Hawaii really can be the trip of your life. Its crystal clear waters and lush forests are unreal. Of course, picking which Hawaiian island to go to can be difficult. Whether you’ve been numerous times and you want something new, or you’ve never been before, there’s an easy solution! Visit all of them! There are eight Hawaiian islands, these being, Hawaii “the Big Island,” Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. The last two, Niihau and Kahoolawe, cannot be visited, as one is privately owned and access to the other is prohibited. Here’s a little overview of these six dreamy islands and all that they have to offer so that on your next trip, you don’t have to pick just one.
Hawaii (The Big Island)
Hawaii, often called “The Big Island,” as you may have already guessed, is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands. Its most commonly known for diverse landscapes and vegetation, along with its two active volcanoes. Because of the volcanic activity, there are places where you can drive for miles on fields of lava rock. Pretty cool, right!? The two biggest cities on the island are Kona and Hilo, which sit on opposite coasts and are VERY different. While Hilo is one of the rainiest cities in the United States, Kona is much warmer and drier, with less tropical vegetation.
Some of the best things to do on the island are visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you might even see live lava! This, of course, depends on the volcano’s activity and whether or not it would be too dangerous. Like any other Hawaiian island, the Big Island also has great snorkeling! Some of its best snorkeling spots are Honaunau Bay, Kealakekua Bay and Kahalu’u Beach.
Maui is next on our list of the stunning Hawaiian islands. Unlike the Big Island, Maui has just one volcano, which is dormant. You can visit this volcano at the Haleakala National Park, where the summit stands 10,000 feet above sea level. The gorgeous mountain is a common spot for visitors because there is a variety of great hikes and sightseeing opportunities.
Another must do when it comes to Maui, is the road to Hana. We know, it sounds weird to recommend a 65-mile drive, but trust us. The road to Hana is one of the most picturesque drives in the world and you can’t miss it. We also recommend taking a trip to The Seven Sacred Pools, which is a series of waterfalls and pools straight from your dreams. And yes, you can swim in them. Maui is also known to have multiple black sand beaches, our favorite being Waianapanapa State Park.
You might recognize the jagged and steep cliffs of Kauai from everyone’s favorite movie, Jurassic Park. One of the first things to do on your trip to Kauai is visiting the Na Pali coast, where this famous movie was filmed. Some of the best ways to see the coastline are by boat, kayak, helicopter or you can take on the 11-mile Kalalau trail.
Another must do on the island of Kauai is Waimea Canyon. This famous canyon is also commonly known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” This is where you’ll find those gorgeous views of the canyon’s red walls and lush greenery. One of the best ways to see it all is to visit Koke’e State Park, where many different hikes are offered so that you can take all the natural beauty in. Hanalei Bay is also a commonly visited spot. This long beach not only has a gorgeous ocean view but is also surrounded by Kauai’s scenic mountains.
If you’re looking for a more urban feel, but also don’t want to miss out on fantastic beaches, then you’ll love Oahu. The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, sits on the island of Oahu and is definitely a cool city to check out. Beyond the city, Oahu has a lot to offer. Let’s begin with Waikiki, which is arguably the most famous beach in all of Hawaii. If you’re looking for a quieter beach with far fewer people, we’d recommend Lanikai Beach, one of the best-rated beaches on Oahu. It is perfect for kids and is also a great spot for kayaking and paddle boarding.
Another great thing about Oahu is, since it’s smaller than islands like Hawaii and Maui, you can easily take a day trip and drive around the entire island, stopping wherever you please. If you’re looking for a view, we’ve also got the best view on the island for you. The Stairway to Heaven is quite a workout but it makes up for it in the end. After climbing these crazy stairs, you’ll witness a full 360-degree view of the island from above.
Now we’re getting into the less visited islands. This island is only 38 miles long, and just 10 miles across, but you’ll be amazed by all that you can do here. Molokai is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest fringing reef. You can explore the north shore sea cliffs by boat and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some whales. The island has exactly zero stop lights (we aren’t kidding), so it’s sure to be a new experience. If you’re looking for a break from the rest of the world, Molokai is perfect. Whether it’s visiting some of the most amazing nature your eyes can see, or befriending some locals and hearing some wonderful live music, this really is the perfect tropical getaway.
Last but not least, we have Lanai, another island with zero stop lights. If you thought Molokai was small, wait until you see this place. The island is well known for holding the world’s largest pineapple plantation, but other than that, it tends to go unnoticed. The island is most commonly visited for its Four Seasons Resort, which is arguably the best Four Seasons location in the world. While the island is the least trafficked of the Hawaiian islands, it is still the perfect place for any golf lover or anyone looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway.
There you have it! A guide to the Hawaiian Islands and all that you can do on your island hopping adventure. Enjoy paradise!