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[2011] Favorite Hawaii Island

MichaelColey

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We just got back from Hawaii last week. This was our first trip to the Big Island, and now we've visited all four of the main islands. So that got us to talking about which one is our favorite. I'll save my answer for later, but am curious about what others think.

So, what's your favorite Hawaiian island, and what makes it your favorite?
 

DeniseM

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WKORV, WKV, SDO, 4-Kauai Beach Villas, Island Park Village (Yellowstone), Hyatt High Sierra, Dolphin's Cove (Anaheim) NEW: 2 Lawa'i Beach Resort!
Kauai - in no particular order:
beaches
snorkeling
rural
no big cities
small population
we love our OF timeshare
lots of variety on a small island
Ke'e Beach
Lumaha'i Beach
Lawai Beach
Tunnels Beach
Polihale Beach
The Hindu Temple
Glass Beach
Waimea Canyon
4WD to Blue Hole
Olympic Cafe
Allerton McBride Gardens
Lumahuli Gardens
Kintaro Teppanyaki
Napali Coast
Swamp Trail
Kipu Ranch ATV
Ztourz Zodiac raft trips
monk seals
Kilauea Lighthouse
 
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scrapngen

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We've finally been to 3 of the 4 main islands. Maui most recently. Big Island twice. Kauai....many times.

Kauai - still our favorite by a big margin.:cheer: :cheer: Love Poipu. Love the North Shore. The people are wonderful. So many places to hike. So many beautiful beaches. Snorkeling. Laid back. Much of what Denise says...
2 more days and counting!!!!! :cool:

Big Island would be second. Wouldn't pass up a vacation there, but if planning this would be maybe once every 4-5 years, w/Kauai every year if possible. Love the snorkeling here! Would love to be there when lava flowing into ocean! That would be awesome.

Maui. Still lots to explore for us, but in general, not really our style. Only if got a good deal, or for a particular reason (like someone's wedding or something). Maybe one winter for the whales...
 

Kauai Kid

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Kauai #1 for relaxing and talking story with locals.

Maui #2 on the Kihei side. Lahina always interesting.

Kauai probably 1 for us older tuggers and Maui for the action set.

Sterling
 

calgal

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Big Island

Big Island:
Less rainfall
Varied terrain
Laid back Kona
Home of the Ironman (DH is triathlete)
Beautiful beaches
Good snorkeling
Turtles
Less touristy

Kauai has too much rain when we travel to the islands (winter), Maui is where everyone from our suburban neighborhood goes, and Oahu has freeways.
 

Icc5

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Maui

We've been to the main four a few times each and find Maui has some of everything where the others don't. Maui for us is the most relaxing.
Bart
 

artringwald

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Part of picking a favorite island is because of the resorts where we like to stay.
#1 Kauai for it's natural beauty, fewer tourists, and because we love the Point at Poipu (in spite of the special assessment). The pool has swimming lanes, the pool side bar has delicious mai tais, you can watch sunrises and sunsets over the water, an ocean front room on the corner has a very spacious wrap around lanai, and my favorite part is getting mesmerized by watching the waves crash on the rocks.
#2 Maui for the beautiful beaches, plethora of restaurant choices, sailing charters, and the Ka'anapali Beach Club for its large pool, restaurants within walking distance, whale watching, and ocean front location.
#3 Oahu - We still like spending at least 3-4 nights in Waikiki. The Outrigger Waikiki is the nicest hotel we've ever stayed in. We usually rent a car for a day to drive up the east shore, watch the waves on the north shore, and scurry back to Waikiki before rush hour traffic gets bad.
#4 Big Island - Still haven't seen hot lava flowing or been up Mauna Kea for a star gazing tour so we'll have to go back. Casa De Emdeko is close to all the restaurants and shopping in Kailua-Kona, but a good place to start a drive around the bottom of the island and up to Volcanoes National Park.
#5 Lanai - We only took a day trip on a catamaran out of Lahaina, but would recommend it to anyone staying on Maui.
 

slip

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Number 1 Kauai. The most beautiful island. I'm a small town guy and I like the
small town island. The Big Island is second followed by Oahu. I haven't been
to Maui yet because we keep going back to Kauai. We're looking at 2014 for Maui and Molokai.
I'm happy on any of the islands. It's been our vacation destination now for
years.:D
 

Sandy VDH

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Hawaii - more space, less tourist, Way less tourists, volcano, best scuba diving, manta rays

I have been to all the other major islands, but always come back to the big island.

I would rank them

Hawaii
Kauai
Oahu
Maui
 
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MichaelColey

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Kauai has been my favorite, for the reasons mentioned. It's much more laid back and noncommercial. It's more consistently lush and beautiful. It's smaller and quicker to get around. The other attributes I like about it can be said about the other islands (nice beaches, beautiful scenery, etc.).

Maui and Oahu would be my second and third choices (for entirely different reasons) and I would have a hard time picking which one would be second. I like Maui because it seems a little higher end. I like Oahu for Hanauma Bay and Pearl Harbor. (I can't stand Waikiki and Honolulu, but there's plenty of other stuff to do on Oahu.)

The Big Island is my least favorite (although I certainly don't dislike it). It has less of an island feel (most because of its size). Huge sections of it are somewhat barren. It takes longer to get around.

I do hope to go to Molokai and Lanai one day, and I have a feeling I would like both of them.
 

CapriciousC

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Kauai is our favorite, hands down. We like that most of the island is undeveloped, and how green and lush everything is. It also suits our vacation style, which is more laid back than it was when we were younger.

Oahu is probably our second favorite - agree that Waikiki is not pleasant, but we love the western and northern shores of the island. We have found fun things to do in Honolulu (Honolulu Zoo is nice) but tend to spend the majority of our time farther afield.

I would put the Big Island third. I like the differences that you can find on one island - Volcanoes National Park, the barrenness of the western portion, the lush beauty of Hilo.

Maui is our least favorite - we enjoyed our time there, but it didn't really generate a desire in us to go back. The road to Hana is gorgeous, but overall Maui felt too "touristy" to us. (I know that's one of those intangible things, though, so obviously not everyone would feel this way).

DH has been to both Molokai and Lanai, but I have not. He loved Lanai, but said it's really for when you're looking to just kick back and relax, because there's not much to do there. He didn't care for Molokai - said it was the only Hawaiian island where he felt unwelcome. (Friends of ours who lived on the island for a year echoed this sentiment - said they never felt at home there. They've also lived on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, and said the feeling was vastly different there).
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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My standard response when this question comes up is the picking among the islands is like picking among blondes, brunettes, and redheads. There is no bad choice.

That being said, to me Kaua'i is the blonde in a red convertible.
 

cgeidl

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O,H,K,M

1.Oahu- most to do. Waikiki music,shopping,and restaurants
2.Big Island-Most varied topography,active volcano
3.Kauai-Most real Hawaii total flavor,beautiful Princeville,and Southern shore beaches
4.Maui- Most high end Island
We have been to Hawaii about 30 times and are going again in March and April and staying at our two most favorite Islands.Out of all the Paradises we have been to in the world Hawaii comes in number one . We really like walking around Waikiki around 6:00 or so each evening,listening to Hawaiian music,seeing the bizarre street artist ,and selecting a place to dine.The reasons we like Oahu best also have to being retired Navy. We can stay at many places on the Island for inexpensive rates,golf fine courses for about $30 and shop at the BX and commissary.And often fly free on military planes on a space available basis.We made one trip last year with free air ,a last minute Trading Places TS at the Waikiki Banyan for $179. Out total costs with car rental for 9 days,eating out at least once a day,golfing twice were less than$750.We find hawaii to be one of our most affordable vacations.
 

Elli

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Hawaii - more space, less tourist, Way less tourists, volcano, best scuba diving, manta rays

I have been to all the other major islands, but always come back to the big island.

I would rank them

Hawaii
Kauai
Oahu
Maui
I agree w. Sandy, Big Island is #1, and Mauii #4 because it is too crowded and too commercial.
 

Luanne

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My favorites in order of preference:

Big Island
Maui
Molokai
Kauai
Oahu

For some reason Kauai has never "grabbed" me. We may have to go back again though and see what we're missing.
 

Laurie

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#1 - Big Island - black lava beauty, active volcano, walk-in snorkeling, warm ponds, black sand beaches, variety ... been 4x, occasionally dream of living there

#2 - Maui - black lava beauty, inactive volcano, black & red sand beaches

#3 - Kauai - beautiful, but more similar to the green-ness of home

Never been to Oahu except overnite once to change planes

I love places with intense colors and visual contrasts, and love being able to witness nature in its most active and intense state. That's why Yellowstone was my favorite NP, and can't imagine ever growing tired of seeing the volcanic activity on Big Island, unless Pele decides to take a break for a long while.
 

aliikai2

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Kauai

Has always been our Number 1, the laid back style, the access to the ocean, the hidden gems like Glass Beach etc.
The Big Island is our second, and we don't have a 3rd or 4th as Maui and Oahu are just too touristy for us.


fwiw,

Greg
 

csalter2

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Oahu for me

I still love Oahu. I like having choices and Oahu gives me both the city life when I want it and then the peace of Hawaii when I go to Ko Olina. I love the balance.

My second choice is Kauai. I love its serenity. It's a very beautiful place. I love it a great deal.

I don't know why people like Maui so much. Kauai gives me all that Maui does but is more beautiful. The Big Island is a little boring to me.
 

MOXJO7282

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Maui far and away for us. We've been to Kauai and Oahu. We still have young kids so we like that Maui has alot of energy, but at the same time all the beauty Hawaii has to offer.

We love the Road to Hana, the Black Sand Beach along the way and Homoa Beach right past Hana village.

We love Front St. in downtown Lahaina with Chicao Pizza and Moose McGilicuddys.

We love the beach walkway on Kaanapali Beach that leads to our favorite restaurant the Hula Grill and many other nice spots to eat and shop.

We love our Maui Marriott OF unit, the super pool and happy hour at Longboards.
 

california-bighorn

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Good picks

After reading the above rankings and reasoning for each, I could agree with all of you. I guess my favorite Island is whatever one we plan to visit next.
 

alwysonvac

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#1 Oahu for Waikiki
#2 Maui for Wailea
#3 Lanai when I totally want to get away from it all
#4 Big Island
#5 Kauai
 

artringwald

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After reading the above rankings and reasoning for each, I could agree with all of you. I guess my favorite Island is whatever one we plan to visit next.

Ditto! Each year we debate which islands we want to go to. You can't go wrong with any of them.
 

rickandcindy23

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My favorites are the same as Michael's. I love Kauai best, then Maui, then Oahu (but I want to stay anywhere but Waikiki Beach next time), and then the Big Island.

I would love to take my mother-in-law with us to the Big Island sometime, just so she can see the contrast between the islands, but I wouldn't care to go again without her.
 
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