Hawaii for Adrenaline Junkies

The islands of Hawaii offer extreme thrill-seekers and adventure-enthusiasts alike opportunities to get their blood pumping and adrenaline up. Visitors have the choice of exploring the islands by land, water and air.

Water-based tours, for instance, can involve swimming with deadly animals. Adventures on land can include descending a cliff or waterfall by a rope. And, visitors can soar above the terrain to witness the breath-taking views.

From activities that require waivers to mild excitement with the kids, visitors can find an outing that suits their interests and abilities. Travelers can take advantage of sights and activities nearly exclusive to Hawaii, such as hiking around an active volcano. Find out more about what exciting adventures await in the Aloha State.

Adventures on Land

Drive a Dune Buggy/ATV

If you are a bit of a gear head or just like to push the peddle to the metal, then you might enjoy driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). You can rent street-legal dune buggies to explore independently or book an ATV tour of a ranch or through trails.

Rappel Down Jungle Walls and Waterfalls

Unless you have the experience and gear, you will have to book a guide to take you on a half- or full-day tour. Guides will show you how to use the ropes, adjust your harness and practice safe rappelling techniques. Local professionals are more familiar with the rappelling areas and conditions, so it can be beneficial to hire a guide even if you have rappelled before.

Hike to a Waterfall

While a hike may not see too thrilling, hiking to a waterfall in Hawaii can be physically challenging and enduring. Access to certain waterfalls will require experience with climbing and backcountry trekking. However, the impressive waterfalls are well worth the effort, and some sites have a swimming hole where you can take a refreshing swim before heading back.

Hike on an Active Volcano

Hawaii is home to several active volcanoes, and you can view lava from an eruption or trek around on the hardened molten rock. If conditions are unsafe, then you cannot get too close, but there are several public viewing locations where you can watch safely.

Voyages in the Water


While there are plenty of places in Hawaii to kayak, Kaneohe Bay on Oahu is a great place for beginners who are looking for calmer waters. More experienced kayakers can head to the Na Pali Coast on Kauai for a coastal paddle in the sea. For those used to paddling on a river, Wailua River on Kauai is 20 miles long and has views of two waterfalls.

Snorkeling and Manta Ray Snorkeling

Snorkeling is an easy activity for thrill-seekers who want to get their hearts pumping. While visitors can check out protected areas to see coral and fish, certain beaches are known for sightings of octopuses, eels and manta rays. In fact, tourists can book tours to snorkel with dolphins and manta rays day and night.

Cage Dive With Sharks

Imagine telling friends and family that you were inches away from the mouth of a shark. With caged diving, you are protected from shark bites by a metal-barred container. Many tour providers keep the opening at the surface of the water so you can use snorkel rather than SCUBA gear.

Quests Through the Air

Helicopter Tours

Tours by helicopters are great options to experience Hawaii’s topography. You can view a waterfall and volcano from above as well as see dolphins and whales. The ability to fly above the island and surrounding waters allows you to experience much more in a shorter time.

Vintage Biplane

If you want to relive days past, then try an aerial tour in a vintage biplane. Old plane tours are an exciting way to see the islands in a mid-century way. Since they are not enclosed, you will feel the tropical breeze directly as you fly over canyons and mountains.


The most adrenaline-pumping activity to see the island from above is by skydiving. Most companies allow you to jump from 12,000 to 20,000 feet. At 12,000-feet, you can free-fall for about 45 seconds. Skydiving can be a fun adventure to experience  in Hawaii specifically because of the islands’ beauty.


In Hawaii, you can zipline over movie locations such as those seen in Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean. You can also fly for hundreds of feet through the rainforest in Maui. Many courses in Hawaii pass by waterfalls, farmlands and beaches.

Thrills With the Kids

If you are an adrenaline junky with kids, then you might consider some family-friendly adventures based on your children’s ages. Hawaii is a great place for thrill-seekers of any age. Some entertaining activities you might consider include:

  • Kayaking in calm waters or specific routes.
  • Snorkeling in shallow waters.
  • Taking a helicopter ride.
  • Going to a luau.
  • Jumping off some rocks or cliffs.

If you have mini-kayakers five years of age and older, then go to Flumin’ Kohala and paddle through tunnels, channels and flumes of an old irrigation system. It is also a great way to learn about early 1900s history in Kohala. This is also a fun outdoor activity for seniors.

Snorkeling is a fun activity to do on any beach. But if your family wants to see bigger fish, then a helicopter tour can fly them over deeper waters for dolphin and whale sightings.

The entire family can attend a luau and experience Hawaiian culture including watching firewalkers cross fire-hot coals barefoot. You can also find luaus with fire-jugglers and other exciting entertainment.

There are plenty of rocks and cliffs surrounded by deep water in Hawaii. If your kids are good swimmers and the water is fairly calm, then this is a cheap thrill you can experience as a family. Opportunities to jump into still water is safer than places with currents and tides. Waterfall jumping is another popular activity to do on the islands.