A Comprehensive Review of Hawaii's Best Islands

What Are the Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit?

Hawaii is a popular travel destination known for its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and unique culture. With eight main islands to choose from, it can be very difficult to decide which ones to visit. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to the best Hawaiian islands to visit based on various factors, such as length of stay, interests and activities, and budget.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Hawaiian Islands to Visit

Before diving into the best Hawaiian islands to visit, it’s important to consider several factors that can influence your decision. The length of your stay, interests, activities, budget and travel style can all affect which islands you’ll want to prioritize.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Hawaiian Islands

Length of Stay

If you’re planning a short trip to Hawaii, you’ll likely want to stick to one or two islands to maximize your time. On the other side, if you have a week or more, you can explore more islands and experience a variety of landscapes and cultures.

Interests and Activities

Each Hawaiian island offers unique attractions and activities, from hiking and snorkeling to cultural experiences and nightlife. Think about what you want to do on your trip and which islands offer those activities.

Budget and Travel Style

Hawaii can be an expensive destination, but there are ways to make it more affordable, such as staying in budget accommodations, eating at local restaurants, and taking advantage of free activities. Consider your budget and travel style when deciding which islands to visit.

Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit

Now that you’ve considered the factors that can influence your decision let’s dive into the best Hawaiian islands to visit.

Oahu

The most popular island in Hawaii is Oahu, which is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, exciting nightlife, and cultural sites. It’s home to the state capital of Honolulu and the iconic Waikiki Beach, making it a popular choice for first-time visitors to Hawaii.

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Attractions and Activities:

  • Pearl Harbor: Discover the background of the Pearl Harbor assault by visiting the USS Arizona Memorial.
  • Waikiki Beach: Relax on the famous white-sand beach, take surf lessons, or enjoy a sunset cocktail at a beachfront bar.
  • Diamond Head: Hike to the top of this iconic volcanic crater for stunning views of the island.
  • North Shore: Explore the laid-back surf towns and watch world-famous surfers tackle the massive waves.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center: Learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture through interactive exhibits and performances.

Accommodations and Dining:

Oahu offers a range of accommodations, from budget hostels to luxury resorts. Waikiki is the most popular area to stay, with plenty of options for all budgets. For dining, you’ll find everything from local plate lunches to high-end restaurants in Honolulu and beyond.

Transportation Options:

Oahu has a comprehensive public transportation system called TheBus, which serves most of the island. You can also rent a car or take a ride-share service to get around.

Maui

Maui is a popular island for those seeking a mix of adventure, relaxation, and luxury. It’s known for its stunning beaches, scenic drives, and outdoor activities, making it a great choice for nature lovers.

Attractions and Activities:

  • Road to Hana: Take a scenic drive along the famous Road to Hana, stopping at waterfalls, beaches, and other attractions along the way.
  • Haleakala National Park: Watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of this volcanic crater, or hike through the park’s unique landscapes.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Maui offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Hawaii, with opportunities to see a variety of marine life, including sea turtles and colorful fish.

  • Maui Ocean Center: Learn about Hawaii’s marine life through interactive exhibits and underwater tunnels.
  • Surfing and Windsurfing: Maui’s beaches offer some of the best conditions for surfing and windsurfing in the world.
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Accommodations and Dining:

Maui offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hotels to luxurious resorts. The towns of Lahaina and Kihei are popular areas to stay, with plenty of dining options ranging from food trucks to high-end restaurants.

Transportation Options:

Renting a car is the most popular way to get around Maui, as public transportation is limited. However, there are also shuttle services and tour buses that can take you to popular attractions.

Kauai

Kauai is known for its lush green landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and outdoor activities. It’s a great choice for nature lovers looking for a more relaxed and laid-back vacation.

Attractions and Activities:

  • Waimea Canyon: Waimea Canyon, also referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” provides breathtaking views of the island’s red granite cliffs and valleys.
  • Na Pali Coast: Take a boat or helicopter tour to see this iconic coastline, featuring towering cliffs and secluded beaches.
  • Hanalei Bay: Relax on the white-sand beach or take a surf lesson in this charming beach town.
  • Wailua River: Kayak or take a boat tour down the tranquil river to see the lush green landscapes and hidden waterfalls.
  • Kalalau Trail: Hike this challenging trail along the Na Pali Coast for stunning views and secluded beaches.

Accommodations and Dining:

Kauai offers a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to vacation rentals. The towns of Poipu and Princeville are popular areas to stay, with plenty of dining options ranging from local food trucks to fine dining restaurants.

Transportation Options:

Renting a car is recommended to explore Kauai, as public transportation is limited. However, there are also shuttle services and tour buses that can take you to popular attractions.

Big Island (Hawaii Island)

The Big Island is the largest and most diverse of the Hawaiian Islands, offering a variety of landscapes and activities. It’s a great choice for adventure seekers and those interested in learning about Hawaiian culture.

Attractions and Activities:

  • Volcanoes National Park: See the active Kilauea volcano and hike through the park’s unique landscapes, including lava tubes and craters.
  • Mauna Kea: Drive to the summit of this dormant volcano for stunning views and stargazing opportunities.
  • Hilo Farmers Market: Explore this bustling market to taste local fruits and vegetables, handmade crafts, and more.
  • Akaka Falls State Park: Hike to see the towering Akaka Falls and other waterfalls in this lush rainforest.
  • Manta Ray Night Dive: Experience the thrill of swimming with these gentle giants on a guided night dive.
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Accommodations and Dining:

The Big Island offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. The towns of Kona and Hilo are popular areas to stay, with plenty of dining options ranging from local food trucks to high-end restaurants.

Transportation Options:

Renting a car is recommended to explore the Big Island, as public transportation is limited. However, there are also shuttle services and tour buses that can take you to popular attractions.

Video: Which Hawaiian Island Should You Visit

What Are the Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit?

Conclusion

It can be difficult to decide which Hawaiian islands to visit, but you can limit your options by taking into account aspects like the length of stay, hobbies and activities, and money. Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island are all great choices, offering unique attractions and experiences. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both, Hawaii has something for everyone. And with its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder why Hawaii is a top travel destination.

When planning your trip to Hawaii, be sure to research and book your accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. And don’t forget to pack sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a sense of adventure!

Overall, Hawaii’s islands offer a wide range of activities and experiences, from hiking to surfing to simply relaxing on the beach. By considering your preferences and budget, you can choose the perfect island or islands to visit on your next Hawaii vacation. So go ahead and start planning your dream Hawaiian getaway!

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