Looking to get away? Hawaii is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide, and for good reason! Home to six islands, Hawaii is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, volcanoes, and tropical forests. To help you decide which island is best for you, here’s an overview of the Hawaiian Islands and what makes each one special.
Molokai – Best for those who want to go off the grid
Hawaii’s fifth largest island, Molokai, is only 38 miles long and 10 miles across its widest point. Molokai remains true to its island heritage, with most of its population of Native Hawaiian ancestry who continue to preserve their rural lifestyle. Molokai has very few hotels and only one stop light – but it is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world, the longest continuous fringing reef, and Hawaii’s highest waterfall – the 1,750-foot Kahiwa Falls.
Lanai – Best for remote luxury
Lanai is a secluded island with few paved roads, minimal crowds, and ample space to disconnect and enjoy the relaxed pace of island life. In 2012, most of the island was privately purchased, solidifying its remote atmosphere. The island underwent significant renovations to combine rustic island life with private tropical luxury, creating a more modern and indulgent feel while preserving its unspoiled nature. After reopening in 2016, it has become renowned for its luxury and isolation, offering top-notch amenities and five-star accommodations.
Kauai – Best for adventure enthusiasts
The fourth largest and oldest of the islands, Kauai is known for its lush, varied landscape and spectacular scenery, including the 3,567-foot-deep Waimea Canyon and 3,000-foot-high cliffs along the Napali Coast. Kauai is home to Hawaii’s most miles of beach, hiking trails, and navigable rivers for kayaking. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond the imagination.
Hawaii – Best for experiencing diverse climates
Twice the size of the other islands combined, the “Big Island” is the largest and youngest of the Hawaiian Islands, has the most active volcanoes and the longest sheer-drop waterfall. The Big Island is the most ecologically diverse – with all four different climate zones available to explore, from the Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra and desert plains, because of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa. The Big Island is ideal for diving and fishing and boasts 18 golf courses.
Maui – Best for a quintessential tropical experience
Maui offers stunning coastal views, unique volcanoes, wildlife sanctuaries, and vast, untouched wilderness, making it an authentically charming destination with countless activities. Home to several small towns, including historic Lahaina, which gives the second-largest island a surprisingly intimate vibe. The island claims the most miles of swimmable beaches in Hawaii and is home to many luxury hotels. Travelers enjoy golfing, snorkeling, hiking, windsurfing, and whale-watching.
Oahu – Best for entertainment
Oahu perfectly blends history, culture, nightlife, and outdoor adventure. It is home to the state capital, Honolulu, where you can explore numerous historical landmarks, world-renowned museums, luxury hotels, restaurants, and shops. As the third-largest Hawaiian island, Oahu has over 130 beaches, numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, golf courses, and breathtaking sightseeing options that you can enjoy.
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