With six great Hawaii islands that you can visit, how do you choose the best island(s) for you? That’s a question that many potential Hawaii visitors wrestle with. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I’ve seen a few surveys that ask a handful of questions and supposedly result in an answer of the perfect island for you. Though I’m often called a Hawaii expert, just for fun, I take these quizzes to see the result. After the result displays, I have to wonder how’d they come up with that answer? The trouble with these surveys is that they are too short and ask odd questions like, “Your perfect day includes hiking to a volcano or lounging on the beach or pampering in a spa or searching for beautiful waterfalls.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I want to do all of the above! I think the results of these simple questionnaires are as effective as picking an answer out of a hat.
So, how on earth do you pick an island or two to visit on your vacation? I have some suggestions and can point you to some great resources that will help you get started.
1. Review the visitors bureau website for each island. If a particular island looks interesting to you, order their free island guide. These sites and guides highlight the scenery, cultural activities, and island adventures. The island visitor bureaus give you a good flavor for what each island has to offer.
- Kauai: Visitors Bureau website and page to download and/or order free Kauai guide that includes maps and island highlights.
- Oahu Visitors Bureau website and page to download and/or order Oahu vacation planner that includes maps and island highlights.
- Maui Visitors Bureau website and page to download and/or order Maui vacation planner that includes maps and island highlights. Note that the Maui Visitor’s Bureau also includes the islands of Lanai and Molokai – two lesser visited, but fantastic islands.
- Big Island Visitors Bureau website and page to download and/or order a Big Island planner which includes maps and island highlights.
- Lanai Visitors Bureau website and page to order a free Lanai travel guide. (Also see the link to order a Maui guide that’s mentioned above.)
- Molokai Visitors Bureau website and page to order a free Molokai travel guide. (Also see the link to order a Maui guide that’s mentioned above.)
You might also benefit from surfing the overall Hawaii Visitors Bureau’s website where you can watch videos, find festivals and quickly get lost in discovering all the wonderful things the islands of Aloha have to offer.
2. Take an island virtual tour. A picture is worth a thousand words and a virtual helicopter tour is worth even more! Though the Blue Hawaiian Helicopter island videos were not generated for the intent of helping a potential visitor choose an island, I think they’re great for just that. It’s one thing to see a still photo, but to see a video is even more useful. Here are links to the individual island videos:
There’s about a half a dozen videos or more for each island, so make sure you check them all out by clicking on the “Area of Interest” navigation on the left as well as the circles on the island maps.
3. Review our easy to use Go Visit Hawaii Vacation guides. Though not as fancy as the official visitors bureau sites, there’s a great depth of unbiased, practical advice in my island guides. Each guide offers photo highlights of each island, advice on when to go, where to stay, where to play, and where to dine.
- Kauai Vacation Guide
- Oahu Vacation Guide
- Maui Vacation Guide
- Big Island Vacation Guide
- I’ve not written Lanai or Molokai guides yet, but I’ve written plenty of articles about each island. See these links for Lanai articles and Molokai articles.
If you are considering Hawaii for a honeymoon or a romantic trip, checkout our island honeymoon guides:
4. Review the following infographic:
5. Ask an expert. I’ve vacationed on every island and I know them very well. If you have reviewed the above links and you are still not sure which island(s) best suit you, you can ask me. Do not cheat yourself by not taking the time to review the links and read the content of this page. Only you know what appeals and resonates with you.
Bear in mind that I am not a travel agent. I write this site on a voluntary basis, so I am not available to assist with individual trip planning details.
Once again, do not cheat yourself by not taking the time to review the resources in this article. After you have reviewed every link and all the content in this article, if you are still unsure of which island(s) use the comments to describe:
- What do you like to do on vacation?
- What don’t you like to do on vacation?
- What island(s) are you considering? Are you already leaning towards one or two?
- Have you already identified some must see sights? For examples: active lava flow (Big Island), Pearl Harbor (Oahu), Na Pali Coast (Kauai).
- Before you say you want to see volcanoes, which is a very common question, read: Where to see volcanoes in Hawaii? If you want to see an active volcano then go to the Big Island.
- What time of year you anticipate you’ll be visiting Hawaii?
- How many days you have in mind for your Hawaii vacation? Read our article: how many Hawaiian Islands should you visit during your vacation.
6. Don’t worry. You can’t make a bad decision. You can have a fantastic Hawaii vacation no matter which island(s) you choose. They all have their own personality and unique features for you to enjoy and admire.
For more Hawaii vacation planning advice, see our guide for first time Hawaii visitors with step by step planning instructions.