Hawaii is an absolutely gorgeous location to travel to that should be on every solo traveler’s bucket list! It draws people looking for life-changing trips, and there is so much to do and see here, from enjoying the beautiful ocean with a surf lesson or snorkeling and exploring its underwater world, to exploring the great outdoors on land in its stunning national parks. The islands are not only stunning but also very important historically and culturally.
Hawaii is a very safe place to travel alone, and although there is hardly any crime, you should still always be cautious when on a solo trip. You are bound to meet tons of new people since the locals are known for being kind and welcoming.
Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and take a trip on your own? Read on for our complete guide to traveling to Hawaii solo!
Hawaii Entry Requirements for Canadians
One of the following documents must be presented by Canadian citizens flying to Hawaii:
- a passport that must be valid for their entire stay
- a current NEXUS card that can be utilized at self-serve kiosks at specific airports
COVID-19 Requirements for Hawaii
To enter the United States, Canadians who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine must be vaccinated.
There is no longer a requirement to present recovery from COVID-19 documentation or negative pre-departure COVID-19 test results.
Best Time to Visit Hawaii Solo
It is hard to pass up visiting Hawaii during this time of year! The summer season starts in May and goes until October. The hottest months have weather that is perfect for the beach, with highs around 28-30°C and lows of only around 20°C.
The winter months in Hawaii are from November to April. The rainy season that occurs from December to March doesn’t stop visitors looking for a winter getaway – it’s actually the peak travel season! During the winter season you’ll experience temperatures around 23-24°C. Average precipitation is high, especially in December. To avoid the rain, vacation on the west and south coasts, which tend to be drier. But on the Hawaiian Islands, rain showers are very brief and don’t last days or even hours, so it’s still a wonderful time to visit Hawaii!
Best Time to Visit Hawaii – Our Recommendation
We think a great time to visit Hawaii is between September and November, or between April and June!
During these times, the weather is pleasant, and travelers can get great deals on airfare and accommodation. It’s best to get your vacation in early, before school breaks start, especially if you’re hoping for fewer people around the popular sites!
Getting Around in Hawaii
Hawaii Car Rentals
Public Transportation is truly lacking on the Hawaiian islands and you don’t want to rely on it to get around. The best way to get to where you want to go on a solo trip to Hawaii is to rent a car.
Tier One Tip: reserve your rental car sooner rather than later to make sure you get a decent price, as rental cars can get very pricey in Hawaii.
Island Hopping in Hawaii
You can travel between the islands of Hawaii by using one of three airlines: Mokulele, Hawaiian, or Southwest.
Hawaiian Airlines operates interisland flights to:
- Honolulu International Airport on Oahu.
- Kahului Airport on Maui.
- Lihue Airport on Kauai.
- Kona and Hilo airports on the Big Island.
How Long To Stay in Hawaii on a Solo Trip
On one of the larger Hawaiian islands, you might easily stay two or three weeks in Hawaii as a solo traveler and never get bored. You may, however, have to give up some of your plans on your first island if you decide to add a second or multiple islands.
Our advice: take your time researching and choosing the best Hawaiian Island that will fit your travel needs best. Since you’re traveling solo, what you do is up to nobody else but YOU!
Or, if you’d like to talk to someone who had been to Hawaii before and can advise you on which island(s) are best for you as a solo traveler, contact your Tier One Travel Specialist.
Things To Do in Hawaii as a Solo Traveler
Here are some of the best destinations over six of Hawaii’s most popular islands for solo travelers.
Hawaii: The Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii is a whopping 4,000 square miles, and still growing!
This is the youngest of all of the Hawaiian Islands, and larger than the other seven major Hawaiian Islands put together. And fortunately, with that larger size comes great geographical diversity.
Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
You can choose to explore the summit of an active volcano at the UNESCO Heritage Site, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Visit remnants of old fishing villages, listen to native birds sing in the rain forests, or stroll the shoreline of black sand beaches and even see lava falling into the ocean. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, contains two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Maunaloa and Kilauea. This is an incredible spot to explore while traveling solo if you want to experience the best of Hawaiian nature.
Stargazing on the Big Island
One of the best activities to do on the Big Island is stargazing. Did you know that you can see most of the stars visible from the earth from the Big Island of Hawaii? Hawaii’s Big Island offers some of the most incredible stargazing experiences on the planet; in fact, Mauna Kea is home to the world’s biggest research observatory. Join a knowledgeable guide for a narrated tour of our beautiful solar system. This is an incredible activity to do solo since you’ll be able to stay and stare at the stars for as long as you want.
The Big Island of Hawaii has a very diverse climate, with waterfalls thousands of feet high, green rainforests, snow-capped mountains, and Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, explore the Waipi‘o Valley all on an incredible helicopter tour to see Hawaii from a different point of view. This is a great option when you’re traveling alone, this is also a great way to meet other travelers since you are usually with other people on these tours.
Go For A Drive
The Hāmākua Heritage Corridor scenic drive is known for its miles of water-carved gulches, lush green valleys, massive cascading waterfalls, and gorgeous seaside views. Having the freedom to drive wherever you want on the island is a big perk to solo travel in Hawaii.
Swim with Manta Rays
One of the most magical experiences you can have on Hawaii Island is swimming with the manta rays, which are elegant and harmless sea creatures with wingspans of up to 16 feet! Hop on a snorkeling tour where you’re likely to see a lot more wildlife than just Manta Rays. This is another great way to meet other travelers, while on a snorkelling tour.
Oahu is full of tropical aromas and perfect temperatures, the turquoise ocean, schools of colorful fish, green rainforest, lush scenery, and nearly endless things to do. Solo travelers will always feel welcome in Oahu!
Honolulu, The Capital City
You can find everything in Hawaii’s capital city, from great dining to world-class shopping. There is so much to see and do in this incredible city, from relaxing on the famous Waikīkī Beach, exploring Iolani Palace, wandering museums, and much more. Which makes it a perfect place for solo travelers to spend a day!
Surfing in Oahu
With endless golden beaches, inviting blue waves and lovely weather, you can play in the water all year round on Oahu.
If you’ve always dreamed of hanging ten on a longboard, Waikiki Beach is the perfect place to take your first surfing lesson (another great way to meet other travelers)! The world’s best and boldest surfers can be seen performing in Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu which is renowned for its 30-foot waves in the winter. Summertime brings about a significant calming of the water, making it a wonderful place to go swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Snorkeling in Oahu
Beyond surfing, you can explore the clear blue ocean along 112 miles of coastline, making snorkeling a top activity on Oahu.
For some of Oahu’s best snorkeling beaches, we recommend:
- Hanauma Bay, for its high fish population
- Kuilima Cove, for its perfect beginner snorkeling conditions
- Kahe Point, for its clear deep water
- Kaena Point State Park, for its quiet, beautiful sand beach further away from the city
- Sharks Cove, for its wonderful blue water and tropical fish.
Tier One Tip: If you choose to snorkel solo, make sure to take every precaution to stay safe. Don’t snorkel if the water is rough or if there aren’t many people around. Go on a group snorkeling tour if you aren’t confident about going on your own.
This is a must for solo travelers who love wildlife. While on a sunset cruise or sailing excursion, you might spot a humpback breach during whale-watching season (December through May).
These gentle giants come to the warm Hawaiian waters every year to breed and give birth to new calves, making Oahu a perfect place to experience these beautiful creatures. You can also spot whales from Oahu’s many beaches and from southeastern Oahu spots like the scenic Makapuu Lighthouse, Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head.
See Oahu from a different point of view! If you’ve always wanted to feel the rush of skydiving, there’s no better place to do it than on Oahu’s North Shore. Fly above the clouds and fall through the Hawaiian skies at 120mph, taking in panoramic views of Oahu’s green mountains and deep blue waters that few have ever seen. Skydiving is definitely an experience you will always remember; perfect for the truly adventurous solo traveler!
Oahu Helicopter Tours
Oahu’s pleasant, year-round weather is perfect for helicopter tours. Experience breathtaking sights and stunning vistas as you fly around the islands, soaring over the turquoise waters, you’ll venture around Diamond Head’s crater, fly past white sand beaches, and glimpse landmarks only visible by air such as Sacred Falls.
Oahu’s diverse tropical terrain, unmatched ocean views, and wide range of activities will easily bring out your adventurous side! Don’t forget to be well prepared while going hiking especially when you’re by yourself. Bring enough water and snacks, wear proper shoes, etc.
Here are some of the most popular treks on the island:
Hike to the top of the iconic volcanic crater Leahi (Diamond Head)/the Diamond Head State Monument for a panoramic view of Waikiki. The views you’ll take in from the top viewing platform are not only beautiful but are also recorded as the longest land views you’ll see in the world!
Waimea Falls Park
Waimea Falls Park is one of the great Oahu hikes/strolls for lovers of the outdoors! Walk along a flat road that is surrounded by botanical gardens, which will keep you entertained until you reach the stunning 50 ft, Waimea Falls.
The Manoa Falls Trail
This Oahu hiking trail is located above Waikiki in the Manoa Valley mountainside. The Manoa Falls Trail is a somewhat easy but still adventurous hike through a lush bamboo and guava tree forest, so it’s perfect for those traveling solo. The prize at the end of this hour-long hike is a towering 150 ft waterfall. Set your expectations high for this hike!
Kaniakapupu Ruins, Located in the Nu’uanu Valley off the Pali Hwy are the remains of King Kamehameha III’s summer home, originally built in 1847. Today you can take a short stroll through a bamboo forest and visit the Kaniakapupu Ruins, one of the oldest standing structures on Oahu!
Play golf well into the evening on a long Hawaiian summer day. What better place to tee off than surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean? Don’t let the crashing waves distract you; these gorgeous courses are fun yet challenging and a great solo activity. Plus, you’re sure to make likeminded friends while playing a round!
Here are some Oahu golf courses that we recommend:
Turtle Bay Golf Club
On the North Shore is the Turtle Bay Golf Club. The Palmer Course is consistently regarded as the best course on Oahu and among the very best on all the islands! This course at Turtle Bay is an absolute must-play during your visit to the area.
Royal Hawaiian Golf Club
On the Windward Coast is the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club. Nestled between the majestic Mount Olomana and Ko’olau Mountains, this course is an awe-inspiring experience with Oahu’s most stunning views.
Hawai‘i Prince Golf Club
The Leeward Coast is home to the Hawai‘i Prince Golf Club. This Golf Club offers 27 dramatic holes, the only golf course of its kind in Hawaii.
Ko Olina Golf Club
Also on the Leeward coast is the Ko Olina Golf Club, listed as one of Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.” It is a challenging 18-hole course, but there are also golf lessons and daily clinics available with top PGA professionals!
Polynesian Cultural Center
Solo travelers who love learning about new cultures will love spending the day exploring the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Wander through tropical scenes and explore authentic villages and mingle with locals that are part of six Pacific cultures. Enjoy the adventure of traditional hands-on activities, play ancient games, dance, learn how to fish without a net, and sample poi. Dine like royalty at an authentic Polynesian luau and top it off with the most fabulous evening show on the islands. This is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture!
At Pearl Harbor, hear first-hand stories from survivors describing the chaotic scene on Battleship Row. Walk through an airplane hangar that still bears the scars from that fateful morning. Peer into the shallow harbor where the USS Arizona Memorial is located where you can still see the sunken structure. Visiting Pearl Harbor is an experience that will be etched into your soul forever and will offer you a new perspective on World War II. Solo travelers who love history should definitely put this on their Hawaii bucket list!
Immerse yourself for a part or more of the day in five historic sites that comprise Pearl Harbor today: the WWII Valor in the Pacific, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian island and it, too is full of exciting contrasts— think luxury resorts set against white-sand beaches, and charming small towns tucked against country roads that wind along the coast. Solo travelers will love a visit to Maui!
Maui Travel Update: Due to the wildfires that started on August 8, 2023, all unnecessary travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali, and Kapalua) is highly advised against until October 17, 2023. The other Hawaiian Islands, such as Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, and Hawai’i Island, as well as other parts of Maui (such as Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, and Hana), are still open. We ask all visitors to the islands to exercise extra caution and respect as the community recovers from this tragedy. Find the official travel advisory here.
Visit The Haleakalā National Park
The remote and sacred Haleakalā National Park offers a taste of history and adventure. The finest place to view what may be the most breathtaking sunrise on earth is at the Haleakalā Visitor Center. Witness the sun rise from beneath a vast sea of clouds. Haleakalā’s sunsets and the starry skies visible at night are possibly equally magnificent! This is perfect for solo travelers willing to make the journey to enjoy a moment of tranquility while enjoying the gorgeous views.
The journey is worthwhile for this colorful and beautiful village. The city’s main activities include visiting various boutiques and gift shops. There are also fashion stores with famous names like Coach and Michael Kors. There are also markets on the weekends at Lahaina Harbour under the large banyan tree. This is a great spot for solo travelers who love to shop!
The Road to Hana
The greatest attraction on Maui without a doubt is the picturesque Road to Hana. The main draw of traveling the Hana Highway on Maui is the journey itself, not the final destination. There aren’t many words that can explain the breathtaking splendor of this drive, with its cliffs covered in lush, green valleys teeming with waterfalls. This drive can be challenging and sometimes stressful! There are many options available to get someone to do the driving for you if you don’t want to do the drive alone.
Explore West Maui
West Maui offers equal parts adventure and relaxation with its abundant sunshine, shopping, world-class golf, and scenic drives along the West Maui mountains. There’s so much to do in this area for solo travelers, from snorkeling in colorful reefs or teeing off on a championship green to exploring the shops and galleries of a historic whaling town or enjoying a five-star feast at one of West Maui’s stellar restaurants.
Tour East Maui
Powerful surf, lush rainforest, and waterfalls that pour straight onto the road are just some of the highlights you can see while in East Maui. Streams rush down the forested side of Haleakalā into glistening pools, waves wash up onto jet-black volcanic beaches, and vines dangle over the winding highway. Maui’s rural North Shore and East Side are full of gorgeous, natural landscapes that you will want to photograph around each and every bend. Outdoorsy solo travelers will love exploring east Maui.
Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island that is nicknamed the “Garden Island” for good reason! This is the oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain that is covered in many beautiful landscape elements such as emerald valleys, mountain spires and jagged cliffs, tropical rainforests, and flowing waterfalls. Although Kauai’s hiking is beautiful, as a solo traveler you might want to avoid it if you don’t want to encounter honeymooners or couples. But if you’re okay with running into some couples, this could be a great destination for adventurous solo travelers.
Visit Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon, on Kauai’s West Side, is described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Although it is not as big or as old as the actual Grand Canyon, you won’t encounter anything like this geological wonder elsewhere in Hawaii. The Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of wild foliage, tropical cliffs, green-and-pink scenery, captivating waterfalls, and striking rainbows. One of the most popular things to do at the canyon is to explore its hiking trails! Experience the natural splendor of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon on a guided tour, learn about the fascinating geologic history of the canyon and stop at several vista points along the way for great photos.
Visit the historic island town of Hanapepe and see highlights of the southern coast, including the Koloa Sugar Mill, Spouting Horn blowhole, and the luxurious beach resorts of Poipu. You can also shop at the westernmost bookstore in the USA at the Talk Story Bookstore.
See Kokee State Park
Located North of Waimea Canyon on Kauai’s West Side is Kokee State Park. This state park is covered in forest, wildflowers, and hiking trails, making it an excellent spot to see native plants and colorful Hawaiian forest birds like the apapane, iwi and moa. The park also offers some of the state’s finest hiking trails. Some trails lead to views of Waimea Canyon, others wind through wet forests with sweeping views of valleys opening to the North Shore.
Explore The Napali Coast
Spanning 17 miles along Kauai’s North Shore, the Napali Coast is a sacred place known for its extraordinary natural beauty. Emerald cliffs with sharp ridges tower above the Pacific Ocean, exposing beautiful beaches and waterfalls that fall to the valley floor. The rugged terrain appears the same as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements thrived in the deep, narrow valleys.
Tier One Tip: The Na Pali Coast is only accessible from May through September because of high winter surf and weather conditions.
There are many ways to experience the Napali Coast as a solo traveler – let’s explore some of them!
Hiking is a must along the Napali Coast. There are numerous trails to explore, but the most famous hike on Kauai is the challenging 11-mile Kalalau trail along the Napali Coast. Beginning at the end of the road at Kee Beach, most people hike in and stay at least one night before returning. Others limit their hike to the first two miles, which leads to Hanakapiai Beach. Whichever you choose, you’ll be treated to amazing views of Kauai’s North Shore.
Take a Flying Tour Over Kauai
All of these options are amazing, but aerial tours might be the best way to grasp the magnitude of the Napali Coast. Soar over Kauai on an aerial adventure with a local helicopter company. You’ll get a front-row seat to scenic areas that are largely inaccessible by land or water, such as the iconic Manawaiopuna Falls, which was featured in Jurassic Park.
Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse
Perched at the northernmost tip of Kauai, the 52-foot Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse was built in 1913 as a beacon for traveling ships. Although its light was turned off in the 1970s, it still serves as one of the island’s most visited attractions. The lighthouse is located within the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for seabirds. This picturesque peninsula is a must-see on your visit to the Napali Coast!
Visit the Kilohana Estate
Solo travelers interested in history should visit Kilohana, a restored plantation estate that provides a glimpse of life in the 1930s. The site of a Tudor mansion, the estate was home to one of the island’s most famous families. Manicured green lawns surround the estate, which now features a restaurant and several unique shops like the Koloa Rum Company. Once the center of a 27,000-acre sugar plantation and the hub of Kauai business, cultural and social life, the 35-acre estate now features tropical gardens and an old plantation village. The classic Kauai Plantation Railway gives you a tour of Kilohana’s working farm.
Solo travelers who want to get into the water will love these watersports. They’re also great for going on tours and meeting some new people and potentially, other solo travelers!
Experience the wild beauty of Kauai’s breathtaking Napali Coast on a sailing and snorkeling cruise where you can see an unbelievable perspective of soaring emerald sea cliffs, sparkling waterfalls, and remote beaches, all from the deck of a lavish catamaran!
On the North Shore, fantastic shoreline snorkeling beaches include the reefs off of Kee Beach and Haena Beach Park. Anini Beach offers a lagoon great for beginning snorkelers. Makua, or “Tunnels” Beach in Haena also has a wide reef area that’s a great one to experience. Be sure to check ocean conditions and currents prior to going out, especially during the big north shore swells of the winter.
On the East Side, Lydgate Beach Park offers a safe snorkeling lagoon which is great for solo snorkelers who are just starting out.
On the South Shore, Poipu Beach State Park offers amazing, protected areas for snorkelers.
Kauai also offers a variety of scuba sites for beginners and experienced divers. Dive tours offer plenty of tropical fish, reef creatures, dolphins, and honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles) to discover. Experienced divers will generally find more thrilling spots on the east and west shores, including cave exploration and lava tubes.
Whether you are certified in diving or not you will be able to have an amazing underwater experience.
Those new to scuba should start on the north or south shores (Hanalei, Kee Beach, or Poipu Beach).
Kauai whale-watching tours are a must-do in Hawaii! From December to May, you are likely to catch a glimpse of a majestic kohola, or humpback whale, off Kauai’s shorelines.
You can also spot whales from Kauai’s many beautiful beaches, including Poipu Beach on the South Shore, and from scenic spots like Kilauea Lighthouse and the Napali Coast’s Kalalau Trail on the North Shore. On the East Side, the Kapaa Overlook between Kapaa Town and Kealia Beach is another notable viewing spot. So, keep your eyes peeled, you never know when you will see these gentle giants
Kauai Paddle Boarding
Similar to surfing but using a longer, wider board, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has become an increasingly popular water activity over the past several years. On the island of Kauai, you’ll often find paddlers on the sparkling blue waters of Hanalei Bay, Poipu Beach or Kalapaki Beach. You can easily find rental places on the islands to hook you up with gear, and often-times lessons as well, if you’re new to the sport!
Kauai is home to the only passable rivers in Hawaii, so kayaking is an essential part of a unique Kauai getaway. You can relax and take in the scenery as you paddle down the Wailua River which passes through lush, jungle landscapes along with the island’s East Side. Other river routes include the Huleia River from Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, as well as the Hanalei River on the North Shore, the longest on the island.
Consider traveling to Lana’i to soak up the seclusion and quiet that Lāna’i offers, from five-star luxury resorts to off-road adventures. This lesser-known Hawaiian island has few paved roads, and plenty of opportunities for adventure for solo travelers.
Hunt for petroglyphs, ride horses or sip cocktails while watching for dolphins in Hulopo‘e Bay. You’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle to explore the areas beyond Lāna‘i City – which is part of the fun! Solo travelers who want to treat themselves to a luxurious vacation will love Lanai.
Hulopo‘e Beach’s golden stretch of sand is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches. Spend a day here, making use of the uncrowded picnic tables, barbeque grills, restrooms, and showers. The sheltered waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring tide pools.
Hulopo‘e Bay is a protected marine reserve. You can even see Hawaiian Spinner dolphins and humpback whales here during the winter months! And Hulopo‘e Beach is just as beautiful beneath the water’s sparkling surface. Strap on a snorkel and you’ll have the chance to see parrotfish, pencil urchins, and honu (sea turtles)!
Solo travelers looking for a luxurious and secluded holiday will find that Lana’i is really the perfect destination.
Life is simple and inspiring on Moloka’i, a mere 38 miles long and 10 miles across at its widest point. This rural island is home to incredibly unique wonders — including the world’s tallest sea cliffs, and Hawaii’s longest continuous fringing reef! Visit and you’ll see how natural charm and potent history are inextricably linked on this secluded, beautiful little island. Solo travelers really looking to get away from it all will love the time they spend in Moloka’i.
Likewise, the beaches on Moloka‘i are beautiful and secluded. However, there are no lifeguards on duty on the island, so solo travelers should use caution when entering the water, especially during the winter months when the surf tends to be bigger.
From golfing to hiking, whale watching, visiting cultural centers and so much more, Moloka’i is full of opportunities and adventure and is more of an “undiscovered” Hawaiian island.
If you are looking to explore a quieter and more secluded island, Moloka’i might be perfect for you for your next solo trip!
This is only the start of all of the solo adventures available to you on the islands of Hawaii.
PLANNING ON A SOLO TRIP?
We’ve got your back! When you’re ready to book your next getaway, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents. They have extensive knowledge of all current events in the travel industry and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs and will get you to your destination as stress-free as possible.
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