Here is a review of the things to do on each of the Hawaiian islands to help you decide which ones you want to visit during your dream trip to Hawaii. If you’re pressed for time or money – and everyone is, you’ll want to narrow down your choice of islands so you get the best experience possible. The Hawaiian islands vary in their population density and things to see.
Oahu – Honolulu – Waikiki is a tourist city packed with people from all over the world. Oahu residents number over a million, adding to the congestion on the Southeastern side of Oahu. There are amazing restaurants and nightlife on this island, as well as many cultural exhibits and sites. Waikiki is a great place to learn to surf. beaches, golfing, natural wonders, hiking, shopping, skydiving, glider plane rides, competitive prices, North Shore surfing (winters).
Maui – near secluded beaches, world-class golf, amazing natural beauty, some hiking, the Road to Hana, some shopping, prices higher than Oahu for food but some discounts on rental condo rooms. Haleakala volcano – 10,000+ feet high – offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at sunrise. Maui is a great place for a honeymoon as there is much of what you can do on Oahu, but without the crowds.
Kauai – the garden isle – it’s lush and green, full of life. Waimea Canyon – “Little Grand Canyon”, hiking, natural beaches, few residents. Kauai is a romantic place best suited to couples on honeymoon or escaping the crowds of Waikiki. Kauai has a mountain ridge that is the wettest place on earth – but, overall you’ll have plenty of sunshine on any of the islands. Rain comes and goes quickly usually. I think many people go to Kauai thinking they will love the peacefulness of it, the solitude of the island. I think it is too much for most people and they’re not really looking for that. It’s great to see Kauai for a couple of days, but to live there or vacation for more than three or four days is too much for most people.
Big Island of Hawaii – Mauna Kea volcano – snow on top, skiing possible. 13,000+ feet high, Hilo, vast volcanic rock covering much of island, lava splashing into the ocean, lava moving across land, golf, upscale resorts, virtually empty beaches, bicycling, site of annual Kona Ironman Triathlon. Horseback rides, large waterfalls, and black sand beaches are what visitors come to Big Island for as well as the best sport fishing in the world.
Lanai – few inhabitants, expensive to stay, golf, helicopter tours. Visitors to Lanai usually just want to get away from it all and relax for their time in Hawaii – being taken care of at exclusive resorts that cater to guests needs. Learn more about my perception of the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
Molokai – few locals live here, few visitors, a quiet vacation for those with money, site of leper colony years ago, highest percentage of pure blooded Hawaiians are on Molokai. There are just a couple of places to stay. Molokai is the most rural of the Hawaiian islands and is a place for relaxing and solitude.