How to Avoid Crowds in Hawaii tip #1: Hit the Beach in the Afternoon.
Beaches, like Hanauma Bay, fill up very quickly, especially on the weekends and during the holidays. Tourists come from all over the world to see the beautiful sea life, gorgeous scenery and secluded nature of the state park. Hanauma Bay is a state park and costs an entrance fee because of its wildlife preservation efforts. This beach always fills up by the morning from the tourist crowds. Hence, the afternoon (after 2 pm) is usually a safer time to make a trip to this place. Once the parking lot reaches capacity, they do not allow any more visitors in. There is a capacity limit on visitors for this beach. Other beaches, also fill up around noon because that’s the high time for the sun. Although that’s the best time for a sun tan, it may be pretty packed. Hence, the afternoon is usually a safe bet for avoiding the crowds.
How to Avoid Crowds in Hawaii tip #2: Avoid Popular Tourist Attractions during the Holidays.
Popular tourist attractions such as landmarks and Waikiki beaches can be filled to capacity during the holiday weeks (Christmas-New Year’s). For example, the Diamond Head hike is facilitated by the state as it is a public park. I tried to do that hike on New Year’s Day and it was too packed to even get into the park. We were waiting in traffic for 30 minutes to travel half a mile. I wish I had considered the dense holiday traffic before attempting to reach that area. In other words, traveling to the islands during the holidays may not be the best time given the crowds and heavy traffic. Secondly, local schools on the islands are on Christmas break at that time so there’s even more people heading to the beach. This contributes to a lack of open hotel reservations in the months leading up to November, December and January. If you find it difficult to get hotel reservations for your requested dates, know that everyone else is struggling to and it will be a packed place.
How to Avoid Crowds in Hawaii tip #3: Find Parking Early During the Holidays.
If you think you’re going to a beach or location early, plan to go an hour earlier. The holidays are a packed time and the islands already have limited parking as it is, without the holiday rush. Hence, if you’re planning on doing a hike at 9 am (which is already pretty late in my opinion,) I would plan to arrive at 8 am and get in early with the morning crowd. Street parking usually isn’t an option at the popular tourist beaches because it’s limited and difficult to catch a spot opening up.
How to Avoid Crowds in Hawaii tip #4: Think Opposite of the Crowds.
Although this may seem like a vague strategy, try to think opposite of the crowds. For example, if you think the parking garage closest to the attraction is the smartest move because it’s less walking distance, everyone else is thinking the same thing – especially on a Sunday with their minivan full of children. So, get creative and park far away and uber to the location. This is a rule that you should follow when visiting any place – not just the islands – but it applies more so to the islands because they are such a hot attraction. It’s one of the most in demand tourist locations in the world – everyone wants to go to Hawaii!