If you’ve never been to Hawaii before, you might find it challenging to decide which island to visit. The islands are very distinct, with each one having its own charm and appeal. This article is designed to give you a little flavor of each of the four most commonly visited islands and should help you decide which one is right for you.
Oahu – Honolulu and Waikiki
The island of Oahu is home to Honolulu, the capital and largest city in Hawaii. Oahu feels very much like a large city and is more commercial than the other Hawaiian Islands, but it has some areas that do have that island feel. For those who enjoy history, Oahu is where you will find Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, which is the resting place for many sailors killed during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. Oahu is also the location of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, the most famous volcanic crater in the world. There are plenty of things to do on Oahu, including snorkeling, boogie boarding, surfing, kayaking, and hiking, and there are many great restaurants too. This is a good place to go if you like the more commercial and busy style.
Kauai – The Garden Isle
Kauai is probably the most reserved or subdued of the four main Hawaiian Islands, and the most romantic. It is a relatively small island, which can be easily seen on a peripheral basis in just one day. However, Kauai has many wonderful features, each of which can be enjoyed in much more detail. Outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, water skiing, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach are just a few of the many wonderful activities Kauai has to offer. On the down side, restaurants close relatively early, as do most other things, so this island is best enjoyed during the day.
Maui and the Crater
Maui is one of the more popular of the Hawaiian Islands, offering a reasonable amount of shopping and night life for its visitors. Maui is a great location for snorkeling and scuba diving, and nearby Molokini Crater has wonderful spots for both. Additionally, Maui has some great hiking and other outdoor adventures. It also has excellent restaurants; everything from casual to elegant as far as cuisine, with informal attire being acceptable for most places. The one drawback to Maui is that it is very popular, so it tends to be relatively crowded. But, if you like a busy lifestyle, this just might be the best place for you.
Hawaii – The Big Island
Hawaii is called the Big Island for a reason. It’s BIG in comparison to the other islands. There are plenty of things to do on the Big Island, but you can’t see the whole thing in one day. Kona is the main area with many shops, restaurants and activities. The Kilauea Volcano area is another locality with its own hiking adventures, gift shops and history. There is also a unique winery and there are other interesting tourist attractions in the area. Hilo is a small spot on the eastern side and Waikoloa Village is a quaint little area to the northwest. The Big Island doesn’t feel crowded, perhaps because it’s pretty spread out and there are a lot of places to see there. Planning ahead is highly recommended so that you will be sure to see the things that are most appealing to you.
Choosing which Island to Visit
Choosing which Hawaiian Island to visit can seem very confusing if you haven’t been to Hawaii before. In actuality, you really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. Oahu is industrial and has a lot of history. Kauai is laid back and romantic. Maui is busy and fun. The Big Island is diverse and interesting. Which one is right for you?