The Heart And Soul Of Hawaii Is The Small Towns And These 7 Have The Best Downtown Areas

The Big Island has many small, and charming towns.  Our Circle Island Express Tour cruises the Hamakua Coast – one of the beautiful areas of the island.  Megan McDonald for Only In Your State on charming rural towns in the state.

Is there anything more quintessential to island life than the charm of a tiny island town? We think not! So we rounded up some of the best small towns in Hawaii that you’ll need to visit on your next weekend getaway. With beautiful views, quirky, fun galleries and gift shops, and plenty of great food, these small towns are the perfect destination for a memorable day trip!

  • Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii

Just an hour’s drive outside of Waikiki lies the small and charming town of Haleiwa, a surfer’s paradise. Filled with laid-back charm, and plenty of great food, boutiques, and style, this small town is a great place to kick back, relax, and enjoy the social and artistic hub of the North Shore.

  • Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

Located right on the water, and surrounded by beautiful green mountains, Hanalei is considered one of the most beautiful small towns in Hawaii. Spend the day surfing, and your night cruising the small restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries in the center of Hanalei Town. And you can’t beat the proximity to Nā Pali Coast.

  • Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

One of the larger small towns on the list, Lahaina has around 11,000 residents, but also a gorgeous walkable downtown. The buildings are historic, and the town used to be the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early 19th century. Now you can find art galleries, boutiques, surf shops, and more, all within walking distance of fabulous restaurants. Spend the day exploring this beautiful town!

  • Maunaloa, Molokai, Hawaii

On the visually stunning West End of Molokai, there’s not much in the area besides breathtaking views, and the tiny plantation town of Maunaloa. There are two popular beaches nearby, Papohaku Beach and Kapukahehu Beach, and plenty of vacation rentals if you’d like to stay awhile. Downtown is home to the famous Big Wind Kite Factory, maker of everything from windsocks to professional wind kites. Spend a day strolling and exploring this stunning small town on Molokai!

  • Hawi, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawi is a tiny town on the very Big Island of Hawaii and one of the island’s best-kept secrets. This gorgeous spot is most well-known as being the Ironman’s bicycle turnaround spot, but the small town is a colorful spot filled with delightful art galleries, restaurants, jewelers, and gift shops. Stroll along the brightly-painted building-lined streets and soak in the charming vibes from this small town.

  • Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii

Another small town with a huge personality on the Big Island, Hilo is wonderful little spot with a fun, walkable downtown. The architecture boasts a plantation-style filled with historic storefronts. Downtown Hilo is built around a crescent bay, and is filled with museums, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful shops. This spot is a gorgeous place to spend your time exploring.

  • Pa’ia, Maui, Hawaii

And who could forget Pa’ia, the Windsurfing Capital of the World? This incredible small town is funky, fun, and filled with great artwork and an even greater surf scene. Watch as windsurfers from all over the world descend on this small town and take to the ocean. Downtown is filled with places to shop, dine, and relax with other people that have come to enjoy this historic town on the North Shore of Maui.