Hawaii Inspiration Planning

Which Hawaiian Island Should You Visit?

So you’ve decided to book your trip to paradise; one of the breath-taking islands of Hawaii. The only problem is, you don’t know which one to choose. Do you head to the quiet island of Kauai or the loud and bustling Waikiki? Are you in the mood for volcanoes or rainforests? Surfing or sun-bathing? No matter what you’re hoping to get out of your trip, you can find it on one of Hawaii’s four main islands. I’ve made it simple for you and highlighted the unique features of each island, so you can compare them to your ideal itinerary and plan your dream vacation.



Oahu, known as “the gathering place” among locals is the second largest and most populated island. On the South Shore of Oahu you will find the beautiful and electric Waikiki. Once playground to Hawaiian royalty, this neighborhood is now the main resort area of the island, and home to some of those best shopping, dining, and night life. On the North Shore you’ll find the best surfing in the world. With more than seven miles of beaches, you’re bound to catch a perfect wave on the North Shore. Plan your visit during the winter months (November-February) to see some of the biggest surf competitions take place.


To Do: Visit the Pearl Harbour monument, Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Visit Kuolo Ranch (many popular movies/shows were filmed here including Jurassic Park and Lost), Go to a Luau at Paradise Cove Luau, Cage dive with sharks at North Shore Shark Adventures

To Stay: Disney Aulani Resort and Spa, Mona Surfrider Westin Resort and Spa, Keiki Beach Bungalows

To Eat: Haleiwa Bowls, Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Truck, Vintage Island Coffee, Nanzan Giro Giro

Visit With: Family. Oahu’s diversity provides a little something for everyone, including grandma and the toddlers.


Big Island 

The big island of Hawaii is just that; the biggest of the four islands and possibly the most diverse! This island experiences eleven of the thirteen climatic zones, from white sand beaches to snow-capped mountains, you can experience all seasons on the Big Island. The array of climates provide perfect living conditions for a wide variety of some of the most amazing wild life in the world.

To Do: Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Take a tour of Historic Kailua Kona Town, Witness Kilauea; Earth’s most active volcano; from a helicopter, Visit Akaka Falls State Park

To Stay: Royal Kona Resort, Aston Shores at Waikoloa, Fairmont Orchid

To Eat: Paul’s Place, Original Big Island Shaved Ice Co., What’s Shakin’

Visit With: Friends. The Big Island is Hawaii’s adventure island. Grab your best daredevil buddies and head to this island for a trip full of crazy stories to tell when you get back.



Maui, home of the best beaches in the world, this island is renowned for its beautiful coloured sand beaches and hefty price tag. The most expensive of all four islands, Maui is the home of Hawaiian luxury. However, don’t let your budget stop you from visiting this little slice of paradise. The island still has a few hidden gems that are budget friendly, and a wide array of free activities; Maui is after all home of some of the most beautiful hiking trails. With enough careful planning you can visit this island without breaking the bank.


To Do: Drive the scenic Road to Hana, Go whale watching, Learn to surf at Goofy Foot Surf School, Snorkel at the Molokini Crater

To Stay: Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

To Eat: Choice Health Bar, Lahaina Grill, Mama’s Fish House

Visit With: Yourself. Maui is the perfect place for your solo getaway, with just enough peace to relax and adventure to keep you busy.



Kauai is the smallest of the four islands and is often referred to as the “Garden Isle” because of its emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements. This island is the perfect place to get away as some parts are only accessible by sea or air, furthermore revealing views beyond your imagination. Kauai’s rich history and beautiful landscape make this tropical paradise absolutely timeless.

To Do: Hike to the Napali Coast, Visit the Waimea Canyon, Swim at Poipu Beach, Visit Wailua Falls, Photograph Spouting Horn

To Stay: The Villas at Poipu Kai, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Koa Kea Hotel and Resort

To Eat: The Fresh Shave, Tacos Al Pastor, Koloa Fish Market

Visit With: Your significant other. The peaceful seclusion of this island makes it the perfect romantic getaway for couples in love.

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  • Reply Sam December 18, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    So desperate to go to Hawaii one day! Really enjoyed this post

    • Reply airplanesandavocados@gmail.com December 21, 2015 at 5:02 am

      thank you! it’s a trip of a lifetime for sure! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee December 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    We did Oahu, Big Island and Kauai – I loved Big Island and my husband loved Kauai – just so different! Night snorkelling with Manta Rays is a must on Big Island – quite incredible.

    • Reply airplanesandavocados@gmail.com December 22, 2015 at 1:50 am

      wow, night snorkelling?! that sounds amazing, i’m going to need to check that out on my next visit!

  • Reply Jen Morrow February 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Great descriptions and beautiful photos! Maui is my favorite island for the beaches, activities, Maui Ocean Center Aquarium, and hiking!

  • Reply Amanda Williams February 3, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Do I have to choose?! I want to go to them all! lol. Great post.

  • Reply The Sweet Wanderlust February 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Gorgeous!! I’m with Amanda… I want to see them all! I especially love the volcano pic!!

  • Reply Amy February 3, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    One day I’ll be here. Maybe take an extra long vacation and do all four islands in one trip!? That would be epic. Great read & amazing pictures!

  • Reply Tania Mukherjee February 4, 2016 at 2:17 am

    It is impossible to not visit any of these! Hawaii is really a paradise!

  • Reply Natalie M. February 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Love this post! We’ve been to the Big Island and Oahu. They’re both so amazing. Definitely do the night time manta ray snorkel on the Big Island, so beautiful and a once in a lifetime experience. Shark diving on Oahu was also one of our favorite moments in Hawaii. I think Kauai is next on our list!

  • Reply Chloe | The Paper Airplane February 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I love Maui and Kauai! Next time I go, it’s definitely back to Kauai. It’s so peaceful and quiet. 🙂

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