3 Hawaiian Islands For 3 Different Experiences

Situated 2,000 miles south-west of the American mainland, Hawaii comprises a group of eight islands, seven of which are inhabited. It has a rich, complex history and is thought to have been settled originally by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, probably around 300 AD. A second wave of migrants in the 11th century was followed by the first Europeans, and some historians believe the Spaniards may have found Hawaii in the 16th century, whereas British explorer Captain James Cook’s first recorded visit was in 1778. More immigrants came from China in 1778, Japan in 1885 and Puerto Rico in 1889. Koreans arrived in the early part of the 20th century and again in 1965. The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is mainly Polynesian and traditions continue to be re-enacted today, however, the wide span of Hawaii’s ancestry groups contributes to its vibrant cultural heritage.

Things To See In Hawaii

Hawaii Beach

Hawaii Beach | (cc) Photo By Joi

The islands enjoy an amazing diversity of natural scenery and a warm tropical climate. Tourists flock here because of the many public beaches, their picturesque oceanic surroundings, and to watch the active volcanoes.

Oahu – The Gathering Place

Koolau Cliffs Oahu, Hawaii

View of Koolau Cliffs from Nuuanu Pali Lookout, Oahu | (cc) Photo By Lukas

The majority of residents live on Oahu, the site of the capital Honolulu. Here visitors can have fabulous town, country and beach experiences, enjoying the rich diversity Hawaii offers. The historic Nuuanu Pali Lookout is a scenic spot just a short drive north-east of downtown Honolulu through dense forests of tall trees. A landmark on the verdant windward coast, it provides dramatic, panoramic views of the Koolau cliffs.

For great surfing, the North Shore is the place to be. In summer beginners enjoy smaller, gentler waves, while in winter veterans are exhilarated by the massive waves that act like a magnet for experienced surfers from all over the world.

The North Shore is about an hour-long drive from the famous Waikiki beach, on the South Shore, the ultimate place to swim on Oahu and a popular choice for places to stay. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a fabulous resort and spa right on the beachfront, and guests have unrivaled views of Diamond Head Crater – the iconic state monument. Downtown adventures include visits to Honolulu’s vibrant cosmopolitan nightclubs around the city.

Hawaii – The Big Island

The Summit of Mauna Kea

The Summit of Mauna Kea | (cc) Photo By NASA

Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, is home to some big things – the largest park in the state is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; the biggest mountain in the world in terms of area covered and volume is Maunaloa, one of five volcanoes on the island, and Maunakea is the world’s tallest sea mountain. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO), one of the most important land-based astronomy sites in the world, is also in the Big Island that is located in the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.

Molokai – The Friendly Isle

Halawa Molokai, Hawaii

Halawa Molokai | (cc) Photo By Eric Guinther

If outdoor adventure beckons then the tranquil island of Molokai with its natural scenic beauty and unspoiled terrain is the ideal place. The Molokai’s isolated Kalaupapa Historical National Park is its most famous attraction, reached by a mule ride or on foot. There are fishponds along the island’s south shore and the historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove dates from the 1860s when it was a royal plantation.

With so much to do and see in Hawaii, visitors to the island love to return time and again to make sure they don’t miss out on any of the fabulous sight and activities.

What’s your favorite Hawaiian island?

20 Responses to “3 Hawaiian Islands For 3 Different Experiences”

  1. Freya says:

    I have been to the Big Island, Kauai and Maui. I loved all of these; Kauai for the great hiking opportunities and nature, Big Island for its diversity and Maui for the great beaches and places. I for sure would love to discover the other islands as well one day.

  2. Debbie says:

    Have only been to Honolulu in Hawaii so far. I’ve heard the experience can be different on each island. Oahu was nice but so Americanized. Would love to experience a different Hawaiian island next time!

    • Salika Jay says:

      It’s interesting that each island can give a different experience. Hope you find a more interesting Hawaiian island next time, Debbie :)

  3. There’s something for everyone in Hawaii! Each island does indeed have different features. I haven’t been to all of the islands yet, and it would be tough to pick a favorite. Still haven’t seen Oahu (only the airport in Honolulu) == maybe I should put that on the list for next time. :)

  4. Jasmine says:

    Thanks for the tips and advice! I’m planning a trip to Hawaii this fall and this was very helpful :)

    http://www.chicwanderlust.com

  5. Marcia says:

    I’ve not been but this gives me an idea of where to head – the Big Island. I’d also consider Molokai.

  6. I’ve never been there as of yet, but really appreciate how you differentiated the islands! I think Oahu would probably be my cup of tea!

  7. Among the islands I’ve been, Kuai is my favorite. It’s pretty much raw and not too commercialized. It looks Molokai is about the same. I’d love to check out Molokai next time.

  8. Nancie says:

    Spent some time in Honolulu and Maui a long time ago. Would like to go back again one of these days. Molokai looks like a nice spot to spend a few days or more.

  9. Very lovely places to visit in Hawai. I have heard so much about it. I do plan to go there one day with the family. Koolau Cliffs looks really nice.
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  10. It’s been along while since I’ve been to Hawaii. I do have fond memories of visiting the northern beaches of Oahu and going gliding over the hills in this area. We also took the kids to Maui when they were very young. I think that when we go to the States from Australia we just want to get there and the thought of a stop in Hawaii is a bit much. We probably should reconsider!
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