Favorite Hawaiian Island and why

Planning a vacation. Not really looking to do anything particular, just wanting to get away. Definitely not interested in Oahu. Any ideas or suggestions?

I went to Maui immediately after I got home from the Army last year and it was a great trip. Maui is the only island I’ve been to, however, so I have no idea how it stacks up compared to the others.

If you do go to Maui, I do have one suggestion: do not take the drive to Hana! It takes a damnably long time, the road is dangerous, Hana looks like a Native-American reservation (sadly), and all in all, the scenery just isn’t worth it IMHO. Some people seem to enjoy the road to Hana, though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I can’t really compare them, since I have only been to one so far, but I loved Maui when I was there last year. My trip report is here if you want to take a look.

I have to say, I did enjoy the drive to Hana. The guidebook I used had a lot of good pointers on places to stop and things to see, both on the road to Hana and the rest of Maui.


I’ve been to Kauai twice, and the big island once. The big island was nice, but Kauai is what I think of when I think Hawaii. Laid-back, lush, gorgeous, lots to do but not in a cityish way. The Hyatt Regency Kauai is my favorite hotel in the whole world.

Been to Kauai, The Big Island and Oahu.
Liked them all. Honolulu is a nice city. (I was surprised, thought I would not like it.)
Liked Kauai the best, it was gorgeous, lush, down-home, unpretentious.

I’ve been to all the islands that an ordinary citizen can get to, but many of those were too long ago for me to remember much.

With that in mind, though, I find the Big Island fascinating because of the variety of enviroments found on it. There’s some of your typical tropical paradise type of stuff, volcanic wastelands, snow-capped (depending on the season) mountains, and semi-arid ranch land. Lots of stuff to see and do, though a lot of it is probably less vacation-esque than some of the other islands.

Maui - very relaxing, although traffic around airport is crazy, lots of stuff to do or you can just kick back and snorkel or swim, everything from studio apt. to luxury resorts available depending on your budget

Oahu - only the east or north shore, both very beautiful and wild, Waikiki is icky but you have to see it once, Turtle Bay Hilton (may have a different name by now) and the town of Haleiwa are wonderful, northern surf spots great for viewing the big waves

Hawaii - only been to the Kona coast, not as beautiful as other islands but we only spent 2 days there, supposed to be nice on Hilo side

Kauai - still unspoiled, great beaches and resorts by Hanalei, Grand Canyon of the Pacific is awesome beyond belief, helicopter tour is a must, quieter at night and less traffic, makes you feel like you are in another world altogether

Been to Oahu 4 times, Kauai twice, Big Island 3 times, Lanai twice, Molokia once and Maui LOTS (spent the last three summers there). It depends on what you’re looking for. I think Maui has the best beaches, food places and lots to do; but, to a lot of visitors it’s pretty commercialized. We tend to stay in condos with a healthy number of local residents, so get a less vacationy vacation.

Totally laid back and into hiking, kayaking etc,----go to Molokai. (But only 1-3 places to eat depending on what is closed down.)

Lots of money and like to golf-----Lanai

Laid back or resorty and like to hike, snorkel, kayak-----The Big Island or Kauai

Resorty or island style, great snorkeling (my fave), good food, lots of entertainment, but also lots of tourists (ME)----Maui. And you can take a ferry to Molokai and Lanai to visit those islands too. Or snorkle at Molokini. Or go to the rodeo in Makawao. Wait, no, pretend you didn’t see that, too many tourists here already :smack:

Want to check out Pearl Harbor and see Don Ho before Disney turns him into an audio-animatronic (wait maybe that’s already happened–just kidding saw him for the third time last spring!!)------Oahu (Waikiki beach sucks though imho)

Went to Maui last September and had a wonderful time, except 5 days and 4 nights did not give me enough time to do everything I wanted to do. Drove the northwest shore of Maui on the way to Kaanapali, very beautiful drive, not rainforesty like going to Hana. Got sunburned on the second day and stayed indoors on the third to recoup. Then went to Haleakala National Park and then attended my nephew’s wedding. Not enough time to go to Hana, too sunburned for Molokini, but I still had a blast there.

Because of Lok’s post, I thought I would make a note about the road to Hana. When I went (late April, '04), all of the tourist attractions that my family was the least bit interested in were inexplicably closed. If they were open, it probably would have improved that drive. I do want to note, though, that the road itself is not for the squeamish. It’s pretty much one lane the whole way, with many bridges and blind corners.

Snorkling in Molokini is an awesome experience, but the snorkling was great everywhere we went on Maui. Swimming within two meters of a sea turtle is just amazing.

I have to admit, I didn’t really stop and see much but the various waterfalls on the road to Hana. I did stop for banana bread at a small shop in Ke’anae. There was one attraction I wanted to see that was closed on Saturdays.

I did my snorkeling in the Aquarium, and got right up beside the sea turtle that was lying on the bottom there. Some of the other people staying in the same hostel spent a couple of days swimming with some dolphins that came into the beach they were at. I was off doing other things so missed it both days. :frowning:


For me, it’s the Big Island - amazing variety, and dramatically lower overall density of tourists. The hike to the Pu’u O’o lava crater is the best hike I’ve done in my life.

Maui was a bit disappointing: very beautiful, good variety of scenery and beaches, but at times sickeningly crowded. The drive to Hana is great, but you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you spend the night there and continue clockwise around the east end of the island.

The “Revealed” series of guidebooks (e.g. Maui Revealed, Hawaii, the Big Island Revealed, etc.) are essential: very much better than any other guidebook I’ve seen or heard of. If you want to do the hike I mention above, this is the one guidebook that will tell you how.