Of course, all the islands of Hawaii are gorgeous and well worth visiting, but there are a few that stand out. Which island draws your eye the most will depend on what exactly you’re looking for during your trip.
If you’re hoping to see Hawaii the way it looks in the movies, then we recommend focusing your trip on the island of O’ahu. Nicknamed the Gathering Place, O’ahu is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands but is home to the majority of the archipelago’s residents. Honolulu, the state capital, is located on O’ahu and acts as a great home base for your island adventures. We’d recommend checking out Diamond Head, a massive volcanic crater that towers over the city. If you’ve had enough of urban Hawaii and you’re ready to get away from the crowds, O’ahu’s North Shore is wild and mostly unvisited by tourists.
If you’d prefer to dive deep into the natural beauty of the islands without worrying about the crowds, then you should visit Kaua’i. Called the Garden Isle, Kaua’i is the fourth-largest island and is easily the most rural of the four major ones. While Kaua’i has plenty of gorgeous beaches that rival the other islands, the real attraction of the Garden Isle is the largely-untouched tropical forest that covers it. If you love the idea of traveling down muddy jungle roads to find a hidden waterfall, then Kaua’i is definitely the right island for you. Make sure you take some time to explore the jagged Na Pali mountain range on the island’s north shore.
To make the most of your trip to Hawaii, we recommend checking out our All Hawaii Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle. More prolific travelers might also be interested in Action+, a yearly subscription that grants access to all 100+ of our US tours.