First Time Hawaii Itinerary

Hawaii is made up of 137 breathtakingly beautiful islands, and it’s still growing! It’s no surprise that there’s a lot to see and do, which may make organizing a vacation difficult. You could spend a lifetime simply touring the seven inhabited islands and yet only touch the surface.

So, how can you make the most of your seven days in Hawaii? Take a look at this Hawaii itinerary for a week!

Itinerary for Day 1 in Oahu

There is no better way to spend your first day in Hawaii than by immersing yourself in the culture.

Some of the employees at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort can teach guests how to make lei.

All of the materials are included, so you may build your own lei while learning about its cultural significance to Hawaiians.

Make your way to the Polynesian Cultural Center after that.

The trip that includes the luau and the night performance is a bit pricey, but I strongly suggest it.

The Polynesian Culture Center is a location dedicated only to the preservation of the Polynesian countries‘ varied traditions and customs.

Six separate “villages” make up the center, each with different presentations and activities to assist visitors learn about their own cultures.

You may enjoy delicious, traditional Hawaiian food at the luau, and you can watch all of the villages join together to display their abilities and customs at the nighttime entertainment.

Itinerary for Day 1 in Oahu

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Itinerary for Day 2 in Oahu

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Diamond Head remains a must-see on every Hawaii itinerary.

Despite the history around it, it provides beautiful views of the bright blue ocean and Honolulu’s busy metropolis.

Although the trek to the summit of Diamond Head is only 0.8 miles long, it is steep and requires several stairs.

Arrive early in the morning because the parking lot will most certainly fill up after 8 a.m.

If the parking lot is full, you’ll have to park lower down and then climb up to the park entrance, adding to your already difficult hike.

If you’re a history buff or just a lover of the TV program Hawaii Five-O, pay a visit to King Kamehameha’s renowned statue (frequently shown in various scenes of Hawaii Five-O).

Hawaii was founded as a monarchy by King Kamehameha, who is credited with unifying all of the Hawaiian Islands into a single country and putting an end to the strife that had existed between them.

Iolani Palace, the monarch family’s royal palace, is located across the street from the monument.

Spend the afternoon resting on the renowned Waikiki beach.

Although it will most certainly be crowded, you should be able to locate a quiet area on the sand to sit and rest.

It’s a must-see beach if you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time.

If you’re feeling very sentimental, try writing something unforgettable on the sand before the sea rises and wipes it away!

Itinerary for Day 2 in Oahu

Itinerary for Day 3 in Oahu

Day 3 of this Hawaii schedule appears to be jam-packed with activities at first appearance, but it is readily doable even at a leisurely pace.

However, because it’s another early morning, make sure you get to bed early!

If only for the historical significance, Pearl Harbor is another must-see location on a Hawaii itinerary.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was the catalyst for the United States’ entry into World War II, and its historical significance makes it fascinating even to people who aren’t particularly interested in history.

A tour of the USS Arizona, the primary attraction at Pearl Harbor, is free but requires a ticket (as they limit the number of entries per day).

Tickets may be reserved in advance, but they are rapidly snapped up.

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to get a ticket.

Daily, 1,300 walk-up tickets are available.

However, seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to secure a seat.

If you’re particularly interested in history, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and Pacific Aviation Museum, and guided tours of the USS Missouri are among the major attractions in Pearl Harbor.

Go visit the Dole Plantation if you haven’t already.

Dole Plantation is a fantastic destination for people of all ages, even if it doesn’t seem thrilling at first.

The estate’s garden is home to numerous unusual tropical flora, as well as several educational panels to assist you understand more about the plantation and its history.

If you have good directional abilities and love being lost, you can try to navigate the pineapple, which is one of the world’s largest permanent mazes.

When you’ve had your fill of meandering around the maze, take a ride on the pineapple express train excursion.

There’s no better way to unwind after a long day than on the beach.

Instead of Waikiki, travel to Lanikai Beach, which is often recognized as one of Oahu’s greatest beaches.

The beautiful white sand beach and infinite blue sea remind you why so many people refer to Hawaii as “paradise.

” While I recommend three days to explore Oahu, you could easily spend months there! But first, let’s go to the next island.

Itinerary for Day 3 in Oahu

Day 4 of the Kauai Itinerary

You could easily spend a week on Kauai if you enjoy simply relaxing on a busy beach or going on exciting treks.

Kauai, on the other hand, can be visited in a single day if you want to experience the finest of Hawaii in a week.

Make sure you book an early flight to Kauai with Hawaiian Airlines, and have a rental vehicle reserved and ready to go so you can get started right away.

Waimea Canyon is a must-see if you have some free time before or after the trip.

Unlike some canyons that have a desert feel to them, this one is extremely colorful with its red, brown, and green hues.

Visit one of the viewing spots for a nice perspective from the top of the 3,600-foot-deep canyon, and you could even catch a rainbow over one of the numerous waterfalls.

If you have more time, it’s worth staying and learning about Kauai’s culture and mythology, as well as hiking the Kalepa Ridge Trail.

Kauai is famed for its Na Pali Coast, which has some of the world’s highest sea cliffs.

If nothing else, a trip with the Na Pali Experience will provide you with spectacular views of the towering cliffs.

If the water isn’t too rough, most tour organizations will even take you into several of the sea caves.

You can go snorkeling near some of the major reefs at the conclusion of the cruise, and if you’re lucky, you could even spot dolphins or sea turtles.

Day 4 of the Kauai Itinerary

Day 5 of the Big Island Itinerary

Depending on how severe the seas were on your Na Pali trip, you might want to take a day to relax and recover.

Even those who do not typically get motion sickness felt a little seasick the next day.

Catch a trip to Hawaii’s island (commonly referred to as “The Big Island” to avoid confusion with the state of Hawaii) and pick up another rental car near Kona airport in the morning.

Because the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands (surprise!), you’ll need a car to travel around.

There are several amazing Hawaii tree homes on the Big Island, and you should certainly consider staying in one during your visit.

Consider booking a submarine trip with Atlantis Adventures if you don’t get claustrophobic.

Once on board, take a seat in front of one of the submarine’s many porthole windows, then sit back and relax while it glides through the ocean’s depths.

It reaches depths of around 110 feet and provides views of the diverse sea species that make Hawaii home, as well as some of the shipwrecks that have been discovered nearby.

Proceed to Punalu’u Beach, commonly known as Black Sand Beach, after the trip.

The black hue originates from lava pieces from a neighboring volcano, and it contrasts well with the ocean’s gorgeous blue.

Check ahead of time to check if swimming is allowed, as the currents may be extremely strong at times.

Day 5 of the Big Island Itinerary

Day 6 of the Big Island Itinerary

If you’ve never seen a volcano up and personal, a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must.

I just spent an afternoon at the park, but I regret not dedicating a whole day to seeing everything it has to offer.

The Crater Rim Drive Tour and Chain of Craters Road are two of the park’s primary self-guided driving excursions.

I recommend doing both if you have the time, since each has its own set of attractions to see.

The Jagger Museum (which overlooks the current eruption within Halema’uma’u crater), strolling through lava tubes (a tunnel formed by streaming lava), and other attractions may be found along the driving excursions.

You can undertake the lengthy trip to witness surface lava if you’re feeling brave.

It’s a 10-mile round trip trek that includes half a mile of boulder-sized lava rock, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

How many individuals, on the other hand, can claim to have seen lava up and personal? Make sure you’re prepared if you decide to take on the task.

Bring a full bottle of water and comfortable sneakers.

Bring a heavy-duty flashlight if you plan on going at night (it’s extremely fascinating to see the lava lighted up on the slope at night).

The flashlight on your phone will not suffice.

Day 6 of the Big Island Itinerary

Day 7 of the Big Island Itinerary

Rainbow Falls is well worth a visit, and it’s close enough to Hilo that it won’t get in the way of your day’s activities.

The magnificent waterfall cascades down the edge of a cliff and into a huge crater.

You can view the waterfall from the parking lot by standing at the railing.

Then walk the short route to the top of the waterfall for a look. Make one final trip at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens before boarding your flight home.

The garden features stunning coastal vistas, an amazing waterfall, and over 2,000 plant types.

Day 7 of the Big Island Itinerary

Important tips to keep in mind as you explore Hawaii

Now you know how to spend a week in Hawaii.

However, you should also keep few important tips in mind, especially when you are visiting there for the first time.

Let’s take a look at the most important tips that you need to keep in mind.

  • Hawaii is a secure location. Take this list with a grain of salt; it’s not a must-do list. These are suggestions from friendly locals to help you acquire a sense of the culture and become an inquisitive tourist. I wish I’d brought this list with me on my first several trips to Hawaii.
  • At the Hawaii Vacation Guide, we always recommend travelling with Aloha, and this list will help you make the most of your Hawaii schedule.
  • Costco is a great place to get pineapples. At $3 per, Costco boasts the cheapest pineapples on the islands.
  • Hawaii has a high cost of living. If you live in a condo, you can get your goods from Costco. Target and Walmart are the next cheapest options. Safeway is the cheapest grocery shop in town. Check out our guide on finding low-cost foods.
  • Please don’t harm Hawaii’s sea turtles, sleeping monk seals, coral, or other animals. Hawaii’s wildlife is endangered or threatened, so keep an eye out but don’t bother them.
  • Wear sunscreen that is reef-safe. In January 2021, it will become law. For information on what to purchase and where to get reef-safe sunscreen on the mainland and in Hawaii, read Hawaii Reef-Safe Sunscreen.
  • Aloha Shirts, not Hawaiian Shirts, are what they’re called.
  • If you bring lava rocks and sand to Hawaii, you will be cursed by Pele.
  • Don’t blare your horn. On the islands, people drive slowly, so mentally prepare yourself to drive with aloha.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car or on the beach unattended.
  • lease remove your shoes and leave them at the door. The pile of slippers will be seen (aka, sandals). Place yours on top of the pile.
  • Try some of the local cuisine. Poke, musubi (rice and spam wrapped in seaweed), malasadas, a meal at a food truck with local grindz, a cup of peaberry Kona coffee, and a visit to McDonald’s to view the Hawaii menu
  • Don’t go near the coral reefs. To remain afloat, use a noodle.
Important tips to keep in mind as you explore Hawaii

Final Words

By following this itinerary, you can get the most out of time that you are spending in Hawaii. There is no need to worry about following this itinerary and enjoying your time in Hawaii.

Congaree National Park Itinerary

The oak boughs let in an eerie amount of light. It filters through the trunks of old oaks and gum trees in beams. It makes its way through thickets of green leaves to the mushroom and rotting leaf undergrowth. The twigs are occasionally rustled by a wild turkey. Occasionally, a deer may be seen prowling through the dark woods. Welcome to Congaree National Park, the biggest national park in the United States dedicated to virgin bottomland forest.

It’s a bizarre and unique area that spans 26,000 acres of property in South Carolina’s low-lying floodplains. It gets its name from the Congaree River. That wriggling like a rattlesnake may be found to the south of sweeping Lake Marion. Vast swaths of soggy marsh line both sides of the canal. When the river overflows its banks, it becomes swampland, and the currents bring rich alluvial materials that allow the unusual champion trees and pines to such heights.

Thousands of explorers flock to this part of South Carolina these days because of the UNESCO biosphere designation and national park status. They’ve come to paddle through the foggy bayous on kayaks. Travel on a nature tour to see armadillos and feral pigs. Others want to wander along boardwalks. There are also distant Congaree National Park camping spots for individuals who want to pitch a tent and feel completely immersed in the backwoods of the Palmetto State.

If you are interested in spending your time at the Congaree National Park, here’s the itinerary that you need to follow. Adhere to this itinerary, and you will never be disappointed.

Get the excitement of camping at the Congaree National Park

Staying under canvas is the greatest way to be completely immersed in the Congaree National Park’s natural woods.

There are two camping areas in Congaree National Park where you may do exactly that.

They provide a well-managed and maintained environment where you can get up up and personal with old-growth gum trees.

The Longleaf Campground is the larger of the two authorized campsites in Congaree National Park.

It’s conveniently located at the reserve’s entrance, just off Old Bluff Road.

There are ten individual pitches as well as a couple bigger places that may accommodate parties of up to 24 people.

Each tent site also has a picnic table and a fire pit for cooking marshmallows in the evening.

Hiking paths begin immediately outside the Longleaf facility’s front entrance.

You may walk the Weston Lake Loop or the Bluff Trail, plunging into champion groves and wetlands, by taking a few steps to the south. Before you get too enthusiastic, keep in mind that you’ll need to apply for a permission to camp in Congaree National Park.

The cost of a tent starts at $10 USD each night.

Get the excitement of camping at the Congaree National Park

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Go for hike in the Weston Lake Loop

Put your boots on and get ready for one of the most popular circuit walks in the Congaree National Park.

The approximately five-mile route begins on the so-called Low Boardwalk and then branches off into the woods on a trail that leads southward.

It immediately surrounds you with tall trees that stand tens of meters above you, providing vistas of the reserve’s distinctive flora and wildlife.

The weather in Congaree National Park will determine what you see. Pop-up rivers are likely to encircle the base of enormous champion trees and gnarled oaks on wet, rainy days.

On drier mornings, the crispy undergrowth, lichen flowers, and emerald mosses crawl up the roots may be seen.

Whatever the weather, you’ll be treated to some spectacular vistas. There’s a chance you’ll see opossums and bobcats (though they are rare).

There are times when you’re hiking beside creeks that are dotted with beaver-gnawed gum trees.

You’ll also witness some of the world’s tallest loblolly pines.

Go for hike in the Weston Lake Loop

Take your camera and go on a photography walk at the Congaree National Park

The way the light filters through the rows of champion trees, gums, elms, and oaks here makes it an incredible spot to get out the camera and the filters.

All budding photographers passing through the Palmetto State should make a point of visiting Congaree.

The 2.4-mile boardwalk walkway is a fantastic spot to go looking for the ideal shot in the early fall mornings.

You may set up the tripod above unique fungus blossoms as it wiggles through the murky swamplands.

Alternatively, you may use the telescopic lens to focus on the shifting colors of the leaves.

In October and November, they turn beautiful shades of ochre, orange, daffodil yellow, and coffee brown.

You could be lucky enough to see the woods flooded under water during the winter.

Photographers will want to get out early again at that time.

The aqua swirls and reflects the forest’s appearance in beautiful ways with the morning light.

You may see barren trees towering against each other without a single leaf.

Like totem poles jammed into ancient swamplands, they shimmer and swing. It’s a fascinating topic to shoot.

Take your camera and go on a photography walk at the Congaree National Park

Get into the water and go kayaking

Water is one of the most popular ways to explore the depths of Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

Kayaks are ideal for traversing this flooded area.

More than any cumbersome boardwalk route, they can pierce into small inlets and wriggle nimbly between the towering pines and hardwoods.

One of the greatest spots to launch your boat into the water is Cedar Creek.

It’s tucked away in the Congaree National Park.

It’s there where the controlled Cedar Creek Canoe Trail begins. That’s a total of 15 miles of water-based fun.

Begin from Bannister’s Bridge and go through winding rivers surrounded by massive trees.

Keep a look out for otters, turtles, uncommon birds, and even the mighty crocodile as you paddle (there are a few in these parts).

If you’re not going kayaking or canoeing with a group, it’s vital to have your own gear.

This may be hired from a variety of outfitters in the area.

Local rangers, on the other hand, provide free excursions. They usually begin in April and May of each year when the weather in Congaree National Park improves.

Get into the water and go kayaking

Pay a visit to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center

This is a good place to start if you want to get a sense of the incredible biodiversity that exists in the Congaree National Park.

It’s located slightly south of the park’s main entrance, past the Longleaf Campground and the Old Bluff Road intersections.

It’s hidden in a shell of worn wood behind a forest of virgin-growth pines and gum trees, the ideal starting point for any South Carolina wilderness adventure.

Inside, you may see displays that reveal the many layers of geology, animal life, and human history that exist in this part of South Carolina.

There’s also an 18-minute film that introduces visitors to the park’s numerous natural beauties.

The center is run by dedicated park rangers and qualified ecologists.

That means there’ll always be someone there to answer your questions about those strange creatures and insects.

Pay a visit to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center

Go for a walk in the boardwalk loop

For years, the Boardwalk Loop has provided visitors with the opportunity to see Congaree’s marvels.

It is, without a doubt, the most popular hiking trail in the area. It stretches about 2.4 kilometers and passes through some of the park’s most iconic locations.

That means you’ll get to see old woods, see local animals, and get some exercise in the process.

After leaving the visitor’s center along Ancient Bluff Road, you’ll be plunged into the old coastal forests.

You’re immediately surrounded by massive tupelo trunks and hardwood trees.

Inky-black water spots may be found on both sides of the route. Insects race along the tree trunks, and water bird cries reverberate across the forest.

The Boardwalk Loop comes to a close with an observation platform overlooking a huge lake.

Photographers and animal lovers will like this location.

There will be glimpses of turtles, river otters, and canopy-shattering pine trees.

However, a word of caution: pack insect repellant!

Go for a walk in the boardwalk loop

Experience the massive Loblolly Pines trees at the park

Putting aside the Congaree’s historic forest camps and old-growth trees, marshes, and strange animals for a while, there’s something more in the Congaree that’s ready to wow.

Fans of massive plants should gather, and admirers of huge trees should be ready.

One of the world’s largest loblolly pine trees may be found here.

Splintering well above the canopy, the excellent specimen may be found.

It towers over the hickories and oaks underneath it, standing 187 feet tall.

In fact, it’s only a few meters away from the renowned trunks of the Great Smoky Mountains, putting the pine among America’s lankiest specimens.

Experience the massive Loblolly Pines trees at the park

Go for a walk in the Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve

On the south side of the national park, search for the Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve.

With its tangle of hiking routes and leaf-strewn woodlands, it butts up against the Congaree River’s courses as a state park.

This section of the reserve encompasses 201 acres and is home to hickory, oak, and tupelo trees, many of which are draped in Spanish moss.

The Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve’s network of observation sites is one of its best features.

They’re built on decks that look out over the Congaree River, and they’re the ideal spot for taking in the scenery.

As the huge carpet of emerald that is one of South Carolina’s largest national parks moves north, you’ll be able to see it.

You can also see the murky waves flowing eastwards towards the lakes and beaches of the Palmetto State.

Go for a walk in the Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve

Go for a visit at the Millford Plantation Historic Site

Have you had your fill of admiring Congaree National Park’s beautiful champion trees?

Just to the east, you’ll find a history fix. The Millford Plantation Historic Site is the perfect example.

It’s surrounded by lowland wetlands that flow off the shore of the Congaree River near Lake Marion’s north end.

At first glance, it appears to be a vision of what tycoons’ and luminaries’ rural estates could have looked like in the 1800s.

But then you go a little further and discover the slave era’s darker side.

You learn that this was formerly the home of over 600 enslaved people and was a hotspot during the American Civil War.

This somber and deep story is set against some magnificent architectural elements.

The Millford Plantation has been praised as one of the most impressive instances of Greek Revival architecture in the High Hills of Santee by experts.

Duncan Phyfe’s name is also on some of the interior furniture.

In the mid-nineteenth century, he was one of America’s most renowned interior designers.

Go for a visit at the Millford Plantation Historic Site

Go to the Poinsett State Park

If you’re planning a South Carolina adventure, the Poinsett State Park is a fantastic place to start.

To get there, head east from the Congaree National Park.

It clings to the Manchester State Forest, about 45 minutes from Kingsville.

Unlike the Congaree, the coastal lowlands of South Carolina in the Poinsett State Park fold upwards into a succession of hillocks and valleys.

As a result, they have a completely distinct topography.

And that means they have a diverse ecosystem that includes alpine flowers, Appalachian forests, and the hardwood hammocks you saw on the boardwalks to the west.

Make sure you have decent walking boots and even camping gear with you.

There are a few intriguing historic woodland campgrounds where you may pitch your tent.

There are also miles of paths to explore.

As they travel, look for them crossing rushing creeks, passing lily-strewn ponds, and passing through hickory, holly, and myrtle woods.

Go to the Poinsett State Park

Final words

Congaree National Park is a relatively new addition to the Parks system, having been designated as a National Park in 2003. People have been pushing for it to be protected since the late 1960s, and with good reason: there isn’t much swampland left in South Carolina, and with swampland comes all kinds of unique wildlife, such as luminous mushrooms, wild pigs, and canoe rides through lush vegetation. Keep these facts in mind and get the most out of what this National Park is offering.