What do you think of when you daydream about Hawaii? Most likely, you imagine white sandy beaches, coconut palms, and rolling waves. But Hawaii is actually quite diverse, with eight islands, each with their own distinct feel.
While we’re partial to Kauai, the other major islands certainly have their appeal. Here is our guide to the four most visited islands.
Oahu – An Urban Escape
Ideal for surfers and those who love exploring urban destinations
Oahu is a lively island and the most populated in Hawaii. Nicknamed “The Gathering Place,” it has something for every traveler, including surfing, beaches, high-rise hotels, five-star dining, and roaring nightlife. It’s home to dozens of art galleries, museums, and monuments. The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is just is just 20-minute drive from Honolulu on the South Shore.
Hawaii – Unparalleled Diversity
Ideal for hikers and those who prefer to keep their options open
Hawaii, also known as “The Big Island,” is full of diversity. In winter, you can snowboard Mauna Kea in the morning and horseback ride through tropical forest in the afternoon. Travelers flock to the island for its hiking, beaches, and two active volcanoes. You’ll find every kind of accommodation here as well, from budget-friendly vacation rentals to world-class resorts.
Maui – Laid-Back Charm
Ideal for honeymooners, golfers and foodies
Maui, also known as “The Valley Isle,” has a laid-back, romantic vibe. Stroll the island’s beaches, hike Haleakala at sunrise, or golf one of the several championship courses on the island. The island’s rolling green hills are abundant with livestock and produce, leading to the recent rise in farm-to-table restaurants.
Kauai – Hints of Days Gone By
Ideal for adventurers and anyone who’s feeling a little nostalgic
For a taste of Hawaii as it used to be, look no further than “The Garden Isle.” Most of the island is inaccessible by car, so you’ll have to explore by boat, helicopter, or on foot. Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast offer scenic vistas that will surely take your breath away, and small towns throughout the island will give you an idea of what Hawaii was like 50 years ago.