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Which Hawaiian Island Should I Visit?

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

Like a lot of our guests traveling to Hawaii, you're probably wondering which Hawaiian island and what would be best for you and your family. The islands are very diverse and each one has its own unique offerings, making choosing an island an important choice. Once you've started visiting the islands, coming back to a different island can often feel like a totally different place with a whole new set of experiences, sights, and attractions.

Hopefully some of this information can help you choose which island is best for you and your family. Please feel free to reach out to your Pixie Planner for a FREE quote to Hawaii or any other destination when you are ready. We look forward to making your trip magical.

Kauai's Incredible NaPali Coastline

Kauai - The Garden Isle

The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian Island chain is graced with dramatic, natural beauty. Explore the trails of Kokee State Park, see Waimea Canyon- the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"- or take time to relax in one of the many beautiful gardens of the aptly named Garden Isle, such as Limahuli Garden. This island is great for families or couples looking for a nature-filled experience without the crowds and hustle and bustle of an island like Oahu.

Only about 20 percent of the island is accessible by foot or road; the rest is a dense tangle of rugged cliffs, primeval jungle and rain-drenched mountain peaks. Consider taking a helicopter ride for the best views over Kauai’s most remote landscapes.

Best for: Nature lovers, beach bums, hikers, bird watchers, and travelers who want to escape tourist crowds without getting too far from civilization.

Kauai Highlights:

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Waterfall along the famous Road to Hana

Maui - The Valley Isle

The second-largest island is home to what some believe are the best beaches in the world. If you visit during the winter months, book a tour to see the majestic whales, as Maui has some of the world’s best whale watching. Wake up early to catch the sunrise at Haleakala, stroll through historic Lahaina town, or drive the majestic Road to Hana for spectacular scenery. This island is great for couples looking for a romantic getaway. This island tends to be more expensive for hotel, but definitely worth it.

From hiking and biking to snorkeling and surfing. You can get a taste of many of these attractions along the rugged Road to Hana, one of the most gorgeous drives on the planet. If all you want to do during your vacation is lie on a beach and relax, you can do so in popular resort areas like Kaanapali and Wailea. But more active travelers will find endless things to do in Maui.

Best for: Adventure seekers, honeymooners, foodies who love sampling local fare, and travelers who enjoy scenic drives.

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Pali Overlook on Oahu

Oahu - The Gathering Place

Home to the state capitol of Honolulu and the majority of Hawaii's population, Oahu is a vibrant mix of natural and cultural wonders with the entertainment and amenities of the 21st century. Check out the waves on the famous North Shore, relive American history at the memorials and museums of Pearl Harbor, or soak up the sun and take a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach.

The capital city, Honolulu, is home to the best high-end shopping, fine dining, and nightlife in the islands. But Oahu has its quieter sides, too. Get outside of Honolulu and you’ll discover the laid-back surf towns of the North Shore and the lush green mountains of the windward (east) coast. Movie buffs and adventurers should stop at Kualoa Ranch, where you can go horseback riding, take an ATV tour, or check out the filming locations for dozens of movies including "Jurassic Park" and "50 First Dates."

Another huge perk of Oahu is the fact that is it home to the gorgeous Disney's Aulani Resort. Some of our planners have personally stayed at this resort and it is beyond anything we have ever imagined. Disney, Hawaii, everything in between.

Best for: Shoppers, foodies, city lovers, and those who like a mix of action and relaxation. Oahu is also probably the best island in Hawaii for travelers on a budget, as you don’t have to spend extra on inter-island airfare, and the wide choice of hotels and vacation rentals means it’s easier to find a reasonably priced place to sleep.

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Lava Tube on Hawaii's Big Island

Big Island of Hawaii - The Orchid Isle

Larger than all of the other islands combined, the island of Hawaii, also known as Big Island, encompasses 11 of the world's 13 climactic zones - from white sand beaches to snow-capped mountains. See waterfalls, rainforests, and botanical gardens near Hilo; explore the historic PuuKohola Heiau, north of Kona; or view Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Near Kona you can relax on the beach or go snorkeling at night with manta rays, while the Hilo area is known for rainforest hikes, botanical gardens and waterfalls. The Big Island is also a good spot to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, especially along the Kohala Coast.

Best for: Animal lovers, golfers and outdoorsy travelers. The Big Island is also the best island in Hawaii for those seeking a variety of climates and landscapes on their vacation.

Big Island of Hawaii Highlights:

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Find an island you like? Message your Pixie Planner for a FREE quote today!

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