chip cookies are often named the best in Kentucky. Soft and gooey on the inside and slightly crisp around the edges, they’re made from a secret recipe that took the shop’s owner over two years to perfect. Indianapolis residents and visitors can also enjoy cookie goodness at the company's second location.

Grandma's Cookies on Main

No. 1: Grandma's Cookies on Main - St. Charles, Missouri

Perched just west of the banks of the Missouri River, Grandma's Cookies on Main offers a wide array of sugary snacks to the St. Louis metro area. Visitors can dine on oatmeal raisin and coconut cookies during a visit, while dairy-free options like snickerdoodle and sugar sprinkle are up for grabs as well.

About 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

Nominees are submitted by a panel of experts. 10Best editors narrow the field to select the final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers can vote once per category, per day. For any questions or comments, please read the FAQ or email USA TODAY 10Best .

The Experts

Allison levine.

Allison Levine

Allison Levine is the owner of Please The Palate,...   Read More

Allison Levine is the owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. With over 15 years of experience in communications, marketing, and event planning, Allison is passionate about the world around her and the diverse people in it. Allison holds a master’s degree in international communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service and holds a WSET Level 3 Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). As an industry expert, she has worked with wine regions around the world.  She has traveled extensively and has lived abroad in Italy, Spain, and Mexico where she developed her passion for food and wine. Her work allows her to live life to the fullest and, as a freelance writer, Allison communicates her experiences in articles, as well as in her blog. Allison is the US Host for the international podcast Wine Soundtrack where she interviews winemakers and gets to know them in 30 questions, and she is co-host of the YouTube wine series Crush On This. Her website is  www.pleasethepalate.com   and you can follow her on Instagram @plsthepalate .

Allison Levine

Carly Caramanna

Carly Caramanna

Carly Caramanna has a passion for covering the...   Read More

Carly Caramanna has a passion for covering the latest in unique food, travel, and theme park trends. Growing up in the carb-filled land of bagels and pizza by the slice (aka New Jersey), her parents instilled a love of all things adventure and food. Featured on CNN Business, BBC, NPR, MSN, Huffington Post, and host of the Attractions Magazine podcast, she uses her expertise as a contributor to Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Delish, and many more. www.adventuresbycarly.com IG: https://www.instagram.com/adventuresbycarly/ X: https://twitter.com/CarlyCaramanna

Carly Caramanna

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home...   Read More

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and editor specializing in separating the riff from the raff in culture, entertainment, food, travel and pure unadulterated fun. Jacky is a member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). In her best Chicagoese, Jacky asks, "Who has the time or money to blow on hotels, attractions, restaurants, exhibits and activities that blow?"

Jacky Runice

Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie is a travel writer who has visited over 50...   Read More

Jamie is a travel writer who has visited over 50 countries, many of them with her children in tow. She loves visiting everything from theme parks to ancient ruins and packs strictly carry-on-only. Jamie can be reached at [email protected].

Jamie Davis Smith

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna

Kristin Luna is a Nashville-based travel writer...   Read More

Kristin Luna is a Nashville-based travel writer who has contributed to  Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, USA TODAY, Southern Living  and many more. You can follow her adventures via her blog  Camels & Chocolate  or on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram .

Kristin Luna

Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson is an award-winning Philadelphia...   Read More

Marilyn Johnson is an award-winning Philadelphia area-based food and travel writer focusing on the greater Mid-Atlantic region. Marilyn founded Philly Grub in 2008 and South Jersey Food Scene in 2019. Her work has appeared on MSN, NewsBreak, Philadelphia Today, Cherry Hill Neighbors, New Jersey Monthly, and other online publications. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier Philadelphia, a society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, beverage, and hospitality.

Marilyn Johnson

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla is an award-winning writer with a passion...   Read More

Marla is an award-winning writer with a passion for travel, music, surfing and culinary adventures! An avid globetrotter and guidebook writer, she has covered topics such as the Hawaiian islands (including food trends and luxury beachfront resorts), as well as European getaways and global destinations. Her articles have appeared in many publications worldwide, including USA Today. Marla lives in New Jersey (Philadelphia area) and is a frequent visitor to Hawaii and Southern California, and often covers those destinations. Her travel website is:  www.marlacimini.com  

Marla Cimini

Melissa Curtin

Melissa Curtin

Melisa Curtin is a travel and food writer who has...   Read More

Melisa Curtin is a travel and food writer who has documented her globetrotting adventures for over a decade. A Connecticut girl madly in love with California, her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, LA Weekly, Canadian Traveler, AAA, Roadtrippers, JohnnyJet, Travel Awaits, and many southern California print publications. Melissa is always on the hunt for the best local bites and destinations with few tourists, splitting her non-travel time between Malibu and Palm Springs with her husband and ever-growing collection of plants.    Traveling around the world at age 20 on Semester at Sea sparked Melissa's desire for learning about other cultures. As a 20+ year educator and new travel advisor with Fora, she inspires others to reach their goals and pursue their travel dreams. Some of her recent favorite jaunts include a Viking river cruise from Paris to Normandy with her mom, truffle hunting in Tuscany, and eating her way through Florence. Get to know the Best of L.A. and California by checking out her website  LaLaScoop.com  or following the @lalascoop on Instagram .

Melissa Curtin

Melody Pittman

Melody Pittman

Melody Pittman is the owner and creator of Read More

Melody Pittman is the owner and creator of Wherever I May Roam Blog  and is co-owner of the Southern Travelers Explore annual conference, in its 4th year, which brings CVBS and writers/influencers together from all over the country. She is a digital influencer and writes for both online and print publications, such as Travel Awaits, Charleston Home and Living Magazine, Matador Network, She Buys Travel, and more. Melody has worked with major brands during her nine-year career, such as Viking River Cruises, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Disney, hundreds of tourism boards, and GO RVing.  Melody’s first book “100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die” was released in the spring of 2023. She has a podcast, 100ThingsWV, and social channels to go along with the book. Melody loves road trips, small towns, cruising, and sharing lesser-known destinations with her followers via TikTok , Youtube, IG , and FB . After a year of full-time RV travel, she now resides in Mesquite, Nevada. 

Melody Pittman

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original,...   Read More

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

10Best Editors

Best Restaurant in Hawaii

Best Fast Food Fries

Best Fast Food Fries

Best Fast Food Restaurant

Best Fast Food Restaurant

Best Fast Food Fried Chicken

Best Fast Food Fried Chicken

Best Fast Food Burger

Best Fast Food Burger

Browse the best.

Best Dessert / Treat Chain (2024)

Best Dessert / Treat Chain (2024)

Best Donut Shop (2024)

Best Donut Shop (2024)

Best Pie Shop (2024)

Best Pie Shop (2024)

Best Ice Cream Shop (2024)

Best Ice Cream Shop (2024)

Best Chocolate Shop (2024)

Best Chocolate Shop (2024)

Back to readers' choice.

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  2. 7 Best Hawaii Travel Apps to Plan the Perfect Trip (2023)

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  3. 20 Example Travel Websites That Will Get You Moving

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COMMENTS

  1. Hawaii Travel Information

    Today 0°F -18°C. Hide Week Forecast. Discover the beauty, culture and adventures waiting for you on the Hawaiian Islands. Find Hawaii travel information and plan your perfect vacation.

  2. Hawaii Guide: Travel Resources & Things To Do in the Hawaiian Islands

    Hawaii Travel Guide - Best Tours, Activities, Hotels, plus Hawaii visitor information, maps, and vacation planning tips. ... Since 2002, our Hawaii website has assisted tens of millions of additional visitors in the process of planning and booking the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams.

  3. Plan Your Trip to the Hawaiian Islands

    Experience the delight of peaceful sea turtles cruising in their natural environment, the beauty of the [...] Learn More. Website. Book Now. Kauaʻi. Holo Holo Charters. 4353 Waialo Rd. Eleele, HI 96705-0940. No trip to Hawaii is complete without witnessing Kauai's sacred Napali Coast.

  4. Hawaii Island Official Travel Site: Find Vacation & Travel Information

    The island of Hawaiʻi is the youngest and largest island in the Hawaiian chain. Nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined (hence, its nickname, "Big Island"), its sheer size is awe-inspiring. You can travel through all but four of the world's different climate zones here, ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, a ...

  5. Before You Travel to Hawaii

    Hawaiʻi 's year-round tropical climate ranges from bikini weather during the day to a light sweater or jacket in the evening. Comfortable shoes or sandals are fine for most occasions. Sun Protection. Hawaiʻi 's proximity to the sun makes for gorgeous tans and nasty sunburns, even on cloudy days.

  6. Home

    What We Do. We are responsible for protecting the iconic brand of the Hawaiian Islands. This includes perpetuating the Hawaiian culture, preserving Hawaii's natural environment, and strengthening communities by managing tourism in a way that helps improve the quality of life for residents, families and communities on all islands.

  7. Visit Hawaii

    By Hawaii.com Team. Aloha! For some, visiting Hawaii is a once in a lifetime dream come true experience. For others, Hawaii is a home away from home destination. Regardless of whether you visit Hawaii for the holidays every year, travel to Hawaii for a special occasion like a wedding or honeymoon, or are planning your dream getaway, we hope you ...

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    Get Hawaii travel deals by email for free. Get It Now. Partner Content. See More. Step into a world of wonder and enchantment at The Magical Mystery Show. Outrigger Teams Up With Cirque du Soleil For Hawaii Show. Escape to Sunshine and Beach Bliss at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.

  9. Go Visit Hawaii

    Go Visit Hawaii has been providing award winning Hawaii vacation travel advice since 2006. We cover Hawaii travel tips, news, and reviews for planning your perfect Hawaiian vacation.

  10. Kauai Official Travel Site: Find Vacation & Travel Information

    Find travel information about the island of Kauai, including activities, lodging, dining and more from the official resource for the state of Hawaii.

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    Hawaii. USA, North America. It's easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise. Just look at these sugary beaches, Technicolor coral reefs and volcanoes beckoning adventurous spirits. Best Time to Visit. Best Places to Visit. Attractions.

  12. The Hawaii Vacation Guide Home

    "We returned home from our family vacation to Kauai on Monday and wanted you to know how helpful your Wayfinder Itinerary was. We used it throughout the trip and it never failed us. Thank you for providing such a thorough and thoughtful guide.We are certain to return (hopefully to other islands) and will, once again, rely upon your insights and advice."

  13. Hawaiʻi Statewide Official Visitors' Guide

    Everybody knows Hawaiʻi's beaches, volcanoes and forests are unmatched in their beauty. But your path to truly transformative encounters with Hawaiʻi's natural wonder goes through the authentic culture and vibrant communities that give life to these islands. And this is your guide. Giving you everything you need for the most enriching experience of the Hawaiian Islands, including efforts ...

  14. Hawaii Vacation Packages & Deals

    Hawaii Vacation Packages. We are proud to offer exclusive vacation packages, most with rates under $1,000. These packages include airfare, car rental, and hotel stay for six to eight days. Visiting different islands, or "island-hopping" as we call it, is highly recommended because each island has its own distinct "personality." Vacations. Hotels.

  15. 37 Hawaii Travel Tips for First Timers (2024) + Tips by Island

    Maui Travel Tips. 19. See the sunrise on Mount Haleakala on your first day. If you're headed to Maui, don't miss the view from the top of Mount Haleakala, which is actually a dormant volcano. This is a popular place to see the sunrise. And if that's your goal, a great day to do it is your first day on Maui.

  16. Hawaii's Official Tourism Site -- Travel Info for Your Hawaii Vacation

    Plan Your Trip Today. Discover six unique Hawaiian Islands and learn about the unending opportunities to mālama Hawai'i - to have an even more enriching experience by helping to regenerate the natural beauty, environment and culture of Hawaiʻi. Delve a little bit deeper and you'll discover timeless culture, breathtaking natural wonders ...

  17. Plan your trip to Hawaii Hawaiian Planner

    Discover why so many people have Hawaii on their bucket list of places to visit. Plan your trip to Hawaii with hidden gems, flights, hotel, car, activities, and create your full Hawaiian island itinerary with our online planning software, Hawaiian Planner, designed specifically for those visiting Hawaii.

  18. Hawaii Travel Spot

    Welcome to Hawaii Travel Spot, your source for insider information to plan an epic Hawaiian vacation! On this Hawaii travel blog you'll find must-read tips for every island and every type of travel, all written by someone who has seen and done it all during dozens of Hawaii trips.

  19. Molokai Hawaii Visitor Guide

    ALOHA Welcome to Molokai, The Most Hawaiian Island. Often called "The Friendly Island" because the aloha spirit flourishes here. If you're looking for the real Hawai'i, this is it. If you're looking for old Hawai'i, this is it. If you're looking for breathtaking natural beauty, rain forests or deserted beaches, this is

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  22. Hawaii.gov

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  23. Things Tourists Should Really Know Before Visiting Hawaii, Local Says

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    Photo courtesy of boblin / E+ Getty Images. No. 7: Oakmont Bakery - Oakmont, Pennsylvania. A favorite for Pittsburgh natives since the late '80s, Oakmont Bakery serves as one of the largest retail bakeries in the nation, with plenty of room to craft superbly designed cookies for guests to enjoy.

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