Which Island for My Hawaii Vacation?

Choosing an Island for your Hawaii Vacation

One of the best parts of my job is helping others plan their Hawaii Vacation.  The number one question we get is “Which island should we go to?” The beauty of Hawaii is the distinct personality of each island.  The “best” island to visit depends on what the person is looking for in a Hawaii Vacation.  Today we got this question on our Hawaii Discount Facebook page.  My answer seemed to long for facebook so I decided to blog about it.


Q: “I’m a 28 year old single mom who is taking my son and a friend of ours to Hawaii (from Alaska) March 9th to 17th. This is our first trip to Hawaii. We love the outdoors and want to hike, snorkel, sit on the beach, ride bikes, cliff jump, and see lava and waterfalls. We are thinking Big Island but up for any suggestions. We need a place to stay and a place to rent a car. We prefer making our own meals and would like to stay at a low cost. Any ideas? Thank you SO much for your help!”


A: 
When you mentioned that you wanted to see lava my first instinct is to tell you to visit the Big Island.  The Big Island boasts 11 out of the Earth’s 13 climate zones and has something for everyone!  Where else can you snow ski and snorkel in the same day? Just know there is not a guarantee you will see flowing lava.  The volcano has it’s own schedule.  We were there last Monday and were not able to see any active lava but we did go back during the evening to see the glow from the crater.  I have also been on Big Island helicopter tours where we were able to see amazing lava flow that cannot be seen by land. Although you may not see flowing lava the Big Island is such a sight from the moment you drive out of the Kona Airport and see the roads lined with black lava rock.  You can also check out some of the scenic black sand beaches – some are less than 20 years old!  The Big Island has gorgeous waterfalls and a variety of Big Island activities that you and your son would both enjoy!  Some of my favorite snorkeling is the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay, site of Captain Cook’s Monument.  The Big Island also offers the unique experience of Manta Ray Night Snorkeling which some say is their favorite Hawaii Activity!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island





Kauai may be a great choice as well. This lush, green island is paradise to those that love the outdoors. Other than the lava it has everything you are looking for!  We stayed in the Cliffs at Princeville condos last week and loved it!  It had a great kitchen that would make cooking at home easy and affordable. On Kauai you could snorkel, sit on the beach (Hanalei Bay is my favorite beach), you can rent bikes to use on the island or even Bike down Waimea Canyon. Kauai also has many beautiful waterfalls.  We went on a kayak tour to Secret Falls and everyone had a blast from the 8 year old boy to the grandmother! Kauai has great hiking so if you like to hit the trail this may be the island for you!

Secret Falls on Kauai



Oahu has several affordable condos where you will be able to cook from home.  Oahu offers a variety of Hawaii Activities! You can hang out on world famous Waikiki Beach and your son can learn to surf or enjoy boogie boarding!  Hiking Diamond Head is always fun and the view at the top is a great reward. Just be sure to check out the rest of the island and not just Waikiki. Be sure to visit Pearl Harbor. The North Shore famous for surfing has beautiful beaches. Some of the best snorkeling in the world is at Hanauma Bay.  I highly recommend the Grand Eco Island Waterfall Walk to see the real Hawaii.

View from the top of Diamond Head



Maui offers the best of both worlds – not as laid back as Kauai but not as busy as Oahu.  Maui boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.  If you are looking for the ultimate biking adventure you should check out Biking down Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano.  If you go to Maui don’t miss the Road to Hana.  The Road to Hana is a scenic drive with breathtaking vistas and gorgeous waterfalls.  Maui also has great snorkeling! One of my favorite Maui Snorkel locations is Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater.

Haleakala Sunrise

Car rentals are available on all islands.  If you are staying in Waikiki you may not need the car for the entire week because beaches and activities are nearby.  Many Oahu activities include free transportation plus depending where you stay parking may be expensive.  I recommend a car for the other islands so you can explore the beauty of the islands on your own.  Check out our discounts on Oahu Car Rentals, Maui Car Rentals, Big Island Car Rentals, and Kauai Car Rentals.


Which Island would you suggest?

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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6 Responses to Which Island for My Hawaii Vacation?

  1. Aitzaz Ghaznavi says:

    Which Island would I Suggest in Hawaii Maui would be it Maui Hawaii

  2. Aitzaz Ghaznavi says:

    the one island for my Hawaii Vacation Would Be Maui Hawaii

  3. Pingback: Interisland Flights Hawaii

  4. John says:

    Kauai is my favorite. I love the princeville area.

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