Emily Bryant MSN, RN
Emily Bryant MSN, RN
January 2, 2023 - 5 min read

Day in the Life of a Travel Nurse: Hawaii

Hawaii has remained one of the most desired locations for travel nurses throughout the years due to the warm climate year-round, the island vibes, and the sandy beaches. It provides nurses the opportunity to have an extended vacation, while also making some good money.

Fellow travel nurse Monica Shepler is taking us with her on a day in the life of her time spent as a travel nurse in Hawaii. Check out what a day off looks like for Monica during her time on the island.

Days off can be spent gallivanting around and participating in endless outdoor adventures. And if you travel there, you can almost be guaranteed that your friends and family will want to take a trip over to visit you. Another bonus to traveling in Hawaii is that you can plan short trips intermittently to visit all the different islands while you are there to maximize your Hawaiian time.

Although relaxing by the beach and eating local fruit sounds incredible, there are so many other opportunities at your fingertips while in the Aloha State. But what would a day off look like while in Hawaii?

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One of the neatest features about living on an island is that you can travel to the east side fairly quickly and easily to watch the sun come up over the ocean. And, thanks to the southern location of this state, the sunrise and sunset times don’t vary much throughout the year, making for a predictable 6:45ish sunrise most months.

With apps like AllTrails, it makes finding hiking locations extremely easy and attainable if you can plan in advance. The Pololu Valley is a great option for both of them on the northeast side of the Big Island, and there are many options for different hikes. With as short as a 20 minute hike, you can get amazing views of the sunrise, and still have the entire day ahead of you.

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After you’ve worked up an appetite, grab one of your fellow travelers or your visiting friends and choose from one of the many local eateries that are loaded with local fruits and beverages.

Some of the best coffee in the country comes from Hawaii, and you can drink freshly roasted coffee from Kona beans just about any time you want. There are even options to visit some of the coffee farms, take tours, and sample the different kinds of beans throughout your stay there.

Many breakfasts include acai bowls loaded thick with fresh coconut and banana, smoothies, or even a classic staple with a side of fresh papaya or passion fruit. This is one of the best perks of island living – the food is so fresh!

Mid-Day Activities

Once your belly is full, check out the local town and see if one of the many local farmers’ markets are open so you can grab a few snacks for the road. Not too far away, you are bound to be able to find another scenic walk or hike that can take you to an Instagram-worthy waterfall.

Eat your snacks at the top of an overlook, and enjoy being in shorts and a tank top no matter what time of year it is. There are so many different options for hiking, so even if it isn’t “your thing,” there are many locations that are more of a walk rather than a hike. Trust me, the views will make you glad you decided to go. You might even be lucky enough to find waterfalls that empty into the ocean!

Trust me, the views will make you glad you decided to go.

Late-Day Activities

With potentially two active items already checked off your day, it’s time to relax. Head to one of the hundreds of incredible beaches and be prepared to take a nap in the sun or read a few chapters of your current book.

If you are feeling too hot and need to take a dip, be sure to pack a snorkel because there are always opportunities to swim off-shore to find sea creatures swimming about. Or maybe take up surf lessons where you’ll probably also see sea turtles and dolphins. This is always a great activity to do with company since you know your friends and family are probably going to want to visit if you’re in Hawaii.

Or if you like the peace and quiet, just take some time for yourself for yoga or meditation in any number of gorgeous locations to just reflect on everything this current season is to you. Some travelers find a lot of comfort in keeping to similar practices everywhere they go, and this could be a great spot to come back to while you are living in Hawaii.

Happy Hour

Grab all of your fellow nurses, invite your local friends, and either meet up at a bar or host some people for a happy hour. This can be a great opportunity to complete what you started that morning, and watch the sunset over the same ocean you watched it come up over this morning.

Since there are beaches galore, you could even use this time to host a beach bonfire which can stretch into a night-long activity full of new and old friends. Even if you don’t want to put in the work to travel to different sides of the island for sunrise and sunset, you can still enjoy the different coasts for all they have to offer year-round.


It has been a day full of so many different things, that if the bonfire hasn’t stretched into a full night activity, there is always the opportunity for a contemplative walk on the beach during moonlight. Nightlife exists in its own unique fashion on each of the different islands, but after a day full of activities, a night to catch up on your favorite shows might be in order.

Hawaii is absolutely incredible. The warm climate year-round and the insanely beautiful scenery are world-famous for a reason. Travel nurses have such a unique opportunity to be on vacation on all their days off, and there are so many sights to see, that you almost need to make an agenda for all of them. Hopefully, anyone who wishes to take a travel assignment in Hawaii gets the chance and doesn’t let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass them by.

For more information on what it’s like to be a travel nurse in Hawaii, check out the Hawaii highlight reel on travelnursing.org’s Instagram.

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