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Blog Home

Eight Spots to Add to Your Hawaii Bucket List in 2020

A new year means new places to explore! Have you started planning your 2020 trips? If not, we’re here to offer eight places that will bump Hawaii to the top of your bucket list! From historic sites that tell the story of Hawaii’s past to iconic hikes that give any adrenaline aficionado a run for their money — Hawai’i has something for everyone.

Here are eight spots that will fuel your wanderlust.

Oahu

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Iolani Palace, Honolulu

Iolani Palace

Did you know that Hawaii is home to the country’s only royal residence? A visit to Iolani Palace will teach you about Hawaii’s monarchy and the islands’ history. Learn about Queen Liliuokalani — the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom and her imprisonment in the palace following the kingdom’s overthrow.

Take our Downtown Honolulu Walking Tour to visit Iolani Palace and learn more about the grounds. We suggest pairing it with the official Iolani Palace tour!

East Oahu

When people think of Oahu, Waikiki often comes to mind. This bustling stretch of beach is famous. It’s been featured in countless movies and TV shows and tourists flock to the area for its 5-star hotels, world-class shopping and upscale dining. But, just 15 minutes east you’ll leave the city behind to find white-sand beaches, scenic hikes, hidden coves, and local eateries in East Oahu.

Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive traverses the eastern side of the island stopping at 19 points along the way.

Kauai

Na Pali Coast Kauai Hawaii
Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Na Pali Coast

The rugged landscapes of the Na Pali Coast make it one of the most remote places in Kauai. To explore this natural wonder you’ll have to hike or travel by boat. At 22 miles roundtrip, the Kalalau Trail meanders through the wilderness with stops at secluded beaches and campsites along the way. If you want to explore this natural wonder from a different vantage point, there are several operators that offer boat tours of the coast.

Red Dirt Falls

If you’re headed to Waimea Canyon make a quick stop for a photo op at Red Dirt Falls. Located off the left side of the road as you make your way to the canyon, this waterfall is surrounded by Kauai’s red dirt — a striking contrast to the typical waterfalls you see in Hawaii. The best time to visit is after there’s been some rain, otherwise it’s more of a stream than a fall.

If you’re taking our Waimea & Na Pali Driving Tour, stop at Red Dirt Falls along the way!

Maui

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Haleakala National Park

Backside of the Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most popular attractions in Maui. Stop at waterfalls, historic sites, and even a red sand beach as you travel along Hana Highway. But did you know with Shaka Guide you can drive along the backside of the Road to Hana? We must warn you — many rental car companies prohibit this drive and there are moments where you’re driving on dirt roads with nothing but old handrails between you and the coast — but, if you’re up for the journey you’ll explore a remote side of the island.

Shaka Guide has two tours that visit the backside of the Road to Hana — our Reverse Road to Hana and Loop Road to Hana Driving Tours. Download our Maui app to learn more about these tours and see if they’re a good fit for you! Remember, these tours are considered more dangerous than the Classic Road to Hana route, so be mindful as you’re planning your visit.

Haleakalā National Park

You’ll be hard pressed to find better views of the sunrise than at Haleakalā National Park. Standing atop this shield volcano as the sun makes its way into the sky will have you walking on sunshine — literally. Sunrise not your thing? The sunset at Haleakalā is just as good.

Here’s our Haleakalā guide with everything you need to know about visiting the park for sunrise or sunset. Ready to start planning you trip? Take our Haleakalā National Park driving tour.

Big Island

Volcanoes National Park_ Must-See Cultural Sites on Big Island
Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Currently, there’s no lava flowing, but that doesn’t mean a visit isn’t worth your time. You’ll walk on lava fields, explore lava tubes and learn about Pele, Hawaii’s goddess of volcanoes and fire.

Explore this unique corner of Hawaii on our Volcanoes National Park driving tour.

Punaluʻu Beach

On Oahu you’ll find white-sand beaches with turquoise shores; In Maui, you can visit a red sand beach along the road to Hana; and on the Big Island, you’ll find a black sand beach home to sea turtles and surrounded by coconut palms. The sand is made from volcanic rock, fitting for an island with two of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Visit Punaluʻu Beach on our South Island Epic Coastal Journey Tour

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