July 3, 2017
Which Island Should I Visit in Hawaii?
Planning a trip to Hawaii is extremely exciting as you can look forward to the beautiful palm trees, soft sandy beaches, and bright blue warm waters. However, it might be difficult to pick one island vs an island-hopping trip. Are you looking for a more secluded vacation or an action-packed getaway?
Commonly referred to as “The Gathering Place,” Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island and home to Honolulu-the capital of Hawaii. Boasting gorgeous architecture as well as luxury resorts, bus tours, moped rentals and nature preserves, this island has everything a visitor needs. It’s easy to get around and there’s ample resorts along with quaint bed & breakfasts. One of the major perks of this island is that you aren’t limited by weather. Tourists can come year-round because the temperature stays between 75-85 degrees.
You’re probably wondering what the main attractions are. If you’ve come to surf, check out Haleiwa – it’s a laid-back surf town filled with artsy surf shops and art galleries. Diamond Head is ideal for avid hikers and the 760-foot crater is actually one of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks. If you’re not used to hiking, there are two sets of stairs and even underground tunnels to sneak through. The view at the top is definitely worth the climb. Other attractions include:
- Nuuanu Pali Lookout – offering stunning views of Windward Oahu
- Pearl Harbor Landmarks
- Waikiki – filled with famous beaches, Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium
Kaua’i is perfect for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There aren’t skyscrapers, streets aligned with nightclubs, or shopping centers. Rather, Kaua’i is filled with fishponds, gardens, calming beaches and plenty of greenery from every angle.
Kayak on the Wailua River toward the Coconut Coast or go mountain tubing. If you’re looking for something more thrilling, zipline over the rainforest or ATV along the south shore. You can also go horseback riding through the pastures of Princeville and then relax in one of the many spas on the island.
You can’t get more laid back than the islanders of Molokai. The streets don’t even have traffic lights! This is an extremely small island that only stretches 10 miles wide and 38 miles long. Cottage rentals are popular among tourists in Molokai as they’re settled right by the water and offer a different experience than hotels and resorts. You might pass by Kanemitsu’s Bakery and find dozens upon dozens of people with hot loaves of bread in their hands.
The Kapauaiwa Coconut Grove is a must-see landmark filled with grassy knolls, falling coconuts and stunning sunset views. History buffs, get excited to explore the classic cathedral valley – Halawa Valley. There’s an abundance of hidden places of worship, vistas and a massive waterfall.
Again, say goodbye to traffic lights! Just nine miles from Maui, Lanai is so secluded that it feels like another world. When you get to the top of the Munro Trail, you’ll see acrobatic dolphins swimming peacefully in the water. Shipwreck Beach is another place to go where many ships got swept onto the sand due to the rocky channel. You can actually see Maui and Molokai from this beach but certainly do not swim in this water.
Lanai City is centrally located just a few miles north of the airport. Here you’ll find jewelers, a small clothing store, and the Lanai Art Center-which has works from local artists. Coffee addicts can rejoice as there are plenty of coffee shops in the area. You can also watch the performances of local artists at the Lanai City Grille.
Whale watching is always going to be one of those perfect family activities. Doing this in Hawaii is even more fun. Go to the coast of Lahaina and see 45-foot whales breach. If hiking’s more of your thing, hike up to Haleakala and stand above the clouds. Known as “The Valley Isle,” Maui is the second largest island and the highways are riddled with hairpin turns.
Speaking of driving, take one of the world’s most scenic drives around Maui’s eastern coastline. The Hana Highway has 620 curves and 59 bridges along with rainforests, waterfalls, pools and seascapes.Make sure to stop off and enjoy the views along the way.
The Big Island
The Big Island is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian islands. You can find black sand beaches, go sailing on the Kona Coast, or walk along Kilauea volcano. In one region there’s the Volcanoes National Park and in another is Maunakea, which boasts snowcapped heights. You’ll get a feel for every type of environment here as there are TEN climate zones on this island.
Helicopter rides are one of the most popular adventures for tourists, allowing you to overlook the Kilauea Volcano as well as the valleys and beaches. Here you will see this gigantic island packed into one perspective.
There’s something for everyone on the Hawaii Island. From tropical plantations to snorkeling to waterfalls, this is paradise for those who love the outdoors. Even if you aren’t into adventure, there’s world renowned spas, golf courses and fine dining. Take a hike one day and relax the next.
Images Courtesy of Getty Images