Which island to stay in Hawaii?
Hawaii Island is the largest of all the islands, although not the most populated. If you like to stay near cultural and natural hotspots then this is the island for you. You can visit the Kilauea Volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or take a walk along the Black Sand Beach to soak up the views before a spot of snorkelling to search for Manta Rays or a simple swim in the warm seas. Kona Coast is a great spot for a nature walk and the beaches that line the coast are warm and inviting. Due to having so much history and culture attached to the island, Hawaii Island is a great place to stay for children and families, where you can enjoy traditional family fun with a spot of education thrown in to boot. Many honeymooners flock to Hawaii to enjoy a taste of paradise and the chance to shoot once in a lifetime photographs in this stunningly beautiful part of the world.
The towns of Oahu are possibly the most famous in all of Hawaii, with the main resorts of Waikiki and Honolulu famous worldwide due to their surfing history. Ask any surfer where their top designation is and a great percentage of them will shout out Oahu. Waikiki is packed full of surfers all year round, with winter a particularly busy time where you will see crowds of people lining up to fill the many bars and restaurants along Kalakaua Avenue. Waikiki is on the South Shore of Honolulu: the vibrant hub of the Hawaiian Islands.
Stretching form Pearl Harbor out to Makapuu Point, Honolulu is packed full of attractions, hotels to suit all budgets and restaurants to suit all tastes. Backpackers and surfing communities are welcomed just as much as businessmen and affluent holiday makers, creating a unique party atmosphere that cannot be rivalled. Honolulu also has a vibrant art and culture scene, attracting culture vultures and bohemian types, looking for a chilled holiday. North Shore is a surfer’s paradise and the waves here do not get much better; thrill seekers can rest assured that their trip to North Shore will not disappoint. With over 11 km of beach, North Shore can cater for surfers of every level with surf schools on offer for newcomers and worldwide competitions held for the experts. Further down the coast is Waimanalo Beach, where those wanting a more relaxed surfing or boarding experience can head. The beach does get busy during the peak season but nowhere near as busy as those in Honolulu or North Shore. The pace at Waimanalo is much more laid back, both of a day and at night. Read more about where to stay in Oahu.
Kauai is arguably the most beautiful island in Hawaii, due to the relatively small amount of commercial development. There are an impressive number of beaches to explore, more than 60 in total. As with many islands, highlights include great beaches, snorkelling and water-sport opportunities, amazing seafood and lots of cocktails; Kauai does not disappoint in any of these areas. This postcard pretty island is a haven for nature lovers, with magnificent views from the mountains, rustic walks along the coastline to admire and golden sandy beaches to get lost in. Kalalau is a particularly good place to stay for lovers of the great outdoors, with many nature trails and paths that give you a taste of true island life. Towns such as Kapa and Lihue pull in a young surf crowd and Poipu offer luxury holidays for both couples and families, with many hotels catering for children. If you want a completely chilled holiday on Kauai, Princeville is the place to stay, with a happy split of laid back beach activities and the chance to explore old world Kauai attractions.
Hotels range from top end spa hotels to low budget rentals for the surfing and backpacking crowd; with food very much the same in that you can choose fine dining one night and traditional Hawaiian cuisine from a street vendor the next. Read more about where to stay in Kauai.
The Island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is very popular with surfers that love the laid back atmosphere, golden beaches and awesome wind breaks. Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise, with the island of Maui providing some of the best spots in the state. Lahaina and Paia are packed with surfers all year round, with Hookipa Beach in Paia world-renowned for its winter surf. As you would expect with a surf crowd, there are lots of young people visiting the island but Maui does not leave anybody out, with Wailea being popular for older couples that want to enjoy a traditional beach holiday. The island of Maui has such a friendly atmosphere, with locals going out of their way to welcome new tourists and creating a great community feel. Nightlife is also quite laid back, with plenty of bars and beach shacks serving up tropical cocktails and beers or in some of the surf resorts you can enjoy a bigger party atmosphere where you can dance on the beaches until the small hours. Read more about where to stay in Maui.