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Hawaii is an amazing destination and a dream destination that I have yet to discover. For this guide, I've compiled a list of recommendations from our solo female community on their favourite things to see and do in Hawaii.
If you are planning to visit Hawaii in the future, discover where to go in the islands, where to stay as a solo and how to get around. All recommendations come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article for your solo trip to Hawaii.
N.b. By booking through this page you are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable girls about the globe. Thanks for helping.
- Solo Travel in Hawaii
- About Hawaii
- Getting Around Hawaii
- Hawaii Accommodation
- Tours in Hawaii
- When To Go To Hawaii
- Conscious Travel in Hawaii
- Map of Hawaii
- Plan a Trip To Hawaii
Solo Travel in Hawaii
Hawaii is an amazing destination and one for the solo bucket list. It attracts women searching for transformational travel, surfers and nature and volcano lovers. As well as gorgeous locations, the islands have a lot of historic significance. Crime is virtually nonexistent here but as a solo be careful with your belongings on isolated beaches.
Each island in Hawaii has its own individual character. Areas such as Hilo are untouristy, so you can integrate with the locals for a more authentic experience. The hiking in Kauai is stunning but if you want to avoid couples or people honeymooning then you may want to skip Kauai.
Hawaii is part of the USA and is known for its volcanic islands, national parks and lava fields, eco-tourism, and black sand beaches. It is also a mecca for surfers but there is more to Hawaii with its cosmopolitan, eclectic atmosphere than riding its waves. Below are our favourite can’t miss Hawaii destinations to inspire you for your Hawaiian trip.
The Magic of Maui
If your budget allows for it then you really can't go wrong with the breathtakingly beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii. This paradise isle is filled with natural wonders including waterfalls, volcanoes and hidden beaches. The sunsets at the East Maui volcano (Haleakalā) are simply breathtaking. To meet others head to the north end of the island which because it is more populated it is also touristy (it is windy here too). Or learn more about the history of Maui and Hawaiian values through a storytelling and culinary evening at Mokapu Farm.
Maui is also great for diving with lots of marine life or you can take a Maui snorkel tour with an option of SNUBA too. You can even snorkel through underwater lava arches and swim with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles at Turtle Town. Just look out for the current between Maui and Molokai, which can be strong.
Road To Hana
If you come to Hawaii and plan to stay in Maui, you simply have to see the Road to Hana, one of the most gorgeous landscapes and beautiful drives in the world. Journey along the Hana Highway to East Maui and you'll see beautiful sites including gorgeous waterfalls, black sand beaches, unique volcanic cinder cones, bamboo fields, the only winery in Maui. Stop at some of the fantastic beaches and hidden coves along the way.
USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
The most popular visitor destination in the whole of the Hawaiian islands is the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Each year, more than 2 million people visit the Arizona Memorial in Honolulu to learn more about what happened at this famous harbour and the events that transpired on that fateful day.
This site is operated by the National Park Service and is made up of more than 17 acres of land. You'll need at least two hours to join the guided tour which includes the boat shuttles, a film about its history and an additional boat tour. * Find out more about the tour
If you love to surf, then you’re going to absolutely fall head over heels in love with the North Shore of Oahu. This area is well renowned for its amazing coastlines, beautiful beaches, and its waves during the winter that are completely larger-than-life. Waimea Bay is a big wave surfing spot where you can watch the surfers riding the perfect waves. But surfing isn’t the only thing to do on the North Shore as Oahu has some of the islands' best shipwrecks and airplane wrecks to dive down to. You can even take a shark dive on the North Shore.
Or head to the East Side for some great long beaches and body surfing. For somewhere more remote with calmer beaches, head to the West Side of the island. If walking along a beach at sunset is more your style, a walk along the shore of Waikiki Beach in the evening is simply magical.
Art lovers, on the other hand, will love the Haleiwa Arts festival held on the North Shore of Oahu annually. The event celebrates local culture and includes dance, music, arts, jewellery, painting and sculpture.
Head to the island of Kauai, for a slower pace of life. It is the oldest of the islands and is known as ‘the Garden Isle' as it is covered in lush tropical rainforest. While here, you should definitely explore Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, a sacred space that spans 17 miles of cliffs, beaches and waterfalls along the island's North Shore. Manawaiopuna Falls even appeared in the movie Jurassic Park.
You do need to do some planning before you tackle the steep footpath of the Kalalau Trail in the park, especially if you aren't familiar with the terrain. You may feel more comfortable as a solo taking a guided kayaking trip or boat tour from Port Allen to see the coastline from the water instead. As with the majority of Hawaii, Kauai is also ideal for diving. Be prepared to spot a shark or two as off the shore of Kauai you might run into some tiger sharks and black tip reef sharks.
Another area for hiking is the big island of Kona. One area that's good for solos is Kailua-Kona on the Big island. The ‘Kona Side' is the liveliest and is a good base if you're planning to spend time on the west coast. There are many things to do in Kona to keep you entertained from farmers' markets, shops, seaside restaurants and the Kailua pier, as well as plenty of Kona coffee to drink. Because it's mainly sunny and dry here, it's good for sunbathing, hiking past lush waterfalls in the National Parks or snorkeling at Cook's Bay seeing beautiful reefs. There is nothing that you can't find on the island.
If you have time, the island of Molokai is also fantastic for hiking. This island is the second smallest Hawaiian island and has some of the world's highest sea cliffs, scenic trails and secluded beaches. But it's also an island that is rich in heritage. It isn't touristy and the majority of the population here are native Hawaiians who live rurally.
Take a guide if you're planning to take the steep path to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, a preserved area that was a former leprosy colony, or view it from the viewpoint in Palaau State Park, or visit Papohaku Beach, one of Hawaii's longest beaches. You won't find many other visitors here so it's perfect for some solitude and to experience the authentic Hawaii.
Getting Around Hawaii
The Road to Hana is one of the most popular activities and is the most beautiful drive in Hawaii. Hire a car to experience these gorgeous landscapes at your own pace. The busiest roads in Hawaii are on Oahu where you'll find developed roads and motorways. The least busy is Molokai. There is hardly any traffic here and hiring a car is the best way to get around or you can do what the others do and hitchhike which is normal and encouraged.
Or you could take an inland cruise that takes you around the islands. Water taxis operate between Maui and Lanai, and Hawaiian Air and Mokulele Airlines both offer flights to and from the islands.
It’s also possible to see Hawaii on a layover, even if you only have 8 hours to spare. Taking an Uber can be the quickest and easiest mode of transport if you are short on time. Depending on what time you arrive, you can check your bag in early and hire a car (or take an Uber) to experience an early morning sunrise hike at Diamond Head State Monument, and avoid the crowds. Then onto the Pearl Harbour Memorial which is only a 40 minute drive from the airport.
* TIP – Rome2Rio is a great resource for how to get from place to place.
Hawaii has all types of accommodation. From hotels to B&Bs, boutique accommodation, and apartments. If you're drawn to areas that are more touristy, you may prefer the beaches of Waikiki for resorts, or resorts on the Big Island or Kauai. The best areas to stay in Maui for resorts are near Lahaina and Ka’anapali Beach but accommodation can be pricey in Maui.
You can cut costs by finding a more affordable Airbnb, or a guesthouse away from the expensive area of Wailea. Molokai offers a more authentic experience where you can book homestays and stay with the locals. There are many eco-lodges in the area, but given the beautiful greenery, you might want to set up a camp in one of the campgrounds instead.
Below are recommended accommodations from our solo female community. For all other accommodation, click on the link below.
In Honolulu, this 4 star hotel is only one block from Waikiki Beach. The staff are really friendly and welcoming. There’s an outdoor pool with a stunning view of Diamond Head, yoga classes, free filtered water and coffee in the lobby, as well as an onsite restaurant, and a gym. Rooms have air-conditioning and many have fridges and a balcony. Choose from a studio ocean view, a studio, a junior suite with a balcony, or a queen or king with a city or ocean view. You can also upgrade to a penthouse.
- Prices start from $197 for a studio ocean view
- Check prices, dates and availability: Queen Kapiolani Hotel
The Aloha Surf Hostel on Maui is a great place to stay for solo travelers. As well as being located between Kanaha beach, and Ho’okipa beach on the North Shore, some of the best surfing spots, they offer tip-based tours around the island every day to hiking trails and hidden beaches, making it easier to meet others to explore the island with. It’s really sociable too with ping pong, a pool table and a hot tub to chill out in. Plus. Paia town is nearby with shops and restaurants. Choose from a bed in a dormitory room or a private room if you prefer your own space. Breakfast is included in the rate.
- Prices start from $50 plus tax for a bed in a dorm room
- Check prices, dates and availability: Aloha Surf Hostel
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Volcano Eco Retreat is a friendly vegetarian and vegan oasis, set within the peaceful Fern Acres. The grounds are stunning and you really feel one with nature with cute lizards and a frog chorus at night. Bikes here are free and there is a spa to help you rejuvenate and unwind. The beds in your bamboo bungalow are comfortable and you’ll receive a warm welcome and plenty of delicious homemade produce and breakfast too. Bungalows come with a garden view.
- Prices start from $255 for a bungalow with a garden view.
- Check prices, dates and availability: Volcano Eco Retreat
Tours of Hawaii
Banzai Divers – Offers diving in the Pupukea Marine Life Preserve in Hawaii (known as ‘Sharks Cove.’) See turtles, seals and rays and experience underwater lava tubes, tunnels and arches. Choose from a snorkel tour or a night dive. Even if you have never dived before you can experience your first dive here.
Get Your Guide Hawaii – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Hawaii. Choose from a 2-hour whale-watching cruise from Lahaina Harbor, an audio tour of the Official USS Arizona Memorial in Oahu, or a Molokini and Turtle Town snorkel from Maui including lunch. There are several to choose from including a Waikiki glass-bottom boat cruise from Honolulu, or Waikiki, and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. Read my Get Your Guide review or click the link below for all their tours.
Viator Hawaii – Viator are similar to Get Your Guide. They are an American company and a tour platform with more than 345,000 tours and worldwide activities. Choose from an ultimate Circle Island adventure including Waimea Waterfall, a night manta ray adventure where you are guaranteed to see the rays or a Kuala Ranch Hollywood movie site and ranch tour to see where films such as Jurassic Park, and Pearl Harbor were filmed. Read my Viator review or click the link for all their tours.
When To Go To Hawaii
Hawaii is warm all year round and has pleasant temperatures every month. The coasts can vary with different climates making it perfect to visit at any time. However, the best time to visit is from March to September when it is hotter. These months also have less rainfall. To escape the crowds, visit between October to November when it is quieter. Expect cooler temperatures the higher the attitude. The chart below shows the annual temperatures in Honolulu from January to December.
- Can I drink the water? Yes, but check in the more remote areas.
- Is tipping expected? Hawaii is part of the United States where tipping is expected for every service. Tip between 15-20% in restaurants, $1-$2 for drinks, and $5-$10 for tour guides depending on whether it’s a half or full day tour. Find out more
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price generally.
- Any ATMs? Yes, you’ll find ATMS all over Hawaii.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side
- Good for vegetarians? Yes, there are vegetarian and vegan restaurants on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? No.
Conscious Travel in Hawaii
Social Impact Projects
Many native Hawaiians do not benefit from the tourism industry. Many have been left homeless due to rising rent prices or bigger companies buying off their land. Thus, it is extremely important to support native-owned and native-run projects and initiatives and to decolonize your vacation as much as possible.
The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association was founded on the basis of wanting to sustainably develop Hawaii’s hospitality and tourism industry by using native Hawaiian cultural values. Upon their website, you can find resources on how to write about Hawaii respectfully.
Native Intelligence – Native Intelligence is a retail establishment located in Wailuku, Maui. Their goal is to showcase local artists and creatives who protect and evolve the traditional craftmanship. Native Intelligence prides itself on being an advocate for both culture and community.
Hololeʻa – Tour Loko Ea Fishpond. Take a tour around the Loco Ea fishpond and learn about its history and enjoy a vast array of demonstrations from bamboo-pole fishing to net-throwing. Participants are encouraged to help restore the pond to its former glory through meaningful work activities.
Stay Eco in Hawaii
Native-owned hotels and hostels are hard to come by, which illustrates further the problem of social and economic injustice the indigenous population of the islands face. The hotels suggested here are great for the environment but sadly not native-owned or native-run, thus take these suggestions with a grain of salt.
The Modern Honolulu
The Modern Honolulu is a trendy and award-winning hotel that is perfectly suited for the solo traveller. Its perfect location at the gateway to Waikiki Beach begs tourists and travellers alike to explore the culture of the island, go shopping, or venture into the great outdoors. Equipped with SMART Room technology, having their own green team, and donating all food scraps to a local farm, the Modern Honolulu is perfect for the urban traveller who likes to stay green!
Do you dream of rolling out of bed and waking up on the edge of a volcano? Promise it’s not that scary! At Volcano House, you can stay in one of their historic guest rooms, cabins or campsites and do just that! Shop a collection of jewellery and crafts made by local artisans at their gift shop, enjoy the hotel’s commitment to the preservation and protection of the national park's resources and have fun on your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Books to read before you go: Detours: A decolonial guide to Hawai’i
Issues affecting vulnerable girls in Hawaii
* For many holiday-makers Hawaii looks and feels like paradise, however, the small island suffers from over-tourism, over-exploitation, and sex trafficking. A study conducted by Child and Family Service revealed that more than a quarter of their participants mentioned having experienced sex trafficking. 64% of those who experienced sex trafficking identified as Native Hawaiian and three-quarters identified as female.
* The same report unearthed that community problems and child abuse most likely contributed to the vulnerability of those victims. Read more…
Map of Hawaii
Plan a Trip To Hawaii
Current Time in Honolulu
Budget – $170 a day
Capital – Honolulu
Population – 1.416 million
Language spoken – English
Local Currency – US Dollar
Did you know? Hawaii is also considered part of Polynesia
Lingo – They speak English
The Best Time to Go – May
Authors: Thank you to: Yolande Jackovics Langley, Monica Tang, Mara Furlenmeier, Tracy Milne, Samantha Cunningham, Sarah Logan Gregory in our Girls about the Globe community for helping to put this guide together.
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