Which is the Best Hawaiian Island to Visit for Your Vacation?

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 a Hawaii island or two to visit on your vacation? I have some suggestions and can point you to some great resources that will help you be informed to make a great decision.

1. Review the Hawaii 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 a Hawaiian 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 follow Hawaiian Island vacation itineraries. Take a look through our island vacation itineraries and see which one(s) appeal to you.  Each travel planner include all the must-sees of each island and are customizable. These itineraries are designed for a one week vacation, however they can easily be modified for more or less time.

If you are considering Hawaii for a honeymoon or a romantic trip, checkout our island honeymoon guides:

4. Review the following Hawaii infographic:

Our infographic describes each Hawaiian island in a nutshell.

How to pick the perfect Island for your Hawaii Visit

5. Still can’t decide? Just pick Maui and go with it. 🙂 It’s pretty common for Maui to top lists of the best island on travel magazine surveys. If you’ve never been to Hawaii, Maui is a great place to start. In fact, Maui is where we took our first trip to Hawaii and instantly got us hooked on the Hawaiian Islands.

6. Ask an expert.  I’ve vacationed on every island and I know them very well. If you have thoroughly 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. You’ll be wasting your time and mine by not thoroughly reviewing the links and resources in this article before you comment.

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?
  • Before you say you want to see Pearl Harbor, read  this article if you are think you must see Pearl Harbor as you don’t necessarily have to stay on Oahu in order to see Pearl Harbor.
  • Before you say you want to see volcanoes, read: Where to see volcanoes in Hawaii? If you want to see an active volcano then your answer is to go to the Big Island. UPDATE: the active volcano, Kilauea on the Big Island stopped erupting in August 2018. It may start erupting again, but we will have to wait and see.
  • Before you say you want nightlife, read: Where to find nightlife in Hawaii.
  • 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.

7. 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.

  1. Wow Sheila, this post is like an eleven course meal! Lots of great info and stuff to check out. Can’t wait to check out the videos.

  2. Fantastic resources. You are absolutely right about not going wrong which ever island you pick. I’ve been to Oahu, Kauai, Maui and can’t wait to visit the other islands some day. Going back to Oahu in October and I am going to check out their website and page to find something to explore I haven’t seen there yet; I’ve been multiple times, but there is always something new.

  3. Which island(s) to visit?
    going for wife’s 50th birthday which is in May.
    Would like to relax and enjoy the weather but would also like to take in the sights. Both enjoy physical activity.
    coming from the east coast of Canada so would anticipate a 10 day vacation (including travel days).

    1. Ian- what you’ve described as your requirements would probably apply to all the islands. With 10 days including travel – that leaves you with 8 full vacation days. You could potentially go to two islands. But, that being said, you won’t run out of things to do if you spend the entire time on just one island. I’ve been to each island multiple times, and I still leave with a list of things I want to do the next time I’m on that island.

      I think Kauai might be a good fit for you if ou like physical activity – Kauai has some of the best hiking trails in my opinion. Kauai also has some biking paths. You can kayak the rivers, snorkel the Na Pali coast Line, etc.

      Hope that helps. Enjoy your celebration in Hawaii.

  4. hi was looking at going on kaui island was looking at doing some tour. except for the hiking we are limited as we both have back problem. we can do some walking no problem but hours of hiking. we are going in october. was reading and have some concern about the weather. it mention that the island is the wettest island. i thought it didn’t rain much in hawaii overall. can you clearafy this. don’t want to both and have a raining week…

    1. Suzanne – Kauai does tend to get more rainfall that some of the other islands, BUT there are drier areas to stay — like sunny Poipu. See this link: https://www.govisithawaii.com/kauai-where-to-stay/

      Also, the rainiest months are usually December and January, so with an October visit, you most likely won’t experience much, if any rain. I have been to Kauai twice in October and I can only recall one daytime rain shower.

      Kauai has plenty of beautiful sight seeing that doesn’t require significant hiking. Take a helicopter tour, go on a snorkeling tour, take a catamaran cruise of the Na Pali Coast, see Waimea Canyon,tour a tropical garden, tour a coffee farm … There’s lots of wonderful, but not strenuous things to do on Kauai. See my Kauai vacation guide: https://www.govisithawaii.com/kauai-vacation-guide/

  5. Going to Hawaii August 2011. Celebrating my hubby and my 40th b-day. going with our 14 year old son and 10 year old daughter. want to have cool things to do. Im planning the whole vacation and need ideas. Want to go to Oahu and Maui and possibly Kauai. Dont want to do physical activities like hiking or biking, but def. want to do fun things. Should we start at Oahu which is more active and end the last 5 days in Maui? going for 13 days. HELP!!!

    1. Maui and Oahu are probably the best fit. Kauai is more laid back, but definitely a beautiful island for sightseeing. With 13 days, it’s borderline on if it’s a good idea to add a third island or not. Bear in mind that even though the islands are a short flight from each other, you could be spending up to a half a day each time you transfer from one island to another — door to door.

      I doubt you’d run out of things to do if you just went to Maui and Oahu. I’ve been to both those island many times and I still have a “to-do” list of things I want to do next time.

      I would think starting at Oahu for 6 days and finish on Maui for 7 days.

  6. We are planning our honeymoon for mid October of this year. I told my fiance that I want to “go lay on a beach somewhere romantic” for our honeymoon. Kind of considering Oahu for some of the “Lost” sites…fiance is a chef so we are all about checking out non-chain dining (I have Celiac Disease so need gluten free options). We are not looking to break the bank, and are on a somewhat modest budget…a “fancy” resort is not necessary but we DO want a beachfront room. I’m thinking “lazy honeymoon” with a little shopping nearby. Help!! 😉


    1. Tracy – I think you’re on the right track for Oahu. For several reasons:
      – It’s the least expensive island in terms of average hotel rates.
      – You want a gorgeous beach? Any of the North Shore beaches and Lanikai are spectacular. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/05/19/lanikai-beach-one-of-oahus-most-beautiful-beaches/
      – Oahu has more restaurants than probably the rest of the islands put together. Oahu is loaded with great restaurants and award-winning chefs. Here are a couple of helpful restaurant articles:

      I might suggest that you consider Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore. Almost every room has an amazing oceanfront view. The only downside is that it’s about an hour’s drive into Honolulu. Here’s my review of Turtle Bay https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/06/27/turtle-bay-resort-review/ In my opinion, it’s one of the most romantic hotels in Oahu. Plus, LOST was filmed on the grounds.

      As a fellow LOSTie, you’ll appreciate this article: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/07/10/finding-lost-sites-on-oahu/

      No matter where you book your hotel, make sure they know it’s your honeymoon. You might just score an upgrade upon availability.

  7. Hi,

    Our rather large family (12 Adults, 9 Kids (5 of the kids are infants!)) are looking to spend some quiet family time in Hawaii this August 2011. We are planning on spending a week, so want to pick one of the islands (no island hopping for us). We are mainly looking to soak in some sites, and hang out at the beaches. Hiking and snorkeling are right up our alley (i can’t imagine taking all 21 on a helicopter ride for example…) We want to avoid crowds, and get away from the city. Right now, we are debating the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai. We have all been to Maui, none have visited the other 2. Our fear on the big island is that if we want to see both sides of the island, we will be stuck in the car all day. Any thoughts on what it takes to get from one side to the other? Any recommendations on finding accommodations for such a large group? Many of the travel websites that I have tried (to look for combined air/lodging) have a limit of 12 people.

    I am leaning towards Kaua’i, It seems smaller, and more laid back than the rest.

    I appreciate any thoughts that you might have, and I very much appreciate this blog!

    1. Hi Josh,

      I think Kauai would be a good fit for what you’re looking for. It is laid back and a great place to soak in the beautiful sites.

      With 9 kids and most being infants, you’ll definitely want to go to some of the safer beaches. In my opinion, Kauai has some excellent beaches that tend to be more sheltered and safe. Here are some of the safer beaches on Kauai:
      – There’s a keiki (kid) beach at Poipu Beach Park. It’s sheltered, not too deep and definitely fun for kids. Here are a couple of photos from our collection of that beach: http://www.flickr.com/photos/govisithawaii/4590596178/in/set-72157600056337793/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/govisithawaii/4589973451/in/set-72157600056337793/ There’s no hotel on this beach, so you’d have to drive to get to it.

      – If you want to stay in a resort hotel that’s right on a safe beach then the newly refurbished Kauai Marriott would be ideal. See my review for photos https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/01/02/review-of-kauai-marriott-resort-a-piece-of-paradise/

      – Another beach park that’s good for kids and snorkeling, too is Lydgate Beach http://www.kauaiexplorer.com/kauai_beaches/lydgate_beach_park.php that’s on the East Side

      The Big Island is also a good choice, but for first timers to the Big Island, ideally, I like to recommend more than a week. And, as you said, you’ll be tempted to want to see both sides of the island, and that might be a tad more challenging with 9 kiddos in tow. 🙂

      I’ve never tried to book a vacation for more than 4 folks at a time, so I didn’t know that the online sites have a 12 person limit. Do you know of a travel agent that you or your friends have had good service from? You might save a lot of time and headaches by finding a reliable travel agent that knows Hawaii.

      Another thought for you, if you wanted to book air separately from accommodation is to try to find a vacation rental. You can save a lot of money, have more privacy, the benefit of a kitchen, etc with a vacation rental. (See this article: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/01/30/why-staying-in-a-condo-on-a-hawaii-vacation-is-a-savvy-choice/ ) I’ve met the folks at http://www.kauaivacationrentals.com/ and they seem good to work with, plus they have an extensive list of vacation rental properties for Kauai. (FYI – I don’t get any kickbacks for saying that or making any other recommendation, in case you were wondering.)

  8. Hi Sheila,

    I have been put in charge of the ‘difficult’ decision of which island to pick for our multi-generational family vacation. I have narrowed it down to Maui & Kauai. Under different circumstances I would choose Kauai because I’m a hiker and I know Kauai had awesome hiking, however the hiking on this trip will have to be fairly easy & short hikes since I will be hiking with a toddler in a backpack strapped to me. Also, we need to know which island has easy access to the beautiful scenic overlooks, waterfalls, etc. The elderly folks are capable of walking short distances on level ground but nothing too hard. There will be days that we will all want to stay together and sight-see and other days that we will all do our own thing. To be honest I am leaning toward Maui but I really would like to be persuaded toward Kauai. I have this impression that I would not get to see a lot of the most beautiful sites in Kauai since they are difficult hikes (Na’Pali Coast, etc).

    What do you like to do on vacation? HIKE, SNORKEL, NATURE, SPENDING SOME TIME AT THE BEACH
    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, Pearl Harbor, Na Pali Coast) MAUI: ROAD TO HANA, HALEAKELA
    What time of year you anticipate you’ll be visiting Hawaii? DECEMBER
    How many days you have in mind for your Hawaii vacation? (Your response will influence the number of islands I’ll recommend for your vacation.) 9

    Originally posted at: How to Pick the Best Hawaiian Island(s) For Your Vacation https://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/06/28/how-to-pick-the-best-hawaiian-islands-for-your-vacation/#ixzz1UZGkQEzJ

    1. Hi Kim

      Well, I almost think you could flip a coin on your decision.

      Kauai offers quite a bit of beautiful sight-seeing that doesn’t require a strenuous hike. For example, see today’s post: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/08/09/seeing-kauais-kalalau-valley/ There’s also a couple of beautiful waterfalls that you basically drive to:
      See more Kauai sightseeing tips here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/09/best-free-activities-on-kauai/

      My only concern with Kauai is that you’re planning to be there in December, which tends to be one of Hawaii’s rainier months. Kauai is the wettest island. That being said, you can hopefully avoid rain by staying in sunny Poipu.

      Maui’s not a bad choice. For hiking, Haleakala National Park is probably your best bet. There’s two sides to Haleakala https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/05/02/the-two-sides-of-mauis-haleakala/ The area around Kipahulu has some very good hikes.

      Here are some favorite Maui sights and activities — https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/01/18/top-5-things-you-must-see-and-do-on-your-maui-vacation/

      On both islands you should be able to do some humpback whale watching in December, though Maui is better for whale watching. It will be the early part of the season.

      Maui also gets more rain in the winter months. Your best bet for avoiding rain is to stay in the South Maui.

      Hope that helps in your decision making.

  9. Have a family with 2 kids (5&11) and would like to go to Hawaii – confused on the best island and hotel to stay.
    Would like sandy beaches, pools and want to visit Volcanoes. We have 7 to 10 days.
    Would like to minimize the travelling between islands if possible.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Jay – do you want to see volcano activity? Or would seeing a relatively “young” volcanic mountain (Haleakala) suffice? If you want to see volcano activity, then Hawaii’s Big Island is the only island with activity.

      If seeing volcano activity is not a high priority, then I’d suggest Maui, which has bunches of beautiful sandy beaches. Maui’s volcanoes are relatively young. Maui also offers quite a bit of fun stuff for kids to do beyond the beaches and pools. They have good luaus, a sugar cane train and more.

      Hope that helps.

  10. what would be the best month to go.
    Also do you have suggestion for family friendly resorts/hotel – or other lodging choices

    Thanks for your advise.

    1. Any time is a good time to go to Hawaii. If there’s one ideal month to go, I’d say May.

      There’s tons of family-friendly resorts across Hawaii. Which island are you thinking of?

  11. I am travelling with my parents to Hawaii for 8 days the week straddling the end of October, beginning of December. We’re interested in snorkling, scenery, swimming, boat rides, etc. and culture (can be “culture”). Hiking would need to be relatively short or flat. We’ll probably do 2 islands as this is likely the only trip my parents will take to Hawaii.
    I was advised to do Maui and Kaua’i, and I was able to get a good deal at one of the nicer resorts in Princeville for the Kaua’i part, but now I’m worried about the rain? Does end Oct/early Nov count as winter? A lot of the guide books mention things that do not happen in winter but I can’t find a definition of what they consider to be winter. Are we going to be driving south every day? We definitely want to see the canyon and the Napali coast. Do you have to drive south and around to get over there?

    Also, thoughts on the selection of the 2 islands. Someone else suggested skipping Kauai and just doing Maui and Oahu but we’re not really into cities at all.


    1. Michele — I really wish we had a crystal ball to tell us the weather. It would make life so much easier for us. 🙂

      Oct/Nov is on the cusp of some of the rainier months in Kauai and Hawaii in general. One thing to bear in mind is that most of Hawaii’s rain falls at night. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/05/most-of-hawaiis-rain-falls-at-night/

      You do have to drive around to the southwest side of Kauai to see Waimea Canyon. Boat tours of the Na Pali coast leave from the South coast at Port Allen. (See my post on exploring the Na Pali Coast by land, air and sea: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/11/na-pali-coast-by-land-air-sea/)

      The Princeville area of Kauai is absolutely gorgeous. You can see Hanalei Bay from there. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/03/22/kauais-hanalei-bay/

      I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Kauai any time of year. If that helps. We have been to Kauai twice in October and had excellent weather both times.

      If you are nervous about rain, consider staying in the Poipu area on the sunnier, south shore. Odds are that you’d avoid rain better there.

      I think the Maui/Kauai combination is a good option based on what you described.

      You’ll be there just as the humpback whales are arriving back to Hawaii for their annual winter frolic. Maui is perhaps the best island for whale watching.

  12. Hey there! I’ve been enjoying your blog and insight into Hawaii travel. My family of four (10&12yo kids) is planning to travel over Thanksgiving. The things we most want to do are see an active volcano, snorkel, stay on the beach, kids pool, local markets, flora and fauna and geography unique to the Hawaiian islands. Oh, and a luau of course. It’s so hard to choose! We will only have about 5 days (Sat-Sat), so can’t imagine it would be possible to do much island-hopping. We’re not big pop-culture people, so traditional tourism (or eco-tourism! 😉 is probably more our speed. We are of modest means (budget $5-6k for flight+hotel). Is it worthwhile to get a car? Or is public transport reasonably available? Thanks for any insight you can give!!

    1. Hi Amy —

      If you want to see an active volcano, you have to go to Hawaii’s Big Island for that. It’s the only island with an active volcano.

      On the Big Island, there’s some great snorkeling. We have really enjoyed our snorkeling excursions along the Kohala Coast and at Kealakekua Bay.

      A challenge with the Big Island is that it really is big. It’s bigger than all the other islands put together. I like to think of the Big Island split in the middle from north to south, making a Hilo side (east) and Kona side (west). Basically all the best beach or ocean side resorts are along the Kona and Kohala Coast. All the volcano activity is on the Hilo side. It’s easy to drive to and from each side in a day. It’s scenic, but takes a couple or so hours depending on where you go.

      A rental car is a must in my opinion, there is public transportation on the Big Island, but I think you’d enjoy your experience far more with a rental car. http://heleonbus.org/

      As for your budget, I think it might be doable. Take a look at all the detailed links in this article: Top Tips for Saving Money on your Hawaii Vacation: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/01/25/top-tips-for-saving-money-on-your-hawaii-vacation/ I have two suggestions, you might want to try to find a vacation condo and I highly recommend you book your flights ASAP with Thanksgiving being only about 3 months away.

      Once you’re in Hawaii, most of the best things to do are free or almost free. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/25/best-big-island-budget-fun/

      Check out my Big Island Vacation Guide for a whole lot more advice: https://www.govisithawaii.com/hawaii-big-island-vacation-guide/

      1. Thanks so much for your prompt reply! I’ve been trying to digest all your information, and am formulating a plan ;). So exciting!

      2. Hi Sheila! Yes, we have booked a trip Thanksgiving week to The Big Island, Waikoloa Hilton. Yes, it’s a huge resort, but we like having easy-pleasing options for the kids. But, I really look forward to driving up Mauna Kea, snorkeling, and Kilauea lava flows ;). I just started really getting excited about this yesterday, so your note is very timely ;). I’ll be mining your site for more info in the days to come! Any must-sees, nature wise? Thanks!


        1. Awesome!

          Definitely start with this article on the best Big Island things to see and do. Off the top of my head Pololu Valley, Waipio Valley, 4-mile scenic drive and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Akaka Falls… just to name a few.

          I’ll be headed back to the Big Island and staying at the Hilton Waikoloa soon. If you like, follow along with our Go Visit Hawaii facebook page to see photos and experiences from our upcoming Big Island visit.

          I hope you enjoy Hawaii Island and come back to tell us what you thought of your visit.

  13. Hi! My motherand a friend of mine are looking to spend about four days on one Hawaiian island. We want to just lay out and relax, so much nightlife is not really needed. This means we would love amazing, not too crowded beaches, but we also want plenty of lush scenery and nature to look at. We want to see the naturally beautiful aspect of Hawaii. However, we’re not too big on hiking. Any suggestions for which island would be best for us? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Julia — I just discovered I hadn’t replied to your comment.

      Several islands would suit your needs. I would suggest Maui or maybe Kauai for beautiful scenery and uncrowded beaches.

  14. hi
    i am planning a trip for myself, my sister and our father. it is his 70th birthday. we are only going to go for a week so we only want to go to 1 island. i have been to maui so i would like to see another island. we r planning on going in january and we want to see a volcano and we love the beach. we also love to go out to great restaurants. what island would u suggest? thank u!!

    1. Hi Aimee — Maui is always a great choice for first time Hawaii visitors. Since you’ve already been to Maui, my next suggestion for you would be Kauai and staying in the Poipu area. As the lush garden isle, Kauai does get more rain in the winter months, but the Poipu region on the south coast tends to be drier. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/09/15/where-to-stay-on-kauai-for-the-best-weather/

      Kauai offers some amazing scenery that’s relatively easy to drive to and access. See my post on the best Kauai things to see and do: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/09/best-free-activities-on-kauai/

      There’s lots of great restaurants in the Poipu area of Kauai. See my post about where we enjoyed dining mostly in the Poipu area: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/06/08/impressions-from-our-trip-to-kauai-dining/

      Kauai is made of a volcano, but doesn’t have an active volcano. If you want to see volcano activity you must go to the Big Island of Hawaii.

  15. Hello Sheila,

    First, let me say that I appreciate your blog. It is truly full of valuable information.

    I am planning my first trip to Hawaii in November 2012 with my husband to celebrate my birthday. A few friends may come with us. Since this is my first time visiting, I am trying to figure out the best place to go. I have visited other websites (yours was the most informative) and took the “Hawaii test” and was told based off my answers, Maui and Oahu are my best fit but had additional questions I needed answered before I make a decision.

    I won’t ask the weather question as you have pretty much clarified that in your earlier
    responses. Listed below are the answers to your questions as well as other concerns:

    What do you like to do on vacation? I like to sightsee and relax when I go on vacation. I’m not into partying that much but would like to attend a few shows. I also love to shop.

    What don’t you like to do on vacation? I am not into water sports or hiking.

    What island(s) are you considering? Are you already leaning towards one or two? I am
    considering one island, maybe Maui.

    Have you already identified some must see sights? (For examples: active lava flow, Pearl Harbor, Na Pali Coast). No, I haven’t identified must see sights.

    What time of year you anticipate you’ll be visiting Hawaii? 1st week in November.

    How many days you have in mind for your Hawaii vacation? (Your response will influence the number of islands I’ll recommend for your vacation.). I plan to be in Hawaii for 5-7 days.


    I prefer to fly into one island. My preference is not to have to get on another plane after I land. If I have to, then I understand, but if I can avoid it I will.

    Huge selection of stores to shop at.

    Huge selection of restaurants to dine. At least a few 5 star.

    Whatever island(s) you recommend, can you also tell me the best area on that island to stay?

    I really appreciate your feedback.


    1. Hi Natalia,

      I’m glad to hear that you are finding useful planning information here at Go Visit Hawaii.

      I think Maui would be a good fit for you, with one very slight caution, it’s notoverflowing with shopping. That being said, I think you’ll find interesting shopping between historic Lahaina town, Whalers Village in Kaanapali and at the Shops at Wailea. With all the great sightseeing mixed with a little pool or beach relaxation time, you won’t need a lot of time for shopping. By the way, you didn’t mention you were looking for spa time, but just in case, I thought I’d let you know that Maui has some fabulous spas.

      Maui has some excellent restaurants — many with ocean views. Here’s our favorite places to dine in Maui: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/28/how-to-find-the-best-maui-restaurants/

      Best area on Maui to stay? I would flip a coin between Wailea and Kaanapali/Kapalua. Wailea has the more “high-end” hotels, but Kaanapali and Kapalua are prettier areas, in my opinion. One of our favorite places to stay on Maui is at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. The only caution is that it can get windy there.

      Hope that helps. I’ll be interested in hearing what you decide and how it all goes.

  16. My fiance and I are planning a trip to one of the Hawaiian Islands in early October for our honeymoon. Initially we were thinking of Kauai b/c we both love hiking and figured this would be the best island for that reason. We are a little concerned that there won’t be much to do at night though however. Do you know if there are many restaurants/bars open past 10 within walking distance of many of the condos or resorts? We are just afraid that everything will be closed and that there won’t be much to do. We are also looking for a hotel/condo that has ocean front view that is nice but not crazy expensive. Thanks for your help in advance

    1. Suzanne — Kauai is a really romantic island and a wonderful place for a honeymoon. However, if nightlife is what you want, you won’t find a great deal on the Garden Isle. There’s some restaurants/bars that offer live music.

      One thing to bear in mind is that if you’ll be visit Hawaii from the US Mainland, you’ll be jet lagged for at least a few days. Most likely, you’ll be wanting to wake up early and go to sleep early in the evening. We fly to Hawaii from the East Coast and the first few days we’re in Hawaii, we’re probably asleep between 8:30pm and 10pm.

      You can find condos/hotels withing walking distance of restaurants/bars in the Poipu area of Kauai.

      1. Thanks! Live music to sit down, relax and get a drink or two is all we are really looking for at night. We were just concerned that there would be absolutely nothing open in the evening. Thanks again!

        1. Past 10pm? No. Though at home we stay up past 10pm, with jet lag it’s extremely rare to stay up past 10pm for us in Hawaii — even 9pm.

          Most resorts in Hawaii have live music every evening. In Poipu, I’ve heard live music at the Hyatt and the Sheraton. I’m sure there are other places which don’t come to mind.

          On the North Shore, we’ve enjoyed live music at Princeville St. Regis and down in some of the shops in Hanalei.

  17. Hi Sheila!
    Your website is full of great info!
    My hubby and I are going to celebrate our 10yr anniversary in Hawaii this July. We are traveling with our son (8yrs) and our niece (10yrs). I’ve been to Oahu, which I loved, but this will be their first time to Hawaii.
    We obviously want a place that has tons of thing to do for kids, but mostly a place with safe beaches where they can swim and play for hours on end. Being from California, the beaches are wonderful but the water is cold and they don’t get to enjoy too much water time at the beach.
    My son would love to see an active volcano, but higher on his list is snorkeling and swimming with dolphins.
    Your suggestions are much appreciated!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Based on what you described, I think I know the ideal resort for you, Hilton Waikoloa Village. Here’s why:
      – On the Big Island, the only island with an active volcano. Seeing the lava flow and/or glow is truly amazing to see!
      – Hilton Waikoloa Village has a neat lagoon with a sandy beach where it’s safe for swimming, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, etc.
      – This resort has a Dolphin Quest on site where you can arrange to swim with the dolphins. (We’ve done the Dolphin Quest in Oahu and it was very good.)

  18. Taking our first trip to Hawaii in September, 2012. Want to visit two islands, spending a week on each. Interested in beaches, pineapple plantations, some sightseeing, good restaurants and nice hotels, preferably a condo unit with kitchen to prepare some meals. What do you suggest? We are traveling from Massachusetts and not sure what airport to use for what islands. Do they each have one airport or more than one? I have so many questions because I want this to be a wonderful trip. Any help yiu can give wiuld be appreciated.

    1. Hi Marilyn —

      I know of pineapple plantations on Maui (in Kapalua) and on Oahu (at the Dole Pineapple Plantation). So you may want to include one or both of those islands. For spectacular beaches, Maui and Kauai top my list.

      You’ll be able to find nice condos with kitchens on any island you choose.

      So, seems like Oahu, Maui and Kauai would all be a good fit for you. They all have excellent sightseeing.

      The majority of flights to Hawaii go in and out of Honolulu on Oahu. Each island has one major airport, with the exception of the Big Island which has two major airports. See this post on inter-island travel for more information.

  19. Amazing site! I will certainly hit all the links as time allows. Here is our Hawaii vacation challenge: Possibly 2 Hawaii vacations this year.

    First one late April or early May with friends. 7-10 days. Between our two families we have 4 kids ages 3-6 at time of travel. Boy and girl age 6, girl age 4, boy age 3.

    We like: beach time with water calm enough for the kiddos. Preferably one we don’t have to drive to. Pool time. Fun kid activities (aquarium, local historical sites, museums, plantations). Hiking, yes, but easy, shorter trails. We’d love to get the older (6 year olds) kids snorkeling.

    Probably not on the list until the kids are older: zip lines, big water, surfing, cliff diving, long hikes, road to Hana, long scenic drives (two of the kids get car-sick).

    Parents are active and like to explore. Moms like spa time if available. We like good dining (Mama’s Fish House on Maui is a favorite) but stay in condos as we dine in more than we eat out.

    Not committed to any island. We’ve been to Maui several times, and the Big Island. We prefer to balance major attractions (ie – crowds) with lazy days or spots off the regular route.

    Second trip: Sept or Oct. 7 days. Just our family (2 adults, 2 boys age 3 and 6). Done Maui. Love it. Would go again. Done Big Island. Thinking it would be more fun when kids were 6 and 9. Little guy might have a hard time hiking over lava to get to cool beaches. Have time-share options available on Big Island or Kauai. We like off the beaten path but with restaurants, small towns, local sights. As little driving as possible.

    Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks!

    1. Tricia —

      Finding beaches in Hawaii with water calm enough for kids can be challenging. So, I’ll list some beaches that tend to be on the gentle side:

      Oahu — Ko Olina, Turtle Bay, though crowded, there are protected sections of Waikiki Beach. All of those beaches have condos within walking distance.

      Kauai — Kalapaki Beach, Lydgate Park, and a protected area at Poipu Beach. There are condos within walking-ish distance

      You can find good dining and spas on both Oahu and Kauai.

  20. Hello.

    My sister and I are planning a trip to one of the island around the end of October for 10 days. Only we’re not sure which one to pick.

    Some of things we want to do go snorkeling, hiking small distances,dinner cruise, waterfalls. I love taking pictures especially animals and nature.

    Also we will be renting a car, which island is the easiest to drive about, I drive when I have to but don’t really like to. I know sometime we will be heading out very early.

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Stephanie — just about every island would suit the interests you’ve mentioned. So, let’s focus in on what island is easiest to for driving. In my opinion, Kauai is probably the easiest island. Kauai doesn’t have near as many busy roads as Oahu and Maui do. So, you’ll have less chances for getting lost and less traffic.

  21. Great information here,
    My fiance and I are looking to travel to hawaii in Mid October for 6 nights, we are flying from Vegas as part of our honeymoon.

    We are from Scotland, both interested in relaxing around beautiful beaches and scenery but also interested in snorkeling and water skiing.

    We would love a beach side resort to wake upto in the mornings.

    Also we like our nightlife and would be looking for entertainment and bars in the evenings.

    Still cannot decide where to go! Any help would be great.


    1. Morrison —

      If you like nightlife, Waikiki on Oahu or Lahaina on Maui would be ideal.

      If you want to do snorkeling, then I might suggest you lean towards Maui slightly only because snorkeling at Molokini is really a special experience. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/09/05/hawaiis-molokini-island-a-top-snorkel-and-scuba-diving-spot/

      On Maui, look for a hotel in Lahaina (within walking distance of the action on Front Street) or in Kaanapali. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/08/kaanapali-a-great-base-for-a-maui-vacation/ Kaanapali has a little bit of bars with entertianment. Some Kaanapali resorts offer shuttle service into Lahaina. Unless things have changed, I believe the Sheraton Maui still offers shuttle service into Lahaina:https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/06/08/review-sheraton-maui-resort-spa/

  22. Great web-site! I am just beginning to look into a Hawaiian vacation for my family for next year (June, July 2013!) We could take up to 4-6 weeks. We will be flying from the East coast and want to make the most of the pricey airline tickets. We are a family of 4 (2 girls-ages 11 & 14). What islands would you suggest and what would a reasonable budget be? (this will determine whether the trip is even possible!) Vacations we have loved generally include Western National Parks. We normally stay in “Hampton Inn” like places, it does not have to be fancy but we are not campers either. For sure sites: Pearl Harbor & volcano. Suggestions for islands, budget, etc…THANK YOU!

  23. Sheila! I have gotten some great advice on your site! My family and I which consists of my husband and two children. My son will be 21 and my daughter will be 17 when we plan to travel July of 2013. We have already decided to go to Oahu but unsure of the second island. We will be going two weeks and will spend more time on Oahu. We love the water and snorkeling but not to interested in much hiking. We plan on doing a luau and a dolphin swim along with Pearl Harbor. We have done a helicopter tour 22 years ago on our honeymoon so we do not care to do that or any type of zip lining. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Tracey – glad to hear you’re finding helpful info here.

      I think Maui might be a good compliment to Oahu based on your description. There’s really nice snorkeling and great beaches on Maui. Maui also has some excellent luaus, too. Do check out the links above to see if there’s an island that seems to click better with you. They all have something special to offer!

  24. Hi Sheila,

    You obviously know Hawaii well! Please help us with some tips and suggestions on how to choose which island.
    Four of us (young 50 year olds)will be visiting Hawaii for the first time for 9 days from Aug 28 to May 7, 2 coming from the Pacific coast and 2 from Eastern Canada. We are all not really beach people(i.e. suntanning all day long) and prefer walking around & checking things out kinda of holiday. We would enjoy sightseeing(volcanoes, waterfalls, lush tropical rainforests/parks) hiking, culture (e.g. luau) and history. We are not interested in nightlife and nightclubs. We don’t mind off the eaten path for local sights and sounds and are considering renting a car. We have looked briefly into Hawaii packages (flight & hotels) but is it better to book them separately?

    We would prefer no island hopping and rather choose a island that will provide us with enough to do for a week. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Heleene — You’re in luck — most islands fit what you’re looking for. I would lean towards Hawaii’s Big Island for you because you’re interested in seeing volcanoes. The Big Island is the only island with an active volcano and it’s fascinating to see.

      No matter which island you visit, it’s best to rent a car to get around. You can possibly get away without having to get a car if you stay on Oahu, but having a car gives you lots of freedom for sightseeing.

  25. Hi Sheila,

    Just found your website while looking around TripAdvisor. My wife and I are planning a trip to Hawaii towards the end of August. Never been there. We are coming for 8 days from the East Coast. We really want to see the road to Hana and watch the sunrise at Haleakala so Maui is a definite. We are also interested in seeing a volcano (I know that is Big Island) and seeing Pearl Harbor (Oahu). Does this sound feasible to you or too rushed? I don’t want us to be running around so much that we don’t get a chance to relax and enjoy being in Hawaii. Any specific recommendations you might have? Also, we are both vegetarians. Do you know if there are any islands that don’t have options for us? Thank you for your help.

    1. Ankur — we travel to Hawaii from the East Coast. Actually our first trip to Hawaii was to Maui for 8 nights (9 days) back in 2003.

      Our first trip included a day trip to Oahu with the main goal of seeing Pearl Harbor. At that time, we took a packaged tour including airfare and ground transportation on Oahu. You can find plenty of companies offering day tours like that. Alternatively, you can do it on your own as I describe here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/04/a-day-trip-island-hop-to-oahu/

      For seeing the Big Island lava activity, there is a company that does scenic flights out of Maui. I’ve written about that and other options here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/29/island-hopping-from-maui-to-see-the-big-island-lava-flow/

      Maui has so much to offer, I’m hesitant to suggest you do both island hops. I suggest you pick one at most.

      You’ll find vegetarian options just about everywhere.

  26. Hi,

    My two daughters, 11 and 13, and I are thinking about traveling to Hawaii in March for about 7 days from the west coast of British Columbia, but I am not sure where to go. I don’t want a very expensive trip but my daughters want to stay in a more upscale resort/hotel on the beach. I have narrowed it down to Oahu or Maui. My one daughter wants a little bit of shopping and the other wants to go snorkeling. I really want to go hiking but I want to best fit my daughters needs first. We want to stay on an island where we can relax on a nice, not crowded, beach. Your advice is greatly needed! Thank you.

    1. Suzanne —

      Oahu is tops for shopping, but most of it is near Waikiki Beach, which is fairly crowded and not as relaxing as most beaches in Hawaii.

      Maui is next best for shopping, but there’s not a ton of it.

      Perhaps the Kaanapali area of Maui would be a good fit for you. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/08/kaanapali-a-great-base-for-a-maui-vacation/ It has some shopping within walking distance at Whalers Village, plus more shopping a short drive away in Lahaina.

      You can take some great snorkeling excursions from Maui. Molokini is really a unique snorkeling spot. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/09/05/hawaiis-molokini-island-a-top-snorkel-and-scuba-diving-spot/ Black Rock at Kaanapali is a great snorkeling spot that you can easily access right off the beach.

  27. Hi Sheila,

    We are planning to have a trip to Hawaii in May for 9 days 9(Including travel). We want to enjoy Beginner surfing, beaches, scooba diving,paragliding,Little bit shopping, and moderate sight seeeing, to feel relaxed and nice. We are planning to rental home .

    Please help to suggest the Island and the place to stay. Your help is deeply appreciated.

    Looking forward for your reply

    1. Vindya — if paragliding is important, mark Kauai off your list. It’s banned there. You’ll find paragliding on Oahu, Hawaii (Big) Island and Maui.

      Sightseeing is amazing on all islands, so don’t worry there.

      If you want to do a little bit of shopping and feel relaxed, then I’d suggest Maui. You can find rental homes and vacation condos everywhere on the island.

  28. Hi Sheila,

    We are planning our trip to Hawaii in Apr last week till May 12th for 15 days Including travel. Except for hiking, we want to enjoy all the fun.There are 3 people, My son 4Yr old, My wife and myself. Please help to advice as this is the first time to that place. I saw this forum is very helpful. We are vegetarians and we have planned for renting house or condos hoping that may be less expensive than the hotels.

    Also please help to tell which island to go first we are coming from seattle. We want to cover as much as we can also not to rush and to our great satisfaction.

    Kindly respond 🙂

    1. Hi Krishna

      You’re description of what you want is too general for me to recommend a specific island(s). They all fit what you described. So, good news is that you can’t make a bad choice. 🙂

      My recommendation would be for you to read the links in the above article and see which islands seem to click with you the most. It really is worth your time as only you know what interests you most.

  29. Hi Sheila!
    We are a family of 4 looking to vacation to Hawaii for 6 weeks in Feb – March 2013. Our girls will be almost 3 and almost 2. We are debating between Maui and the Kona side of the big island as we read it has considerably less rain during this time. We would be renting a condo to alow us the space we will need as well as the flexibility to cook our own meals. (going out with toddlers isn’t always fun) I’m wondering if you could recommend either island for our stay and any activities/attractions that might be of interest to us and the kids. We will be inviting our parents for part of the stay to allow us to explore the island differently, but when it is just us, what family friendly activities are there that allow us to bring the kids while still enjoying the island?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Ashley,

      You can’t make a bad choice between the two. I would suggest that Maui might be slightly more kid-friendly. Some things you might want to do with the kids:
      – Go to the surfing goat farm — https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/02/13/mauis-surfing-goat-dairy-fun-for-kids-of-all-ages/
      – There’s a sugar cane train in Lahaina
      – The humpback whales in Hawaii that time of year, so whale watching is fun for any age. You can watch for them from the shore or go on a boating excursion.
      – The Maui Ocean Center is another great kid-friendly attraction. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/08/17/maui-ocean-center/

  30. Hi Sheila


    My fiancé and I are eloping so looking for a romantic and beautiful place for our solo ceremony and honeymoon.

    We LOVE great restaurants and very nice hotels and/ or resorts

    No children and 40, so adult environment preferred

    Thinking about anywhere b/w end of July-September for travel based on the best time to go?

    Not super concerned with clubs or crazy nightlife

    Love outdoors activities, Like to hike, and great beaches would be key

    2 islands could be possible

    Love very modern and updated hotels

    Will either fly from Florida or New York. How long should we stay?

    First time to Hawaii

    I absolutely love anything to do with animals or aquariums

    We originally planned to go to San Fran and Nappa but cost wise and “more bang for your buck” Hawaii is looking very good to me after reading your sire. We absolutely love The Bahamas, so Hawaii should be that x. 1000

    Thank you for any advice you can provide 🙂

    1. Hi Wenona-

      I would recommend September. See this link for the reasons why: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/15/the-best-times-to-visit-hawaii/ There will probably be less kids at resorts then.

      Every island has great outdoor activities. If you want to do two islands, I might recommend Maui and Lanai. They are easy to get to each other via ferry or flight. Maui has a great aquarium. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/08/17/maui-ocean-center/ Lanai has two beautiful Four Seasons Resorts that are the best luxury value in the islands!

      For both islands, you might want to plan a total of 10 days.

  31. Hi Sheila,

    I hope you can advise us with deciding on whether or not to attend a luau. Do you recommend it as a “must do” if you are visiting Hawaii or is really more of a tourist attraction only? This will be our first time visiting Hawaii for the 4 of us (50 year olds) and think $100 per person is a little pricey for a buffet dinner. However, there are 2 people who will be celebrating birthdays during our 8 day stay. We are staying on the Big Island with 4 days in Hilo area and 4 days on Kona side. If you recommend a luau, is there one you favor? Any other suggestions for a memorable dinner elsewhere? Thanks for your help! I love your site

  32. Shelia,

    This website is great! My finacee and I are planning our honeymoon in March of 2013 and we are trying to decide between Kauai, Maui, or the Big Island. We love to hike and experience the outdoors but at the same time want somewhere that we can spend time on a great beach and relax. We are looking for a romantic spot that isn’t too touristy but still has great sites to see and we are having a very hard time choosing between these three options. What would you recommend?


    1. Sorry, I should add- we don’t care too much about night life, are not interested in golf, and care more about an amazing outdoor and meld of relaxing and active experiences rather than touristy type things (which is why we are avoiding Oahu)

      1. Jessie — glad you’re finding Go Visit Hawaii useful for your honeymoon planning. Be sure and get our free daily updates for lots of tips to prepare you for the trip: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/20/are-you-subscribed-to-go-visit-hawaii/

        After reading what you’re looking for, my first thought was Kauai…in my opinion, there’s something especially romantic about the “Garden Isle”. Kauai is also less touristy compared to Maui.

        My only hesitation about Kauai is that it tends to get a bit more rain and March is one of the rainier months. See this chart that shows historic rainfall averages by month.

        You can reduce your risk of rain by staying in the Poipu or Waimea areas. See this article on where to stay on Kauai to avoid rain: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/09/15/where-to-stay-on-kauai-for-the-best-weather/ One really cute, very not touristy place you might want to look into is Waimea Plantation Cottages — located in an area that doesn’t get as much rain as the rest of the island.

        If the worry of rain scares you about Kauai, then I would recommend the Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. That area only gets about 10 inches of rain per year. There’s lots of great hotels there that are more on the luxury side. Most of them are not big chains, so you don’t feel like you’re in a cookie cutter hotel.

        Don’t sweat the decision….it’s all good in Hawaii.

  33. Hi. I am planning on visiting Hawaii the end of October. Since this is our first trip to hawaii I was trying to decide which island to go to and which town.
    We were looking for a less crowded island, seeing waterfalls, valcanos, and do some sightseeing, whale watching. We also had a little concern on the weather and the rain.

    Thanks alot for all your help!!

    1. Laura —

      All of Hawaii is made up of volcanoes, but only the Big Island of Hawaii has active volcanoes. See this article: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/05/23/where-to-go-in-hawaii-to-see-volcanoes/

      If seeing volcano activity is not a priority, I would also recommend Kauai.

      So, based on what you described, either the Big Island or Kauai are good fits.

      Humpback whale season doesn’t being until mid to late December. So, it would be highly unlikely for you to see whales at the end of October. If you do end up seeing one, you’d be extremely lucky.

      October is not a heavy rainfall month, so I wouldn’t give that much concern.

  34. We are a family with 2 girls ages 10 and 12 by the time we will be going to Hawaii in late May or early June 2014. We’ll book timeshare condo either on Oahu or Maui, but would like to see active volcano on the Big island. Is it possible to see on a day trip to fly in, see volcano, fly back all in the same day from Oahu or Maui?

    1. Mark – Yes, there’s a good number of commercial flights from Oahu’s HNL airport to the Big Island’s Hilo ITO airport. You could rent a car from there to go check out Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

      There are less commercial flights from Maui to Hilo, however, there is a scenic flight that leaves from Kapalua on Maui that flies over the Big Island with a focus on the volcano. See this post: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/29/island-hopping-from-maui-to-see-the-big-island-lava-flow/

  35. Dear Sheila,

    You have such a great website. We are a couple planning to go to Hawaii in mid-August for the first time. We are interested in hiking, seeing the volcanoes, and beaches. To minimize transport logistics we were thinking in going to (1) Maui to see the Haleakala National park and the road to Hana and (2) staying over one day/night in Big Island to see the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (I noticed that you recommend to see the volcano at night as well). Does it sound like a good plan, any suggestions? We need help in choosing accommodation, do you have a recommendation for a hotel to stay in Maui and another one for the night in Big Island?

    Many thanks in advance. Best regards,

    1. Thanks for the kind words Sonia.

      I think your plan sounds like a sound one.

      When you go to the Big Island, you’ll want to fly into Hilo (ITO) airport, which is the closest airport to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — about a 45 minute drive.

      When we stay on the Hilo side, we really enjoy staying in the village of Volcano that is on the doorstep of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There’s a famous inn there, Kilauea Lodge plus many nice B&B’s. On our last stay there, we enjoyed the Teapot Cottage.

      Lava action is always subject to change, so I recommend you check this post to find out what’s going on with the lava.

      As for where to stay on Maui…there are so many great places to stay. For a first timer, I think Kaanapali Beach makes a good base. If you’re up for some luxury, check out the Ritz-Carlton deal I posted about today: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/07/26/hawaii-vacation-deals-news-july-26-2012/

      1. Dear Sheila,

        Thanks again for your reply. At the end we decided to do only Maui but do a tour to the Big island volcano. Reading your website, we have three options: (1) Big Island Volcano Tour (12 hours) with Hawaii Tours, (2) Big Island Volcano Tour (2h) with Maui with Air Tours, and (3) Sunset Volcano Tour (2h). Which of the 3 tours would you recommend? Number (3) is going over the volcano in Big Island at night? I like the relaxing and romantic feel of this one, but I was wondering whether you’ll recommend number (1) since you can walk over the volcano. Or number (2). Also could you recommend any nice restaurant in Maui for a celebration? We are staying at Kaanapali beach as you recommended. Many thanks again! Best regards, Sonia

        1. Sonia – Regarding the tours, it really depends on what appeals to you, fits your budget and schedule. I haven’t taken any of them so, I can’t recommend one over the other. I have always “created” my own tour while staying on the island.

          One slight word of caution about “volcano” tours…I’ve seen brochures that show their tour going directly to flowing lava. Depending on the lava, that may or may not be possible.

          When I went to the Big Island for the first time, the only way to see any active lava was via an air (helicopter) tour.

          Regarding restaurants – here’s our list of top Maui restaurants: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/28/how-to-find-the-best-maui-restaurants/ If I were celebration a special occasion and staying in Kaanapali…
          … if I didn’t want to drive, I’d go to Leilani’s in Kaanapali
          …. if I didn’t mind driving 10 or 15 minutes, I’d go to Plantation House. This is one of our favorite Maui restaurants. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/09/26/review-of-the-plantation-house-restaurant-in-kapalua-maui/ Book a reservation for when the restaurant opens for dinner. Arrive on time and you’ll probably get one of the beautiful tables for two by the open glass doors.

          Either way, book asap.

  36. Hey Sheila! This website is awesome! Me and my fiancé are planning our honeymoon for the first week of April 2013. We are planning for a maximum of 8 days and we also wanted to do some island hopping. After doing some extensive research, we have short listed Maui, Kuai, and the Big Island. This is what we are seeking for on our trip: privacy, some realllyyy good romantic spots, waterfalls, water sports (diving,snorkeling,kayaking), cruise or paragliding,good restaurants, good ocean view resorts,bit of volcano, and some time alone on the beach. We are not fond of partying too much, thus having no nightlife shouldn’t matter. Can you please suggest two islands that we should visit, how should we split our time, and can the budget be within $6000 ? (We might be looking for some package plans.please let us know if you have any recommendations). Looking forward to hear from you 🙂

    1. Hi Mariya – glad you’re finding GoVistHawaii.com to be useful.

      As for your budget for 8 days, I think it sounds do-able. Here’s an article to help you get a rough idea of how much to budget for Hawaii: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/05/06/how-much-money-should-you-budget-for-a-hawaii-vacation/

      I’ve been to each of the major islands multiple times and I’ve still not done everything I want to do. Each island offers far more than a week’s worth of things to do and see. So, you might want to trim your list down to just one island.

      If you’re absolutely set on 2 islands…I might suggest Maui for certain since it has become a bit of a secondary airport hub for Hawaii which would make it easier to get a direct flight from Maui to either Kauai of the Big Island.

      When you say you want to see a volcano…check out this article https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/05/23/where-to-go-in-hawaii-to-see-volcanoes/

  37. Wow, what a prompt reply! This website is truly helpful and the effort you put into it is commendable! I have been reading all bits and pieces from your website and have even been dreaming about Hawaii too. Lol. Sheila, it still seems that I have more extensive research to do for our honeymoon. My to-be-husband has handed over the task of Hawaii planning to me as I am the one with the more keen interest in these beautiful islands! Here is a rough plan of what I came up with overnight 🙂 Can you tell me if it looks good or you can turn down the whole thing as you are the expert here! I have posted the questions along with the plan. I would appreciate it if you could take the time out to fulfill my queries.

    Day 1: Fly from Houston to Maui (Can we do a direct flight to Maui?)

    Day 2: Take the road to Hana (early morning) and try to be in time for a sunset picnic.

    Day 3: Go snuba diving (can someone who is an amateur to swimming do snuba diving after having practice lessons ? If no, should we do a submarine tour instead?) Come back, rest, and go for the star gazing/sunrise at Haleakala.

    Day 4:Parasailing. Can we do the waterfalls too and then leave for the Big Island or skip them? (Are there evening departures for the BI? )

    Day 5:At the BI, visit the Tropical Botanical Garden and do the sunset cruise later at the evening. (If we can’t do these two together, should I adjust the cruise in Day 6)

    Day 6: Helicopter tour

    Day 7: Hawaii volcano Park. End the trip with a couple massage by the ocean and with the stargazing.

    Day 8: Return to Houston

    I tried cutting down on activities as per your recommendation. I might still be overloading our honeymoon with too much. If that is the case, please let me know. I have no intentions of being a superwoman on this tour 🙂

    * Also 2 more things to ask : 1. I cover my head and my body and I am hoping there won’t be a racial issue in Hawaii. I might be the odd one out dressed up like that but I hope my attire would be not a reason to stop me from visiting that beautiful place. 2. After reading the plan, if you find it fine, will we be fitting in 6K?

    Thanks so much for reading!!! 🙂

    1. * I was thinking of one island but my fiance and I have our fingers crossed to see some of that lava! Hence, the BI is a part of the excursion.

    2. Is it doable? Probably. Depends on if you want your honeymoon crammed packed with activities or if you want to enjoy your Hawaii honeymoon at a less hurried pace. If you want to go at a slower pace, then pick one island…and if seeing lava is important, consider going with the Big Island. One thing to bear in mind with lava is that there are no guarantees that it’s flowing at a point where you can see it. Another idea is just stay on Maui and take a scenic flight to see the volcano activity on the Big Island: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/29/island-hopping-from-maui-to-see-the-big-island-lava-flow/

      The Big Island is big and takes about 2.5 hours to drive from one side to another. So, at a glance, the Big Island days look ambitions.

      I don’t know if there’s a direct flight from Houston. I do know there is one from Dallas.

      Bear in mind that the vast majority of flights from Hawaii to the mainland require an overnight flight — unless you live on the West Coast.

      Regarding SNUBA: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/05/07/confessions-of-a-snuba-failure/

      Maui’s waterfalls are off the road to Hana.

      I am not set up to help plan individual detailed trips. I write this site on a voluntary basis as I have time.

    1. Hi Mariya – honestly, I think that’s wise to do. Sticking with one island will save you time and money.

      Regarding how you dress, I wouldn’t anticipate it would be an issue. People in Hawaii are generally very warm and welcoming.

      You will have a fabulous honeymoon. Happy travels!

  38. Hi Sheila,

    All the links are so informative!!! and I want to thank you very much as it was easy to decide the islands and we have booked the tickets and accommodation 🙂

    Islands: Oahu and Maui
    Duration: 15 days (6+8)[excluding travel]
    Travel month: Dec 21 2012 to Jan 6 2013
    People: 2 adults and 1 kid [4-1/2 yrs]

    Not willing to do : hiking, nightlife, shopping

    The queries:
    1.Considering our dislikes how much percent can we cover in one island?
    2.Need help in planning a schedule for 15 days [Top must see and do in both islands as there are holidays in between like new-year and Christmas]

    Looking forward for your reply

    1. 1. you’ll get to see a high percentage of both islands in that amount of time

      2. Oahu see & do: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/09/24/10-best-free-activities-and-sites-on-oahu/
      Maui see & do: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/01/18/top-5-things-you-must-see-and-do-on-your-maui-vacation/

      From last year’s Christmas in Oahu post: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/12/06/waikiki-christmas-2011-special-holiday-dining-events/ I don’t know if I’ll be writing a 2012 version or not, but if so, it won’t be until December

      From last year’s Maui New Year’s post:
      https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/12/12/maui-lanai-new-years-eve-fireworks-events-20112012/ Again, I don’t know if I’ll be writing a 2012/2013 version of that post, but if so, it won’t be until December. My recommendation would be to book one of the New Years Eve cruises ASAP as they sell out early…if there are fireworks, they will sail to them.

      For any further information, be sure and check out our Oahu and Maui vacation guides that you can find from the right hand side navigation.

  39. Hi. We are planning a surprise trip to Hawaii for my mother. She has wanted to go her whole life and talks about how “someday” she’d love to see Hawaii, every vacation we take. We will be going May 14-21. We will be traveling with my parents, husband and myself, and our three kids (7 and 6 year old girls and 1 year old boy). I am so afraid that we are going to spend a mountain of money and be disappointed, but after reading everything here, I’m excited all over again. I am writing to ask your opinion on a couple of questions I can’t seem to answer myself no matter how much research I do online and our travel agents have never been to Hawaii so they were little to no help!
    Big questions: Which island? And Which luau?
    My Dad says “I don’t care what else we do, I want to see Pearl Harbor”. Lol.
    Husband said “the only thing I want to do is get in one of those cages and go down to see the sharks”.
    My mom (who has no clue we are planning this) has always dreamed about going to a real laua on the beach.
    And I just want to FEEL like I’m in Hawaii….I would love to see all the amazing things the big island offers, but ai don’t think that it is possible to make everyone happy and see the different sands, volcanos, desert, etc. So I will just be happy to make everyone else happy.
    And my kids love everything. Especially playing in the sand at the beach. And I don’t want them to miss out on that for sure!
    We go to the beach in Flordia every year and I want this to be unlike any other beach experience….just amazing. We will do everything together (so with three little ones in tow). We will rent a house for the week so we won’t have any resort activities to keep us busy. Any suggestions for must see?

    1. Probably Oahu would be your best bet as that’s where Pearl Harbor is and, as far as I know, is the only island with cage shark diving.

      If you’re looking for a house to rent, don’t plan on Waikiki as there are mostly high rise towers that are predominately hotels.

  40. Hi Shelia-

    Loved all your information but would still like a recommendation. My wife and I and our 9 year old son are going for 14 days (last week of Feb/first week of March). The first week we are spending on the big island but are torn on week number two- mostly likely Ohau or Maui. We would take in Pearl Harbor but heard the lines can be outrageous so we may skip. While we might be satisfied with beautiful beaches, we also want to make sure there are enough things to do to keep the 9 year old fully engaged as well. One of the things that intrigued us about Waikiki was the shows, shops, and general energy but are not as thrilled when we hear about traffic and congestions and crowds. Any advice you have is welcome and appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Russell,

      Lines to get into the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor are normally not very long, except for holidays and just before opening each morning. Last year they instituted a new ticketing system that issues up to half of each day’s tickets online. Read more here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/02/01/big-changes-coming-for-uss-arizona-memorial-ticketing/

      Maui is almost as lively as Waikiki in resort areas like Kaanapali, but with much, much less congestion and traffic. See more about Kaanapali – https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/08/kaanapali-a-great-base-for-a-maui-vacation/

      You can always take a day trip to Oahu from Maui on a guided tour or arrange your own day trip. Here’s an island hop that we took from Maui to Oahu – https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/04/a-day-trip-island-hop-to-oahu/

      1. And… one more reason to go to Maui over that time period is that it will be at the peak of humpback whale season. There are far more whales in and around Maui than around Oahu.

  41. Hi Sheila,

    Love your site…great source of unbiased information! My husband and I are contemplating Hawaii…we’ve talked about it for several years but always seem to end up vacationing somewhere else! Nonetheless, I think 2013 might be our year!

    We would most likely be traveling in early February…we’re looking for some sightseeing and relaxation. We do not yet have children and we both have fairly demanding careers…vacation for us is our chance to relax, enjoy wonderful food and accommodations, explore some new places, get away from the MN winters, and spend time together.

    Is there an island for us???

    Thanks much!

    1. Hi Ann,

      I bet you’d love Maui based on what you’re looking for. A great plus for going to Maui in early February is that you’d be there during the peak of humpback whale season which is amazing. Maui is one of the best places in Hawaii for whale watching.

  42. HI Sheila,

    What a wonderful site, thank you. We are planning a trip for this coming February (2013) for our family of 4 – my husband & I , our 4yr old and 1yr old. Ideally we want to rent a home on a beach (with safe wading/swimming) for a week and relax. We’d like to stay somewhere low key but close enough to decent / quaint shopping and restaurants. No high rises, big box stores, etc. I’ve been looking at Anini beach on Kauai but have been thrown off by talk of mosquitoes, noisy nearby neighbors, and campers on the beach. None of which I really want involved in our vacation. Perhaps I’ve been researching too much and have just managed to find every complaint founded and unfounded? The internet is a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? SO would love your opinion. We’re not set on Kauai so if you think another island would suit our requests, I’m all ears. A sea turtle sighting would be nice too : ) Any help you can give is appreciated – Sarah

    1. You might want to look in the Poipu area, which tends to be a sunnier side of Kauai in winter months. You can find homes and condos to rent. At Poipu Beach Park, there’s a protected little keiki (kids) beach that’s great for little ones.

  43. My fiancé and I are planning our honey moon in Hawaii in late August. We would really like a beautiful and scenic resort, maybe even a room that doesn’t have any doors that opens up to the ocean. Is there a resort like this? We also like to want to be active. We’re thinking of splitting up the trip. Any advice?

    1. By “doors that opens up to the ocean”, do you mean simply seeing the ocean? Or walking out the doors to the ocean for a swim?

      There are tons of oceanfront resorts all across Hawaii with rooms where you open the doors from your lanai and gaze out onto the beautiful blue Pacific.

      You can be very active with hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, etc on all islands.

  44. We are from Australia and are planning a stop-over on our way back in May for 3nights. Along with my husband, we’ll have our 18month old daughter with us. We were leaning towards the Big Island as we’re interested in the volcanic experience. Ive heard a lot about the volcanic smog and altitude being somewhat harmful, or rather, upsetting for little ones. Any advice would be good about it. Would you recommend another island to snorkel/and really just relax in if the VOG is inadvisable

    1. Experts advise that children, the elderly and anyone with heart or respiratory issues avoid exposure to volcanic gases. Even for healthy adult, exposure to the gases are irritating — and I can say that from experience.

      Really, you can relax on any island. For snorkeling, I really like Maui and Lanai.

      1. I should clarify that the volcanic gases are usually concentrated immediately around Kilauea area in places where lava is flowing and in and around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

  45. I’d like to do a quickie trip with my parents. I’m turning 50 and they have been married 50 years! We’d fly from NYC March 20-24 or 25. I’d like to see some beautiful natural sites (flowers, birds, waterfalls, etc.) but they are in their late 70’s and can walk on flat trails but nothing strenuous. We don’t want to drive so walking or taxis is a must, but if we can join a small tour bus that would pick up at a hotel or resort would be fine. I think my folks would like a nice beach and nice grounds at a hotel or resort for a little pampering. Maui or Big Island or something else? Please give me your best recommendation.

  46. Wow what a wonderful website!
    Just wondering if I could get a little advice for my first trip to Hawaii?
    I am going with my friend to Hawaii for a “girls holiday” as a break from our stressful jobs. We are in our mid 20’s and will be going around November-December for about one week (not including travel days).
    Our main priority with this trip is to laze about, go to the day spa and eat like no one has ever eaten before!
    We would also be looking to do a couple of activities, see some of the sights and I know I will be dragged on some kind of hike. We aren’t really looking to party, shop too much or spend too much time in the city but we would like the option to do these – maybe if our time is split between two islands?
    I understand that December isn’t prime-time to visit Hawaii but its really the only time we can go from work. With that being said we are both really low maintainence and could surely find something to do if it rains (probably eating!)
    I absolutely love staying in beautiful hotels and accommodation so this is a huge priority for me, for my friend – she would just prefer to be near a nice beach.
    I could be wrong, but I have heard that Hawaii gets a lot of big wave surfing in December and I would love to see something like that if we’re there at the right time.

    Can you suggest any thing that would suit us? Thanks in advance.

    1. I think Maui would be a great fit for what you’ve described. In my opinion, Maui has the best collection of spas.

      You might want to look into the Wailea area of Maui, where you’ll find luxury hotels, each with fabulous spas — one of my favorites being Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea.

      Maui offers lots of great sightseeing that makes getting a rental car worth your time and money.

  47. Oh and I just forgot to add to the above comment ^^

    Both me and my friend love doing road trips and if there are any great scenic drives where we can hire a car for we would definitely take the time to do a Hawaiian road trip around an island.


  48. Awesome site Sheila. Your knowledge is impressive! We are interested in a trip to the Big Island or Maui in mid April with a 4 and 6 year old. What are the best beaches for kids on each of those islands? Looking for calm water, sandy beaches, not too crowded/touristy.

    Would you say it is accurate that Maui has more activities for young kids? Thanks so much for your help!

    1. Pete — April can be a transitional month between rough winter seas and calmer summer seas. Hopefully, you’ll experience the calmer side.

      Based on my knowledge and experience:

      On Maui DT Fleming and Kaanapali beaches are relatively calm, mostly sandy bottom and fairly uncrowded. DT Fleming has a lifeguard, which is definitely a plus.

      On the Big Island Mauna Kea Beach, Hapuna Beach and Anaethoomalu Bay (A-Bay) along the Kohala Coast fit what you’re hoping to find. Hapuna has a lifeguard station.

      I do think Maui has more kid friendly things to do — great luaus (some information may be slightly out of date, but gives you a relative idea of luau comparison), a fun goat farm, sugar cane train, etc.

  49. Sheila, your website is absolutely amazing! Me and my fiancé are planning our honeymoon in late June for 9 days. He is absolutely set on seeing the lava flow while I want to be at Maui. I was thinking if we could do one or two nights initially at BI just for the sake of the active volcano and then we go on to Maui for 6-7 nights. Does that sound wise? I want him to be happy too provided the lava flows 🙂 Let me know what you think.

    1. That could definitely work. You should check out these articles:
      – inter-island travel guide: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/03/24/a-guide-to-inter-island-travel-in-hawaii/
      – where to stay on the Big Island to be near the volcano activity https://www.govisithawaii.com/hawaiis-big-island-where-to-stay/
      – our island by island honeymoon guide series that’s currently in progress https://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/01/14/new-series-where-to-honeymoon-in-hawaii/

      1. Thanks a ton, Sheila. If it wasn’t for you, I would have failed to plan my Hawaii Honeymoon. Just read through all the articles you suggested. Well, we will try to look for a flight from US Mainland to ITO first so that we can finish up with the volcano first. We’d like to stay near Volcano for easier access. We are planning to depart from KOA to OCG, this way we can have a drive and maybe we could see the Kona Plantations, etc. My fiancé would like to split up our 6 nights Maui stay between West and South Maui. How does this sound to you? Also, considering we stay at the West Maui and take the Road to Hana, how long should it take for us to travel back and forth?

  50. Hi Sheila!

    I am planning a trip to Hawaii for myself(37), my aunt(59), my mother (61), and my son(9)for 9 days starting the week after Christmas bringing in the New Year there!! I would like to spend time on Ohau and Maui and I have the idea of doing a Luau for New Year’s Eve. My aunt and mom are a little more on the touristy side, I want more of an authentic, cultural, nature rich experience. I am looking for guidance for New Year’s Eve and for a balance of activity between what they want and what I want. This is my first big trip with my son (single mom trying to show my kid some of the world) so I really want him to have a memorable experience where he can appreciate the beauty of the land and learn a thing or two. I would love to hear any suggestions you have!

    1. Every luau has a touristy aspect to it. That being said, there are two luaus — one on Oahu and one on Maui — that have won awards for being closer/honoring Hawaiian culture. Those are the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu (make sure you see their evening show HA: Breath of Life after the luau) The one on Maui is Old Lahaina Luau.

      I don’t know if either of those luaus are open on the holiday evening, so I recommend you verify that before making your plans.

      You will have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the culture and beauty of Hawaii during your stay — just don’t expect all that to happen at a luau. One example Oahu that will give you many learning opportunities is Waimea — here’s a bit I wrote about that, but with more of a focus on their swimmable waterfall – https://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/10/25/where-to-swim-at-a-waterfall-in-oahu/

      Additionally, plan to spend an entire day including the luau and evening show at the Polynesian Cultural Center where you can learn about Hawaii and all the Polynesian cultures. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/06/20/polynesian-cultural-center-a-hawaii-must-do/

  51. Hey there!

    Thank You for sharing great information about Hawaii!
    I was wondering, where is the best place for surfing in Hawaii?
    Thank You

  52. Family of 5 looking for advice on a first time visit to Hawaii. Children’s ages: 7, 10 & 13. We have set aside 2 weeks in April for travel from New York area. How many islands should we schedule? How easy is it to travel from island to island? Hoping for good mix of relaxing and exploring. Any insights would be appreciated. Hard to know where to begin!

    1. Maria – planning a trip to Hawaii for the first time can be overwhelming. That’s why we created this first time visitors guide to Hawaii that walks you through the self-planning process step by step https://www.govisithawaii.com/first-time-visitors-guide-to-hawaii/

      With two weeks, you could fairly easily get to two islands. Here’s how you get around in Hawaii: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/03/24/a-guide-to-inter-island-travel-in-hawaii/

      I would recommend Maui for sure as that island has a great balance of things to do plus relaxation.

  53. The information here is a huge help! Thank you so much for putting together such a wealth of information. Which island would you say is the least crowded in late July/early August?

  54. Hi Sheila, so happy I ran across your site…what a wealth of information you have. I am a single mom with a 12 yr old daughter. I would love to take her to Hawaii but not sure which island to visit. I want to take her where there will be lots of fun activities for her to do. We would like to stay in a resort. Trying to plan ahead of time as have to budget for our trip. I was hoping to visit around xmas because she is out of school, however I see that is the most expensive time to visit. Any thoughts/advice? Thanks Sheila

  55. Hi Sheila!
    My husband & I are going to Hawaii to celebrate our 40th anniv. plus 5 yr. of being cancer free for me. I have been studing all the islands. I’m so confused. We are taking 2 weeks. 2 days will be travel time to and from. I want to see and do it all. I am planning on 4 islands. Would we be better off to do 3 and spend an extra day or 2 on each island. I want to snorkel, kayak, hike (easy), go to a luau, drive the road to Hana, see Pearl Harbor, pineapple plantations, waterfalls, & mountains. Would also like to see where they did some filming. I have to decide soon to make our arranagements. I’ve consulted 2 travel agents, but think I can manage the arrangements myself, including inter island flights and car rentals. Which inter island air line would you recommend? Thank you. Pat

    1. Hi Pat,

      I think your hunch to trim your plans down from four to three islands is a good idea. There’s so much to do on each island and spending more quality time on three will probably make for a better experience. Lots of time can be lost in rental car agencies, airports, hotel check in’s etc when you transfer from one island to the next.

      As for interisland airline, we’ve had the best experience on Hawaiian. See more here:

      Based on what you hope to see and do, I recommend Oahu and Kauai for TV and movie locations. For the third island, Maui for the road to Hana plus great snorkeling. You can go to a luau on any island.

  56. We are going to Hawaii over the Thanksgiving week (~7 days)to celebrate our 20th anniversary with the two kids (8 and 11). We want to swim in the ocean, snorkle, learn some things about Hawaii history and customs. Any thoughts

    1. You can do what you’ve described on any of the Hawaiian Islands.

      Based on our own experiences, we think Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii are best for snorkeling.

  57. Hi Sheila,

    My husband and I are planning a trip to Hawaii for our babymoon from Sep 22nd to 30th. We have been contemplating going to Maui & The Big Island but we also learned that we’ll end up losing more than half a day hopping islands. Do you recommend an entire week stay in Maui? Also, considering my situation what activities do you suggest we do during our stay in Maui? Sometimes I feel that am not sure when we’ll go back to Hawaii again, so maybe we should squeeze the other island in our itinerary. So confused!! Please help!

    Thanks a ton for your time and patience!

  58. Hi Sheila!

    First of all I love your site and all the tips, I’ve been reading them all night!

    I do need some advice though…

    My fiance wants to honeymoon in Hawaii, our wedding is on January 4th, so I assume we will depart by Monday January 6th! I would love to visit two islands, is there enough time? We will probably return on Tuesday the 14th to Oklahoma. We’ve had many people tell us to choose another destination for our honeymoon since it won’t be the best weather in January, but my fiance really wants to visit Hawaii.

    An ideal honeymoon includes relaxing on the beach, swimming/some body surfing in the ocean, a nice resort is a must with a pool and bar, night life, maybe some snorkeling, a spa, shopping, fiance would like to do some kind of ATV tour if possible, sight seeing, maybe visiting/ hiking ( nothing too adventurous) around a volcano? I also think renting a jeep or convertible sounds super fun and just driving around! We typically go on vacations with my family, we’ve never really been anywhere just the two of us so I’m just afraid we will become bored?!

    He’s also interested in watching the surf competitions, so I was thinking that our two islands would be Oahu and Maui? What do you think?

    I went to Hawaii when I was 12, but that was 10 years ago so I’m sure I won’t be repeating anything although I do remember a little bit of the Road to Hana. I didn’t necessarily want to repeat a vacation, but i’m sure a honeymoon is different than a family vacation?

    Sorry for the detailed post, and thank you in advance for your help and suggestions! 🙂

    1. Hi Madisen,

      As you’re counting your available honeymoon days, bear in mind that most flights back to the US Mainland are overnight flights. It may be possible to get back to Oklahoma in the same day, but most flights will be overnight.

      Winter can be a very nice time to visit Hawaii: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/10/20/is-winter-a-good-time-to-go-to-hawaii/

      Sounds like Oahu and Maui are a great fit for what you’re looking to do on your honeymoon. Read these two honeymoon guides:
      Maui: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/03/07/hawaii-honeymooners-guide-maui-honeymoons-2/
      Oahu: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/01/24/hawaii-honeymooners-guide-oahu-honeymoons/

      Bear in mind that if you opt for two islands, you’ll spend about a half a day or more in transit from one island to the next. Consider that you’ll have to pack, check out of the hotel, drive to the airport, return the rental car, get the shuttle to the terminal, go through security, wait for your flight, fly to the other island, take the shuttle to the rental car, rent the new car, drive to the new hotel, check in to the new hotel and unpack.

  59. Hi Sheila,

    My family wants to go to Hawaii during the Christmas Holiday for 10 days. We have teenagers who like adventure, water sports, etc. What islands would you recommends and hotels?

    1. Hi Carmen — really, any island is great for water sports, with one minor exception being Molokai, which doesn’t offer much in the way of water sports.

      Hawaii typically gets stronger/bigger swells in Winter months — typically on the north facing shores of the islands. So you’ll want to steer clear of staying in those areas if you want water sports at the nearest beach to your accommodations.

      In my opinion, I think you should consider Maui, Oahu and the Big Island, but choosing no more than 2 islands over the 10 day period. Kauai is nice, but it can be a bit trickier ocean-wise that time of year.

      Check the individual island guides on our home page. Each guide has a section with advice on where to stay.

  60. Hi,
    My best friend and I are both turning 50 and we want to mark this special occasion with a special trip to Hawaii. Neither of us have ever been to Hawaii before, and we are overwhelmed with all of the choices to make. We both are looking for a relaxing, beach- and pool-filled vacation and want all of the amenities that a large hotel would have to offer. Some shopping and light sight-seeing will occur, but we really just want to soak in the sights and sun that a beautiful beach would have to offer. Any suggestions?

    1. You’ll find beautiful beaches and great scenery on any island. If you’re interested in shopping, then Oahu and Maui are your best bets.

  61. Hi there,
    We’re looking at going to Hawaii in the next 4-6 months. We plan on taking our 12 year old and his 14 yr. old cousin. These are active boys who like to be doing things. Which island would be the best for teen boys? They enjoy anything to do with water (including surfing, water parks, kayaking, even snorkeling).


  62. Hi Sheila, Thank you for this excellent resource! We will be going to Hawaii for the first time in late November/early December 2014. We will be attending the last reunion of U.S.S. Arizona families and will be dedicating the period of Dec 1-7 to Oahu. (My husband’s uncle and namesake, Thomas William Stanborough, survived the sinking of the Arizona but died later while saving another soldier in the Solomon Sea.) The airfare to Hawaii is a HUGE splurge for us, and this is likely to be our one and only chance to visit Hawaii… so we’d like to get in as many “must do’s” as possible. (We typically drive for vacation to save on this expense.) Of course, we know everybody’s “must do” list will be different based on interests. If possible, we’d like to visit several islands… depending on the expense and time required for interisland flights. On Oahu, we will be staying at Aulani, as we are Disney DVC owners. We haven’t decided which other island(s) to visit. We would truly appreciate your advice on which islands/activities would be best for us. It will just be my husband and me, aged mid-50’s and in good physical condition, celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary while there. We enjoy moderate hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, viewing beautiful wonders (gardens, waterfalls, whale watching, volcanoes), and cultural sites. We have done helicopter tours in other locations, but find we enjoy them best if the helicopter ride is roundtrip to somewhere that is otherwise inaccessible, with a fun midflight activity. We also enjoy exploring at our own pace, with the freedom to take a closer look at things that really interest us, so we’d like to do as many self-guided activities as possible. Neither of us drink alcohol, so night clubs, etc. are not important. Lodging on other islands does not need to be the same type as Aulani. In fact, a break from the crowds would be welcomed for part of the trip. We are budget-conscious, but not cheap (though cheap is great if it’s fun!). We would truly appreciate any advice you could provide!

    1. Evey – the good news is that all the islands are very easy to self-navigate and explore by rental car. They all have very enjoyable, scenic drives.

      To help you decide how many islands to visit during your stay read this article: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/01/14/how-many-islands-should-you-visit-during-your-hawaii-vacation/

      Based on what you described, I’d definitely put Maui on your list. You’d enjoy the road to Hana with all the waterfalls and some short to moderate walks and hikes. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/03/19/tips-for-driving-the-road-to-hana/

      Maui has great snorkeling and is the best island for whale watching. You’ll be there just before peak humpback whale season.

      Ocean kayaking might be difficult that time of year as winter tends to bring stronger waves. If kayaking is important, consider Kauai because it’s the only island with rivers that you can kayak.

      If seeing volcano activity is important, you may want to stay on the Big Island. That being said, there are short flight tours from Maui that fly over the Big Island lava activity.

      As for where to stay, check the where-to-stay sections of our island guides. Pay close attention to where to stay to avoid rain as November and December tend to get more rain than the drier, summer months.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply, Sheila! The information about the rough sea kayaking is very helpful and makes the decision easier. Kauai sounds like it might be the best place for us, as kayaking on this trip is indeed important to us. As for rain… we’re from South Louisiana, so rain is not necessarily a deal breaker for us. We’re quite accustomed to both the rain and the humidity that we were told is highest in Hawaii during our travel dates. Again, many thanks! ~Evey

  63. I am planning a trip for my wife and I the 1st week of December 2015.
    Things we like to do:
    Self guided tour/hiking.
    Kayaking, whale watching, see the volcano.
    Have not planned where to fly into yet.

    We are thinking 11-12 days in Hawaii.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Don S

    1. Don –

      Best whale watching is on Maui. The first week of December is really early for whale watching season. You may see some whales.

      See this article about volcanoes in Hawaii: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/05/23/where-to-go-in-hawaii-to-see-volcanoes/

      See this article about how many islands to visit: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/01/14/how-many-islands-should-you-visit-during-your-hawaii-vacation/

      See this article about which airport to fly into: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/01/05/flying-to-hawaii-how-to-choose-the-right-airport/

      Kayaking in December may be possible, though ocean conditions can be somewhat unpredictable. Our kayaking articles are here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/?s=kayak

  64. Hi and thank you so much for this wonderful resource site. My cousin and I are planning a trip to Hawaii (neither of us have been before) in late March/ early April 2015. We are in our early 30’s and looking to do a combination of hiking, beaches, and experiencing a little bit of night time entertainment (nothing too crazy, but do enjoy going out), a luau, and possibly a spa. We are planning on staying in either hostels or airbnb rooms/condos. We are leaning towards Maui, Oahu, or the Big Island. We will be there for 7 nights total. We are wondering if Oahu is too crowded/ city like as we both live in the city and are really looking for an escape from that pace. Is the Big Island doable in that short amount of time? Thank you so much!

    1. Kelly – we find Waikiki to be pretty city-like. If you are looking to escape city life then, you may want to give Waikiki a skip. That being said, there are quite areas of Oahu, though they don’t have much in the way of nightlife.

      Any island is “doable” in seven days. You’ll be able to see the island highlights. Just stick with one island though.

      On Maui a bit of nightlife is found in Lahaina. For the Big Island, some nightlife is found in Kona.

  65. Hi, we are planning a week stopover in Hawaii after a holiday in Disney land and we are having trouble deciding which Island and hotel. We will be there the first week of November with our 4 and 6 year old kids so we are look for relaxing beach holiday with time to relax after the chaos of LA. We would like a great resort with water slides, calm beaches and activities for the kids and to experience real Hawaiian culture and basically have the full hawaian experience. I think we have over researched and are now confused. We are thinking Maui but any advice woul be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards

  66. We would like to come to hawaii on February 16-22. I am 50 years old & my wife a Robin is 60 years young. We are looking for good times, snorkeling, jeepin, romantic beaches, good food & drink. We are moderate activity. Exploring and spas. I definetly need some help choosing an island.

    1. Since you mentioned spas, you might want to consider Maui as Maui has several top notch spas. Otherwise, just about any other island will suit your needs.

  67. My mother and I are planning on going to Hawaii 10/15-10/18/15 she lived there when my dad was in the military many years ago, and has been wanting to go back. We don’t know where to go…She’s 65 I’m 38 and we like to do moderate shopping, walk around to site see, and walk on the beach. We’re going primarily for relaxation on a small budget.

    What would be the best island, and things to do? Oh I definitely want to see a luau.

    1. Oahu is best for shopping with lots of shops in Waikiki, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Ala Moana Center and the outlets. If you’re mainly wanting to walk around near where you’re staying, Waikiki would be your best bet on Oahu. That being said, not everyone finds Waikiki to be relaxing. Some folks love it, while others find it a bit to city like.

      Maui is next best for shopping with shops in Lahaina, Kaanapali, Paia, and Wailea. Maui is very relaxing.

      The Big Island is third best for shopping with shops in Kona. Kona is a bit vibrant, but can still be relaxing.

      You can do a luau on any of those islands.

  68. Wow! Awesome info. Thanks for the time you put into answering the quesitons. My wife and I are planning a one week trip to hawaii in October for our 20th anniversary. We like secluded beaches, warm water, snorkling, food, hiking, luau, and want to learn to surf and paddleboard. Night life isn’t important to us. What do ya think? Thanks.

    1. I’d say Maui or Kauai would be the best fit for you. Here’s how they stack up based on what you described:
      Maui – excellent snorkeling, tons of great restaurants in the resort areas, good luau options.
      Kauai – beaches tend to be a bit more secluded, a decent number of good restaurants especially in the Poipu area, there are some well established luaus.

      Water temperature should be pretty much the same from island to island.

  69. Hi Sheila,

    My Fiance and I are considering Hawaii For our honeymoon in 11/2015. We are thinking of visiting Maui and Kona for about 12 days including travel. Things that would be important are beaches, Good food and some kind of nightlife.
    Would this be a good time of year to go? Would you have an recommendations for restaurants or hotels? Would you recommend swapping either one of these destinations out for a better location?
    I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Thank you! 🙂

    1. In Maui and the Big Island, nightlife mostly consists of live music. If dance club is more of what you’re looking for, consider Waikiki in Oahu.

      The town of Kona has a lovely waterfront, but there’s not a lot of beach front. You can find more beaches on the Kohala Coast, which is north of Kona.

      Here’s information about Hawaii in November: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/10/14/is-november-a-good-month-to-go-to-hawaii/

      For more recommendations on hotels and restaurants, check out our island guides on our home page below the introduction.

  70. Hi Sheila! Thanks for this site! It is unbelievably helpful! I would like to ask your opinion as well tho.

    Me and my husband are wanting to go for vacation in April. We are going for 10-11 days. We would like it to be romantic (as we are going for our Annual reconnection lol) as well as have waterfalls to visit, volcanoes is a plus, hiking, shopping (not a big have to), sailing, we want tons of things to do at the beach or out on the water for sure. I was looking at the islands and it’s looking like maybe Maui or Big Island would be fitting but still not sure. I was told Oahu is good for first timers but It looks as tho that’s more for site seeing. I also need to find an all inclusive resort to stay in. Also should we just do one island? Any help you can give would be great as I am the most indecisive person I’ve ever known!!

    1. I think you’re on the right track with Maui and/or the Big Island with a lean more in the Maui direction because of the sailing opportunities to Molokini and to Lanai.

      Hawaii doesn’t really have all-inclusive hotels. The only hotel that’s sort of all-inclusive is Travaasa Hana in Maui https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/09/29/experiencing-travaasa-hana/ which, though lovely, I wouldn’t recommend an entire Maui stay there due to how remote it is from the rest of what Maui has to offer. Read this article to help you decide how many islands to visit: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/01/14/how-many-islands-should-you-visit-during-your-hawaii-vacation/

      1. Where would you suggest staying in Maui? What side of the island and what hotel or resort? And where would u suggest staying at Big Island …what side of the island and/or hotel or resort? are there any small villas or bungalows? I’m doing my research but I have no idea as to where to even start. I guess a good place to start would be what sides of the island. Also, Kauai, is that all nature or would I find the things I want there?

        1. Meagan – maybe you should get a travel agent to help you with your planning, book your hotels, etc.

          Go to our home page http://www.GoVisitHawaii.com and access our individual island guides (located under the site introduction page) which provide more information about where to stay.

  71. Hi Sheila,
    I am planning to go to Hawaii in Mar/Apr for a week with my wife and 3 year old son. I am inclining towards Kauai and Maui but unable to finalize one of them.
    Our main preference is to enjoy natural beauty, beaches and try to watch whales also. We won’t be doing much of hiking and would like to rent a budget condo/home/hotel with kitchen.
    Please let me know your thoughts.

      1. Thanks Sheila for your quick response. Maui is best for whale watching but are there good chances to watch whale from Kauai also in Mar/Apr? From the perspective of natural beauty and beaches, is there any preference between Kauai and Maui?

        1. Have been to Kauai in February, which is the peak of whale season, we saw very little whale activity.

          ALL the Hawaiian Islands have natural beauty.

      1. Hi Sheila, I’m planning a trip but don’t know what island yet. I’ve been to Waikiki and Kauai already. I plan to go in February 2016 with my fiancé both in our young 20s. We love everything hiking snorkeling, we loved to zip line and heard we can ride ATVs? We would love a little night life as well. Any suggestion?

  72. Hi Sheila,

    I am going to visit Hawaii for about two weeks (approx from dec 27-jan 13) and am wondering what island/town to stay in. I am in my mid 20s and would be going with my boyfriend for part of the time but be by myself for half of the visit so somewhere safe and friendly to nonlocals is a must. I want to stay at an airbnb or a rental as i am on a budget and cannot afford a resort. My main priority is a beautiful beach with good weather. I’d want to paddle board, take surf lessons. I wouldn’t mind seeing two different islands (or even switching islands when my boyfriend leaves). I also want to hike (nothing too difficult) and generally be active. If I’m by myself and hiking maybe a hiking tour would be best if those are available. I also want to be near (within walking/biking distance) from some sort of downtown (doesn’t have to be big) with shopping — local authentic shops and a farmers market. Would like some restaurants but don’t need to be 5 star. Not into nightlife maybe a couple of places for a happy hour but nothing crazy. Not interested in seeing the volcanoes. Any suggestions?

    1. Beth – just about anywhere in Hawaii is safe, has beautiful beaches and with some exceptions is bike-able to a town. Reference the numerous resources in the above article to see which islands and areas seem to resonate with you. The visitor bureau island guides that are referenced in the above article have useful maps to help you understand where the towns, beaches and attractions are. Since you’re going in winter, read this article: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/08/28/where-to-stay-in-hawaii-to-avoid-rain/

      1. Thank you so much! After researching further, I have decided to split my time between Oahu and Maui! Can you recommend some smaller towns on the west/ southern portions of the islands with cute downtowns.

        1. Beth – I’m glad you did your research. That’s really the only way for people to find the best island(s) for their interests.

          There are a few small, “cute” downtowns around Hawaii, though not necessarily in the spots you want them. They might not necessarily meet up to your idea of a small town with a cute downtown. Some areas to consider: Lahaina and/or Kihei on Maui and Haleiwa on Oahu.

  73. Hi Sheila! I love your site, such a great idea & so much great info!

    My boyfriend knows how much Hawaii has always meant to me & decided to take me for my first time and his second! I’m so excited but have no clue how to begin planning a 10/11 day vacation. We’re a pretty active couple & these are a few things we’d like to aim to do:

    -surf lesson
    -stand up paddle boarding
    -wave runners
    -waterfall jumping/lagoon swimming
    -helicopter tour
    -submarine tour
    -snorkeling (best place to spot a sea turtle?)
    -something involving sea turtles/dolphins
    -pearl harbor

    Do you think we’ll have time to do all of that? Which islands would you recommend?
    Do you know of any outstanding spots to do any of that? especially the waterfall/lagoon thing? I love the place they go hiking/swimming/jumping in that Adam Sandler movie, Just Go With It! We have a pretty large budget to travel between islands, but like you’ve said, time can be an issue with inter-island traveling. Do you think air travel is the most time efficient?

    Thanks so much for your help 🙂 <3

    1. DEVIN —
      -surf lesson – ANY ISLAND
      -stand up paddle boarding – ANY ISLAND
      -submarine tour – MAUI, BIG ISLAND, OAHU – SEE THIS ARTICLE https://www.govisithawaii.com/2015/01/19/diving-in-maui-with-atlantis-adventures-submarine/
      -snorkeling (best place to spot a sea turtle?) WE’VE HAD THE BEST LUCK ON THE BIG ISLAND AND MAUI https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/06/24/swimming-with-honu-hawaiian-sea-turtles/
      -something involving sea turtles/dolphins FOR TURTLES SEE ABOVE
      -luau – ANY ISLAND https://www.govisithawaii.com/2015/05/05/what-to-expect-from-your-first-time-to-a-hawaiian-luau/

      Do you think we’ll have time to do all of that? YES
      Do you know of any outstanding spots to do any of that? especially the waterfall/lagoon thing? I love the place they go hiking/swimming/jumping in that Adam Sandler movie, Just Go With It! SEE ABOVE. NOT SURE WHERE THAT WATERFALL IS IN THE MOVIE, BUT IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY IT IS IN A REMOTE, PRIVATE AREA OF KAUAI.
      We have a pretty large budget to travel between islands, but like you’ve said, time can be an issue with inter-island traveling.
      Do you think air travel is the most time efficient? IT’S THE ONLY WAY BETWEEN THE MAJOR ISLANDS.https://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/03/24/a-guide-to-inter-island-travel-in-hawaii/

  74. Sheila – thank you so much. Your website is an absolute threasure. I have spent 2 weeks in Maui 2 years ago, and loved it. I’m going back with my boyfriend now and we unfortunately only have 1 week (he has never been). I’ve been so torn about what to do even after reviewing all of your links… Basically in Maui I loved that feeling of absolute nature and from that perspective I think Kauai could be a great choice for this time around. However I also really want to see the lava at the Big Island and I think Oahu would be an easy place to stay and the just make a day trip to the big island and do a helicopter tour of the lava. SO I’m thinking if we stay on Oahu and then do the helicopter tour on Big Island for one day that could be good? My only concern is that when I look at fotos of oahu / honolulu, it feels very city like and i’m afraid I might not find that nature I loved so much on Maui. Like on Maui we spent an entire day hiking down from Halekala crater and then through the desert of sliding sands all the way to the coast and it was just unbelievable… is there nature like that on Oahu too or does it feel like a city? My boyfriend and I live in NYC so the last thing we want to do is come to another city.. but that being said we dont need absolute quiet, i think we would really enjoy some hustle and bustle (some of what you describe around the Waikiki area), i’m just scared that we might not find nature paradise on Oahu…

    Would really appreciate your advice… we are hoping to book this weekend.
    Also we are going in July (if that makes a difference). thank you so, so much again for everything!

    1. Andrea – you can find “nature paradise” on Oahu. In comparison to NYC, you’ll probably think Waikiki is fairly tame. That being said, Waikiki does feel very city like. The beach is often crowded, with some exceptions. Some people love that, while others dislike it.

        1. Thanks so much Sheila for your reply. I’ve spent about 40 hours on this so far and am about to go crazy… I looked more into Oahu after getting your message and have found the Kahala resort through your website; that seems like a good pick for a beautiful resort that’s not in the middle of the hustle and bustle. I looked at Turtle Bay also but that seems very removed from things? Are there others in that sort of category we should be aware of? I haven’t really found many.

          I did more research into Kauai and think it could be absolutely gorgeous there, I love one of the activities you review on the website (kayaking up to waterfalls and then swimming in waterfalls). I’m really worried about the weather though, lots of sun and nice warm temperatures are a total must… I can deal with some rain if it’s just a little bit, but even just looking at the weather forecast it seems there’s 30% chance of rain every day right now? We could be going end of July which I know is one of the drier months but do you have any sense for how much rain we would experience? I am thinking if we stay around Poipu it could be better? Then again are the “most pretty things” in Kauai on the north shore / would we be better off staying on another island all together if we stayed on the south side anyway? Are there long beaches (2 miles +) on the south side? While on the one hand, we would really like to experience beautiful nature, I want to make sure we also have super hot days where we can just lie in the sun..
          Because of these weather concerns I’ve started thinking about the big island too, maybe if we stayed around south Kohala we could be more weather secure?

          thank you so much again for all your help, I cannot tell you just how thankful I am.

          1. Andrea – try not to overthink it too much. You can’t make a bad decision.

            July weather in Hawaii is typically dry and sunny just about anywhere you go. I wouldn’t worry about going anywhere in Hawaii in July if you are trying to avoid rain. It’s only winter when you need to be a bit more careful picking where to stay to avoid rain — and even then, chances are that rain won’t ruin a vacation. We’ve been to Kauai in February and had an amazing time with good weather.

            Most rain falls overnight in Hawaii. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/05/most-of-hawaiis-rain-falls-at-night/

            In our island guides, see our ‘where to stay’ pages. Those pages detail all the major/desirable resort areas for each island. We haven’t left any out.

  75. Hi Sheila,
    I’m trying to plan a trip to go to Hawaii & I’m looking for an island with great snorkeling, an affordable place to stay at & somewhere “quiet”. I’m planning on going on a fun & romantic vacation with my husband. What island would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Michelle — just about any Hawaiian Island fits the bill. You can find great snorkeling, romance, fun and “quiet” places on every island. Use the resources in the article to find which island resonates with you.

  76. Hi Sheila,

    So glad to find this website! Don’t know anyone that has been to Hawaii to get advice from!
    Me boyfriend and I are in our mid-20s and are looking for somewhere quiet but not too quiet. Really want a good surf spot and somewhere with kayaking. Nice beaches and some nightlife. Not into big hotels or anything touristy though, looking for somewhere a bit different.
    Any advice?


    1. Sarah – we’re not surfers so we can’t recommend an island based on an sort of surfing experience.

      “Quiet” but with nightlife may be a challenge to find in Hawaii. Waikiki, Kona and Lahaina have some nightlife, but none of them are super quiet.

      Here’s a list of our articles that relate to kayaking: https://www.govisithawaii.com/?s=kayaking Maybe that will provide some guidance.

  77. Wow, so many great choices! I can see I’m going to need an extra bit of help.

    My profile: Single, Early 50s, Like to stay fit and active, loves any beach activities and would like to vacation in a resort-type “all included” village setting with other people in the 40 to 50 age group.

    Which of the islands would be right for me?

    1. Donna, there’s really not an island that particularly caters to people in their 40’s and 50’s. All the islands are for people of all ages.

      Hawaii doesn’t really have all-inclusive hotels.

  78. Hi Sheila,

    Thank you for the information you provided on the website.
    I’m planning to go to Hawaii in the beginning of November with my two daughters (age 11 & 9), and I am going to stay for one week.
    Is November a good time to visit Hawaii?
    Any suggestions of places and activities are must to visit?
    Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks!

  79. Hello Sheila ~
    Looking to book a trip in two years for our first trip to Hawaii. My girls will be 17 & 14, it will be my husband’s and my 25th anniversary, and we will both be turning 50!

    I have read over most of your information and I’m thinking Maui may be the best place for us. We are looking at 7 – 10 days probably when school first lets out – late June.

    We don’t need a “luxury” 5 star hotel, but we would like to stay somewhere with a beautiful, hawaiian feel to it. I assume we would like to explore beaches (snorkle, surf lessons?), the volcano, rainforest, etc. Where do you recommend we stay with 2 teens?

    What type of activities do you recommend for teens (luau, surf lessons?).

    We all enjoy music, culture, a little adventure. Is this the right island and with that many days, do you recommend going to another island?

    Thanks so much!!

    1. Maui is a great fit. Consider the Kaanapali area: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/08/kaanapali-a-great-base-for-a-maui-vacation/

      As for activities for teens, it really depends on their interests. Take a look at this semi-comprehensive list of Maui things to do see and try and see what seems interesting for your family. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2015/06/02/maui-vacation-see-do-ideas/

      If you are staying up to 10 days, you might want to consider a day-trip, island hop with the caution that a day trip can be expensive. See this link for ideas for a diy Oahu day trip: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/04/04/a-day-trip-island-hop-to-oahu/

  80. Hi!

    What a fantastic site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    My husband and I had planned on a trip to Maui for our babymoon. We now have a 1 year old and 3 year old, and we finally plan to go this year (most likely early November.) I had thought we’d stick with Maui as our destination, but some friends suggested that with kids, Oahu might be better – slightly shorter flight, cheaper, tide pools on Waikiki beaches and city conveniences. Kid friendly beaches is one of our top criteria, and I love the idea of tidepools or similar.
    I will definitely look at vacation rentals, but am liking the thought of a resort as well – lots within arms reach, combined with heading out for some light exploring. While my husband and I alone pack travel days with exploration, we can’t do much in a day with kids so young.

    Based on all of this which island/shore would you recommend? Open to all options and suggestions!

    Thanks for your help.

  81. Hello Sheila,

    First of all let me thank you for creating such an informative website, it’s really a great site.. I guess I’m just a bit indecisive and want to make the best decision when planning this vacation. For that I would like to ask for your input in a few things that are making it hard for me to decide how to plan my first trip to Hawaii. Let me start by giving you a brief run on the points and considerations that I am currently contemplating; 1. Should I book the 11 day cruise that takes you to all 4 main Islands? (have heard a day in each Island won’t be sufficient, so spending money in this cruise wouldn’t be the smartest) What do you think? 2. If I choose to visit each Island separately, should it be Oahu or Maui?. 3. Should I rent a car?
    I am aiming at going by the beginning mid of October for 11 days. It’ll be me and my mom, who although is still very physically active, has a hard time w a knee that gets easily swollen/tired. So the hiking can be done but nothing too strenuous. I love hiking, and walking and I know my mom keep pace as long as it’s the terrain isn’t too hard. We like good food, favorite being seafood, also enjoy shopping, laying in the sun getting some color (living in Utah I love getting away from cold weather as much as possible), sightseeing and taking many pictures. Please let me know what your best suggestion would be for this amazing trip I’m hoping to make a reality ASAP? Thanks in advance for all your help.

    1. Azuri – I wouldn’t necessarily call the cruise option a waste. You’d get to see the four major islands, which will give you a good glimpse of the islands. The 11-day option isn’t the only one. There’s a 7-day cruise that starts and finishes in the Hawaiian Islands without having to visit a foreign port. You get to spend longer on some of the islands than just one day. Learn more here:https://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/06/05/what-you-need-to-know-before-booking-a-hawaii-cruise/

      Oahu or Maui? That’s a question that only you can decide for certain. They’re both great and worth the visit. When in doubt and you can’t possibly choose, we tend to think that Maui suits just about everyone. Both islands have great seafood restaurants, hiking and sightseeing.

      1. Thanks so much for your answer Sheila! I was actually thinking to go on the Norwegian Cruise line and the reason the 11 day one appealed to me was that it has 2 days to spend in Honolulu, which I thought would be great to see more of the big island, and also because it includes flight fare. Now with this additional information my decision has become more complicated. Cause the cruise just became more attractive. Decisions, decisions, I guess I’ll just have to keep doing more research. Thanks for your help though! 🙂

  82. Hi Sheila taking your dedication aswering all the questions. Could you please help me? I’m planning to go for my hens to hawaii with 2 or 3 girlfriends. we are Brazilians so we do enjoy cocktails at the beach during the day and bar and pubs latter on for a little bit more of fun (but not too crazy). Somewhere not too expensive would be great 🙂 can you please reccomend where to stay?
    Thanks you

    1. Mariana – as we’ve previously mentioned, Waikiki is the best spot to stay with a little night life. It is not “too crazy” at all. There are budget-friendly hotels and also at least one hostel that we know of. More advice on choosing where to stay on Oahu: https://www.govisithawaii.com/oahu-where-to-stay/

      FYI – you can have cocktails at hotel pools and bars and restaurant — many which have ocean views, but drinking alcohol on Hawaii beaches are prohibited.

  83. Firstly thank you for compiling such an amazing website. Its been amazingly helpful.

    I was hoping for your insight in firming up my plans (and to confirm my thinking on a few points) I’m travelling to Oahu on the 16th of October from the UK but I haven’t booked any accommodation yet as its a very last minute trip. I will be leaving on the 30th of October.

    I was planning on spending most of my stay on Oahu primarily because I can’t drive. From what I’ve read Oahu is the best option for public transport and being able to be mobile. I’m very happy to bus every where and I find travelling by bus quite fun. Am I correct in thinking that Oahu is my best bet for my Hawaiian experience?

    I would also love to visit BI and/or Maui.

    I would like to visit the Volcanoes National Park on BI and a snorkel trip to Kealahekua Bay. How feasible is this for a non-driver? And if yes what would advise as the best way to go about it? I was thinking of staying in Volcano overnight for easy access to the park the next day etc. have no idea how to work in Kealahekua

    Regarding Maui, I’d love to visit as everything I’ve read says it is spectacular, but also every thing I’ve read also says ‘car/driving is essential’. Is there anyway I can experience the best that Maui offers with my lack of driving, or am I better off just giving Maui a pass ( which seems like it would be a shame)?

    Any suggestions or thoughts you have for this vehicularly challenged Brit would be much appreciated.


    1. Joshua – yes, Oahu has the best, most extensive public transport options with TheBus.

      The Big Island has a bus system called HeleOn and Maui has a bus system, too. We always rent a car, so we aren’t very familiar with the bus routes in Hawaii. So, check out their route maps to see if they can get you to where you want to go. Perhaps a combination of guided tours, taxis, shuttles and the public bus system can help you see the islands.

  84. Good morning I’m glad I found this website,it definitely gave me some insight on what to look forward to visiting Hawaii. My fiance and I have decided we want to visit Hawaii this coming June,it’ll be our first time traveling to Hawaii. We are looking for an romantic island, great restaurants, tours,beautiful night life when they dance with the fire the women do hip dancing, also nice friendly hotels also I wanna swim with the fishes turtles, spa treatments, couple activities. We really don’t want to drive anywhere.
    Any suggestions, we would really appreciate your feedback on helping pick t g email best island to where to stay

  85. Hello, your website is great! My husband and i are looking to enjoy a relaxing holiday, with good restaurants., good beaches and shopping. I was researching and came up with Honolulu and Maui as the places to visit. We are thinking 10-14 days, should we just stick to one island? It is our first visit. Also as we don’t have kids we want to stay away fro busy family style hotels, so any recommendations you have would be great. We are looking to visit in April. Thanks kate

    1. Kate – Sounds like you did some great research to help you pick the right islands for you. Well done! Here’s our advice for how many islands to see based on your allotted time: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2014/01/14/how-many-islands-should-you-visit-during-your-hawaii-vacation/

      Most Hawaii hotels do a good job of catering to both families and couples. Even some of the bigger resorts that attract families usually have an adults-only pool.

  86. hello and thank you for this site!
    We are two Norwegain girls (39 and 40 years young). We are coming to Hawaii in mid april and staying for 20 nights. We land at Oahu and we would like to explore Maui. Then we cant choose (read alotalotalot): Molokai and Lanai or go to Kauai? We are effectively loosing our minds here and we hope you can save us. We love “off the beaten paths” things. We do not care about malls and fancy restaurants and we love tree huts and outdoor showers! We do not like big hotells and swimming pools, but we love running, hiking, swimming, snorkelling. But we also love a little bit of hygenic pleasures (clean facilities and showers). We love dolphins, wildlife (not insects so much), nature and beeing outside and moving. Being on a beach with lots of people is not the vacation we want -and we expect to find this on Oahu. For the choice of either the “two ferry islands” or Kauai we want the ones that give us the most of Hawaii in nature, wildlife and activity. We would love to surf, windsurf, snorkelling etc etc If we could we would visit them all, but the budget…. based on this; do you have a suggestion?

    1. Veronica — there’s not an absolute answer to your questions. Here are some thoughts:

      Molokai is Hawaii’s most “untouched” island. The snorkeling isn’t very good there, though. We’re not surfing experts, but we don’t know of any great surfing beaches on Molokai.

      Lanai offers lot’s of “off the beaten path” roads with far more miles of dirt roads than paved roads. But, you need to rent an expensive jeep to get to those spots. Hulopoe Bay is Lanai’s most popular beach, but we’ve never seen it very crowded there. Snorkeling is pretty good there. Spinner dolphins usually visit the bay daily.

      Kauai will offer far more beaches, snorkeling, surfing and hiking opportunities, that either of the other two islands under consideration.

  87. Hi,
    We are travelling to Hawaii from Australia with a group of friends and our young children (approx 20 in total) in mid June and I’m wondering if you can make a suggestion about the area we should stay in. We are looking to get a place through Airbnb or similar but need to make sure it is somewhere we can walk to restaurants, a beach that is safe for young children to swim, some nightlife (not all of us have kids). It doesn’t matter which island. I know there are plenty of places that probably fit our criteria but it’s really hard to narrow them down so advice from someone who knows it well would really help. Thanks very much for your time!

    1. Perhaps Waikiki because of the nightlife and abundant number of restaurants as well as sections of the beach that are partly sheltered from strong waves.

  88. Hi, thank you so much for all the information about Hawaii! Your website is the best to prepare for a trip to Hawaii! This is my first Hawaii trip and so do my two sons. I’m so excited! My boys are really young, 3 years old and 7 months old by the time we travel in the beginning of April. We’re going to Maui since it’s the most kids friendly island based on your advice. So I’m looking at accommodations for 6 nights and our budget is max. $250. There are too many choices. We prefer to stay at a one bedroom or 2 bedroom with kitchen and laundry place. And it needs to be convenient to move around in island. I’m thinking to stay at two areas of island. What do you think? Which areas do you recommend? which accommodations of each area do you recommend? Thank you so much for your help and advice in advance!

    1. Jeo – Here are some thoughts and articles that should help you:

      – Best places for families to stay in Hawaii: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2016/02/10/where-are-the-best-places-for-family-vacations-in-hawaii/

      – Unless you are staying on Maui for multiple weeks, I wouldn’t bother staying in two different locations, unless you are considering Hana in the mix. You can easily get to Maui’s attractions from West or South Maui. See this link for help in choosing where to stay https://www.govisithawaii.com/maui-where-to-stay/ Pay close attention to Kihei where there are lots of budget-friendly condos.

  89. Yes I’d love to visit Hana while we’re there. Is it possible to do a day trip? Traveling with 2 young kids isn’t very easy. 😉 We prefer to stay at a big resort style one bedroom condo with kitchenette which has pools and some sort of kids play areas. Since it’s our first time to Maui, it’d be great to have someone at the front dest can help us getting around too.

  90. Hello!
    thank you for your site! such good info. Ok, planning a trip to Hawaii in Oct (won a free trip , any island). I have been to Kauai twice ,last time was about 10 years ago. My boyfriend has never been and it will be our first trip together as a couple. I would love to back to Kauai, it feels like a second home to me. But recently everyone is saying that I am missing out not going to Maui. We are not party type people, but love classic VW’s, good food, atv riding, the ocean. what do you think…. give Maui a try, or stick to the island I love.

  91. Hi Sheila, My husband and I are planning a trip to Hawaii, which island has the best deep sea fishing tours? but also good beaches and snorkling?

      1. Wow! Thank you for the quick reply. That was the island I was thinking. You just helped me make the decision.

  92. Hi Sheila, I’m thinking of surprising my bf of 13 years to a trip to Hawaii for our 14yr anniversary next year. We both have never been before and are on a tight budget. I’m trying to save money for a plane ticket and hotel for next year. We are both very active however I have a bad knee and can’t do alot of hard hiking. I was leaning to towards Oahu because it’s one of the cheaper islands but still wanna have a nice relaxing vacation. In fact this would be our first vacation ever!! Do you have any ideas for 2 lovebirds on their first vacation? Please help me, I want it to be the most memorable experience. Thanks so much!

    1. You can find inexpensive accommodations on every island. See our article on how to save money on accommodations: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/01/04/save-money-on-hawaii-vacation-accommodations/

      Oahu can be a bit cheaper for airfare because more flights go in and out of HNL airport than any other airport in Hawaii.

      See our honeymoon guide to Oahu for insights on planning a romantic trip:https://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/01/24/hawaii-honeymooners-guide-oahu-honeymoons/

  93. Hi!!! I’ve read like every single comment left on here haha and I am starting to get an idea! My husband and I are taking our dream vacation to Hawaii in August. Like the 21-27. We have been dreaming about this forever and I’m a little overwhelmed on where to start. We both love the beach and boogie boarding, we would love to try surfing. We love hiking and being adventurous. Not interested in night life and not interested in a super fancy hotel. We just need something simple so we can spend money on a rental car and other fun activities. I heard the road to Hana is amazing but I’m not really sure what else to do! We love food and finding “hole in the wall places”. Not really interested in huge crowds or shopping. We just want to soak in as much beauty as we can. So with that I was thinking Oahu or Kauai! I guess if they’re pretty similar, I’d rather go to the cheaper area since we poor college students haha. Any advice would seriously mean the world to me!!

    1. All other aspects being fairly equal, I tend to think that Kauai is one of the best islands for hiking.

  94. Hello hubby and I plan on taking a trip to Hawaii May2017 for our 7year anniversary and plan on staying for 6-7 days. Maui has been my dream vacation for serveral years. I’ve did some research so am also interested in taking a day trip to Hana. Would Maui be a good island to celebrate a anniversary ?

  95. Hello,

    My partner and I are trying to decide what island to go to for our honeymoon in January 2017. We will be landing (from Australia)on about the 23rd of Jan and staying about 8 nights. We are looking for the following:
    -Nice relaxing beach to lay on or swim in the ocean
    -Activities if we feel like it- Jet ski’s
    -Some night life/restaurants/live music
    -Cultural experiences
    -Perhaps hire a car and visit towns/villages

    I understand this is a long list and we probably wont get everything but some guidance would be much appreciated. We were thinking Oahu but it may be to busy for us?

    Thanks in advance

    Kind regards


  96. Hi Sheila,

    Thank you very much for all the wonderful information you have provided. I am planing a family trip to Hawaii this Christmas and I was wondering what is your recommendation to make the most out of it? Which islands should we visit? Where to spend new year’s eve and Xmas eve? We are a family of 7; my parents and aunt in their early 50s and 4 cousins in our 20s. We are willing to rent car(s) and drive from one location to another and can certainly ride ships or take planes to move from one island to another, it is just too much information to digest and I am really confused where to start and how to get the maximum out of it. Your guidance is much appreciated

  97. Hi Sheila,
    Thank you for all the the wonderful information here. Me and my husband are planning to go to Hawaii in Mid February for our 1st wedding anniversary. This is our forst trip to Hawaii and it will be a 9 night/ 10 days trip.
    I have gone through all the information on the website but still am confused between 2 options:
    1. 4 days Oahu and 5 days Maui. (I want to cover most of the attractions on the islands).
    2. 7 days Maui and 2 days Lanai.

    Both of us love adventures and would love to do hiking, scuba diving course etc.

    Your guidance is needed here. Please help!

    1. You could go either way. If you’re like most people, who visit Hawaii for the first time, one visit is not enough.

      If you’re interested in scuba diving, we’ve been told that Lanai’s cathedrals is one of Hawaii’s best scuba sites.

  98. A family of 3, my son is 9 we want to visit Hawaii. First time and no clue where to go. We would love to see volcano, hike, relax at the beach, scuba diving, markets and so much more. We don’t know what island would be best for us. What would you recommend?

    1. All of the major Hawaiian island offer all you’re looking for. You should really spend time looking/reading through the resources in the article.

  99. Hello. My bf and I (late 20s/early 30s) want to visit from Sept-Dec. We’re interested in Pearl Harbor, a luau, and some pampering at a spa. I’m used to all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean where you have an entire resort worth of stuff available to you on site. Is there anything similar in Hawaii? We’re also foodies and I’m a gardener and his work is with plant biology, so any good botanical gardens? Don’t need to see volcanoes or go hiking or ATV or extreme activities, etc.

    1. All the major islands have botanical gardens. There aren’t really all- inclusive resorts like there are in the Caribbean.

      We’ve addressed Pearl Harbor numerous times in the comments as well as the article.

  100. Hi! First timers to Hawaii- 3 over 60, 1 who is 34. 2 can do walking things and kayak, etc but no hard hikes. Love scenery, waterfalls, mountains, volcanoes, etc. Love food, would love some authentic island culture. We will likely have 10 days or so. Was thinking maybe April or May (of next year. Any suggestions? We would love some input, this planning can be kind of overwhelming! 🙂

    1. April and May are fantastic times to visit Hawaii as we describe here: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/15/the-best-times-to-visit-hawaii/

      Really all the islands could suit what you’re looking for. Download or order the Hawaii tourism guides mentioned in the main article. Kauai is the only island that has rivers that you can kayak, but you can do ocean kayaking during the morning at the other islands.

      Our first time visitors guide has helped thousands of people plan a Hawaii vacation: https://www.govisithawaii.com/first-time-visitors-guide-to-hawaii/

  101. This is an amazing resource and I would love your advice. We are planning a 14 day trip to Hawaii from Michigan next April and this will be our first time visiting. We are a family of six; our children will be 7,9,11 and 13. They are active and good travelers, but also appreciate beach time. The more I read, the more I think we would need two separate trips to cover the four islands that I think would suit our family best (Oahu, Kaui, Maui, and the Big Island.) Could you recommend which would be best for our first trip and which we could do as a trip a few years down the road? Or is there a way that makes sense to see three islands in our two week timeframe? Thanks in advance!

  102. Hi
    Great article!

    Hubby and I are planning a trip to Hawaii in August with 2 young kids (1 and 4). None of us have been to Hawaii before. Just want to relax and do some sight seeing around within a few miles drive/transportation

    We are vegetarians and may need to cook a bit for kids so its important to have some stores close by. Which island/resort do you recommend?

  103. Hello
    Your website looks promising and heavily loaded! However with an infant, it’s hard to read all of this and understand. I appreciate the honest advice you are offering and would like to ask you this (as I have 2 mins before my baby wakes up) . I am looking for a vacation on one of the islands but as most other people – unsure. 1) My husnad and I love travelling and are adventuresome; however we have a 2.5 month old who will be 5.5 months by the time we go in mid november. I was reading up on some hawaii info and it said some islands have volcanos and the ashy weather might not be good for pregnant/young kids. That is something I never even thought about! So, having you experience Hawaii, would you please consider telling me what island would be good for my little family ? Is hawaii water safe to wash bottles in? Any help is appreciated! Also if you could tell me in a post rather than me looking at websites (it’s hard to get time to sit down with such a little baby!) Thank you in advance!!

    1. As stated in the article, the Big Island is the only island with an active volcano. If the volcanic gases are an issue for someone, it’s usually only an issue when immediately near the volcano activity. It all depends on which way the wind blows.

      Perhaps you should get a travel agent to assist you with your planning since your time is stretched. Our time is also limited and we are unable to assist on an individual basis.

  104. Hello, I am planning my honeymoon for July 2018. We are from the UK and want to do a Californian road trip ending with 4 days in Hawaii. Can you recommend an island suitable for a short stay that would offer beautiful scenery for hiking, marine wildlife, excursions to waterfalls and total relaxation with few tourists and children? It’s a big ask in only a few days so I don’t want to spend too much time travelling. Many thanks, Natasha.

    1. As we state in the article, when in doubt, just go to Maui. Though, you’re not going to be able to completely avoid other tourists and children, especially in July.

  105. Hi !
    I’ve read a lot about which Island to choose (thank you for all the detail in the website !), but unfortunately i’m the indecisive kind of person. Which explain why i have vacation between oct 1 and oct 15, and still haven’t booked anything ! I’m planning to go to Hawaii for 10 days, between oct 2 and oct 12 starting at Oahu for convenience with flights. I planned on staying maybe 2 to 3 days, and then going to another island, but i can’t find which one bet suits me. I am travelling alone, a female of 27 years and i would prefer not to rent a car since i think it would be expensive and a bit stressful to drive alone in the unknown. I’m wondering if there is a lot of city buses, or ways to visit without a car. I’m also considering staying at two different places on one island. Being alone, i would prefer to stay at hostel in the hope of finding people to do activities with me.

    Honestly, the Big Island interested me the most at first for the diversity of activities, but with the no car thing I may be reconsidering. I’m opened to guided tour obviously but i don’t want to rely only on those, since they seem expensive. Should i go to a smaller Island, to make the most of it ?

    And, unfortunately i love hiking but i have a knee condition that make it impossible for me to hike on long distance and with a lot of ups and downs. So i think i should stick to the family-friendly kind of hikes… Which ones would you recommend, on any particular island ?

    Thank you for your help !

      1. After extensive research, I was opened to rent a car on Big Island. However, I found out that there is the Ironman championship in kona on Oct 14. My plan was to go in the Hilo region for 2-3 nights, then go to kona for 2-3 nights also, going back to home on Oct 12. How much do you think kona will be crowded, 2 days before the Ironman ? Is it comparable to summer? Should I avoid this region at all ?
        Also, i checked for car rental price, and for Oct 6 to Oct 12, the lowest prices range from 350 to 400 approximately. Is it the price i should always expect to pay, or it is higher because of the ironman and/or I’m checking too late ?!

        Thank you !

  106. Our family of 6, 24-55yo.
    We will be traveling 10 days including travel from Pittsburgh pa.
    We are looking at oahu for Pearl Harbor, dole plantation and do you recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center? How many days should we allow for this?

    Torn between the Big Island and Maui, would we be able to enjoy a day trip to Na Paul Coast from either.
    Draw to Big Island ATV tour to Wapio Valley and Green Sands Beach
    Draw to Maui best Luas, Peak of Haleakala and Road to Hana.
    Hubby wants to stay at resorts for convenience and concierge but we have 6 adults.
    Would appreciate any advice

  107. Hi Sheila,

    I am looking to plan a one month trip to the Hawaiian Islands beginning Jan. 2019. This is a retirement kickoff for my me and my wife. At this time we are physically fit (downhill ski, golf, hike, etc etc). I’d like to limit our change of locations to 4 for this trip so we can relax and get a real feel what each area has to offer. Relaxing environments with occasional activities like sightseeing, golf, hiking, etc is good. If possible we’d like to stay on beaches wherever we are. Does this give you enough to get started ?

  108. He Sheila,

    My wife and I are planning a trip for 2/22 – 3/8, and are down to a coin flip between Maui and Kauai. We don’t care much for nightlife, but good food is nice (thought not what I want our decision to be based on).

    I think mainly what we want to see is just awesome views and scenery. I like the idea of hiking to those things on Kauai, but since neither of us are very experienced hikers I’m concerned that some of those views might be “off limits” because we’re unwilling to take dangerous hikes. It sounds like we can get to some really awesome views in Maui, and since most of those are accessible by car, there are not the dangerous hikes. But it also means spending a lot more time in a car, and I have an achy back so too much time in the car can get uncomfortable.

    Whale watching also appeals to us, but since we’ve never done it, I’m wondering if it’s really as cool as it sounds? If the whale watching is better on Maui, is it good enough to tip the scales?

    Being from a major light pollution city, I’m really interested in great sunrise and stargazing, which seems like maybe Maui is better for. We’ll be going between a quarter moon and full moon, so my best bet for stargazing seems to be between moonset and nautical twilight. The first couple days that’s a pretty wide window, but the moonset gets an hour later each day. It seems like haleakala peak is a great place for that, but also quite a long drive, so could be difficult to get there while the sky is still black. Are there spots that are equally amazing but more quickly accessible from Kapaa?

    What do you think? Is it really a coin toss that should come down to flight and housing cost and convenience ? They’re fairly comparable but each island has its benefits in each of these categories, as well. In Kauai we can get an partial ocean view in a decent hotel with a rental car for $260 / night. In Maui we can get a condo near the beach (south Maui), but not on it, for probably $200 / night or we can get a condo right on the beach near Maalaea for $275. Flights to each are comparably priced, but we can get a direct flight to Maui for an extra $150 / person which is convenient and buys several more hours on arrival day.

    What do you think?

  109. Hi Sheila! Great website! My family of 4 including 2 adult children (23 & 19) are planning a trip to Hawaii in May to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation, my 60th birthday, and my son’s 20th birthday. I have visited Hawaii twice. The first time was 40 years ago with sisters and friends. As 20 somethings we stayed in Waikiki and had a blast. My husband and I spent 2 weeks for our honeymoon 27 years ago. One week in Maui and one week in Kauai. My daughter wants to surf, snorkel, and scuba dive. My son wants to visit the active volcano. I want them to visit Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. My first thought was to spend 4 nights on Oahu, 4 night on Hawaii, and 6 nights on Maui but after reading your thoughts on length of stay, I think we should only hit 2 Islands. I hate for the kids to not see Maui which is my favorite but I don’t want to spend a lot of time in airports wasting precious time. So I am currently leaning towards visiting Oahu (spending 3 nights in Waikiki and 3 or 4 nights on the North Shore) and Hawaii. The only thing I currently have booked is 2 nights at the Volcano Hotel in Volcano National Park so we can be really close to the volcano. We would then probably spend the rest of the time near Kona. I understand the Volcano Hotel is very old and sparse but we have traveled many of the National Parks and know what to expect. Is there a better place to stay and still have access to the Volcano? Does this sound like a good plan? At this point, I am very frustrated and confused… Suggestions please?

    1. I think your plan sounds fine. The Volcano House puts you in great view of Halemaumau that has been active since 2008 There are some B&Bs in the Volcano village area that are neat, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re better than the Volcano House.

  110. Hi Sheila,

    I really appreciate all the information you posted! Its so helpful for a first timer. My husband and I are planning a Babymoon for April and we are trying to decide what island would be best to go to. Since I am limited in the physical activities I can do due to pregnancy, what would you recommend would be the best place for relaxation, great ocean views and less physical sight seeing?

    1. You could have a nice time on any of the islands. For your situation, you may want to consider either Kauai or Oahu as many of the scenic attractions are very easily accessed.

  111. Helo Sheila,

    Thank you so much for putting this together- ti is an amazing resource.

    We are planning to honeymoon by island hopping in the Hawiian islands from Nov 16th- Dec 2nd. We love to travel and see new places, experience new things and like to see the “real” place not all inclusive hotels. We are hoping to have adventure, sightseeing and some relaxation thrown in.

    From what I have learnt I am thinking of the following:
    Day 1-5: Kauai. Kyaking, hiking
    Day 6-12: Big island: Active Volcano (hikes), Scuba diving (night dive with Mantareys)
    Day 13-16: Oahu: Beaches and more civilization for meals etc. Polynesian cultural center

    Can you advise anything regarding this very rough plan. Not to miss things or time of year dependent things etc.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Overall, I think your plan sounds fine. Review the links in section 3 of this article for more suggestions for itineraries.

      You will be there over the Thanksgiving holiday which will be a nice time to visit. You will probably also get to see some of the Hawaiian-style Christmas decor towards the end of your vacation.

  112. Hi Sheila,
    A great informative website I must say that you have here! Thanks a ton for posting useful tips and travel advice, especially for a novice like me to Hawaii!
    We are a family of 4,( 2 adults & 2 kids, 7 years old)traveling from East coast, who loves beaches and exploring natural trails. We are planning for a 7 -10 days trip to Hawaii during late June/ early July. We don’t know surfing or snorkeling but would love to spend time on water activities.I really need your advice on which island should we choose from and whether it would be advisable for me to rent a car throughout the trip.I would love to cover Oahu and Maui. Is it possible? It would be great if you can suggest family friendly hotels/resorts too.Thanks in advance for your help

  113. I am planning a late May anniversary trip. we know very little about Hawaii and where to go. priorities are fun, golf, food, and sites. I know there is very little all inclusive, but a hotel or result that offers some would be awesome. Including beautiful views of course!

  114. Hi, Sheila. I haven’t read through the thousands of comments above this one so forgive me if this has been covered before.

    We (age 50-ish) are planning a trip to Hawaii with my senior citizen in-laws (age 80s-ish but spry!). Shooting for going in late-Feb (traveling from the cold Midwest) for a 7-10 day trip. My in-laws, obviously, are not up for hiking, kayaking or strenuous activities like that. They’re more into flora/fauna, botanical gardens, scenic drives, etc and just beautiful views in general. They also would enjoy visiting an interesting farm, like a macadamia nut farm or something offbeat like that. We (the kids) wouldn’t mind some of the more physical activities while the old folks relax. We’d prefer to stay in one place but have the ability to take short ferry day-trips to other islands without having to spend the night there.

    Which island would you recommend for a group like us? Thanks!!

  115. Your website has been so helpful to me as a first-timer to Hawaii. Thank you! I am planning a trip on fairly short notice, for my husband and I for our 55th birthdays in early March. We want to see beautiful scenery, as opposed to shopping or nightlife, with a lot of time to explore and relax on beautiful beaches. We do enjoy some hiking also. We are coming from the mid-west and have 14 days. We are thinking about spending time on Kauai and Maui with our overseas flight in and out of Honolulu so we can do your day trip plan to see Pearl Harbor, etc. on Oahu the day before we fly home. If we have six full days on one island and five on the other, which would you suggest? And if we want a more leisurely vacation with enough beach time, do you think we should do the two islands or just pick one? Thank you!

    1. I think that either way, you will have a great trip.

      If you want to make sure you have a lot of beach time, you might want to pick just one island in addition to the Oahu day trip. If you fear about missing out on seeing the third island, you could also plan another day trip island hop. I’m not saying that’s THE answer, but just some food for thought and one way you could choose.

      As you’ve settled on Maui and Kauai, I would suggest favoring Maui over Kauai for the longer stay. January through March is prime humpback whale season and Maui is one of the best places in Hawaii for whale watching. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2017/09/26/when-where-see-humpback-whales-hawaii/ If you were thinking of going the route of day trip in lieu of another island stay, Kauai is also more conducive for an island hop look around due to its smaller size.

  116. We are planning a trip in March 2020 with our best friends for both of our 50th anniversary. We are all four very healthy and active. We are thinking Maui and Oahu and are all retired so we are flexible with how long we stay. We need advice PLEASE!

  117. Hi there! I’m thinking of going on vacation with my boyfriend to Hawaii at the end of December-January for a week. We have never been and I’ve been researching all of the islands and have looked into all of your resources on this website. I’m still contemplating where to go. I think we would be interested in spending some time at a relaxing beach, sight-seeing, waterfalls, kayaking, zip lining, and possibly seeing some volcanoes. I’d also be interested in seeing if you know of any good destinations to visit for New Years. I have read that Waikiki has an amazing celebration, but I know it is very touristy so I was wondering if you heard of anything else. After reading through your info I’m really interested in Kauai, Maui, and possibly the Big Island (but mostly for the volcanoes…I’m not sure it has much more of what we were looking for). I’d love some advice… thank you!

  118. My husband and I have Hawaii on our short list for 10th anniversary trip… looking to relax on the beach, I love to explore but I really don’t like crowds at all. We are seriously looking at a condo or house rental mostly because I like privacy better. Prefer to eat local & cook. I do take safety in to account (unsafe areas exists everywhere unfortunately so I always worry about that). What island do you think we would enjoy most. Thank you I love getting as many opinions as I can.

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