Aloha State is a beach lover’s paradise. Its breathtaking beach landscapes, sparkling waters, and easy island lifestyle continue to draw in hundreds of tourists from all over the world. As perfect as this island paradise seems, though, it does have its drawbacks, and some spots here can be downright dangerous for anyone, especially tourists.
Here are 20 places in Hawaii that tourists should avoid:
- Makaha Beach Park
- Kipu Falls
- Sandy Beach
- Ewa Beach
- Nakalele Point Blowhole
- South Point
- Olivine Pools
- Hanauma Bay
- Sacred Falls State Park
- Queen’s Bath
If you wonder why you should stay away from these places in Hawaii, let’s find out in the rest of this article.
1. Makaha Beach Park
If you love turtles, Makaha Beach Park will feel like heaven to you. As It is a famous nesting spot for turtles, naturally, you will find turtles everywhere around here! This lovely beach is popular among tourists and locals because of its vibrant surfing community and abundance of beach activities.
If you want to come here to see the turtles, though, remember to do just that—look at them. Touching the sea turtles that make their home in this haven in Makaha is prohibited by the Hawaiian government, as they are among the country’s protected species.
However, despite Makaha Beach Park’s natural beauty and fun activities, tourists should be warned that Makaha has the highest crime rate in Aloha State. And while you can go ahead and have a blast, it’s best not to linger until dark because that’s when many tourists complain of missing valuables.
2. Kipu Falls
Kipu Falls is every thrill seeker’s dream—the majestic natural beauty of the place combined with the adventure of going into it is more than enough to fill your adventurer’s heart to the brim.
Unfortunately, this beauty is not one to be taken lightly. It is as beautiful as it is dangerous. In fact, there have been several deaths in Kipu Falls over the years, which led to it being off limits to tourists.
No matter how curious or drawn you are to it, you probably won’t have a chance to go. The falls have been closed to the public because of several accidents. And don’t even try to ignore the barriers erected around it because local authorities will catch you and fine you for doing so.
Besides, it’s for the best that you can’t go.
The name “Wahiawa,” which means “Place of Noise,” is known for its plantations, coffee farms, nature trails, and leisure parks. But did you know that the incidence of crimes in this part of Hawaii is so high that authorities warn tourists from visiting it?
Despite the many tourist attractions here, Wahiawa’s reputation has been clouded by having the 10th highest crime rate in the entire state. Whether you are a local or a tourist, we advise you not to roam around at night because it’s usually when robbers and thieves like to try their hand at snatching things.
4. Sandy Beach
Sandy Beach is a famous surfing site, with its tumultuous waters and walls of waves crashing wildly against the shore. The sudden changes in currents on the ocean floor cause the aggressive behavior of the waves. Frightening though the waves may look, experienced surfers love the challenging ride here.
Unfortunately, if you’re not an expert surfer, you probably should stay away from Sandy Beach. There have been numerous reports of people being in accidents in Sandy Beach, and their injuries range from moderate to fatal.
If you’re a confident surfer who braved more challenging waters than those on Sandy Beach, you will find Sandy Beach’s waters pleasantly thrilling.
5. Ewa Beach
Love a good party? Ewa Beach perfectly balances the laid-back island lifestyle and electric nightlife. This spot is where locals and tourists from around the globe meet for good food, drinks, and music.
However, many tourists have complained about their valuables getting stolen from Ewa Beach, especially at night. But that’s not the worst. There have also been reports of tourist kidnappings from Ewa Beach at night.
So the party might be great here, but ensure you keep sober and alert at Ewa Beach because there could be worse than pickpockets lurking around. And if you can avoid it, perhaps it’s best not to go at all.
6. Nakalele Point Blowhole
Nakalele Point Blowhole near Poelua Bay is one of Maui, Hawaii’s most famous tourist attractions. The blowhole shoots up seawater 50 to 100 feet (15-30m) high every few minutes in the air, creating a phenomenon similar to a geyser.
As impressive as this geological wonder may be, tourists should view the blowhole from a distance, as its behavior can sometimes be unpredictable and may cause deadly accidents if you stand too close.
During high tide, strong currents can create tumultuous waves that can suck people in, especially when they stand with their backs to the waves. So far, people have only reported such an incident only once. But it’s always best to err on the safe side and never risk it happening again.
Pahoa, located in Puna District on Big Island, is part of a lava zone due to its proximity to the Kilauea Volcano. In fact, much of the area has been affected by volcanic eruptions that changed its coastlines.
People know Pahoa as Hawaii’s hippie capital, where reggae, hippie, and boho culture are the pervading way of life. As you can imagine, beach lovers and those who want to go deep into island life find Pahoa the ultimate paradise.
But it’s not exactly the paradise that we hope it to be. Unfortunately, Pahoa has been long clouded by a high incidence of sex crimes, making it not an ideal destination if you’re backpacking alone.
8. South Point
As its name suggests, South Point is the southernmost tip of the U.S., and tourists love to flock around here because of its breathtaking beauty. South Point’s rock formations and deep blue waters make it the perfect spot for a photo op.
However, do not let the beauty of the water crashing against the rocks fool you into thinking that you could safely go into the water. One wrong move and you could get sucked in. The winds and currents at South Point already look frightening on the surface, but get in the water, and it’s an entirely different (aka worse) story.
When your Hawaiian holiday is almost over, you might be thinking of buying souvenirs and gifts for friends and loved ones. Chances are, you will hear locals telling you to go to Kahului for that. And for a good reason.
It’s Hawaii’s commercial center, loaded with many shops to cater to your gift buying and souvenir hunting. It’s also accessible to and from the airport, so it wouldn’t be a problem if you ever decide to go on a last-minute shopping spree.
When you go shopping in Kahului, though, be mindful of your valuables, such as your phone, wallet, and bag. Petty crimes such as theft and pickpocketing often happen here, and tourists are often the number one target.
10. Olivine Pools
Hawaii’s beaches have one thing in common: they’re all breathtakingly gorgeous. And Olivine Pools is no exception. The palm trees, crystal blue water, and fine sand are any beach lover’s dream. And sure enough, tourists flock here to take a dip.
Be careful, though, if you’re considering going to Olivine Pools because while it’s known for its beauty, it’s also known for being unpredictable. Its waters sometimes create rogue waves and cause people to drown.
If you’re not a confident swimmer, be extra careful if you decide to take a dip.
The most popular tourist destination in Waianae is its boat harbor, which is particularly charming in the daytime, with clear blue skies and calm waters stretching as far as the eye can see.
However, there’s very little else that you can do in Waianae, and there are only a few accommodations in the area.
Waianae is also known for its large homeless population and high crime rates. If you happen to stop by, ensure you do so in the daytime and avoid crowded places like the beaches because pickpockets and thieves tend to roam freely in these parts.
12. Hanauma Bay
Located in East Oahu, Hanauma Bay is a popular tourist destination because of its dream-like blue-green and deep blue waters. The bay may appear to be a safe swimming spot, but don’t let that fool you.
The ocean can bring wild currents to Hanauma Bay and cause inexperienced swimmers to drown. For that very reason, there are several lifeguards in the area, but accidents have happened here.
If you are not an experienced swimmer, please stay away from Hanauma Bay for your safety.
Waipahu used to be a massive sugarcane plantation, and you can learn more about its rich history by going on a day tour to the plantation village museum. You will feel like you’re taking a trip to the 1900s here when the sugar plantation was a booming business in the area.
Unfortunately, the chances of violent crime or property theft in Waipahu is 1 in every 32 people, making it an unsafe place where tourists are particularly vulnerable.
If you happen to be in Waipahu, secure your belongings and avoid going out alone at night.
14. Sacred Falls State Park
Sacred Falls State Park is one of the most majestic places in Hawaii that does not involve the beach. Its breathtaking view of the mountains and otherworldly waterfalls made it a top destination—until local authorities closed it off in 1999. That year, a massive rockfall occurred, causing the death of eight hikers.
While it’s sad that we can no longer admire the beauty of Sacred Falls up close, it probably is for the best, as we don’t want another rockfall to occur. The authorities have since made no move to open the state park again.
The tragic loss of eight people and the serious injury of several others is a warning that we should not take lightly.
Waimea is known for its cowboy culture, Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, and annual rodeo events. So unlike the widespread belief that all you can have in Hawaii are the beaches, there are a lot of other activities that don’t involve getting sand between your toes in the state.
But when you do come down to watch the annual rodeo, remember not to bring lots of valuables with you, as the crime rate in Waimea is pretty high. In fact, 1 in every 28 people become victims of property theft and violent crime in this part of Hawaii—not exactly the holiday adventure we’re seeking.
16. Queen’s Bath
If you’re wondering how this place got its name, it used to be a famous beach spot for royalty. Its jagged rock formations, strong waves, and tumultuous waters make it a charming, dream-like place that attracts many tourists.
People believe that Queen’s Bath formed when a lava tube broke, creating a crater that later filled with water—essentially a sinkhole. Just by looking at it, you can tell that the waters are rough, especially during high tide when the currents are powerful, and waves can suck you in and hit you against the rocks.
It would be best if you did not even attempt to swim at Queen’s Bath during high surf season, but in low tide, when the waters are less than four feet high in the charming sinkhole, it’s relatively safe to take a dip.
Hilo is a tourist haven on Big Island. Here, tourists can enjoy festivals, competitions, and other events with lots of partying, dancing, and music. You can expect to see throngs of tourists here throughout the year, which is great but also brings a few dangers.
It’s common to encounter drunk drivers, pickpockets, and robbers here, though known tourist areas are quite safe. Just remember not to explore outside of these tourist centers, especially if you’re alone, because the crime rate here is relatively high, and there’s a chance you could be a victim of violent crime.
- Wikipedia: Makaha, Hawaii
- USA Estate Online: What is the Most Dangerous Island in Hawaii? Top 10 Most Dangerous Places!
- Hawaii Guide: 10 Places to Avoid in Hawaii
- Only in Your State: Here are the 14 Most Dangerous, Deadly Places in Hawaii
- Hawaii Magazine: 10 Things Not to Do in Hawaii
- News Share: What Should I Avoid in Hawaii?
- Britannica: Wahiawa
- Wikipedia: Nakalele Point
- Neighborhood Scout: Waipahu, HI Crime Rates
- Hawaii Gaga: Queen’s Bath, Kauai