Hawaii is one of those places that is hard to forget. Sun, surf, welcoming people yes, but there is so much more to these islands. So diverse in its people, and so beautiful in its surroundings, its no wonder people want to return often.

Whether a return visitor or a new one, there are many ways to make your trip to Hawaii more complete. Here are a few things that will bring a smile to your face, allow you to have a more  well-rounded experience, and get the all-important tick of approval from locals.

— article continued below —

2024 Hawaii Visitor Guides

Visiting Hawaii soon? Be sure to grab a copy of one of our updated Hawaii Visitor Guides.

~ Trusted by Millions of Hawaii Visitors Annually ~

Head Back to the Country

Fresh air can do wonders. Getting away from the hustle helps us refresh and can bring a whole new perspective to where we are, the history and significance of where the ground meets our feet.

So where can you go if getting away from the traditional tourist areas is on your mind?

The Hāmākua Coast 

Described as the most rural part of Hawaii, this is true country living. The Hāmākua coast is a stretch of road running north of Hilo on the north-eastern part of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Oceanfront cliffs acting as protectors of the vast ocean greet all visitors as does lush greenery, in parts seemingly untouched.

This is natural Hawaii at its finest.

The Town of Hana

The road to Hana is made famous due to its twists and turns, but well worth the effort. The views alone will fulfill your need to escape the crowds, and the winds will rid you of all you wish to shed on your rural stay.  This is where you can experience small-town life.

The Town of Haena, Kauai

When traveling to different islands you will be certain to find many small towns. Some with a few hundred residents, some with more. Either way, there will always be one or two that steal your heart. Located at the end of the Kuhio Highway this town has impactful historical significance, and is a must for those on Kauai.

With around 93 percent of Hawaii considered rural, there is no shortage of small towns and farmlands to stay and visit.

Find the one that works for you and live like a local.

Plan before you go, and don’t be surprised if you don’t want to go home. Maybe you’ve found your new one.

Learn a Tradition

When in Rome, do as the Romans do right? Only this is Hawaii and there are traditions you will probably be more at home with than those of ancient empires.

Where do we begin? Let’s look at a few traditional skills and greetings that will make you feel like you’re truly a Hawaiian.

Play the Ukulele

What a beautiful, ancestral instrument. It’s not as easy as it looks, like most things worthwhile but it is a skill you will have forever. There are places in all areas where you can learn to play the Ukulele for free, or maybe take some lessons before you visit and buy your very own instrument handmade by a local craftsperson right here in Hawaii.

The Honi ihu

Touching the noses is a traditional method of greeting. The idea behind this is for both people, man, and woman, to exchange a breath, seen as the lifeforce of each person. This greeting shows the persons involved are sharing and showing closeness and bond to one another.

Learn to Surf

Surfing is not just a way to pass the time in Hawaii. This is a long heartfelt passion with a history deeply entwined into the culture, both past, and present.

You don’t need to know what you’re doing or have any experience. Choose a basic lesson and find out what all the fuss is about.

The ocean is a powerful force. Some who have taken surfing lessons in Hawaii say it was the best thing they’ve ever done.

To Market to Market

Be sure to check out the local farmer’s markets. Your accommodation front desk should be able to advise when and where they are in your area.

Spending money on local goods, souvenirs and hand crafts allows Hawaii’s residents to earn a living, contribute to their communities for a sustainable future.

Embrace the Lifestyle

When visitors come to Hawaii it is usually to get some well-earned rest and relaxation and to enjoy everything that Hawaii has to offer.

But, do you know how to make your stay even more enjoyable?

Forget your watch and kick off those shoes.

Hawaii-time is slower, and that’s for a good reason. The days here are not guided by time as most of us have come to know it. Time is guided by the sun and the moon, and the surf. Hawaii is about living a life that is not dictated by time.

Got flip-flops. Get some. And you can leave your phone behind. Apart from the fact that you will have to store it when you go for surfing lessons, that too is a real-world distraction and a chain that will bind you to your old ways.

Aloha! Enjoy your stay here on Hawaii lifestyle time.

Eat Local Food

Give the resort restaurants and buffets a break and head out to where you can find local and traditional foods. Traditional foods are fresh, healthy and often have a history going back many years.

Try the Japanese poke bowls, local fruit punches, and cocktails, and don’t be afraid to ask what the traditional foods are from that area.

Hawaii is a very diverse part of the world. Embrace all it has to offer.

Some Things to Remember

Sure, we are all here for a great time but remember, these islands, cities, and towns are people’s homes.

It is where their families are raised, their communities flourish, and their livelihoods made.

  • Please don’t take rocks or sand from beaches or volcanic rocks from areas visited. Legend tells of people experiencing unfortunate events from doing so. Superstition yes, but it’s the wrong thing to do, regardless.
  • Be respectful. Hawaii is a special place full of culture and history that can be learned without much effort. Once you understand a bit more you will be more aware of the rights and wrongs of visiting Hawaii.
  • Choose your island based on what your needs are. Family-friendly or a couple’s retreat. The choice is yours but a bit of planning helps make your stay more enjoyable.

If your goal is to live like a local when visiting Hawaii there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Locals welcome tourists, yes, but what is even better is when visitors have an understanding of the land, and traditions both past and present.

There’s no doubt Hawaii will welcome you back.

Recommended Hawaii Tours
Terms of Use & Disclosures

This website's use is your expressly conditioned acceptance of the terms, conditions, and disclaimers found within our Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability page without any modifications. Your use of this website constitutes your acceptance of all the terms, conditions, and disclaimers posted herein. If you do not agree with any part of these terms and conditions, you should not use this website. We also receive a small commission from travel partners for some of the links found on this website. All partners and related links comply with our Advertising Disclosures. For example, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. These links do not cost you anything and help provide the necessary funding to maintain this website. Mahalo!