After easily choosing Hawaii as your next vacation destination, the next part is to decide which among its magnificent islands you should visit. Your next Hawaii vacation could be on one of the eight major islands – Oahu, Hawai’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaua’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaho’olawe. Each island has its own beauty to discover and adventures that await you.
You can choose to stay on the beach, sample the local food, discover the Hawaiian culture, or have a road trip! For the last one, however, commuting can be difficult if you want to see the landmarks of Hawaii. In this case, bringing your car along with you is an excellent option. However, you have to first consider the cost to ship a car to Hawaii.
Best Hawaiian Islands to visit
Once you got that taken care of, then it’s time to choose which island to visit. Let’s have a look at each of them:
We start at the island where the state capital Honolulu is located. O’ahu is dubbed as the Heart of Hawaii. It’s the state’s most populous island and has a rich and diverse culture. Here, you can find famous surf spots such as the Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach. You can also see iconic spots like Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore.
O’ahu is a great place to experience nature and urban living. It’s also the reason why many tourists consider it their top island to visit. According to a survey done in 2018, O’ahu welcomes at least 450,000-570,000 visitors per month.
You can go shopping and dining in world-class restaurants in the city, go clubbing at night, or enjoy the breathtaking views on the Diamond Head Trail Hike.
Needless to say, if you’re looking for an all-in-one vacation, then consider O’ahu.
- Hawai’i Hawaii vacations on the Big Island: Waipio Valley
Because it is the largest island in Hawaii, Hawai'i earns the moniker Big Island. It is home to the only active volcano in the state, as well as some of the best beaches and breathtaking coastal scenery. With a diverse climate and a wide range of natural wonders, nature is at its best. With seven distinct coffee-growing regions, Hawai'i is also home to the United States' own coffee.
It would be a waste of time not to take a road trip around this vast and diverse island. You can do this by renting a car or shipping a car from California to Hawaii or from anywhere in the mainland United States. You can begin in Waimea, on the Big Island's north shore, and end in Kailua-Hapuna Kona's Beach.
- Maui Hawaii vacations on Maui Island: Molokini crater, one of the best snorkelling spots in Maui
Maui is the place to be if you want to live in paradise. For its high-end luxury resorts with breathtaking accommodations, the island has been dubbed "Beverly Hills Island."
This island's visitors can partake in a variety of activities or simply relax in peace. Mountain biking, viewing the scenery from the dormant Haleakala volcano, or catching rays from their world-famous beaches with red, black, and white sands are all options.
A scenic road trip along the Hana Highway can make your stay even more memorable. It is a popular tourist attraction in Maui because of the breathtaking views, waterfalls, and trails that can be found along the way. Renting a car is also an option for a faster commute, or you can check the cost to ship a car to Hawaii instead to bring your car along.
- Kaua’i Hawaii vacations on Kauai Island
Kaua'i is the best option for those looking for a more adventurous and rugged island. It's also known as the Garden Isle, and it has a diverse range of natural attractions, including rainforests, waterfalls, and mountains. This makes it ideal for adventurous travellers seeking to immerse themselves in nature.
On Kauai Island, you can relax and swim in Hanalei Bay, watch the sunset at Poipu Beach, and drive through Waimea Canyon on your Hawaii vacation. You can also go on an off-road ATV tour, zipline through the trees, or relax on a catamaran cruise along the Na Pali Coast.
- Lana’i Hawaii vacations on Lana’i Island: the perfect spot for dolphin spotting while snorkelling
Lana’i is the perfect island if you want a remote and romantic vacation. It is one of Hawaii's smallest major islands and is rarely visited by tourists. Larry Ellison, a billionaire, owns the majority of the island, which explains why it isn't as crowded. Plantation workers make up the majority of the population, so you can get a taste of small-town life.
Despite its small size, this island offers a variety of activities for those seeking luxury with a hint of the wild. You can join a guided hike to Pu'u Pehe, also known as the Sweetheart Rock, during your Hawaii vacations on Lana'i Island, for its breathtaking views and heart-wrenching legend. After that, head to one of the higher-end properties, such as Four Seasons Resorts, for a round of cocktails.
- Moloka’i Hawaii vacations on Moloka’i Island. Photo by Alden Cornell, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Moloka'i, a rustic island with the highest percentage of native Hawaiians, provides the most authentic island experience. It makes up for its lack of modern tourist amenities with the state's highest sea cliffs and longest fringe reef. This island is ideal for those looking for a taste of Hawaii away from the usual tourist traps.
You can visit Kalaupapa's sea cliffs that rise 3,000 feet above the ocean during your Hawaii vacations on Moloka'i Island, then explore Kalaupapa National Historic Park and learn about the history of a leper colony that once resided there. You can also visit Kapuiawa Coconut Grove, which is one of Hawaii's oldest royal groves.
So where to go for the best Hawaii vacations?
Each time a visitor comes to Hawaii, they will have a unique vacation experience. The islands are home to a variety of natural wonders, and it's up to you to find them all. Whether you commute, fly, or ship your car from California to Hawaii, you will undoubtedly enjoy your time there.