How to Pick Your Hawaiian Island Destination

Heading to Hawaii? If not, you definitely should visit at least once in your lifetime.  Having six main islands, there’s no way to see all of the Hawaiian islands, even if you are there for two weeks.  

Hawaiian Island
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Most people pick one or two islands for their trip. If you are trying to decide which island to visit, this information should help point you in the right direction. My personal favorite islands are Maui and Kauai for their beautiful beaches, quieter atmosphere, and overall ‘paradise’ feel (although I have never been to Lanai or Molokai). However, whichever island you visit, each will have its own charm, culture, stunning landscape, and beautiful beaches.

Sheraton_waikiki Hawaiian Island
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Oahu – The ‘main’ island of Hawaii. It features Honolulu, the capital, as well as most of the population of Hawaii. It also seems to have the most tourists, especially from Japan. If it’s your first time to Hawaii, most tourists include Oahu for part of their trip.  Features:

Hawaiian Island hawaii
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Hawaii –  This island is also usually called the ‘Big Island’ to avoid confusion. Hawaii is the largest island because it’s made of 5 different shield volcanoes, including two that are active. The island is made up of mostly coastal towns.  Features:

Hawaiian Island
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Maui – Maui is known as the ‘Valley Isle.’ It’s quieter than Oahu, but still is filled with tourists.  Maui is a beautiful island with beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls. Features:

Napili-Coast-Kauai Hawaiian Island
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Kauai – Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. Poipu and Princeville are the primary resort towns, but small, historic towns dot the landscape as well. Tall coastal cliffs, green valleys, rainforests and gorgeous beaches abound.

  • Napali Coast (beautiful coastline of cliffs, only accessible by water, air, or an 11 mile strenuous hike on the Kalalau Trail)
  • Waimea Canyon (called the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’)
  • Wailua Falls (waterfall made famous in the opening credits of tv show “Fantasy Island”)
  • Kee Beach (at the end of the Kuhio Highway within Haena State Park, popular for snorkeling)
  • Opaekaa Falls (very accessible waterfall in Wailua)
  • Poipu Beach Park
  • Kokee State Park (hikes lead to the scenic, Napali coastal peaks)
  • Polihale State Park (isolated western beach meets Napali Coast)
Lanai-island Hawaiian Island
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Lanai – Lanai is part rugged and part lavish.  It contains extravagant resorts and golf courses, but little else.  It is the least populated island and has no stop lights. 98% of the island is owned by Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Features:

Hawaiian Island
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Molokai – This island is even more native to Hawaiian culture than is Lanai.  Molokai is a place for outdoor adventure in pristine beauty.  It’s said to be the birthplace of Hula. Features:

I hope this helps you decide which islands to visit!

Happy Travels!


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