With Hawaii's doors metaphorically opening to travelers again, the mad rush has begun to book a vacation for 2021. Many questions arise regarding when the best time is to travel, where to stay, and, of course, the biggest question: which Hawaiian island is the best? While there's no right or wrong answer because they're all beautiful in their own rights, each has distinct differences.

Once travelers have determined when they will plan their trip, deciding which island to visit only becomes more straightforward. Each one has something to offer a person, whether it's perfect beaches full of surfable wave


s or hiking trails that give way to thrilling vistas. Something is exciting in knowing that in only a matter of months, you could be sitting beachside, enjoying a Mai Tai, and eating the freshest poke bowl you've ever had in your life. Hawaii is a destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lives, and hopefully, this guide will pave the way to an unforgettable vacation.

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Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, November 5th, 2021: Hawaii is home to several magical islands that anyone would dream of visiting. This article was updated to reflect details and facts about some of Hawaii's most beautiful and marvelous islands that people would love to see. Moreover, tips that inform tourists how to travel to Hawaii's Forbidden Island were also added along with some information about the island's nature, wildlife, and history. Read on to find answers to the most pressing questions related to the best Hawaiian islands.

What Decisions To Take When Visiting Hawaii's Islands?

Several factors will help a person determine when they should book a trip to Hawaii. While the weather is more favorable during some months over others, there are prices to consider. During peak season, which is usually the high summer months like June, July, and August, prices will skyrocket across every island. The only way to avoid this is to go with a rental, but even prices on Airbnb and similar sites will reflect the peak in travel. Going during the off-season will still ensure good weather but fewer crowds in most cases, especially if you head to an island that's Oahu or Maui.

While the weather is favorable much of the year in Hawaii, the state does see far more showers and potential storms - along with bigger ocean swells - during the winter months. So, anytime during December and March is best to avoid (unless you don't mind the potential for a hefty rainstorm and aren't planning on wave-jumping!). The best months to go are April, May, September, and October, with May being the best out of the four in terms of weather and crowds, according to Guide of U.S. Hawaii. September is another great option, but travelers should take care not to travel during holidays in any of these months - those dates are the only exception to the off-season rule.

Where Should You Go?

This is the biggest question on everyone's mind, and we're going to go through each island. It's worth keeping in mind that sometimes, the smaller, lesser-known islands avoid the crowds while the larger islands are better for excursions and entertainment.

Related: Experience Hawaii Like A Local With This Homegrown Itinerary

Oahu And Maui

Oahu is where Honolulu is located, which makes it the most famous island in all of Hawaii. It's also the most developed of all islands, making it an excellent place to start for those seeking as many excursions and as much entertainment and nightlife as possible. It's also elementary to get around with plenty of transportation, so this is an excellent option for those who plan to stay local! The Pearl Harbor Memorial offers a solemn historical reminder, and the beaches in Oahu are perfect for surfing (but expect crowds).

Maui is the second most popular island known for its whale watching, which is done off some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. It's also home to Hana Drive, famous worldwide for its incredible vistas featuring waterfalls, bamboo forests, and volcanic sand beaches. Maui is also home to vineyards, plenty of dining options, and boutique shopping.

Big Island

Despite its name, Big Island is the most underdeveloped of all the islands. It's the perfect volcanic landscape for those interested in seeing extreme geological formations, making it an excellent place for nature photographers and the like. While it might not have nearly as many forms of entertainment or nightlife, it's a nature lover's haven.


All of the photos of lush, green Hawaiian islands are usually just one: Kauai. This island is known for greenery and sharp-looking cliffs that overlook the sea. Many of these have been featured in TV shows and movies. It's more developed than the Big Island but not nearly as developed as the other two major Hawaiian islands, and it's the perfect spot to kick off some hiking and see some unbelievable vistas.

Molokai And Lanai

Both Molokai and Lanai are tiny islands and might not have as many accommodations as the others but will definitely help travelers beat the crowds. Lanai is an island that makes for the perfect day trip since it was once home to a massive pineapple plantation and now houses several luxury resorts. Molokai also goes by the name of 'The Friendly Isle' according to the Never Ending Voyage. It offers a casual, slowed-down vacation that differs drastically from that of the other islands.


Niihau is known as Hawaii's Forbidden Island since no one is allowed there except through an invitation by the island's owners. Private investors purchased Niihau more than 150 years ago, and the island has only around 170 inhabitants living inside it today. The owners do not allow anyone inside because they have pledged to protect the land from the outside world. Niihau boasts the largest lake in Hawaii, Lake Halalii. Moreover, the island is rich with rare wildlife species, including Aoudad, Eland, and Oryx. It is also home to beautiful Kiawe trees and the glorious White Pupu Shell flower. Although getting to the island is difficult, there are still ways to get a glimpse of the beauty of Niihau by booking a tour with Niihau Helicopters or Niihau Safaris.

Next: Visiting Hawaii's Forbidden Island Is A Challenge, But Here's What We Know About It