Finest Hawaiian Island to Go to — for First-Timers!

February 3, 2022

In the event you’re visiting Hawai’i for the primary time, you may be overwhelmed by your choices. Every island has a definite vibe, and every has a wide range of issues to do for various sorts of vacationers. There isn’t a common reply for which island is greatest for first-timers, as a result of each customer is totally different, identical to every island.

Due to this spectacular variety, right here’s a breakdown of which Hawaiian island is greatest to go to for the primary time, in response to what sort of traveler you’re and what you hope to do there:

Huge Island of Hawai’i

That is simply one of many epic views that await you on the Huge Island.

From the pristine coast to the very best mountaintops, the Huge Island is stuffed with journey. It’s referred to as the Huge Island as a result of it’s the largest (clearly), so huge compared to the opposite islands, the truth is, that it’s bigger than all of them mixed.

What’s extra, it has 8-10 of the world’s 14 microclimates — all on only one island!

It doesn’t matter what form of traveler you’re, to get essentially the most out of the Huge Island, you’ll have to spend a very good period of time there. Due to its relative measurement and abundance of issues to do and locations to see, that is the best vacation spot for first-timers who’ve extra time to discover.

The action-seeker

In case you are hoping to pack in as a lot motion as potential throughout your Hawaiian trip, that is the island for you. Hike the highest of Mauna Kea to see snow-capped mountains — sure, snow! — or head to one in all solely 4 seashores on the earth which have inexperienced sand. To feed your interior adrenaline junkie, you’ll be able to hike up a volcano, cliff bounce, swim on the base of a waterfall, and a lot extra.

Want I say extra? That’s only a style of all of the motion. See extra on what to do on the Big Island here. In the event you’re in it for the water actions, take a look at this record of the best spots for snorkeling on the Big Island as effectively.

The non secular traveler

Some would possibly say that being in nature alone is sufficient to represent a non secular expertise. In the event you’re on that practice, the Huge Island has loads of locations to attach with Mom Nature. If you wish to take it one step additional, you’ll discover that it’s an epicenter of spiritually charged locations.

You may keep in an eco-lodge, go to one of many sacred locations (like Hawai’i Volcanoes Nationwide Park to see the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs), be a part of a non secular retreat, or take a look at one of many historic parks to be taught extra about Hawaiian spirituality. Try this information for getting essentially the most out of your transformational visit to the Big Island.


Oahu is essentially the most visited of all of the Hawaiian Islands and residential to the capital metropolis of Honolulu. Whereas most guests have doubtless heard of Waikiki seashore and Diamond Head Crater, there’s much more to Oahu than simply the vacationer sizzling spots. You probably have little or no time and need to pack your brief journey with loads of enjoyable actions with out having to journey too far, this can be a nice possibility for you.

There’s a big number of things to do on Oahu, so when you’re a traveler who needs to see and do loads, this can be a nice choose for you. Oahu can be the proper spot for guests who’re simply starting to dip their toes into the journey world. Right here’s why:

The do-it-all explorer

In comparison with the opposite islands, Oahu has essentially the most infrastructure. You’ll find a metropolis vibe in Honolulu, with its big buildings and neatly paved roads, whereas different, smaller islands require a 4×4 to get from place to position in some circumstances. Within the huge metropolis, you’ll discover vibrant nightlife and world-class eating places, however Oahu additionally has some lovely pure wonders, like Diamond Head Crater.

So in order for you a visit that features dancing the evening away plus mountaineering, browsing, snorkeling, and swimming at waterfalls multi function, Oahu has all that and extra. It’s preferrred for these of you who need to pack your brief itinerary with tons of various actions.

The journey novice

Honolulu has Hawai’i’s solely worldwide airport, so first-time vacationers will discover this island extra accessible, particularly when you’re coming from overseas. There are additionally loads of resorts, a lot of them all-inclusive, which can be nice for beginner vacationers, as a result of many supply airport pickup and have organized actions, which takes the stress off planning your journey.

Typically touring for the primary time — particularly when you’re solo — will be intimidating. Don’t really feel foolish for reserving your first journey at a resort! They could not supply essentially the most “genuine” journey expertise, however they could be a gateway for extra later. In the event you’re completely averse to a resort, attempt reserving an Airbnb on Oahu and asking your host for ideas that may assist your journey go smoother.


road to hana

Maui is much less crowded than Oahu however nonetheless receives tens of millions of tourists every year. It has a extra outdoorsy vibe than Oahu however not fairly as a lot selection because the Huge Island. That stated, this island is stuffed with pure magnificence and has loads to do for a protracted keep when you resolve to take your time right here. Whereas Maui definitely is usually a good spot to spend only a couple days, you’ll need to plan for no less than per week or two to actually reap the benefits of all of the unbelievable things to do there.

In the event you’re the form of one that lives for a terrific highway journey or thrives whereas touring solo, Maui is your greatest wager in Hawai’i. Right here’s why:

The road-tripper

This island is house to the Street to Hana, a 64-mile route with over 600 turns that winds by way of dense jungles, over steep mountains, and alongside the rugged coast. Alongside this highway, you’ll discover most of the island’s greatest points of interest, together with a number of waterfalls, sea caves, black-sand seashores, and rather more.

Renting a automobile on Maui and setting out on an epic journey alongside the Street to Hana is a road-tripper’s dream. Discover all it’s essential to know in regards to the Road to Hana here.

The solo traveler

Positive, you can say that any of the Hawaiian Islands are nice for solo vacationers due to the abundance of issues to do, locations to remain, and total security of the islands. This is applicable to Maui particularly due to how simple it’s to seek out group actions and meet different vacationers.

In the event you’re the form of solo traveler that undoubtedly needs to get out and meet different folks, Maui has loads of actions that you are able to do in teams, like yoga courses on the seashore or surf classes. Get extra inspo and recommendations on traveling solo to Maui here.


Kauai is the Hawaiian island that receives essentially the most rain, leading to thick inexperienced jungles and roaring waterfalls galore. It’s the fourth most-visited island, so there are fewer vacationers and extra alternatives to have views just like the one above all to your self, when you’re prepared to make the hike there.

To get essentially the most out of Kauai’s rugged magnificence, you’ll need to spend a good period of time there. Plan for no less than per week, and contemplate renting a automobile to get round. In the event you’re an avid hiker or trying to have an exhilarating expertise in Hawai’i, that is the island you’re meant to go to.

The mountaineering fanatic

Kauai is house to Waimea Canyon, aka “the Grand Canyon of Hawai’i”, so it’s no shock that that is one of the best choose when you like to hike. In the event you’re down for a problem, attempt the 22-mile spherical journey on the Nā Pali Coast (Kalalau) Path, which ends at a beautiful seashore and has tons of waterfalls alongside the best way. You too can climb up Sleeping Large East (Nounou Mountain) for a legendary view of the ocean and surrounding mountains.

Typically the very best issues to see require a protracted hike, however that’s the great thing about getting out into the nice outdoor, isn’t it? In any case, it’s all in regards to the journey — and the hikes on Kauai are among the greatest in all of Hawai’i.

The fun-seeker

Positive, mountaineering is thrilling at occasions. However can you actually examine that to the adrenaline rush of flying over Jurassic Park‘s surroundings in a helicopter? The Nā Pali coast is completely breathtaking, whether or not you see it from a sailboat or from a seaplane or helicopter. It is a must-do for thrill-seeking guests to Hawai’i.

Different thrilling adventures on Kauai embody snorkeling with sea turtles, browsing, and exploring sea caves. For extra concepts, see this record of one of the best things to do on Kauai.



Lanai is among the least touristy of the primary islands, which has its perks and downsides. Its dry local weather makes for rocky cliffs and dusty roads, most of that are unpaved. In comparison with the plush jungles and ample waterfalls of Kauai, for instance, it’s like evening and day. One huge perk of the dry local weather on Lanai is that there are a lot fewer mosquitos, which is a big win when you’re a mozzie magnet like me.

Due to Lanai’s rugged panorama and total lack of vacationers, that is one of the best choose for vacationers who need to get off the crushed path or discover some critical solitude. It’s additionally greatest for a fast journey, because it’s so small and there are fewer points of interest on the island.

The off-the-beaten-path adventurer

Contemplating you’ll want a 4×4 automobile to get from place to position on Lanai, that is the literal definition of “off the crushed path.” It additionally has only one resort: the 4 Seasons. That signifies that many of the island has remained comparatively untouched by the mega-tourism of the opposite fundamental islands. You’ll be capable of take a look at tide swimming pools, seashores, and rocky overlooks that really feel worlds away from the large resorts, regardless that the island is barely 140 sq. miles.

Discover concepts on the place to go and what to do on Lanai here.

The solitude lover

This goes hand in hand with getting off the crushed path, however typically we simply want some solitude — and Lanai is the best place to get away from different folks whereas having fun with Hawai’i’s pure magnificence. In comparison with Oahu, Maui, and the Huge Island’s tens of millions of yearly guests, Lanai will get extra like a number of thousand. There’s even a very good probability you’ll get a few of its most beautiful locations fully to your self when you go to them early within the morning.

You too can go to probably the most sacred locations on the island, Kaunolu, for a beautiful sundown — excellent for disconnecting with the world and reconnecting with your self.



Like Lanai, Molokai is a smaller and fewer touristy, with a extra “native” really feel. In truth, there are not any resorts in any respect, and residents have taken an lively half in protecting them off the island.

Molokai is stuffed with the pure magnificence that Hawai’i is thought for, nevertheless it has a very totally different vibe than the opposite fundamental islands. You gained’t discover many vacationer points of interest per se, however when you’re prepared to open your self to studying from the locals and interesting in a significant method, you’ll discover loads to do no matter how lengthy you keep. Most guests solely spend a number of days on Molokai, however that each one relies on what you hope to get out of your journey there.

The genuine traveler

Contemplating its absence of resorts, high-rise lodges, and the everyday vacationer points of interest you’ll discover on the opposite fundamental islands, Molokai is for vacationers who need to study Hawaiian tradition by interacting with locals. The island hasn’t modified a lot within the final 50 years, a indisputable fact that the locals are happy with. If this sounds fascinating to you, Molokai might be your spot.

Some folks would possibly warn you that the locals on Molokai don’t need vacationers there in any respect, however remember that your angle towards folks there goes a great distance. Be sort and go ready to be taught. See extra on tips on how to experience Molokai’s authenticity here.

The horseback rider

Positive, that is fairly area of interest, however one of many coolest issues you are able to do on Molokai is horseback experience to a former leper colony. The journey takes you thru the thick jungles of the island to a spot that feels such as you’re in a time warp, all of the whereas using a horse with a neighborhood information. It’s probably the most distinctive experiences in Hawai’i, preferrred for a singular traveler such as you.

Journey Responsibly in Hawai’i

When in Hawai’i, there are particular concerns to bear in mind, together with leave-no-trace ideas that must be utilized each time you benefit from the nice outdoor.

  • By no means contact, strategy, or chase wildlife, This contains turtles and dolphins.
  • Scale back or get rid of your reliance on plastic, as Hawai’i has stopped recycling it.
  • Solely put on reef-safe sunscreen. Hawai’i’s reefs have been considerably broken because of sunscreen.
  • At all times respect signage asking you to steer clear of cultural websites, even when different individuals are disrespecting it.
  • Take into account that you’re a visitor, and comply with all native well being tips and guidelines.

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Whereas tourism just isn’t preferrred for a lot of locations, it’s additionally a actuality that it isn’t going wherever. We completely agree that it is necessary that tourism to Hawai’i be accountable, so we’ve all the time been right here to supply data that helps folks expertise it as responsibly as potential. Individuals will all the time be on the lookout for this type of info, so we goal to be the primary useful resource they may see, one which encourages them to take pleasure in Hawai’i ethically.

No person is a “excellent” traveler, although, and meaning we will do our greatest and nonetheless acknowledge that there’s all the time one thing to be taught and methods to enhance, it doesn’t matter what sort of traveler you’re.

If something, I hope this record helps you select the island that fits you, and that you just’ll be capable of to go Hawai’i with extra info than you might need had in any other case.

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