The Best of Hawaii: A Guide to the Islands

best of hawaii

The best way to enjoy the rich culture of Hawaii is by booking a getaway at one of its many resorts. The beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife and unforgettable experiences await you. No matter which island you choose, there’s no better place than paradise on earth in Hawaii.

The Best of Hawaii: A Guide to the Islands

hawaii islands map

The Hawaiian islands are a true paradise. From the white sand beaches to the volcanoes, Hawaii has something for everyone. In this blog post, we will be going over some of Hawaii’s best resorts, exceptional experiences as well as the best things to do on each island! So grab your sunscreen and get ready for an adventure in Hawaii!

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Hawaii: Big Island

beach on big island hawaii

Hawaii island, also known as the Big Island, is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands. This island is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which is a must-see for any visitor to Hawaii.

The park has two active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been the home to Kilauea for over 30 years. Mauna Loa was once thought of as the world’s largest volcano but it is now known as one of Hawaii islands’ extinct volcanoes.

Hawaii island hosts some famous beaches such as Hapuna Beach Park and has some amazing resorts to check out. The luxurious Four Seasons Resort Hualalai features villas with private pools, a golf course and offers luxury suites.

Hawaii island also has plenty of activities that you can do. For example, if you are into snorkeling then Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is for you. The park has over 80 miles of coastline which is filled with amazing snorkeling spots.

If you would like to explore the Kilauea volcano but prefer to do it from a safe distance, there are many helicopter tours departing from Hilo that will give you a birds-eye view of Hawaii’s most active volcano.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Oahu

waikiki hawaii

Oahu Hawaii’s second-largest island is home to the famous Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach which features a collection of high-end shops and restaurants. This area is perfect for those who are looking for some good food or maybe want to buy a Hawaii souvenir.

If you are interested in learning about Hawaii’s history, then be sure to visit the USS Arizona Memorial which is located at Pearl Harbor. This memorial commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor that happened on December 07, 1941.

Pearl Harbor is also home to the Battleship Missouri Memorial which is a museum and memorial ship open to visitors.

Oahu Hawaii’s third-largest island also features some wonderful resorts such as the Turtle Bay Resort which offers miles of pristine beaches, resort pools with water slides among other things. This hotel is great if you want to be near Sunset beach for some epic surfing and some of the biggest waves you have ever seen. 

Disney has a resort on Maui and it is called Aulani Resort. This resort caters to both children and adults alike with amazing pools, a lazy river, a water play area for the kids as well as an 18-hole golf course.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Maui

beach on maui hawaii

Maui is Hawaii’s third-largest island and is home to some of Hawaii’s best resorts. One resort, in particular, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, is a world-class resort that offers luxurious villas with ocean views, a spa and plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Another popular Maui resort is the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua which features beautiful beachfront accommodations, championship golf courses and award-winning restaurants.

Maui has some amazing things to do and there are plenty of activities that don’t involve snorkeling or surfing. But most people come for Hawaii’s waters which tend to be filled with many different types of life you can see up close including dolphins, turtles, sharks among other things. Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the world and this island is home to many amazing ones.

Maui features several awesome activities to do on land as well such as hiking which takes you through beautiful rainforests, past waterfalls and more. There are plenty of different trails for all levels so there should be something everyone can do.

Maui is also home to Haleakala National Park and this park has a variety of trails and scenery that you can enjoy. There are many different types of hikes here including cinder cones, lava flows and offers the best sunrise in all of Hawaii. Make sure to bring layers as the temperature at the top of Haleakala National Park is cold and windy.

One popular restaurant on Maui is Mama’s Fish House which is a must-stop for those who love seafood. This restaurant overlooks the ocean and has a huge menu with something for everyone. But be prepared for a long wait for a table due to its popularity.

Finally, this Hawaii island is home to the world-famous Road to Hana. This drive is a long and winding road that takes you through some of Hawaii’s most beautiful scenery including waterfalls, bamboo forests and more. There are plenty of stops along the way where you can park your car and explore on foot so make sure you have plenty of time if you want to do this drive.

And don’t be afraid to do the entire loop instead of returning the way you came. Some people would say the views on the other side of Hana are the most beautiful but parts of the road can be treacherous.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Kauai

waterfall in kauai

Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, is the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands and was formed over five million years ago. Kauai is also known as the “Garden Isle” due to its lush landscape and many different types of vegetation.

One of the most popular things to do in Kauai, Hawaii is the helicopter tour of the island. These tours offer views of Hawaii’s incredible waterfalls such as Waimea Canyon and Hanalei Bay which makes for some truly epic photos.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Kauai also features a variety of great hikes to go on including the Kalalau trail that follows along part of Hawaii’s Na Pali coast. Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and this trail is one you won’t want to miss.

Kauai Hawaii features several great resorts such as The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa which offers lush gardens, lagoons with waterfalls among other things. This resort also includes a spa so Hawaii relaxation is in full swing here.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Molokai

beach on molokai hawaii

Hawaii’s fifth-largest island is also home to many great things for Hawaii visitors to see and do. Molokai features Kalaupapa State Park where visitors can explore this area to learn about the history of the Molokai Leper Colony that is still standing today.

One of Molokai Hawaii’s most popular activities is the mule ride down to Kalaupapa. This ride takes visitors down a 2,000-foot cliff trail and offers some amazing views of the coastline.

Make sure to check ahead of time to find out if the trail is open as storms can often close it for several months at a time. For those who wish to avoid the cliff trail, there are tour options that include direct flights to Kalaupapa airport.

Molokai also features several great hikes including the Pala’au State Park and you will often find the beaches empty for you to enjoy without distraction. Dixie Maru is a popular snorkeling bay and Papohaku Beach is Molokai’s longest beach at over three miles long but beware of the very strong waves and just admire the ocean from the beach.

There is only one hotel in Molokai Hawaii and it’s the Hotel Molokai which offers beautiful ocean views. Hawaii visitors will not be disappointed with what this Hawaii island has to offer and often remark that it is the most authentic Hawaiian Island.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Lanai

rocky beach in lanai

Hawaii’s sixth-largest island is also one of its most rural islands and is home to just over 3000 people. Lanai, Hawaii, is best known for being Hawaii’s pineapple island and was once Hawaii’s largest employer.

The island of Lanai features the Four Seasons Resort Hawaii at Manele Bay which is located directly on a private beach. The hotel also offers access to nearby Hulopoe Beach for snorkeling, kayaking and even surfing with lessons available if Hawaii visitors are interested.

Just 20 minutes away is another Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Sensai Lanai. This resort is set on a hilltop and offers some of the best views of Hawaii’s other islands.

Lanai Hawaii also features great hiking trails such as the Munro Trail which takes visitors through Lanai’s lush rainforest. Lanai Hawaii is Hawaii’s most untouched Hawaiian Island, a great place to enjoy Hawaii in all its beauty.

There are only two resorts in Lanai Hawaii and both are Four Seasons Resorts so if you’re looking for Hawaii luxury this may be the best destination for your stay.

If you are looking for a vacation or even just to get away from the daily grind, Hawaii is the perfect destination. From white sand beaches to volcanoes and everything in between, there is something that will excite every kind of traveler. And don’t forget about all these resorts!

You can stay on one island for your whole trip if you want but we recommend checking out more than one so you really experience what this beautiful state has to offer. So pull up Google Maps, pack your bags and head over to paradise – it’s waiting for you with open arms. 

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

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Casandra

Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate. A Toronto native with Danish roots, she became an avid traveler after her first trip to Europe as a college student. Casandra's goal is to provide an educational experience for her family when she travels. When visiting historic sites like D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, or learning about ranch life at a dude ranch on horseback, it’s always a priority to provide an educational experience and to learn about the culture and history of each destination. You can follow her adventures at karpiakcaravan or get in touch via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.