Are you wondering where to go on your Hawaiian vacation? With 6 amazing (and very different!) islands to choose from, it’s not always easy. Here’s a quick run-down and how you can know which island is right for your Hawaii vacation.
The Hawaiian Islands:
Probably Hawaii’s most famous island, Oahu is the home of Honolulu and Waikiki. Oahu is more “touristy-er” than some of our other islands. This can be a plus or a minus depending on your vacation goals. More tourists means more things to do, more lifeguards, more public transit options, you name it.
It also means more people, especially if you choose to stick around the parts of Oahu that are busiest, like Waikiki. If you choose to go a little more off the beaten path, you can still find less crowded beaches and lots of relaxation. Oahu is also where a lot of Hawaii’s biggest attractions – like Pearl Harbor and Hanauma Bay – are, so the crowds you will sometimes run into can be totally worth it.
2) The Island of Hawaii
By far the biggest attraction on the Island of Hawaii is that big ol’ active volcano. There are lots of images floating around on the Internet of lava rolling down and falling into the ocean, which is cool and all, except for the tiny fact that the volcano isn’t doing that right now.
But the Big Island can and should still be on your shortlist for a lot of reasons. There are tons of awesome beaches, including white and black beaches. In addition, there’s restaurants, festivals, national and state parks, and much more. It’s often referred to as the Big Island as it takes 3 hours to drive from east to west. If you visit the Big Island, you’ll find lots more space to spread out in.
Ah, Maui! It’s just so beautiful and stunning, it’s no wonder it’s at the top of many people’s Hawaii vacation dream list. Maui is still a very popular island, but slightly less busy than Oahu. It can strike a really nice balance between great beaches, lots of fun stuff to do and a laid-back pace. Maui is also home to the wildly popular (for a good reason!) Road to Hana as well as Haleakala Crater, so if either of those are on your bucket list, then Maui is a must-see.
Kauai is a very romantic spot, still popular enough to have lots of amenities but much more off the beaten path than Oahu, or Maui. It’s tropical and lush – so much so that upwards of 80% of the island is completely inaccessible by land. Because of that, Kauai is the perfect island to indulge in a romantic helicopter tour. Kauai also has lots of great hiking, beaches, and attractions, plus it’s the ideal island to go to see in the distance the privately owned, Forbidden Island of N’iihau.
Should you want to spend a couple days in a quiet, un-touristy vacation, other than its historic and authentic Hawaiian charm, Molokai’s big draw is Kalaupapa National Park, home to the world’s last surviving colony of Hansen’s disease survivors (formerly known as leprosy). When you visit, you’ll also get to view the highest sea cliffs in the world – and they are stunning!
This used to be known as Hawaii’s Pineapple Island. Now privately owned, Lanai is known as The Private Island. It has two beautiful properties, frequented by the rich and famous. If budget is not a concern, consider Lanai.
Wondering how many of these Hawaiian Islands you should visit on your vacation? Let’s talk about your hopes and dreams, wants and needs. We’ll help you decide which islands to visit and for how long!