A Tropical Travel Blog
by Cate Lincoln

Have you been dreaming of your Hawaii vacation for a long time? I’ll bet you have visions of waterfalls, tropical scenery, swaying hula dancers, and someone bringing you Monkeypod mai tais on the beach (oh, just me? haha)

But when you get right down to planning it, are you just a little bit overwhelmed?

There are MILLIONS of posts and articles floating around the internet about the “top things to do in Hawaii” “don’t miss Hawaii experiences”, etc. (hey I know, I’ve written quite a few of them). So how do you know what’s worth doing? How to fill your days? And especially how to narrow it down if you only have a few days to get out and explore?

What if you could see and do the very best of Hawaii and still have time to lay on the beach and work on your tan?

Guess what? You absolutely can.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Being overwhelmed with the planning process. You probably don’t even know where to start. What are the “don’t miss” spots on each island? What’s the best way to see them? Do you need to pay for tours or can you do it on your own?

Feeling like you want to see everything, but not knowing how to fit it in. You’re coming a long way to get to Hawaii and it’s expensive so you want to see everything but you also want to feel like you’ve had a vacation when you get back home. How are you supposed to do it all?

Not being sure how to go about planning each day. Is there a strategy for being able to see everything without backtracking? How many things can you really do in one day? Are there certain things you should do early on in your trip and others than should wait until the end? Planning an itinerary can seem like a part time job.

Take a minute and imagine if you could…

Spend time playing at Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches. Find the very best ones for snorkeling, swimming, and spotting turtles and seals. Secluded beaches that require a bit of a hike and have very few people around AND beaches with a hopping people watching scene and pool bar nearby.

Only go on Hawaii’s very best excursions. Don’t waste your time (and money) on tours and activities that aren’t absolutely fabulous.

Plan the BEST daily adventures. If you’re staying at a nice beach resort, you probably don’t want to be out going going going every day. So it’s nice to know what adventures are an absolute don’t miss.

Dine at some of Hawaii’s most amazing restaurants. From local dives to fine dining, don’t waste your money at tourist traps.

Not backtrack across the island every day. Spend your time actually enjoying the island and not in the car driving to get from place to place.

This is totally possible, friend!

Hawaii Bound is my custom set of Hawaii itineraries that are designed to help you see the very best of Hawaii while still having plenty of time to stop and enjoy its beauty.

I’m showing you the itineraries that I used when I had guests visiting on Maui (because I used to live there, and when you have company, you want them to see the very BEST of your home) plus itineraries for the other islands that I’ve tried and tested over the course of many trips and a LOT of research. I’m breaking down each day’s recommended activities with extensive commentary so you’ll know WHY I recommend doing certain things and what you can expect.

And these aren’t weekly itineraries where you feel like you’re being led around from thing to thing. These are mix and match DAILY itineraries so you can customize your trip based on your circumstances and preferences.

So, what do you get?

Daily itineraries for: Maui, Kauai, Oahu, & the Big Island

Each island has 10-15 unique daily itineraries covering all areas of the island, specifically itineraries for: 


Sunrise at Haleakala

Sunset at Haleakala

Driving Road to Hana

Hiking the lush mountains of Central Maui

Beach bumming at south Maui’s finest

The hair raising Kahekili Highway

Exploring the north shore (including where to find sea turtles)

The best of west Maui

Snorkeling Molokini & Turtle Town

Whale Watching & Historic Lahaina

Upcountry Farm Tours



Seeing the Napali Coast by boat

Hiking Waimea Canyon & Exploring the west side of the island

Chasing waterfalls on the east side

Adventuring along the north shore (including hiking the Kalalau Trail)

Exploring the south shore’s best beaches (and a blow hole!)

Cruising up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto plus a luau

My #1 Kauai “don’t miss” — a helicopter tour!



Touring Pearl Harbor

Seeing historic and culturally significant sites

Classic Waikiki (beaches, shopping, hiking Diamond Head)

Exploring Oahu’s famous North Shore

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay plus seeing the Halona Blowhole and hiking Makapu’u

Drive the prettiest stretch in Hawaii-the windward coast

Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center

Plus several recommended tours and activities


Big Island

Exploring downtown Kona and HOLDING A SEAHORSE

Snorkeling with Manta Rays after dark

Sunset and stargazing at Mauna Kea

Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Seeing beautiful Hilo and so many waterfalls

Hiking and/or snorkeling Kealakekua Bay

Seeing those legendary black and green sand beaches


Your Travel Guide: Meet Cate

Who’s the beach bum who created these itineraries? Aloha! I’m Cate. I write this little blog and crazily enough, it’s now helped THOUSANDS of people plan their trips to Hawaii. I used to live on Maui (and I’ve traveled to all of the Hawaiian Islands a LOT) and I love sharing all of my Hawaii tips with folks.

One of the things I hear the most often is “I feel like it’s a part time job planning my vacation.” And that’s especially true if you’re trying to figure out how to see and do EVERYTHING in Hawaii. From my years of living in (and visiting) Hawaii, I’ve seen and done pretty much everything, so I’ve already done the leg work for you. Here’s the secret: you don’t actually need to see everything. You only need to see the best. I’ll let you know what you HAVE to do, what you can skip, and the best order to do things in. So leave your planning worries on the mainland and get ready for endless aloha.

I can’t wait to share these itineraries with you! Get ready to visit my favorite beaches, eat at the best little dive restaurants (and food trucks!), stake out my favorite spots for seeing sea turtles, and hike some of the most fabulous trails in Hawaii. Actually, can I come on this trip with you? ; )

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I just find all of this info online for free?

You can find just about anything online these days! But it doesn’t mean it will be much help. I’m not just giving you a list of things to do; I am laying out a day-by-day plan of what you should do with EXTENSIVE commentary and advice. I’ve also included restaurant recommendations according to where you’ll be on the island.

What if your itineraries include things I don’t like to do?

These itineraries are designed so you can pick and choose a plan that works best for you and your travel group. The classic 6-day itinerary is designed as a basic itinerary (meaning this is what I recommend 90% of visitors see and do) and then the others are more customized to specific groups of people (honeymooners, adventure seekers, foodies, etc.) I’ve included what I feel to be the best of each island…for everyone. That being said, I do include alternate suggestions pretty often. For example, I recommend doing the Old Lahaina Luau (Maui) on a certain day, but I give you other evening/dinner options for that day if you’re not interested in doing a luau. And while I recommend doing a snorkel excursion/whale-watching trip to Molokini and Turtle Town (Maui), I have alternate recommendations in the area if you’re not a snorkeler, or if you’d rather take an exclusive whale-watching trip without the snorkeling.