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Hawaii Highlights:

Which Island is Right for You?


Welcome to Dream Vacations, a lifestyle column on travelling to amazing destinations with practical advice and my revelations about locales from years of personal experience. Hawaii receives almost 10 million visitors a year, the U.S. is ranked third-most visited destination in the world, and the state of Hawaii is in the top 10 US-states visited. But which island should you plan to visit?   

Although there are six main islands, we’ll discuss the top four island destinations. Each island caters to specific tourists and boasts different aspects that might appeal to you.

The Big Island, Hawaii

The big island is the third most popular by visitors and is the only Hawaiian island to host an active volcano. A misconception is that it is the most populous and the state capital, whereas both those titles go to Oahu. The island is practically split in two including a wetter side and a drier side of the island. Most of the top resorts are located in the Waikoloa and Kona areas, the opposite side of the island from the active volcano.

The island has amazing black sand beaches, great snorkelling, sunny weather and Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where you can buy coffee grown in the U.S, with Kona Coffee being the most famous.

Maui: The Valley

A great mix of activities are available on Maui, with some of the world’s best-rated beaches, a dormant volcano and state parks that offer adventure in hiking and wilderness exploration more than the other islands. The road to Hana scenic drive and the top-rated resorts around Lahaina offer families, individuals and couples one of the best variety destinations for enjoying a Hawaiian vacation. Flights to Maui are also second cheapest, making it a popular choice.

The island offers popular beaches, city nightlife in Lahaina, secluded hiking and camping, and even whale watching tours.

Kauai: The Garden   

The northernmost island, Kauai, boasts some of the lushest and greenest vegetation among the islands and as the oldest island, is graced with dramatic valleys, mountains and cliffs unlike those of the other islands. One of the most expensive to fly to, visitors are also happy to enjoy fewer tourists. While you can still enjoy world-class beach accommodations on Kauai, it’s true treasure lies in its tropical rainforests, rivers and waterfalls. The Waimea Canyon, the ‘Pacific Grand Canyon,’ runs for 10 miles and drops 3,600 feet at its deepest.

The natural green island paradise is a nature lover’s dream.

Oahu: The Gathering Place

The state capital of Honolulu, the most populated and the busiest island, Oahu may not be for everyone. If you want quiet reflection, hiking and wilderness adventure, although it is still available on Oahu, the other islands are less busy and offer those experiences in a rawer form. Instead, Oahu offers a big city feel with a great array of restaurants and nightlife as well as some of the most famous surf towns in Hawaii. Home to Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach, it offers cultural exploration and beach life. Typically, flights and accommodations can be less expensive as the most visited island with more choices, but there are still top-notch resorts you can stay in.

Great for families on a budget and wanting a wide variety of activities to suit children and adults, Oahu is aptly named the Gathering Place.

Hawaii is one of our most requested destinations and for a good reason. If you are searching for the perfect Hawaiian getaway, be sure to call and ask for some advice where you should stay.

Tags: Hawaii, island comparison, beach vacation, family vacation,