Are you planning to go to Hawaii and confused about which is the best island to visit in Hawaii? Or which island in Hawaii should you go to? And you are researching the ideal island in Hawaii to visit if you’re a first-time tourist? Then this article is for you. After reading this full article, you will have a proper idea about which Island is for you. I have provided a detailed analysis of all the Islands of Hawaii in this article from which is best for copes to which is best for families.
The Hawaiian archipelago, which is about a six-hour flight from the west coast of the United States, is made up of 137 volcanic islands. However, Maui, Oahu, Big Island, and Kauai are the four main islands that the majority of tourists visit. All of these places in Hawaii are wonderful.
Since they are less visited by tourists, Lanai and Molokai are frequently visited by more seasoned travelers to Hawaii. Additionally, there isn’t much to do on these two islands, so come here only if you’re searching for endless stretches of immaculate beaches. The low cost of inter-Hawaii hopper flights, however, makes it simple to extend your stay on these two islands by a few extra days.
Whichever Hawaiian island you decide to visit, you can be sure to find more than enough rainbows as tropical rainfall blow through, lush tropical vegetation, snorkeling adventures to cross off your bucket list, and luscious green cliffs.
If you’d prefer to avoid the effort of making travel arrangements and driving for the finest trip to Hawaii, you can easily book snorkeling cruises, sunset boat tours, and dozens of wonderful day tours to visit the highlights of every island.
Under the pressure of unprecedented over-tourism, the state of Hawaii implemented a reservation system for famous attractions on each island in February 2021 as part of a “regenerative tourism” plan. The goal was to keep the number of visitors under control while promoting the Hawaiian cultural value of “Malama,” which means “to protect and conserve” or “to leave a place better than you found it.”
Although the new reservation system is a great idea, it also requires travelers to plan their trips more carefully than previously. Visitors must reserve their tickets no more than 48 hours before their visit if they want to snorkel in Hanauma Bay, which is close to Honolulu. And let me tell you that seats sell out quickly!
Before we go deep into which is the best Island to visit in Hawaii, I would like to walk you through some other very important details about your first visit to Hawaii.
Which Is The Best Time To Visit Hawaii?
The ideal time period according to me is between March to September because Hawaii is at its warmest and driest between the months of March and September, making this the ideal travel period. The beaches are ideal to enjoy at this time. With agreeable temperatures ranging from 23°C to 30°C, Hawaii is a good vacation year-round due to its consistently warm weather.
The rest of the year is wetter and a little bit cooler, especially at altitude. On the other hand, you might have the opportunity to visit a tropical beach with a snow-capped volcano in the distance. While there are fewer visitors between October and November, giving the islands a peaceful atmosphere, professional surfers looking for huge waves travel during the ocean swells from January to March.
Be aware that the west shores of the islands are substantially dryer.
Which Is The Best Island To Visit In Hawaii?
Where in Hawaii should you travel the most? Hawaii’s islands each have something special to offer.
The quick answer is that
Every island is breathtaking… has stunning beaches, fantastic snorkeling, and boat cruises after sunset. It’s a difficult decision, so let’s examine the variations among Hawaii vacation spots.
Maui: The Best Hawaiian Island For Resorts And Epic Drive Experience
The second-largest Hawaiian island is Maui. And it’s unquestionably among Hawaii’s top locations. If you’re searching for upmarket amenities and distinctive things to do, it’s also the best island in Hawaii for a honeymoon.
Map Of Maui
How to use this map: Just Click On The + Sign To See A Bigger Picture Of The MAp And Click On – Sign To Make It Small.
The island, also called the “Valley Isle,” is made up of two volcanoes connected by a valley. Maui, however, now resembles a single large island due to rising sea levels. In some areas, Maui is more upmarket than the other Hawaiian islands.
The best Maui hotels and resorts can be found in Wailea, South Maui, and West Maui, close to Ka’anapali and Kapalua (home to fabulous golf courses, too). Beachgoers adore this area’s food truck culture in Maui.
Family-friendly Kihei, which is home to wonderful beaches, is situated between the two. And to be honest, all of the beaches along this coast are excellent choices. Hawaiian green sea turtles can frequently be seen relaxing at Makena Beach State Park in South Maui.
Large waves crashing on volcanic rocks make the coastline look wilder and more dramatic as you travel toward West Maui.
However, there are also many excellent, safe snorkeling bays to be found here.
What You Can Do In Maui?
Any journey to Maui should at the very least include a day trip to travel the fabled Road to Hana. The east side of the island’s length is 64 miles of breathtakingly beautiful meandering road. It’s undoubtedly one of Hawaii’s highlights! You’ll pass by bamboo woods, black sand beaches, and 59 bridges, as well as a tonne of waterfalls. Start off early because you’ll be stopping a lot!
Accommodations In Maui
While the majority of tourists travel the Road to Hana in a single long day excursion, this leaves no time for exploring the region close to Hana.
Consider reserving a couple of nights close to Hana if you consider yourself more of a “road less taken” kind of Maui traveler. After the tourists that came for the day return, you’ll be the only one there!
Catching the sunrise in Haleakala National Park is another well-liked activity here, but due to the popularity of this event, you’ll need a ticket in advance to enter. Or you can reserve a tour.
Consider going up mid-morning to explore the park since it can get crowded at sunrise.
To get to Haleakala National Park, you’ll travel across the island, weave through a more rural upcountry area, and then up switchback after switchback.
When you get here, think about going for a hike.
While the majority of visitors to Haleakala see the sunrise and then descend the mountain, there are 33,000 acres of uninhabited wilderness here.
Plan a snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater for one day on your trip to Maui. Here, you can check the cost and schedule for a day excursion to Molokini.
It seems like swimming in an aquarium in this crescent-shaped volcano crater right off the coast of Maui.
Numerous tour guides are available to take you on a half-day excursion. Just north of Kihei, in Maalaea Harbor, are where most tours depart.
Since the conditions for snorkeling are less favorable in the afternoons, I advise choosing a small boat for a more personal experience and leaving early in the day.
Maui is a top location for whale watching in the winter. More than 10,000 humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the Auau Channel near Lahaina between December and March.
For the finest experience, make sure to reserve a whale-watching excursion with an eco-friendly guide who is also a naturalist.
Lahaina is the ideal destination for a half-day getaway after your whale-viewing trip because whale-watching tours leave from Lahaina Harbor.
There are several adorable boutiques and charming tiny restaurants here, despite the area being more touristy.
In conclusion, Maui is a fantastic choice if you’re searching for luxury resorts, wish to travel the Road to Hana, view Mount Haleakala, swim Molokini Crater, or go whale watching.
Kauai: The Less Crowded Beach
If you love the outdoors and aren’t interested in luxury hotels, fine dining, or vibrant nightlife, Kauai is the best island in Hawaii to visit. Nevertheless, Kauai offers a wide range of fantastic activities.
Map Of Kauai
If you enjoy traveling on two-lane country roads to reach sweet sand beaches by hiking down muddy slopes, visit Kauai. Yours might be the lone set of footfall at times.
Scenes from the film The Descendant were filmed on this island, sometimes known as “The Garden Isle.” By watching it, you can get a sense of some of its more beautiful locations.
The Na Pali shoreline on Kauai’s north shore is the island’s main draw. A bucket list experience is taking a helicopter trip to see the world from above.
Any itinerary for Kauai must include it.
The North Shore of Kauai is undeveloped and beautiful. In the winter, it also pours a lot here!
Spend a week on Kauai in the summer alternating between the north and south shores, the latter of which is closer to Poipu and has more development.
There are a few resorts there, as well as lots of vacation rentals and excellent snorkeling in shallow, accessible waters.
Accommodations In Kauai
Make sure to walk a portion of the renowned Kalalau Trail. The trailhead is located near the Tunnels Beach parking lot at the northernmost tip of the island, making it the ideal location for a post-hike swim and snorkel. The 11-mile Kalalau Trail appears to be largely a climb up a rough, muddy trail.
Hardcore adventurers obtain a permission month in advance, make this a one-day hike, sleep at a secluded beach, and return the following day.
The camp area is monitored by rangers, who will send you on your way if you don’t have permission.
But even if you’re not a hard-core hiker, just hiking the first half mile will reward you with some spectacular once-in-a-lifetime views of the Na Pali Coast.
hiking poles with you. It is high. My top advice for visiting Kauai is to hike even a small portion of this trek.
Another lovely and challenging climb on the North Shore leads to a picturesque natural pool atop a lava shelf: Queen’s Bath. For kayaking, go to the adjacent Hanalei Bay. Another well-liked day adventure in Kauai involves paddling the Wailua River and climbing to a waterfall where you can swim.
Spend a day traveling clockwise, from, say, the numbers 6 to 12 on a clock face, to Waimea Canyon, sometimes known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” after relocating your base to Poipu on the south shore.
The Kalalau Trail and Waimea Canyon are rather close together as seen from the air.
Unfortunately, the only way to get here by car from the North Shore is to travel around the entire island in a clockwise direction.
Instead, this is the ideal day trip from Poipu.
At the Kalepa Ridge trailhead, you can get out of your car and enjoy yet another breathtaking panoramic ocean view even if you don’t trek.
Wailua Falls and Opaeka’a Falls make excellent last-morning stops if you have an afternoon flight back to the United States because they are close to the airport.
Big Island: Best For Waterfalls And Volcano Visit
Because it is the largest of the Hawaiian islands, the island of Hawaii is also referred to by its residents as the Big Island. and the furthest southeast.
Map Of Big Island
If you want to experience a little bit of everything when visiting Hawaii, this is the region to go to—there are a few resorts, lots of gorgeous beaches, and great snorkeling. Moreover, you might even observe lava gushing from a volcano!
All of the beaches are located on the western side of the island, radiating out from Kona, the main tourist destination.
On the eastern half of the island, Hilo is another important region. Hilo feels untouristy in contrast.
On this end of the island, it rains a lot and is green. The stunning Volcanos National Park is located in the middle of the island, halfway between Kona and Hilo.
The ideal Big Island tour includes samples of each of these.
You should focus the majority of your agenda on the west side, sticking close to Kona, if you’re primarily visiting for beach time.
There are many soft, sugary beaches tucked in and around the region’s craggy, volcanic coast.
From Kailua-Kona, travel north and check out Hapuna and Maua Kea beaches.
Accommodations On Big Island
Make sure to book a boat excursion to explore the sea caves along the stunning Kona coast, which features a stop for snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay.
Hawaiians who broke a kapu (old rules) before the 19th century formerly called Place of Refuge—Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park—home.
Today, you can visit this lovely bay and the well-maintained hamlet while snorkeling.
Aside from seeing Volcanoes National Park, the chance to spend the night swimming with manta rays is the main activity you shouldn’t skip when on the Big Island.
Since the hotel opted to illuminate the waves to provide a little atmosphere for visitors in the 1970s, the rays have been frequenting the Sheraton Kona Resort’s shore. Plankton was drawn to this, and manta rays followed.
And today, if you have your SCUBA certification, you may go diving in a group or float on a noodle in the water with these gentle giants. The cost of the tour to swim with manta rays at night is available here.
If you spend part of your time near Kona and some of it elsewhere, staying the night in Volcanoes National Park is the perfect pit stop.
And if you’re very fortunate, you could get to see real lava pouring. Around the coast, the lava flows intermittently in various locations.
The eruption that started in September 2021 at the base of the Halema’uma’u crater has ended as of December 2022. The orange glow of the sky from the molten lava lake below created an amazing night sky.
Eruptions do, however, happen regularly. Check here for the most recent information.
Don’t pass up the chance to spend at least one day wandering through a volcano’s lunar landscape and exploring a lava tube, even if the lava isn’t flowing.
Amazingly, steam rises from steam vents located all across the park.
The east side of the island is not frequently visited by tourists. And it is true that there aren’t many beaches in this area.
The waterfalls, though, are amazing! The drop at Akaka Falls is 422 feet!
I also suggest taking a day trip from Hilo up the Hamakua Coast. This is the entrance to the untamed Waip’o Valley, a very beautiful region.
Visit the Hawaii Tropical Botanic Garden on the route. One of the most gorgeous gardens I’ve ever seen, in my opinion.
Oahu: Best For Night Life And Seeing Pearl Harbor
The third-largest island, Oahu, is referred to as “The Gathering Place.” That’s because it’s where the vast majority of Hawaiians reside and where there are also the most visitors. When people think of Hawaii, they typically think of the island of Oahu.
Map Of Oahu
They’ve probably seen an iconic picture or postcard of Honolulu and its breathtaking shoreline took from Diamond Head’s summit.
Across the street from Honolulu skyscrapers, must-stay hotels, and luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Jimmy Choo is where you’ll find the world-famous Waikiki Beach.
Without a car, Honolulu is a simple location to visit for a girls’ weekend of dining, shopping, and beach time.
There are many upscale venues where you can sample Mai Tais, from Wang Chung’s Karaoke Bar to the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
For a bird’s eye view of the Caribbean coastline, climb the Aloha Tower. Eat somewhere in Chinatown.
On the South Shore of Oahu, Pearl Harbor is also close by.
Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and paying your respects to the more than 2,400 Americans who perished on December 7, 1941, is a moving event.
And I can say that Pearl Harbor is one of the top things to see on Oahu.
Because there is so much history here, taking a tour of Pearl Harbor with a guide is the ideal option, especially if you want to really understand the experience.
For instance, Ford Island is home to the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
and the USS Arizona is eight minutes away by car. Your entire visit is organized by a tour.
However, you can also travel independently and simply book arrangements at Pearl Harbor. Get the audio guide without a doubt!
On Oahu’s south side, hiking Diamond Head State Monument and snorkeling in Hanauma Bay are two other must-do activities.
Both of these well-liked activities require reservations in advance and careful planning.
Accommodations On Oahu
Book a day cruise to Hanauma Bay if you don’t have a car or would just like to avoid the ticket bother. Tickets for Hanauma Bay must be purchased 48 hours in advance of the visit; they sell out quickly.
The North Shore of Oahu is my favorite area since it is wild and undeveloped, similar to Kauai. If you don’t have a car, you might consider it a day trip on a guided tour.
Otherwise, I advise you to spend some time on the south side before relocating to the north shore.
There are some of the most picturesque beaches on the island along the windward coast, which is a spectacularly stunning trip.
With a few well-placed stops along the way, as you go north, you can turn it into a fantastic self-guided day trip.
The Byodo-In Temple, a magnificent duplicate of a well-known temple in Uji, Japan, is perched against the lush Ko’olau highlands.
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is located nearby and is a must-see, offering short hikes through amazing botanical gardens with global themes.
On the north shore, there are numerous beautiful beaches and snorkeling spots to keep you occupied.
But keep in mind that this is Big Wave territory in the winter. There is now a Bonzai Pipeline!
However, there is just one significant resort up here, and the food scene is also very different from that on the south shore.
Instead, everyone has been nourished thanks to the North Shore food trucks.
Spend a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center to explore three villages, take advantage of the buffet meal, and receive a lei of flowers as a welcome.
Or go to Kualoa Ranch, a 4,000-acre private nature reserve that is a well-liked Oahu site for movies.
In The End, It All Depends On You
Here in this article about the best Islands to visit in Hawaii, I have given you all the information that you need to make your Hawaii trip memorable. But in the end, it depends on you which Island you want to visit in Hawaii.
Every Hawaiian island, as mentioned above, is absolutely wonderful! Hawaiian islands are all good, so try not to worry too much while making a choice.
Hopefully one of the islands is calling to you now that you’ve read about its highlights!
Here is a short description of all the Islands of Hawaii.
Which Is The Most Beautiful Island In Hawaii?
Every island has a distinct beauty of its own. On Maui, the Road to Hana is breathtaking. Big Island’s Volcanos National Park is extraordinary. On Oahu, the gorgeous Caribbean blue water is everywhere. But my choice would be Kauai’s north shore, with its untamed beauty and verdant coastline.
Which Island Is Best For First-Time Visit To Hawaii?
If you are a first-timer in Hawaii then I would say Oahu is the most popular among all islands in Hawaii. it’s home to famous sights like Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, and Waikiki Beach. But given its luxurious resorts and gorgeous beaches, I’d also suggest Maui. You undoubtedly have Maui on your mind when you think about Hawaii. Unless you’re solely interested in pristine nature. Next, travel to Kauai.
Which Is The Best Island To Visit In Hawaii With Family?
Oahu is the best Hawaiian island in terms of cost, great family resorts, and a variety of attractions for kids and families. But the biggest drawback is that Oahu is the most visited and crowded beach in Hawaii.
Which Is The Best Island To Visit In Hawaii For Couples And Young Adults?
Maui is a popular vacation spot for lovers. Maui, which is sometimes regarded as the most romantic island in Hawaii, provides a variety of experiences and activities sure to wow lovers of romance, whether they are newlyweds or couples celebrating a special anniversary. It is close to nature and is also loved by nature lovers. Less crowded than other Hawaiian beaches.