Taking a tour in Hawaii might seem a little cheesy, because it’s admitting that you are a “tourist.” However, joining in on a tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the island or a unique aspect of Hawaiian culture, history, food, or natural beauty. So don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
Here we will list a variety of tours, something for everyone. Whether you’re with your family, your sweetheart, or even traveling alone, taking a tour can be a great way to meet up with like-minded visitors. Please keep in mind that tour operators change frequently, so if you see something that is out of date, or your own favorite is not listed, feel free to leave a comment to let us know!
Tours in Hawaii
Helicopter Tours – Helicopter tours are a popular option to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible or difficult to reach. On the Big Island, a helicopter can take you for an aerial view of the volcano and newest lava flows. On Kauai, you’ll get to see stunning waterfalls and natural vistas that you just wouldn’t see otherwise.
Whale Watching Tours – Humpback whale season runs from late-November through mid-April in Hawaii, and a whale watching tour is a great way to get up close and personal with the whales as they migrate to warmer waters. Occasionally you’ll even see a mother and calf together!
Walking Tours – Sometimes it helps to slow down and get around the old fashioned way – by foot. Walking tours can be found all over the islands, some even for free! Try Honolulu’s Chinatown on Oahu, a Waimea Historic Walking Tour on Kauai, a Kailua Village Walking Tour in Kona, Maui Walking Tours, or even a hike.
Circle Island Tours – With all of the options for tours and tour operators, walking through Waikiki or any tourist strip on the island can get a bit overwhelming. Sometimes the best way to get your bearings and fit in a bunch of attractions at once is a “circle island tour“. It’s a good idea to schedule one for your first day or at the beginning of your trip if you’re planning on it, because it will give you time to go back to the sites you would like to give additional time to.
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Island-hopping Tours – It’s a common dilemma to pick just one island when you’re trying to plan your trip to Hawaii. Sometimes, once you arrive you realize there are things on another island you’d like to see. While interisland travel can be quite expensive, day trips to other islands (sometimes combined with a circle island tour) are available if you really want to try to squeeze it all in. Keep in mind this makes for a VERY long day and significant cost, however.
Movie Tours – Check out this list of 10 Movie and TV filming locations in Hawaii for just a few of the big and small screen shows that have been filmed in Hawaii. Tours of movie location sites on both Oahu and Kauai are popular with fans.
Other ways to save money on your Hawaii tours and activities
The Go Oahu Card is available for both adults and children, and bundles 38 of the most popular attractions, including Battleship Missouri, hiking Diamond Head, Bishop Museum, Pearl Harbor, and more. You can add on a luau, car rental, or even the Polynesian Cultural Center. If you’re considering visiting at least a few of these, you may want to take advantage of this savings pass.
The Maui option for the “Go Card” is a 3-pack, but it’s only really worth considering if you plan on doing all three of the activities, which include surfing lessons, a Makena Kayak and snorkel tour, and a week long snorkel gear rental.
If you’re visiting Oahu, you may find that the Entertainment Book is a great deal for activities and restaurants. Usually around $30, the savings can easily pay for the cost of the book with just one or two redemptions. Although outer islands are included, the choices are rather limited compared to Oahu.
And finally, another way to save money on activities and tours in Hawaii is to sign up for the group buying sites that have been popping up lately. They’re mostly deals for Oahu so far, but some sites have plans to expand to the outer islands in the near future.
>> Not up for a tour? There are tons of other things to do in Hawaii.