Choosing the best Hawaiian island to visit on vacation can be challenging. Of course, the islands of Hawaii are some of the most sought-after travel destinations on earth. Known for its emerald mountains and tropical shores, Hawaii is the kind of place you can forget all your worries and immerse yourself in a true natural paradise. Whether you’re a first-timer to these paradise isles or are returning once again to their sun-kissed shores, let us help you understand the best Hawaiian island to visit on vacation:
Home to the state capital of Honolulu, Oahu is one of the most popular Hawaiian islands to visit. If you want plenty of activities and things to do in Oahu, Honolulu is a good choice. Although you can expect a ‘big city’ atmosphere, the beaches, such as the world-famous Waikiki, are simply unmissable. To get a feel for modern Hawaii, a trip to Oahu, known as the ‘Gathering Place’, is a must. But, there’s more to this island than vibrant nightlife and city life. The east coast is famed for its exquisite coastline, whilst surfers flock to the north to ride the break at Bonsai Pipeline, on the other hand, the west side of the island offers a more tranquil appeal. You’ll find upmarket resorts, shopping malls and pretty coves where you can disconnect and soak up the breathtaking views. Overall, there are an unlimited number of things to do in Oahu. Whilst it’s the most developed Hawaiian island, you can still find pockets of solitude and pure, unadulterated nature if you travel here. The beaches are easily accessible, and it’s a great choice for a family-friendly getaway with world-class amenities and attractions.
First-time travellers can experience the best of Hawaii by visiting Maui. The spectacular scenery of green valleys, volcanoes and golden beaches characterise this island. On the west side, you’ll find Lahaina, known for its luxury resorts and rich cultural delights. It’s a great place to base yourself if you want to experience a little of everything, from museums and galleries to beaches and nightlife. For incredible landscapes, be sure to drive along the fabulous ‘Road to Hana’. Running along the east coast, this scenic road curves around the mountains and grants exceptional views of both lush rainforest and turquoise surf; black sand beaches and glistening waterfalls. Maui also offers an authentic experience for those who travel to its northern region. Here, you’ll find rural agricultural towns, botanical gardens and enchanting, mist-covered mountains. Therefore, Maui is the best Hawaiian island to visit if you want to experience the best of both worlds in one trip.
As its name suggests, the Big Island is the largest in the archipelago. Home to Hawaii’s only active volcano, the Big Island is famed for its diverse natural environments. You can experience it all here, from snow-capped mountains to dense rainforests, black sand beaches and rich native wildlife. Whilst Kona is among the best scuba diving spots in Hawaii, famed for its dolphins and turtles, Ka Lae in the south offers untouched wildernesses and hiking trails through the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Keep in mind that the Big Island has fewer beaches than the other islands. Therefore, it’s a better choice for those looking for exciting outdoor pursuits, such as ATV tours, trekking, visiting tropical fruit plantations or uncovering the cultural treasures within the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
Known as the Garden Isle, Kaua’i is most representative of the lush rainforests and tropical shores of Hawaii. Quieter than other islands, Kaua’i is perfect for honeymooners or anyone in search of a blissful escape from reality. The most developed part of the island is in the south, where you’ll find a number of upmarket resorts and accommodation. It’s also here that you can enjoy the best snorkelling sites and idyllic yet secluded beaches. Furthermore, Kaua’i is the ideal destination to get in touch with authentic island life. Its quaint towns, particularly those on the west coast, are known for their local artisans and traditional Hawaiian crafts. For a more laid back escape, Kaua’i is the best Hawaiian island to visit.
For an authentic Hawaiian experience, head to Molokai, known as the ‘Friendly Isle’. A large proportion of native Hawaiian descendants live here, so it’s the best Hawaiian island to visit if you want to get a feel for the local culture and customs. Located between Maui and Oahu, Molokai doesn’t have the upmarket resorts of the better-known islands. Instead, accommodations are boutique and rustic and range from historic hotels to authentic ranch stays. But, the beauty of visiting Molokai is that you won’t have to share the beach with many other travellers. In fact, it’s one of the least visited islands, so you can expect a desert-island atmosphere and the chance to completely disconnect from the stresses of modern life! For hiking and wildlife, head to Molokai Forest Reserve, home to pristine woodland and scenic picnic areas.
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