Which islands should you visit?
No doubt about it, there is something enticing about each one of the Hawaiian Islands. The big question is… which islands should you visit? There's several Hawaiian Islands and each one has its own distinct personality and charm. For a true Hawaiian experience, you really ought to visit more than one island to get a sense of Hawaii's unique variety.
Oahu Brings the Best of City Life and Country Living
Oahu is the most popular first stop for most visitors, due in part to the higher number of nonstop flights into Honolulu from international and Mainland U.S. cities. It’s home to the majority of Hawaii’s population; thus, expect crowds and rush-hour traffic in urban areas. That said, it truly offers something for everyone.
Maui is Considered Heaven on Earth
From there, you can venture out for strolls through the former whaling port of Lahaina, glorious sunrises or sunsets at the summit of 10,000-foot Haleakala Volcano, concerts and exhibits at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and sightseeing on the spectacular coastal road to Hana, which, with some 600 hairpin turns and 50-plus one-lane bridges, will surely test your driving skills.
Hawaii Island is for Volcano Lovers
Volcanic activity is confined to a relatively small southeastern sector, far from the west-side Kohala Coast where most visitors stay. Even if Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed, there are plenty of other outdoor diversions to keep you occupied, including camping, birding, ziplining, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, and exploring cultural sites such as Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
Kauai is Nature at Its Finest
Kauai is known as the “Garden Island,” and rightly so. Green is everywhere framing rivers and waterfalls; casting broad strokes across valleys, cliffs, mountains, meadows, farmland and taro patches; and coloring its many gardens, Na Aina Kai, Smith’s Tropical Paradise, Princeville Botanical Gardens and the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s.
Molokai and Lanai Offer a Laidback Getaway
Instead, great outdoor adventures beckon. Among Molokai’s highlights are Halawa Valley, Kamakou Preserve, Moomomi Preserve, Molokai Forest Reserve and Kalaupapa (now a National Historical Park), where people stricken with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) were once banished beginning in 1866. The only hotel on the island is modest Hotel Molokai.