Polynesian Cultural Center wins Best Hawaii Attraction title

Pearl Harbor Historic Sites come in second place

A chain of islands piercing the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the nation's very own tropical paradise, complete with sandy beaches, some of the world's most active volcanoes and a near perfect climate throughout the year. The youngest state in the union has a long history and a rich cultural heritage characterized by the aloha spirit. 

  • Road to Hana
    Maui

    Not for the faint of heart, this 52-mile road curves all the way around the eastern and southern coast of Maui. Travelers are rewarded by some of the most remarkable vistas and gorgeous sights imaginable. Waterfalls, gardens, and lush vegetation punctuate the journey, which is all about the ride rather than the destination.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
    Oahu

    At Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in East Oahu, visitors can swim up close to Hawaii's state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the reef trigger fish. The volcanic crater is not only home to the humuhumu, but 450 additional fish species, as well as octupi, crabs and eels, darting in and out of big coral reefs. The horseshoe-shaped bay is a great place to snorkel on Oahu year-round. 
    Photo courtesy of iStock / PB57photos

  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
    Oahu

    Since its founding in 1889 as a repository for Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's family artifacts, this museum has ascended to become the state's premiere institution for documenting the area's cultural and natural histories. Today, its holdings include fantastic collections of archaeological and anthropological items, which preserve the Pacific region's wide-ranging cultures. Millions of items chart the history of these islands in a variety of exhibits and multimedia displays. The facility also includes a planetarium.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Napali Coast
    Kauai

    The famous northern coastline of Kauai is easily recognized by its velvet green cliffs, slender waterfalls and deep valleys leading to the island's interior. To access this stunning area by land, travelers set out on the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, leading from Kee Beach to the delightfully secluded Kalalau Beach.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Haleakala National Park
    Maui

    A visit to Maui wouldn't be complete without viewing a sunrise from the summit of Haleakala Mountain (a volcano, considered sacred by ancient Hawaiians and dormant since 1790) in historic Haleakala National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    Big Island

    Encompassing over 300,000 acres, this national park is one of the most photographed locales in the Hawaiian chain. For more than 70 million years, volcanic heat and pressure have molded the dramatic landscape, which includes the still-active Halemaumau Crater, Thurston Lava Tube and Pu'u O'o vent, which has been spewing lava since 1983.
    Visitors can explore the park by vehicle, with more than 66 miles of roads, but with more than 155 miles of marked trails, it’s a park best explored on foot. Always check with park rangers or the park website about the latest eruptive conditions, which change daily.

    Photo courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) / Paul Zizka

  • Iolani Palace
    Oahu

    Built in the early 1880s, this graceful Italian Renaissance structure is America's only royal palace and was home to Hawaii's last two rulers. When American businessmen overthrew the monarchy, they used the palace as the capitol until 1969; after it was vacated by the state government, restoration was begun. These days, three of the building's four floors are open to tours, and visitors can glimpse the ornate throne room, koa-wood staircase and a wealth of plasterwork and elaborate furnishings.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
    Big Island

    About 10 miles outside of Hilo Bay, overlooking the Big Island's dramatic north shore, sits the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, a virtual Eden consisting of more than 2,000 varieties of palms, heliconias, ferns, orchids, gingers and bromeliads. A tranquil network of paths leads visitors past the garden's many attractions, including the enchanting Onomea Falls, Banyan Canyon and the Lily Lake Vista.
    Photo courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) / Kirk Lee Aeder

  • Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
    Oahu

    Oahu's Pearl Harbor is most famously home to the USS Arizona Memorial, part of the larger WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. But the harbor houses other notable historic attractions as well, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Polynesian Cultural Center
    Oahu

    One of Oahu's top attractions provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fimi, New Zealand, Marquesas and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives, and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the spectacle and character of the past.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

For the past four weeks, 10Best readers have been voting daily for their favorite must-see Hawaii attractions, and the results are in. The top 10 winners in the category Best Hawaii Attraction are as follows:

  1. Polynesian Cultural Center - Oahu
  2. Pearl Harbor Historic Sites - Oahu
  3. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden - Big Island
  4. Iolani Palace - Oahu
  5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Big Island
  6. Haleakala National Park - Maui
  7. Napali Coast - Kauai
  8. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum - Oahu
  9. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve - Oahu
  10. Road to Hana - Maui

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Sheila Beal (GoVisitHawaii.com), Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (Honolulu Star-Advertiser), John Fischer, Jake MaroteDouglas Peebles (Pacific Island Images) and Jimmy Wilkinson were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in the islands.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

John Fischer

John Fischer

Jake Marote

Jake Marote

Douglas Peebles

Douglas Peebles

Jimmy Wilkinson

Jimmy Wilkinson