No matter what you’re looking for in Hawaii, you will find it. With six unique islands to visit and explore, there’s no way you can run out of things to do. However, you might be dismayed if you visit the wrong island. Although there is no “wrong” island to be on when each offers a tropical oasis, you just might not find what you’re looking for on every island.
For instance, if you’re seeking peace and tranquility, it will be difficult to find it on Oahu. Likewise, if you’re looking to party, Maui might disappoint you. Thus, it is important to first identify which island fits your vibe and vacation goals before making concrete plans in Hawaii. Continue reading below to learn about what each island has to offer so you can decide if it’s worth visiting during your trip.
Island of Hawaii, also referred to as the Big Island, is the archipelago’s newest addition. Unlike the other islands, Big Island is still growing and is the only one with an active volcano. You can even visit the Volcanoes National Park and find lava flow.
If you’re into nature and going on plenty of hikes, you will love the Big Island. Besides the volcano, you can venture into the island’s 10 climate zones. During your time there you can visit snow-covered mountains, tropical jungles and even a desert. Your trip to the Big Island will make you feel as if you’ve traveled the whole world.
The island of Hawaii is also ideal if you want to see wildlife. Dolphins and turtles fill the waters during warmer months while whales pay visit during the winter.
This island can be a great vacation for my types of travelers including adventurous honeymooners, families and first-timers. However, it is the second-most populated island. Therefore, it might be difficult to find secluded areas to relax.
Travelers from all over the world flock to Maui’s crystal clear waters and luxury resorts. Maui is a popular destination for newlyweds due to its relaxed atmosphere and rural landscape. On this island, it’s hard to not find romantic spots or memorable adventures. Couples can watch the sunrise on the Haleakala Crater or sunset on the Kihei coast.
This island is home to the Road to Hana, a winding scenic highway along the east coast of Maui. While the road itself is only 52 miles, it can take hours to explore with all the beautiful sites and attractions found along the way. Waterfalls and unique beaches can be found right next to the road.
Due to the length of this trip, it is not advisable to bring along young children such as toddlers. However, teenagers, adults and seniors are all likely to enjoy this road trip. Many stops along Hana are accessible for elderly visitors with disabilities.
Oahu, the most populated island of Hawaii, is an ideal vacation spot for both families and young adults. This island has the greatest variety of activities and attractions out of all the Hawaiian Islands.
With Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, located on Oahu, tourists are sure to find tons of nightlife and history. You can tour the Iolani Palace, shop and explore Chinatown and visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Outside of Honolulu, you will also find other historical sites such as the Polynesian Cultural Center on the north side of the island.
If you want to get away from some of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and the tourists of Waikiki, you can travel 30 minutes to the east coast of Oahu. There, you will find numerous hiking trails, waterfalls and quiet beaches. Further north, you will come across historic surf towns populated by locals. In the wintertime, you will find huge waves and hundreds of expert surfers on North Shore beaches.
Kauai is the oldest island of the six major islands in the archipelago. Referred to as the “Garden Isle” for its vibrant, lush and undeveloped landscape, it is perfect for adventurers. Kauai is more rugged than the rest of the Hawaiian Islands and thus, might not be suitable for a family vacation or relaxing honeymoon.
Travelers who do wind up visiting Kauai will be rewarded with unparalleled beauty when they visit the several botanical gardens that are found on the island. Additionally, Kauai is home to Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.
Moreover, visitors can view the stunning Napali Coast on the north shore of island. By boat or helicopter, guests can view the sharp, emerald cliffs of the coast meeting the cerulean waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Adventure seekers can also hike to the numerous waterfalls on Kauai. At Hanakapiai Falls specifically, guests are also permitted to swim in the water under the falls.
This small island off the coast of Maui is ideal for retirees or simply anyone who wants to relax and truly get away from it all. The only town on the island is Lanai City. Besides the town’s beach houses and small bed and breakfasts, the island is dominated by two Four Seasons resorts. As a result, staying on Lanai will be full of both peace and luxury
At Hulopoe Bay, visitors can snorkel, swim and dive without fear of harsh currents. Otherwise, they can find a number of secluded beaches to lay or kayak on. On the other hand, travelers can play with cats at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary or play golf on the resort’s courses.
Molokai is another small island located off the coast of Maui. It is accessible by ferry or small plane. It is sometimes referred to as the “Real Hawaii” because it has not been infiltrated by tourism. Here, you will find authentic Hawaiian culture and very few tourists. Molokai doesn’t even have traffic lights, let alone paved roads.
This island is perfect for many types of travelers including retirees, honeymooners and generally those who prefer to be left alone. However, this island isn’t full of attractions or tours. Instead, visitors can explore the culture and history of Hawaii as well as valleys and secluded beaches.