My wife and I have the opportunity to visit Hawaii for two weeks this May. We were considering visiting the islands of O'ahu, Maui, and Hawai'i. I've been able to find a lot of cool touristy activities online that I I'd like to experience. What else is there though?

What some other, less touristy Hawaiian activities that I might not see online because the are less popular or not commercialized?

For example, in this question someone asked about boar hunting in Hawaii. While I don't think I have enough hunting experience to participate in this particular experience, I like the creativity of this idea.

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    Can you be more specific about what you consider "commercialized" and "touristy"? Game hunting is a quintessential tourist activity, so I'm quite surprised you list it as an example. – choster Mar 3 '17 at 21:38
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    @choster I'm actually interested in any activities that I can't find on TripAdvisor.com. – Nosrac Mar 3 '17 at 21:42
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    That doesn't really define a scope though. It would be like asking at Money.SE, Whare are some unusual investments I could put medium-term savings into? or asking on Cooking.SE Whare are some non-traditional garnishes I could put on potatoes. SE is very poorly suited as a suggestion engine, because you're the only one who knows what the "right" answer is. If you can rework the question so that the answer is independently verifiable, I will retract my closevote. – choster Mar 3 '17 at 22:35
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    Maybe you could be more specific about the types of activities you're interested in? Cultural, athletic, social...? Something very active or something more sedentary? – 1006a Mar 3 '17 at 22:40

I was born and raised on Maui, and as we always say, Maui No Ka Oi! so my vote would be for Maui.

Maui has amazing hiking oportunities, with the many trails of the Na Ala Hele trail system (hawaiitrails.org). The website runs really poorly for me, but the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has a great, if limited site for state sponsored hiking trails. These websites list trails for all the other islands, too. The Haleakala National Park manages visitor centers at the Summit of Haleakala and in Kipahulu. Maybe by the time you get here, the state and county parks in Iao Valley will be back open.

Also, we have town parties around Maui on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Fridays of every month. They're even trying to make 5th Friday happen on Lanai. I find these great fun, with lots of local food and entertainment.

Check out MauiNOW.com for local news and weather reports, but also for info on local social and sporting events.

And never underestimate the fun of the touristy activities. Go to the beach. Snorkel from the beach or on a tour. Drive to Hana (and stop plenty). Attend a Luau (and definitely join in when they ask for audience participation). Ride a helicopter around the Island. Watch the sunset from the beach, or from your balcony, or from the road, or from the top of Haleakala.

Most importantly, remember that what makes Hawaii special is its beauty and culture. So take advantage of it, but always be respectful of the people and the Aina. Leave any place you visit better than you found it.

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  • Thanks for your answer! People like you are the kind of people I was hoping for. And don't worry, we'll probably get in our fair share of vegging out on the beach :) – Nosrac Mar 3 '17 at 22:07

Once you are in Hawaii, grab a local paper to see if there are any events primarily for the people who live there. I was recently on Kauai, and by accident, found this event: http://www.waimeatowncelebration.com/ It was great fun!

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  • Thanks for your input! Are there any other events that you would recommend? – Nosrac Mar 3 '17 at 19:37
  • @DanielCarson I don't know of any specific events, but like I say, if you grab a paper once you arrive you should get some ideas. Slightly off topic: in my opinion, 2 weeks is too short for 3 islands. – user1014 Mar 3 '17 at 19:40
  • I can't extend past 2 weeks, and I need to spend the first few days at O'ahu for a conference, but if I were to only visit one other island, which one would you recommend? – Nosrac Mar 3 '17 at 19:48
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    @DanielCarson Well, that's a tough one. I love the Big Island but I recommend you stay in Maui and embrace your inner tourist. Go to a luau, take a snorkeling boat to Molokini, sunrise on Haleakala, etc. You'll have a blast! – user1014 Mar 3 '17 at 19:59

I just recently (half a year ago) went to Hawaii for the first time. My fiancee and I went to Maui and adored it. There are a couple things I would certainly suggest:

The first is a bit touristy but definitely worth doing nonetheless. Some of the hotel beaches have rocky outcrops by them, and they are perfect for snorkeling because turtles tend to hang out by the rocks. We saw four turtles in the span of an hour there and it was absolutely magical!

The other thing I suggest is a bit off the beaten path - the Nakalele Blowhole. It's a short trek down a rocky mountainside to even get to it, but there are usually around 4 people there at any given time and it's incredible. My favorite memory from Hawaii (and there are many amazing ones) is the blowhole, because it's just so outlandishly cool and nothing like I had ever seen. If you're on Maui, go to the blowhole. You won't be disappointed.

(Also, do the road to Hana. Take a tour. Enjoy the sights. It's unreal.)

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    I can second the Nakalele blowhole, just be careful! Stand back and appreciate from afar. You don't have to be close to the blowhole or the cliff's edge to be knocked off your feet and pulled into the water. It happens far too frequently! – Quasi_Stomach Mar 6 '17 at 15:45
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    Also, any out-of-the-way location may have problems with car break-ins, so leave no valuables in your car (good advice at all times, but the blowhole is, unfortunately, a prime spot for these types of crimes) – Quasi_Stomach Mar 28 '17 at 18:46

Grocery shopping is the ultimate non-tourist activity.I suggest shopping at Don Quijote

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    Sort of related: one of my favorite activities in Hawaii is buying fruit and vegetables at a farmer's market. They are held frequently in various locations and are well worth searching out. – user1014 Mar 7 '17 at 2:39

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