Versions Of Paradise: How To Choose The Right Hawaiian Island For You
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No matter where you go in Americas 50th state, Hawaiis eight large islands offer a wide variety of topographies, accommodations, activities and experiences.
And although visiting Hawaii has been unobtainable for the majority of 2020, 2021 will hopefully bring more travel to the island. Just remember to check Hawaiis ever-changing travel policy. Depending on the exact dates you travel, there might be quarantine restrictions pre-departure or upon arrival and COVID-19 testing requirements. You might also find that some islands have more strict policies than others, which might play a factor in which island to visit. And even though you might have booked your vacation months prior, you have to follow the restrictions that are in place the day you travel not the day you booked your trip.
Diamondhead Is A Great Spot For Active Kids And Families
If you want to make fun, active memories with your children, then hiking to the summit of Diamondhead should be on your familys list of top things to do on Oahu with kids.
They have a 0.8 mile hiking trail that takes you above the clouds during the morning and shows you one of the most incredible sunrises available. Diamondhead is a rather strenous hike though, taking about 1.5 2 hours total. The last bit is all stairs.
I hiked Diamondhead during a grade 11 band trip to Hawaii, and I still think about that experience to this day.
Which Island To Choose In Hawaii
Like many visitors to Hawaii, you’re probably wondering which Hawaii island to visit and thinking about which one would be best for you and your travel party. Unlike many destinations, Hawaii is not really one destination – but six unique, eclectic, and diverse island destinations that all happen to be within the same state. The six main islands, four of which we cover in detail on this site, are, from west to east, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
The islands are very diverse, and each one has its own unique offerings, making choosing an island rather difficult, especially for first-time visitors. And once you’ve started visiting the islands, coming back to a different island can often feel like a totally different place with a whole new set of experiences, sights, and attractions. Additionally, one of the most common misconceptions about Hawaii is that it’s all like Waikiki , Lahaina/Ka’anapali , or Kailua-Kona – that is, developed and tourist-oriented. The reality could not be further from the truth, as there are plenty of non-developed parts of the island chain, including large ranches, farms, miles of wild coastline and untamed landscapes, and an abundance of verdant valleys bursting with waterfalls.
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Honeymooning Or Bringing The Whole Family Maui
For many travelers, Maui offers the best of both worlds in terms of island life fun, relaxed nightlife, charming beach towns, a convenient mix of modern amenities and untouched nature, and plenty of adventurous activities that will leave you wanting more.
Maui is our top island suggestion for honeymooners, thanks in large part to its over 81 gorgeous beaches, endless romantic activities and views, and abundant opportunities for sexy adventures with your significant other. Whether you spend your day snorkeling with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, watching a romantic sunrise atop Haleakala, swimming in waterfalls along the Road to Hana, stargazing, indulging in luxurious spa packages, or sipping cocktails on a sunset cruise, Maui is sure to make your dream honeymoon a reality.
Those traveling with kids, parents or grandparents will be pleased to find that Maui is the perfect middle ground for travelers of all ages. The whole family will enjoy whale watching during winter months, touring Mauis Top Activities and swimming at some of the best family-friendly beaches in the state including: Wailea Beach, Kapalua Bay and Charley Young Beach.
Maui A Holiday For Every Taste
Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii combining a variety of recreation. Here you will find beautiful natural sites, volcanoes and rainforests, scenic excursions, tourist facilities, bright nightlife, places for extreme recreation, impregnable coral reefs and comfortable resorts. In addition, Maui is considered the place with the most picturesque beaches on the planet.
The western part of the island combines luxury and developed tourist areas. The beaches of Kaanapali offer numerous options for a comfortable stay in a tropical paradise. Also, here you will find the favorite activities of many tourists and island residents: scuba diving, diving, surfing, etc. Not far from the beach is the town of Lahaina. It is literally full of historical and cultural monuments, and boasts beautiful nature!
The southern side of Maui includes the towns of Kihei and Wailea. It is much quieter here than in the west of the island, so the place is perfect for a family vacation. Oneloa Beach has everything you need for your comfort and offers great conditions for various sports, surfing, swimming and diving. Its also nice to just walk along the shore, have a picnic and taste Hawaiian food.
The famous road to Hana winds along the eastern part of the island. The road runs around the mountains, past the dramatic cliffs towering over the ocean, through the lush rainforests. Here you will also find black sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, Seven Sacred Pools and incredible scenery.
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Wonderful Ocean View Villa On Ko Olina Beach
For when you want to be close to the ocean and the Aulani Resort, but want the comforts of home, and a bigger place, then this gorgeous Ocean front villa steps from the beach is an amazing place to stay. They provide boogie boards and other beach gear for you to borrow, which is a bonus.
It sleeps up to six, offers amazing views and gives you access to all of the Ko Olina Beach Villas Resorts amenities, including sandy lagoons, lap pools, championship golf, a full service spa, fine restaurants and a private marina.
Kualoa Nature Preserve Is An Excellent Attraction For Families
One of the most filmed and recognizable jungles in the world is Kualoa Nature Preserve on the east coast of Oahu.
Several prominent movies have been filmed in the preserve including the Jurassic Park films. They will create a lasting memory for all the kids who enjoy going there.
Spending the day at Kualoa Preserve will also give the children a break from the fast-paced, electronically motivated world and connect with nature.
This is the place to take your kids when you need a break from the beach. There are hiking trails and various tours and activities that will give kids more than enough to explore and spy on when playing.
Kualoa Nature Preserve offers movie site tours, horseback riding and e-bike tours, jungle expeditions, ziplining, and more. The jungle will always provide a way for kids to keep themselves entertained. The preserve is one of many fun activities in Oahu for kids.
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Choosing The Best Hawaiian Island For A Family Vacation
Do you want to vacation in Hawaii but dont know where exactly to go? Are you seeking some direction and inspiration as you begin your trip planning? Youve come to the right place.
Whether you are visiting the islands on a budget or planning a luxurious trip , there is something for you and your family in Hawaii.
For many people, the Hawaiian Islands are a fantasy vacation location. They are a mash of scenic features and a lot of cultures.
Hawaii is a group of over 130 islands and islets that make up an archipelago. The eight largest are inhabited, while the remainder of the islands remain desolate. The best Hawaiian island for a family vacation is one with attractions and beautiful beaches.
Kauai: Rivers Waterfalls And Jurassic Park
Kauai is aptly dubbed the garden isle. The islands mountains and valleys are lush and green, flowing with waterfalls and rivers.
Adventure outfitters provide a fun and safe way to explore the island top to bottom. For example, we got an aerial view of the island via Island Helicopters Kauai. Thats the way to see Jurassic Falls, the majestic setting where the 1993 Jurassic Park movie was filmed. The Manawaiopuna Falls was the backdrop for the the scene when the visitors first arrive on the island.
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Best Island For Hiking In Hawaii
hiking in hawaii
If you live and breathe hikes, Kauai is the island for you. This piece of Hawaiian paradise is home to a plethora of long hikes that take you through breathtaking terrain.
Moving on to Oahu, there are numerous trails scattered across the island and the lush tropical scenery is a great chance to escape the city beach scene.
Being the most popular island in Hawaii, the trails you find in Oahu will definitely be busy.
You might even be able to claim bragging rights if you make it to the top of Diamond Head Crater!
This hike isnt necessarily challenging, but many people underestimate the heat and humidity in Hawaii so make sure you stay properly hydrated.
Hiking in Maui isnt as good as Oahu, but that doesnt mean there arent any good trails! Cruise down the Road to Hana and youll soon discover many smaller trails that lead to waterfalls.
Or sign up for a sunrise hike to the summit of Mount Haleakal, a dormant volcano that makes up more than 75% of Mauis landmass.
Which Island in Hawaii Has the Best Hikes?
Kauai has the best hiking trails in all of Hawaii.
From easy walks along the shore to highly intense trails that get your heart pumping, this island offers something for everyone.
No other Hawaiian island can make an impression on hikers the way Kauai can!
Mostly Ds: The Big Island
If you answered mostly Ds, youll want to hop a flight to the island of Hawaii or the Big Island. Named for its size, the Big Island offers a quiet vacation. The island is large enough that even during the busiest periods, it doesnt feel too crowded.
The Big Island is well known for its active volcano, Kilauea, which is part of Volcanoes National Park. The park is an amazing place for geology enthusiasts and anyone interested in seeing volcanoes to explore. You can even spend the night right in the park, in a hotel room overlooking a volcano crater.
But theres more to the Big Island than volcanoes. Spend some time exploring the town of Hilo and the waterfalls that are just outside. Explore the black and green sand beaches. Head into coffee country and see how your favorite drink is grown. Take to the seas for excellent snorkeling as well as swimming with Manta Rays . And our favorite part of the Big Island: just sitting outside overlooking the black lava fields and watching a beautiful sunset.
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Coming To Party In Paradise Oahu
If youre in search of exciting nightlife in Hawaii, theres really only one place to go Waikiki. While Oahu offers a variety of activities for all kinds of travelers, including surfers, nature enthusiasts, history buffs and foodies, we highly recommend Oahu for the young and adventurous crowd.
Spend the day swimming in the gorgeous turquoise waters of Lanikai Beach on Oahus windward coast, learning how to surf at Waikiki Beach, or touring Kualoa Ranch before an evening of dancing, live music and entertainment in downtown Honolulu.
Also known as The Gathering Place, Oahu is a true melting pot of culture, beauty, and big city life on a tropical island. With over 4.5 million annual visitors, its the most popular tourist destination in the state of Hawaii.
Lanai Tiny Secluded Private Paradise
The island of Lanai is known as the Pineapple Isle, and it is a kind of paradise that you do not find in the pages of a travel magazine, or on any other of the Hawaiian islands for that matter. This tiny, 90,000-acre island is only accessible by ferry from Mauis island, a mere nine miles away. A chance for a perfect getaway to exclusive small-island life, no mass tourism included.
The island houses two amazing resorts, including the Royal Lahaina Resort and the Four Seasons, and includes a world-renowned golf course. This island will nurture the mind, body, and soul with delicious solitude and relaxation.
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Hawaii Tropical Vacation How To Choose Your Island
In todays world, we have all coped with stress and often find ourselves afflicted with the cliché daydream of teleporting onto a picturesque, tropical beach. An image of beach scenery typically sparks the daydream so mind-blowingly beautiful, it makes you question if such an idyllic paradise exists. If you have visited Hawaii, you would know that it does. Imagining your Hawaii tropical vacation, picture yourself leaving delicate footprints on a velvety white sand beach at sunset, or hiking through lush rainforests, motivated by the sweet promise of a blissful refreshment underneath a waterfall.
Such an image may offset wanderlust or also initiate the need for a deep, sharp, wistful sigh. The type of sigh that says: one day, you will finally take that trip to Hawaii Right? The self-told illusion of one day can feel adorably optimistic and promising at times, but if not now, then when?
Well, if we have learned anything in the unforeseen reality we are living in today due to the global pandemic, it is this: Life is too short, unpredictable, and delicate to passively sit, wait and wish for the perfect timing to do what you have always wanted to do. As you put your plans and dreams on hold, whether it is at your personal discretion or not, life speeds by. It speeds right past you, brazenly , waving at you as you shyly draw circles in the sand with your toes, stalling to decide whether to take action or to succumb to your circumstances.
Which Hawaiian Island Should You Visit
It can be difficult to make a complete decision just from a quick quiz. Sometimes you just need to see what each island looks like before you know what is right for your trip.
We have a video that gives you a look into each island, so you can make the best decision for your trip:
Looking for more? We have everything you need to know about planning a trip to Hawaii. Things like:
- Punaluu Beach
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Best Hawaii Island For Nightlife
Dancer performing at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Around Oahu, youll find plenty of things to do once the sun sets. The main street that runs through Waikiki is almost like the Las Vegas strip of Hawaii, theres tons of shops, lively restaurants and small bars.
Theres no shortage of luaus and live shows here catch the night show at the Polynesian Cultural Center, you wont be disappointed.
While the nightlife in Maui doesnt come close to Oahu, most of the action can be found in Lahaina and the neighboring town of Kaanapali. Youll find a few bars and lounges that open till about midnight.
On Kauai and the Big Island, when the sun goes down your best bet would be to go back to your hotel and call it a night.
Which Island in Hawaii Has the Best Nightlife?
Oahu is the best island for nightlife. Honolulu, the capital of Oahu, has the best nightlife options in all of Hawaii.
Oahu: Ideal For Families
Oahu is known as the Gathering Place, and for good reason. This island is by far the most popular for travelers, partially due to the accessibility of everything from nightclubs and world-class restaurants to sandy beaches and quaint surf towns. Honolulu, the state capital, is located on this island. Drive just a few miles outside the city, and youll find yourself surrounded by rainforests in Manoa Valley or the states most tourist-friendly snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.
Iconic and bustling Waikiki provides the main strip of incredible resorts, with plenty of choices for families, couples, friends, and solo travelers alike. Or, head to the north side of the island, which is known for being a bit more laid-back without sacrificing vacation staples such as restaurants and shops. Museums, opportunities for surf lessons, and family friendly activities can also be found on this populous island, as well as cultural sites and malls. Consider spending some time at Pearl Harbor if you choose Oahu, this incredibly important historical site is the most-visited attraction in Hawaii.
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The Best Islands For Short Trips To Hawaii
On the other hand, if your first trip to Hawaii is a shorter trip of four or five days, Id recommend staying somewhere that doesnt require you to move around much in order to see the best that island has to offer. For trips to Hawaii lasting four or five days, I would recommend visiting Oahu, Maui or Lanai.
The Best Hawaiian Island For Relaxation
If youre looking to stay close to your hotel or condo and just hit the beach or pool, Id recommend Maui or Lanai. There are several places to stay in Maui where accommodation is walking distance to shops and restaurants, and on Lanai, theres just fewer things to do in general. On both of these islands, relaxation is king!
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