Selling Hawaii to First-Timers, Island by Island

Photo by Joe Pike

With the help of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), Travel Agent breaks down the must-do experiences for first-time Hawaii visitors for every major island. 


After soaking in the view of the island's south side from the top of volcanic tuff cone Leahi (aka Diamond Head State Monument), the HVCB recommends heading to Nuuanu Pali State Wayside for its views of Oahu's Windward Coast and the Koolau Range.

Clients up for a moderately easy hike are encouraged to explore the paved, two-mile Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail, which offers views of offshore islets, Manana and Kaohikaipu, and the island of Molokai in the distance. The trail is also ideal for spotting offshore humpbacks during whale-watching season.


Encourage clients heading to Haleakala National Park to extend their visit beyond the volcano's summit sunrise and explore the park's 30 miles of hiking trails.

While driving the winding, scenic Hana Highway, suggest that clients stop at Waianapanapa State Park to explore its coastal trails, legendary freshwater caves and black sand beaches. 

On Maui's south side, Makena Beach State Park is home to the island's largest beach, and is perfect for a relaxing day of swimming and sunbathing.


Encourage first-time Hawaii clients interested in exploring the enchanting natural wonder of Waimea Canyon State Park to also head further north to Kokee State Park, where more than 4,000 acres of forest, wildflowers, hiking trails and two worthy lookouts - Kalalau Lookout and Puu O Kila Lookout - await. The HVCB also recommends embarking on a catamaran sail along the Napali Coast for a thrilling and unforgettable adventure.

Island of Hawaii

While Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on most visitor checklists, the HVCB also recommends checking out Akaka Falls State Park to experience the park's two waterfalls, Kahuna Falls and Akaka Falls. For clients looking to immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture, suggest a visit to Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, one of Hawaii's most sacred places.


Clients spending time on Molokai should set a day aside to explore Halawa Beach Park and Valley. Marked by vistas and towering waterfalls - including two-tiered Moaula Falls - Halawa is an archeological treasure of Hawaiian culture and the site of one of Hawaii's earliest settlements. On your clients' drive out of Halawa, encourage a stop at Kumimi Beach Park, also known as "20-Mile Beach," a fantastic spot for snorkeling.


For clients staying on Lanai, the HVCB recommends visiting Puu Pehe (aka Sweetheart Rock), a natural landmark located between the bays of Hulopoe and Manele.

Visitors looking for an off-the-beaten-path stretch of sand should head to east side Polihua Beach. Swimming at Polihua is discouraged due to strong currents, but its secluded sands are a great spot for watching Hawaiian green sea turtles and humpback whales frolic offshore.

Visit and keep visiting for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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