Hawaiʻi for Independent Travelers: 10 Ways to Avoid the Crowds
Published on - 2023-02-18
Hawaiʻi is nothing short of a traveler’s paradise. With its long stretches of shimmering beaches, countless scenic hiking trails, and near-perfect weather, it’s one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
But a lot of tourists can make it tricky to find a calm, quiet moment, and avoiding the crowds in Hawaiʻi is challenging. Fortunately, it’s not an impossible task. Here are 10 ways you can enjoy Hawaiʻi uninterrupted and unbothered by throngs of tourists.
1. Visit in the Off Season
Don’t come at Christmas. Steer clear from June to September. As with many places, tourism in Hawaiʻi peaks during summer vacation and the holiday season. April and May are two of the best months for good weather here. The winter showers have passed, and you can expect plenty of sunshine during the days. Likewise, mid-September to October is one of the best times to visit Hawaiʻi. You’ll enjoy some of the warmest ocean temperatures of the year and avoid the large tourist crowds.
2. Find the Lesser-Known Beaches
Though it’s tempting to head straight for the most iconic spots like Waikiki Beach, you will certainly have to share the surf. Even during the slower months, Waikiki feels busy whenever the sun’s out.
If you want to avoid the crowds, then head over to the least touristy beaches such as Waimanalo Beach and Kaimana Beach on Oahu or Ke’ei Beach and Shipman Beach on the Big Island to take a swim or catch some rays in silence.
3. Discover Hidden Hiking Trails
Hawaiʻi has over 600 trails, many of which are hidden, or rather lesser-known routes. The trail from Manana Ridge to Ko’olau Summit on Oahu is one of our favorites for this purpose. It’s beautiful but strenuous, which is probably why most visitors to the island avoid it. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s a fantastic trail to avoid the tourist crowds as it takes you past a waterfall and up to some spectacular views. Wear long pants—the overgrowth is thick near the top.
Really, there are many off-the-beaten-path trails to explore on Oahu. If you take an offshoot from a trailhead, do be wary of any closed-off areas and danger signs. Many smaller trails are not maintained as well as the main routes.
4. Skip Group Activities and Go Solo
If you’re experienced and want to indulge in activities such as snorkeling, you’ll enjoy doing it independently rather than with groups so you can have the best time possible on your Hawaiʻi visit, avoiding the crowds to swim with the thriving sea life that’s often close to the coast. Rent equipment and explore freely rather than signing up for a guided tour.
5. Stay at Secluded Resorts & Airbnbs
Finding a secluded resort isn’t easy on the more popular islands. All of Hawaiʻi’s beaches are public, so you won’t find a “private” beach, but many luxury beachfront hotels offer secluded areas where you find moments of tranquility while you avoid the tourist crowds. We recommend the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki or the Kahala Resort if you want a quiet getaway that’s not too far from the city center.
You can also find some beautiful stays on Airbnb that are on the outskirts of the islands and boast some majestic views of their own. With homestays, you can not only get more privacy but also enjoy a more local experience of Hawaiʻi.
6. Get out early in the morning
The best time to visit tourist attractions in Hawaiʻi to avoid tourist crowds is in the morning. The streets are generally safe if you are up before sunrise to reach your destination. Many tourist attractions open up early in the morning even though the crowds start showing up around noon.
For instance, the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park opens at 8 am and starts getting crowded after 10 am. So if you’re quick, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the grounds undisturbed—and find a good parking space.
7. Ask the locals for hidden gems
Hawaii’s locals are known for their hospitable nature and friendliness toward visitors. And since they’re natives, they know the islands inside out. You can always approach them to ask about some of the least touristy places where you can avoid crowds.
Interacting with locals will also help you find good hole-in-the-wall restaurants and eateries that aren’t well-known by tourists.
8. Visit the Less Popular Islands
Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island are undoubtedly the most popular islands in Hawaiʻi. They welcome the highest volume of tourists each year and for good reason. Oahu is in many ways the most recognized island to visit and is abundant in recreational activities. Maui is known for its beaches and whale sightings in winter, and the Big Island attracts visitors because of its awe-inspiring active volcanoes.
But this doesn’t mean the rest of the islands aren’t worth visiting. Kauai is not as frequented as the three islands above, but it continually attracts many visitors for its gorgeous gardens. The best time to visit this Hawaiian island to avoid tourist crowds is April to June and September to November. Lanai and Molokai are the least visited islands and are the perfect rural getaways for introverts.
9. Drive along the coast instead of the highway
The highways in and around Honolulu are always crowded with visitors. So if you want to visit the North Shore, you’ll want to take the long scenic drive around Oahu’s coastline instead.
You can drive along the Windward Coast from Hanauma Bay and then head to Kaena Point Trail from the North Shore to cover the whole route while avoiding the crowd of tourists on the main highway.
The soothing sounds of the ocean waves and breathtaking views of the beaches and mountains will keep you company along the way.
10. Rent a Car Instead of Using Public Transport
Public transport is affordable and accessible in the more commercialized parts of Hawaiʻi such as Honolulu, where it can get very crowded. And traveling can be a challenge if you want to reach areas where public transport isn’t that widely available.
So renting a car is essential if you want to avoid tourist crowds and navigate Hawaiʻi with ease. With a rental car, you’ll be able to take scenic routes and beat other visitors to popular tourist attractions early in the morning.
GoVibe offers the best car rental services in Hawaiʻi. All our customers get VIP treatment and concierge pick-up. We bring the car to the airport so you don’t have to wait in line—another way to avoid the crowds! Contact us to learn more about our affordable rates and free cancellation. We’re a local company, so if you would like further recommendations about where to find a quiet getaway as an introvert, we’re happy to help. Reserve your Hawaiʻi ride today.