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The Complete Guide on Which Hawaiian Island to Visit

a beach with a city in the background

Planning a trip to Hawaii huh? Well that means exciting times are ahead! But wait – there’s a plot twist: Hawaii isn’t just one place. It’s a magical archipelago, each island with its own charm and vibe. So, the big question for you is – which Hawaiian island to visit? 


Which Hawaiian Island to Visit: Does it Really Matter?


Truthfully, you can’t go wrong traveling to Hawaii, each island is its own unique tropical paradise. That being said, the matter of which Hawaiian island to visit can be decided on your particular interests and vacation plans. (Plus, it’s important to know which island different activities are on so you can plan accordingly.)

a body of water with a mountain in the background

Which Hawaiian Island Suits You


Before we surf into the details, take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Imagine your perfect Hawaiian day. Are you hiking? Lounging on the beach? Watching active lava flows? Dancing hula?…Hawaii consists of eight islands, four of which are your main destination choices, and each with their own personality. Hopefully breaking these personalities down a little will help your decision on which Hawaiian island to visit. 


For the Nature Enthusiast: Kauai

Every Hawaiian island is green, but Kauai is something otherworldly, even known as the “Garden Isle” (and for good reason). Think jaw-dropping cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and verdant forests. If nature and outdoor adventures scream your name, Kauai’s your playground.


The Party & Surf Seeker: Oahu

When you picture Hawaii most people probably picture this island. The most populated island is home to iconic spots like the North Shore, Waikiki, and more. From the bustling Waikiki Beach to the historic Pearl Harbor, it’s a mix of vibrant city life and surf culture. This island has the most variety for those looking for a mixture of upscale dining, tropical hikes, thriving nightlife, luaus, and world-famous waves. 


Lava Lover & Peace Pursuer: Big Island

The Big Island (the island actually called “Hawaii”) is… well, BIG. From snow-capped Mauna Kea to the active Kilauea volcano, it’s a land of extremes. Home to the expansive Volcanoes National Park and the tallest (not highest) mountain in the world, this island is truly for the explorer spirit. 


Luxe Life & Whale Watcher: Maui

Looking for some classic rest and relaxation on your tropical getaway? Maui is home to fancy resorts, gourmet restaurants, and those epic Humpback whale sightings. A perfectly stunning island, Maui is much smaller than the Big Island, making it a better destination for those looking for a quick activity rather than all-day adventures. 

a group of palm trees next to a body of water

Deciding on Your Hawaiian Island Destination


After all is said and done, sometimes, you gotta go with that gut feeling. Maybe you’ve got ancestral ties to an island. Maybe a movie scene from one island gives you all the feels. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll close your eyes, spin a globe (or, you know, Google Maps) and point.

As you make your vacation plans, rest assured knowing one thing for certain: your decision on which Hawaiian island to visit is sure to be the right choice! Hawaii’s magic sunsets, memorable snorkel tours, and aloha spirit is waiting for you!