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Travel 6 versions of paradise: How to choose the right Hawaiian island for you

15:31  25 december  2019
15:31  25 december  2019 Source:   thepointsguy.com

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pristine beaches, choosing the right island for you vacation destination can be a daunting task. Hana Highway, which snakes its way over 59 bridges with sensational views reminiscent of a tropical version of Perhaps the most dramatic Hawaiian island , Kauai is best known for the Na Pali Coast

All six of the major islands in the chain have the ingredients for paradise : stunning beaches, awe-inspiring scenery and a warm aloha Whether you 're on a budget, traveling with the family or simply want to see some volcanic lava, here are some tips for choosing the best Hawaiian island for you .

a large waterfall over a river© Provided by Bankrate, LLC

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It’s Hawaii Week at TPG! The Hawaiian Islands have so much to offer travelers, from the sprawling city of Honolulu to quiet black-sand beaches to restaurants serving inventive island cuisine. And it’s possible to pull off a visit to the islands using miles and points. It just takes a little savvy planning and we’ll show you how. Visit TPG’s Hawaii destination hub for links to more stories about getting to the islands, staying on the islands and what to do while you’re there.

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How to choose the right Hawaiian island for your outdoor passion. “Which island ” is a perennial question. We know that each Hawaiian isle is beautiful, unique, and guaranteed to make This list will help you choose which slice of paradise — Kauai, Oahu, Maui, the Island of Hawaii , or Lanai — is

If you 're going to live in Hawaii , one of your most important decisions will be which island to move to and there is no simple answer. I give you 5 different things to think about to help you pick the best island for you . How can you get a job in Hawaii ?

No matter where you go in America’s 50th state, Hawaii’s eight large islands (one discourages tourists and one is uninhabited) offer a wide variety of topographies, accommodations, activities and experiences.

But each island definitely has its own vibe. How do you choose between so many different versions of paradise? Here’s a short guide to finding the right Hawaiian island to visit on your next vacation.

Oahu

Oahu is Hawaii’s most bustling and urban island. It’s home to the state’s largest city and commercial center, Honolulu, which is known for an epic rush hour that sometimes rivals Los Angeles. Within the city limits, Waikiki Beach is the place to see and be seen — shop, dine and enjoy the amenities of huge high-rise resorts.

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The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands , six of which are accessible to tourists. This article explores the highlights of six Hawaiian Islands : Oahu, The Big Island , Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. Oahu is the tourist epicentre of Hawaii , attracting thousands of tourists daily.

If you were to either visit or move to Hawaii , which island would you choose ? Whether your thing is urban landscape meets the famous surf spots of Oʻahu, Kauaʻi's laid-back lifestyle, or the diverse terrain of the Big Island , this will help you decide on which island is right for you .

a colorful plane flying in the sky: The view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach on takeoff from HNL. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)© The Points Guy The view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach on takeoff from HNL. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)

But Oahu’s offerings are more diverse than just Honolulu. The growing resort area of Ko Olina is not as built up and has a variety of accommodations, including Disney’s Aulani Resort and the Four Seasons Ko Olina. On the way to Ko Olina from Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, one of the most visited historic sites anywhere on the islands.

Oahu’s North Shore provides another vibe, downright chill with its beach hopping, food-truck loving, small-town surfer scene. Hikers can find plenty of trails all over Oahu, from the peaks of Diamond Head to less-traveled spots like Makiki Valley or Waimea Valley.

a tree with a mountain in the background: Swim in a waterfall in O’ahu’s Waimea Valley. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)© The Points Guy Swim in a waterfall in O’ahu’s Waimea Valley. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)

Oahu’s gateway for travelers, Honolulu International Airport (HNL), has the most air service of any location in the islands, making it the cheapest destination for travelers from the mainland. It also offers the most nonstop flights.

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With six different Hawaiian islands to pick from, it can be a little intimidating to pick the one destination that will lead to the perfect Hawaii vacation. So, grab your coffee and check out Go Visit Hawaii ’s “ How to Pick the Perfect Island For Your Hawaii Visit”. Click the Image to Enlarge (or Right Click to

The Big Island of Hawaii is, well, big, which is why Pride makes a stop on the island ’s west side in Kona the next day. Here you can cruise along the deep black lava fields or dive with sea turtles. More like this: How to choose the right Hawaiian island for your outdoor passion.

Oahu is best for:

  • First-time visitors to Hawaii
  • Single travelers
  • Large groups
  • Budget travelers

For more Oahu research:

  • What to do in Oahu, Hawaii
  • Things to do in Oahu with kids

Maui

The second-most-visited island in the state and also its second-largest is Maui, home to the famed Road to Hana, Haleakala National Park and the best whale watching anywhere in the islands in winter months.

a sign on the side of a mountain: Sliding Sands trail at Haleakala National Park. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)© The Points Guy Sliding Sands trail at Haleakala National Park. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)

For many travelers, a vacation on Maui is the best of both worlds. The island offers some of the same infrastructure, conveniences and activities of Oahu without the traffic and urban sprawl. It’s possible to have an active vacation here and visit a lot of attractions or also just enjoy some island R & R at a resort.

Maui is my top pick for families with kids of school age because of its many activities. It works well for multigenerational groups, because it has experiences that grandparents and grandkids can enjoy, like the Maui Ocean Center or a sunrise at Haleakala National Park.

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The island of Maui also has many amazing hotels and resorts at a wide variety of price points. Most are clustered in two major areas — on the Lahaina/Ka’anapali/Kapalua corridor on the northwest side of the island or in Kihei/Wailea farther south.

For its size, Maui offers an impressive variety of hotels for travelers to book a hotel stay with points. Most major chains are represented and many properties offer condo accommodations that work for families or larger groups. The Hyatt Regency Maui, Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Westin Nanea, Grand Wailea (Hilton) and Andaz Maui have all scored well with TPG contributors and readers.

a building next to a body of water: The Hyatt Regency Maui. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)© The Points Guy The Hyatt Regency Maui. (Photo by Leslie Harvey.)

Maui is best for:

  • Travelers with kids
  • Multigenerational travel
  • Anyone looking for resort-based condo properties

For more Maui research:

  • 9 things to do in Maui that aren’t the Road to Hana
  • Making the most of Maui

Hawaii (the Big Island)

a plane flying over a body of water: Approach into Kona International Airport ( KOA) gives visitors a peek at the black lava of the Big Island. (Photo by Leslie Harvey)© The Points Guy Approach into Kona International Airport ( KOA) gives visitors a peek at the black lava of the Big Island. (Photo by Leslie Harvey)

The island of Hawaii, called the Big Island, is the largest and newest island in the chain. Because it’s so big, seeing everything requires close to a week but it offers many different travel experiences from day to day.

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The vast majority of Big Island visitors stick to the western side of the island near the city of Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast, where the large resorts are located. Luxury seekers can enjoy high-end properties like the Four Seasons Hualalai, the Mauna Lani Bay Resort (about to reopen in early 2020 after a major renovation by Auberge Resorts) or the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Families on a moderate budget can find ample hotel offerings too. In particular, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott and Hilton Waikoloa Village cater to travelers with kids. Luaus and pool complexes are a big draw.

a view of a body of water: The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s magnificent white-sand beach. (Photo by Leslie Harvey)© The Points Guy The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s magnificent white-sand beach. (Photo by Leslie Harvey)

Althoug it’s entirely possible to spend a week on the Big Island relaxing on the beach of a resort, the island can also be an adventure traveler’s paradise. On the northern part of the island, travelers can zipline, take ATV tours, jump into waterfalls, scuba dive or snorkel with giant manta rays, or flume down historic sugar cane irrigation channels.

On the southern part of the island, you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The town of Hilo on the eastern side of the island has its own local vibe that can be a great getaway for travelers looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience.

The Big Island is best for:

  • Romantic couples getaways
  • Luxury travelers
  • Adventure seekers

For more Big Island research:

  • Why you shouldn’t overlook Hawaii’s Big Island
  • Things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island with kids
  • Reshaped by Kilauea, the Big Island of Hawaii welcomes families with new adventures

Kauai

Kauai’s lush greenery makes it the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian islands. It is home to waterfalls, hiking trails and a variety of eco-adventures. Most travelers seek out Kauai to avoid the hustle and bustle of Oahu and Maui and have a more unplugged vacation experience.

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a large mountain in the background: Kauai. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)© The Points Guy Kauai. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Unfortunately, Kauai’s natural beauty also makes it less reliable as a vacation destination. The island’s greenery comes from the substantial rainfall it gets, which makes it possible that your vacation in paradise is a damp one. For that reason, it’s probably best to plan for a longer trip, just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate all of the time.

Hotel offerings on Kauai are ample. For families, the hands-down winner is the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu, known for having one of the best waterslides and pools anywhere on the island. Poipu to the south is home to quite a few other major resorts; Princeville to the north has many others.

Kauai is best for:

  • Romantic couples getaways and babymooners
  • Adventure junkies
  • Relaxation seekers

For more Kauai research:

  • Exploring Kauai, Hawaii’s Garden Isle
  • Best activities in Kauai with kids

Smaller Islands: Lanai & Molokai

a beach with a mountain in the background: One of the most private beaches in the world at Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Molokai, Hawaii. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)© The Points Guy One of the most private beaches in the world at Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Molokai, Hawaii. (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

Although the vast majority of travelers to Hawaii visit Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, there are two smaller islands that tourists can visit as well. Getting to both of them requires a little extra effort, as neither has air service from the mainland.

Lanai, the island owned by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, is accessible by boat from Maui. It has two Four Seasons resorts on the island, so it’s also luxurious and pricey.

Molokai, in contrast, has no name-brand accommodations, making it a place of refuge for local residents and travelers looking for authentic Hawaii travel experiences. Molokai has commuter air service from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Maui’s two airports: Kahului (OGG) and Kapalua (JHM).

I wouldn’t recommend that travelers head to either of these places until they’ve visited several of the larger Hawaiian islands first. You’ll likely get more out of them (and know which one is the right fit for you) once you have more context to appreciate them.

7 trips to take right now if you want to escape the crowds

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Hawaii’s smaller islands are best for:

  • Returning Hawaii visitors looking for new experiences

For more Lanai and Molokai research:

  • Off the beaten path: Tips for visiting Molokai
  • Tips on visiting and exploring Lanai, Hawaii

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? Here’s some more advice:

  • 14 outrageous experiences you can have in Hawaii
  • The best points hotels in Hawaii
  • 9 common mistakes tourists make in Hawaii
  • The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Featured image by YinYang/Getty Images.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Related video: 5 Easy Things You Can do if You Get Sick While Traveling (Provided by Buzz60)

7 trips to take right now if you want to escape the crowds .
Need to get away from it all — or, at least, away from everyone? These crowd-free destinations are worth the effort. Big Bend National Park, Texas © The Points Guy (Photo by Rebecca L. Latson/Getty Images) If you’re in the market for dark skies, wide-open spaces, river adventures, hikes and some breathtaking desert topography, look to West Texas (and we mean far west) to Big Bend National Park. Big Bend is so removed from bustling cities that, on certain nights, you can see 2,500 stars with just your eyes. For comparison, in a medium-sized city, you’ll probably only spot a few hundred stars.

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