• things to do in hawaii favorite things i did in hawaii

My Favorite Memories | 10 Things to do in Hawaii

Ben and I talk about Hawaii a lot. We even want to move there! But no worries, India is still home. When we were leaving I asked Ben of all the things to do in Hawaii, what his favorite bits were about Hawaii and they were pretty similar to mine, which I want to share here. There are a lot of guides out there saying what you should do, like the “Road to Hana”, but when I ask friends about their vacations, I just want their best memories, not a guide book answer.

10 Favorite Things to do in Hawaii

1. Surf Classes with Nancy’s Surf Clinic

I loved surfing! I really want to do more of it. It was such a rush. I remember when I got obsessed with learning to snowboard years ago, and this is kind of like that. I know I’ll be surfing again. Read more about my lessons in this article: 10 Adventures to have in Maui.

Surf Clinic with nancy emerson

things to do in hawaii

2. Staying at the Modern Hotel

It is one of my favorite hotels ever! It was so cool to have a suite and such a great view of the ocean. The hotel was pricey and I reviewed it for this blog. I know it’s not in everyone’s budget for a suite, but the standard rooms are really nice too and around $300 which is the norm for Waikiki. Read my review of Modern Hotel here.

guide to honolulu

things to do in hawaii

3. Old Lahaina Luau

Ben and I both loved the laua! I didn’t think it was tacky or too overly touristy. I mean, yes it was full of tourists but it was such a beautiful show. It was right on the beach, there was a stunning sunset and delicious food. Read more about this in my Guide to Maui.

old lahaina luau

old lahaina luau

things to do in hawaii

4. Flying in a helicopter with Air Maui

I got chills and almost “happy tears” while flying with Air Maui. While in the helicopter, they went over to the waterfalls in the valleys of the green lush mountains. They got so close to the water! It was incredible and there was this cool soundtrack playing in our headphones. Read more about my time with Air Maui there if you want.

air maui review

things to do in hawaii

5. Living like a local in Spreck’s Plantation

I loved the last two nights when we stayed at Spreck’s Plantation house. It was just 10 minutes from the airport so was good to get all our shopping down and close to the rental car drop off. It was by far the most affordable place we stayed and they had bicycles, laundry, and snorkling equipment you can borrow. For more info check out my Guide to Lodging in Maui.

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

things to do in hawaii

6. Snorkling in such clear Maui water

Snorkeling here was better than anywhere I’ve done, which used to be Ko Tao as the best. I had a blast out with Alli Nui on a catamaran. It was a 6 hour tour with a local Hawaiian lunch and other snacks. You can snorkel on our own as well and there are rental places just about everywhere. If you want more information on Alli Nui check out this article: 10 top adventures in Maui.

alli nui activities to do in maui hawaii

activities to do in maui hawaii alli nui

things to do in hawaii snorkling

7. Having freedom of a rental car

Normally I don’t rent a car when I travel, but I guess most of my big trips were outside the US. Having a rental car in Maui let us see the whole island while we were there- I’m talking all over the place! When we had no plans we went for a drive and found things to do. Of course the road to Hana was one. I wrote about the car companies we used in my Guide to Maui.

guide to maui

things to do in hawaii

8. The views: sunsets, rainbows, beaches

I used to think India had some of the best sunsets, but that was because I hadn’t seen Hawaii’s! I mean, every day we saw a rainbow… I think because of all the mist in the air? Maui is one of the wettest places on earth, and one of the windiest! The views on the road to Hana were great, but actually the route from Lahaina south had amazing views, many of which are whale watching points which sadly wasn’t in season while I was there.

guide to maui

things to do in hawaii

things to do in hawaii

things to do in hawaii

things to do in hawaii

things to do in hawaii

9. Eating in hippie Paia town

We liked Paia so much that we ended up staying at the Paia Inn in the center of town. Many of the top foods in Maui are in Paia from the fish market to the cafes and a little Mexican place. I particularly loved the sandwiches from Mana Foods! Check out my guide to food and shopping in Paia for more.

where to stay in paia maui paia inn mana foods

things to do in hawaii

10. The massage I got at Montage Hotel

This was a life-changing massage. I’m not kidding: lomi lomi Hawaiian style with hot stones done by a woman that could read my mind. There were saunas, steam rooms, and waterfall outdoor showers. I loved every second of this spa. I did check out 3 spas in Maui, but this was the best.

things to do in hawaii

things to do in hawaii




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Joella October 20, 2015 at 12:44 am - Reply

    I agree- it’s great to get the best memories from friends instead of just guidebook stuff. You always find out about the best stuff that way. I would love to go to Hawaii. It’s so “close” now…hahah well as close as it could ever be, but still like a 5 hour flight ha! Was the water really warm there?

    • Rachel Jones October 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      you HAVE to go!! seriously, if I were as close as you are now, i’d go on the weekends haha it’s paradise. the water actually was pretty warm except early early AM

  2. De'Jav Speller October 20, 2015 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Seems that Hawaii has so much to offer. Definitely one of the plaes on my list to make it too.Did you see lots of wild life snorkeling?

    • Rachel Jones October 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      I didn’t see anything other than fish when snorkling, but while doing stand up paddleboard I saw a couple turtles :)

      • Joy Liu February 4, 2016 at 4:27 am - Reply

        If you go again and want to swim with turtles, check out Black Rock beach. We saw turtles on all 3 days that we snorkeled there :) Here some of our favorite spots. Would love to hear your thoughts! http://nomnomventures.com/2016/01/11/top-7-things-to-do-on-the-island-of-maui-hawaii/

  3. christine October 21, 2015 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I was not aware that sunscreen is exacerbating the death of coral. I should have known. Oxybenzone is the coral killer ingredient in sunscreens.
    New studies (NPR just had a great program about the study and has a picture of partially bleached coral in Kaneohe, Hawaii) showed oxybenzone deforms coral larvae and is causing coral bleaching world-wide.
    It apparently has been known for some time because they mention coral-friendly sunscreens may be safe..was the Hawaiian sunscreen you liked “reef safe”?http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/20/us-usa-coral-sunscreen-idUSKCN0SE2VE20151020

    • Rachel Jones October 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Yes it does cause problems! I use sunbum, which is i think a hawaiian brand – and is used by their lifegaurds across the state. it’s coral safe and smells like bananas!

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