Are you having a hard time selecting the best Hawaiian Islands to visit on your next vacation? Here is what to know.
I’m going to skip all the boring long stories and tell you exactly what you should know in preparation for your vacation.
The best part?
You are going to know the conducive time to visit each island, the islands ideal for a specific activity, how to make do with what you have (money), the customs, traditions, and beliefs that govern the islands.
Let’s face it; asking which island is the best in Hawaii, is a random question for travelers. I keep hearing the same question all the time.
I don’t know for you, but I would rather get straight to the point.
If you need a recommendation on which Hawaiian Island to visit, I will tell you exactly what I’ve gotten over eight months and two weeks as a tourist in Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and the island of Hawaii.
Let’s get started because the beautiful looks of this earthbound paradise are not all there is to adore.
Also See: 15 Places to Visit in New York City
5 Things You Would Enjoy When You Visit These Best Hawaiian Islands
Don’t wait until retirement before traveling to The Hawaiian Islands!
We all deserve a break from our hustle and bustling life. We need to be completely free from work, exhaustion, and the noisy city.
For this reason, we can fully tap into the abundance of nature and have unforgettable experiences on a daily basis.
And speaking of “unforgettable experience,” the Hawaiian Islands are capable of bringing such feel.
They have the most attractive sceneries filled with exciting activities, an abundance of beaches, rich cultures, active volcanoes, unique foods, and tropical weather conducive for tourists and whoever wants to get a taste of a good life.
Without wasting much of your time, these are exciting things you should look forward to when visiting any of the Hawaiian Islands:
It is true! One of the most annoying problems we often face while visiting somewhere unfamiliar has always been with the overbooked hotel.
But in the Hawaiian Islands, accommodation is not a problem. There are a variety of places to stay.
If you want a billion-dollar view from your balcony at any of the luxurious resorts in Kannapali or Kapalua on the west coast, it is available.
Also, if you seek to relax in a vast condo-rental in Kihei, located on the southern coast, there are assorted types within your reach.
Besides, you can stay in the winding East Maui –my favorite place –where charming cabins are hidden among tropical flowers and palms.
If a Five-star hotel is your taste, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. The islands have you covered.
Despite the abundance of shelters, it’s wise to book your reservation with a credit card in advance. Furthermore, call the hotel a couple of days before your arrival to confirm your reservation.
However, if the hotel rooms are full before your arrival, the hotel will assist you in setting up a convenient accommodation for you elsewhere, near your target area.
2. Abundance of Beaches
An Island without beaches isn’t complete. On Hawaii’s island, there are over 30 miles of different amazing beaches. That said, you can do your favorite water-spots game like surfing or paddle-boarding on the white, red or black beaches.
It’s secure for you to swim, sunbathe and snorkel. There are lifeguards, restrooms, and picnic facilities to your aid.
Besides, you have got the opportunity to watch sea turtles, live Sharks, Dolphins, with the Humpback Whales, and other bodies of waters that are rare to see in other countries.
3. Exotic Food and Restaurants You won’t Find Anywhere Else.
Not only do these islands have a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, but also cultural entertainment that comes alongside refreshment. The style of cooking has its unique flavors and traditions.
You can relax on the sunny beach with a cup of Shave Ice [an ice cream with colorful flavors on the top; azuki beans at the buttom]. You can as well go for the Pupu –it is an appetizer, and every restaurant in Hawaiian’s Lands sells a variety of it.
Besides, you have the Malasadas (a Portuguese doughnut), as well as the Loco Moco (which is in form of hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy).
There are other unique dishes you would like to taste such as:
- Saimin: Saimin is a noodle and broth soup with Filipino, Chinese and Japanese touch.
- Omi Lomi Salmon: A dish prepared with salmon, tomatoes, and onions.
- The Plate Lunch: The meal was first originated in the Japanese bento box. It contains one scoop of rice and macaroni salad, with one-kind-of meat. You can add other meat if you want; to make it a mixed plate.
There are more discoveries to do with Hawaiians Island’s local foods with authentic tastes.
4. Exciting Cultural Beliefs, Activities, and Beliefs.
Another crucial benefit of why we should travel to the Hawaii Islands is to discover new cultures and traditions. We all have this adventurous side in us and are curious about the ways of life of other people across the globe.
Despite the amazing volcanoes, beaches, waters, sunsets, and blue-sky, the culture and tradition of Hawaii are what make it interestingly unique. The culture reflects on the land’s inborn beauty.
Did you know the movie “Moana”[ daughter of chief Tui, embarks on a journey to restore the heart of goddess Te Fitti, to Maui, after the fish and crops on her island start dying] was gotten from Hawaii’s history and culture?
Sounds surprising? I never knew either, not until I visited Hawaii.
Also, I learned about their traditional gods and goddesses like Maui (a legendary demi-god who pulled up the island from the sea bed), Poliahu (a snow god), and Pele (sister to Poliahu, a deceptive volcano goddess).
Additionally, I love the superstitious beliefs. Do you know the Hawaiians believe taking away lava rocks from any of the volcanoes brings bad luck?
Hundreds of tourists who visited the island and took only a tiny piece of lava rocks back home testified to be plagued by bad luck.
Customs, dance, and music are vital parts of the Hawaiian culture.
For me, I love watching the Hula dance. It is a lively and energetic art form that blends storytelling with rhythm and motion.
People who do the Hula dance, wear colorful costumes and grass skirts, with graceful hand gestures, while swaying their hips. Hawaiian music is lovely! But what you must learn is their customs.
Here are some of the local customs and tradition I still have with me until this day:
- The way of greeting someone is with a kiss on one side of the check.
- You should always remove your shoes before entering into someone’s house.
- If a female is wearing a flower on her left ear, it shows she is in a relationship. Whereas, if the flower is on the right ear, it indicates she is single.
- Never take sand or rock from the beach or volcano with you.
5. Events Calendar
It will be more fun if you plan your trip during any of the Hawaiian Island special events, and there are many fantastic events going on here and there.
Witness one-of-a-kind traditional events, stage shows, cultural performances, sports competitions, and food & wine festivals.
The food festivals are my favorites. The Islands showcases local food scenes, gather professional Chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers to make the occasion a success.
The exciting thing is it doesn’t matter if you have a family, a full-time job, or having little or no money left. You can still travel on the weekends or holidays at a cheap price. Besides, the islands are safe; you can even come with a two-month-old baby.
Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit: The Complete List
1. Lanai Island
I hate to admit it, but compare to the other Hawaiian Islands, the Lanai island is 10X more exciting to visit –if you value privacy. Hence, it comes first on our list of the best Hawaiian islands to visit
Lanai is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, on the other hand, it offers a complete enticement to its visitors. It’s only nine miles away from Maui Island, yet a completely different world away.
Lanai has two specific regions. The first is a luxurious resort where you can do some world-class amenities and play championship-level golf. Secondly, the other region with no-stop lights and unpaved road awaits adventure and privacy.
The two most interesting things about Lanai is a place to stay and a unique history.
Lanai is not populated. As the smallest inhabited island, not too many people crowds this small island. It is one of the reasons why Lanai is such a private and peaceful destination.
Finally, with an amazing history, Lanai is definitely a place to visit. History is another unique aspect of this island.
It was inhabited over 1,000 years after other islands of Hawaii. It took that long for the island to be inhabited because it is small and separated from the others.
Hawaiian’s ancestors believed that there were man-eating-evil spirits on the island. Lanai was discovered after the son of a Maui chief was banished to the island.
They thought the land wasn’t survivable, but after a couple of days, the chief’s son signaled a fire along the shores of the lanai. The other Hawaiians saw the signaled fire and had him picked up back to the Maui Island.
For that act of bravery, the Maui chief rewarded his son with control over Lanai. They encouraged immigrants to the island. The more people start frequenting the Island, the Hawaiians ancestors left historical landmarks on the Island.
2. Kauai Island
On our list of the best Hawaiian islands to visit is the Kauai island.
If you want to travel from one island to the other within a short vacation, it will be time and energy-consuming. Besides, you might end up spending more than your budget.
Thus, I think Kauai has one of the most attractive sceneries. It’s Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, popularly known as the “Garden Island” filled will emerald valleys, gigantic mountain and jagged cliffs aged by elements and time.
Major Hollywood films are shot in Kauai. Kauai isn’t just dramatic beauty, it’s a paradise with various outdoor activities to light up your adventurous side.
Moreover, the most exciting activities to do are Kayaking the Wailua River, hiking the trails of Kokee State Park, snorkel on Poipu Beach or going Zip Lining above Kauai’s pleasingly rich valleys.
Although not many parts of Kauai are accessible by road, they are reachable by sea or air.
Kauai has a vast environment to experience. If you love enjoying your privacy, Kauai would be the ideal island for you. There are no many tourists, and you can achieve your goals within a short period of time.
One of the best places of Kauai is the Makauwahi Cave –a large cave and sinkhole known to be one of the richest fossil sites in the Pacific. Explore this cave and uncover the undeniable allure it holds.
One thing to keep in mind is traveling to Kauai during winter or fall, might not be a good idea. The weather can affect many of your activities.
For instance, if you are to hike to Hanakapiai Beach or to the valleys, and back to the waterfall, it can get really muddy and slippery. The road might even flood.
If the weather goes bad, it can also affect your boat and helicopter tours. In short, the ideal time to visit Kauai is during summer.
3. Molokai Islands
Molokai Island is about 38 miles long and 10 miles wild. It is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest fringing reef.
The Hawaiian ancestry continues to preserve their rural lifestyle on this Island. That said, Molokai remains true to its roots. The Island is the birthplace of Hula (Hawaiian dance).
Molokai is where you get the most out of the hula –the most valued part of Hawaiian culture. The Hula dance is a way for Hawaiians to tell a story with rhythm and motion.
Additionally, you get to witness the Ka Hula Piko –a special event that performs the origins of Hula with storytelling, assorted foods & fruits, and of course, plenty of dancing.
The colorful costumes and grass skirt has never been more pleasing than the Ka Hula Piko event. Also, admission is completely free. Thus, there are no excuses not to attend the Hula dance fest.
The Kanemitsu’s Bakery is another hot spot on this Island. Here is where you get the most delicious hot pieces of bread filled with strawberry cream cheese. Although, you can only get the fresh hot loaves of bread if you go late at night.
The Kanemistsu’s Bakery alone is worth the trip to Molokai Island. No regrets!
Next is the grove of royal coconut palms. Molokai has a specific place called the “Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove,” where you see hundreds of tall coconut palm trees. It was planted at the request of King Kamehameha V.
However, the annoying thing about this coconut paradise is you can no longer enter the grove. It is due to the unexpected falling of the coconuts, which might be dangerous. However, you can enjoy the view from the outside.
4. Oahu Island
Oahu Island is the third largest Hawaiian Island and the most populated. It is sometimes called “The Gathering Place,” where the majority of Hawaii’s diverse population often spend their time.
Whether you for looking forward to spending time with friends, finding a better atmosphere, discovering new cultures, or finding love, you will get it on Oahu Island.
Although there are many attractive towns and cities in Oahu, you can get the most out of your vacation in places like Honolulu, Kailua, Waikiki, Kahala, and Haleiwa.
Speaking of Honolulu, it is the capital of the U.S. state of Hawaii. If you find a crowdy place refreshing, you should visit Honolulu. It is located on the south shore of Oahu island. More precisely, it is the home to numerous visitor’s attractions.
More than 390,000 people are in Honolulu. There are so many people to mingle with, lively events, and lots of activities that engage everyone.
Secondly is the Waikiki town; the center of the tourism industry. Here, you see five-star hotels line the shore, including the early 20th-century historic buildings. For the best reservation and accommodation, Waikiki got you covered.
Next, are Kahala and Haleiwa. It’s obvious we do some shopping on our vacation. Whereas, most people seek for a luxury and expensive lifestyle –then take a trip to either of these towns.
Kahala is where most celebrities and business moguls go on a vacation. Here you’ll find the most expensive and beautiful mansions and real estate. Moreover, you are more likely to come across your favorite celebrities.
Haleiwa is for luxurious shopping. It is the largest town and commercial center that invites the diverse popular of tourists and residents alike.
Lastly, we have the Kailua Beach, which is among the best beaches in the world. Kailua’s major attraction is its gorgeous white-sand beach. Bring out that childlike part of you, as you play and relax on white, soft, powdery fine sand.
Besides, if you feel you are unlucky about love, then visit Kailua Island. Here on Kailua, you will meet high caliber men and women seeking their freedom in a cozier atmosphere. Feel free to rapport and connect with people.
At the same time, there is more to learn about the Oahu such as Kalua pork (a spectacular evening celebration, outdoor adventures, and a powerful sense of history.
5. Maui Island
If you want to experience something completely unfamiliar and leave with new knowledge or skills, I urge you should take a trip to Maui Island.
Truly; there is nothing more exciting discovering how the rest of the world lives. It’s more educational than your college class, company’s meeting or even high school.
All the destination within the Maui has something unique to teach, and create a positive impact on how you see this world.
Maui Island is the second-largest island in the Hawaiian Islands and about 727.2 square miles approximately 1,883 Km2.
While in Maui Island, you must visit either of these places; The Hana Highway and Ho’okipa State Beach Park. Whether you want to build and strengthen relationships, have an adventure, relax, or mark a special occasion, these are go-to spots in Maui Island.
The Hana Highway well-known as the Valley Isle is a slowly windy highway that passes through a myriad healthy-green-jungle paradise.
In addition, the Hana Highway has more than 606 curves, 59 one-lane bridges, and 68 miles of tropical Hawaiian rainforest with an abundance of waterfalls, quite close to the highway.
Also, you can hike your way to other accessible cascades and magnificent cliffs, mountain streams and scenic coastlines.
No wonder why most tourist prefers going down this road with a tour guide and an experienced driver. The drive along the Hana Highway offers a magnificent view.
Meanwhile, if you aren’t satisfied with what Hana Highway has to offer, at the same time, you can visit the Ho’okipa State Beach Park.
Ho’okipa State Beach Park is another go-to spot. It is known for its quiet and peaceful setting, and for water sports, as well.
Do you want to experience the ocean of love with your partner? I recommend you take her to Ho’okipa. Not only will you find the calm sandy shores interesting, but also exploring the best lookout, watching the sunset.
6. Island of Hawaii
The Island of Hawaii is the last in our list of the best Hawaiian islands to visit, and it appears to be the largest of all islands in the Hawaiian chain, yet it is the youngest. It is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands, and there is so much to enjoy in this Island.
The big island is the only place in the world where you can explore assorted colorful beaches. You have the white, black and green sand beaches within your disposal with great outdoor exercise and volcanoes.
In addition, the Volcanoes National Park is a magical place to stay and watch the beautiful night glow. The volcano is active, yet is quite safe.
Visit the Mauna Kea –the tallest mountain in the world. You can sight its peculiar structure in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Or plan your next adventurous hiking trails to the Waipio Valley full of a precious gem.
Explore the black sand beach, waterfalls, and green valley.
Also, there are cities and local places that will leave an imprint on your heart such as Puna (the Lava Trees State Park, where you get to see lava trees and molds), and Hilo (where the most famous farmers market, local shops, dramatic waterfall, and beautiful beaches reside.
In conclusion, there are so many reasons why we should travel to any of these best Hawaiian Islands.
However, some of us might have reasons not to travel.
We understand there are major reasons why most of us won’t even travel. These could be as a result of the language barrier, fear of the unknown, not being able to afford it, and whatnot.
Don’t you think you deserve more out of life? We all deserve to be happy!
For this reason, instead of concentrating on the little problems; why not take a look at the brighter side of things –all the fun, relaxing and rejuvenating, learning something new, and more.
Besides, with little at hand, you can do so much on the Hawaiian Islands.
Language shouldn’t prevent you from going on a vacation, neither should the unexpected. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and appreciate life despite your circumstances.
I hope this article has armed you with the right information needed for your vacation.
Please endeavor to share your thoughts and experiences with us via the comment section below.