Hawaii is home to some of the most sought-after tropical waters in the world. The islands of Hawaii have lush rainforests, world-class beaches, and stunning volcanoes that attract millions of visitors every year. Marked by clear turquoise waters and vibrant green mountains, these islands provide picturesque views that are unparalleled.   

Along with the many environmental attractions and attributes of Hawaii, its culture is one of the most incredible features that travelers can experience. The Aloha Spirit, which many travelers get to experience as soon as they land, is a significant aspect of Hawaiian culture derived from Polynesian heritage. The term comes from the greeting “aloha,” which means the coordination of both the mind and heart (or compassion and harmony with mankind). This spirit exists across each of the islands of Hawaii. 

Hawaii’s many different islands offer unique features and gorgeous views. Travelers can have many different types of vacations, depending on their preferred island. While there are a total of eight main Hawaiian islands, only some of them are accessible to visitors. Check out these six Hawaiian islands that are the best to visit; whether a bustling tropical paradise or secluded getaway sounds ideal. 

Popular Tourist Islands 

These popular islands are some of the best places to visit will in Hawaii. 
Pictured: a Hawaiian metropolitan city  with seaside resorts and homes

These islands are tourist hot spots and provide convenient central locations. These locations come with top-notch hotels, delicious food spots, and metropolitan cities close to the water. The islands are a must-see for travelers aiming to get acquainted with the city and locals.  

The Big Island

The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the most popular islands to visit. 
Picture: a Big Island beach with people enjoying the clear blue water

The Big Island is full of hiking trails and beautiful parks and is known for its size. In fact, it has plenty of space for visitors with varying interests since it is the largest island in the United States (with over four thousand square miles of land). Beaches are one of the most beautiful spots to visit on the Big Island and a place for visitors to lounge, sunbathe, and have fun. A highly favored white sand beach is Mauna Kea, which is a half-mile long and extremely family-friendly. Mauna Kea is also the name of the nearby dormant volcano that is the world’s tallest mountain from (base to the summit), not to be confused with Mt. Everest (which is the tallest above sea level).

There are volcano sightseeing tours, stingray snorkel tours, and ship excursions on the Big Island. These activities, along with hiking, are the most popular. The Pololū Valley Trail is considered one of the most beautiful big island hikes since its overlook provides panoramic views of the nearby black sand beach. 

The best time to visit Hawaii’s big island is between September and November. This is technically due to the price changes for rooms, which change because of lower volumes of visitors. Since Hawaii has generally consistent weather, there is not too much to be worried about in terms of sunshine. Hawaii’s temperatures usually range from the 70s to the 80s. Surfers may want to visit between December and March, although this time period is when prices surge.


Maui is a beloved island that has many activities for visitors. 
Pictured: The shore of Maui with a oceanfront resort and beach goers

The island is beloved for its glorious coasts and unique experiences. Haleakala National Park has Maui’s highest peak, Haleakala, which is the largest dormant volcano in the world. Many visitors opt to book sunrise and sunset tours at the Haleakala National Park, which must be booked well ahead of time since they are so popular. There is even an adults only luxury resort in Maui. This island may be an ideal option for travelers who want to prioritize romance or quiet environments. 

Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours are another popular excursion that travelers can book to explore the island. With a helicopter tour of the island, travelers can get an aerial view of all the mountainsides and the scenic views of Maui. 

Travelers should visit Maui during the shoulder season, that is, during spring or fall. In spring (between April and May) and fall (from September and November), visitors can experience moderate weather while also avoiding the higher prices and crowds that visit during summer and winter. 


Oahu is one of the most popular tourist islands in Hawaii. 
Pictured: an aerial shot of the island of Oahu and the surrounding metropolitan area

Oahu is well known since it is the site of Pearl Harbor and has one of the best shores for surfing. The tourism industry is thriving in Oahu, reflected in the quality of amenities and experiences it offers.  

Some of the most exciting things to do in Oahu include nature and historical landmarks. In fact, some of the most popular sights of Oahu are unique nature sites like China Walls or Electric Beach, which seem to exist miraculously. Of course, there are also historical sites that can be traced back to distinct events. There are Pearl Harbor tours that visit the museum, memorial and visitor’s center to provide more in-depth information regarding the events of Pearl Harbor. Many of these tours depart from Waikiki, which is a popular district of the city of Honolulu, Oahu.

Between April and June and September and December, attractions are less crowded, temperatures are moderate, and prices for travel decrease. The shoulder season is the best time to visit since the summer and surfing season crowds have not hit yet. 

Secluded Islands 

There are many secluded islands in Hawaii that visitors will enjoy. 
Pictured: a rural Hawaiian island with blue waters and green lush mountains

These islands of Hawaii are great options for those who want to reconnect with nature and have a sense of solitude. With more sprawling land than people, these locations will surely be the fix that tropical travelers need. 


Molokai is a Hawaiian island that is quaint and private. 
Pictured: the green mountains of Molokai island

Molokai is one of the four islands within Maui County and is one of the least visited of the major Hawaiian islands. The island is only 38 miles long and has a proudly undeveloped coastline. Molokai provides an off-the-beaten path and small-town feel, so large-scale tourism will not be found here. People planning to visit Molokai must be cognizant of the island’s people and resources since environmental and cultural preservation are local concerns. 

Molokai is a great place to have a relaxed and slow-going trip. Since the island is not commercially developed, there is a lot of wilderness. Enjoying the surrounding nature and the Aloha Spirit is the best way to spend time on Molokai. The most popular attractions are the Kalaupapa National Historical Park and Pāpōhaku Beach Park. The remote northern national park is a place of education and preservation and is actually only accessible by a mule ride, hiking tour or a small airplane. Pāpōhaku Beach Park (or three mile beach) has campsites, showers, and picnic facilities. Visitors will find that there is an abundance of space at the site since it is one of the longest white-sand beaches in Hawaii. 

The best time to visit Molokai is during the dry season when there are moderate temperatures and less rain. Between April and June, visitors can expect temperatures between the high 70s and 80s. Generally, since Molokai has no crowds, travelers will not have trouble visiting the island throughout the year. 


Kauai, Hawaii is a more private island for travelers to explore. 
Pictured: a lush green mountainside with clear blue waters.

Kauai is the northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain and is known as the garden island since it is covered by tropical rainforest. The island also has breathtaking cliffs on the sea and beautiful flora and fauna. This destination has plenty of natural beauty and is a tropical paradise welcoming smaller towns like Waimea.

Travelers who love adrenaline-surging activities will appreciate the expanded possibilities that a less populated island provides. Travelers of Kauai enjoy things like exciting zipline journeys through the jungle, ATV backroads tours or kayaking trips on the Wailua River.

Visiting Kauai is better during non-peak seasons even though there is not a high volume of visitors compared to trendy tourist islands. Between September and December or April to June, there are lower prices on excursions and local accommodations


Lanai is a secluded Hawaiian island. 
Pictured: The ship at Shipwreck Beach is s relic and cool attraction

Lanai offers a luxury and remote experience that many romantics enjoy. Lanai has a historic town named Lanai City with small restaurants and shops for travelers to explore. The city is technically more like a small village since the community is so small. This island is a popular day trip destination, allowing tourists to experience authentic island living. 

Although the island is mainly uninhabited, there is plenty for visitors to see. There are unique sites to see on Lanai, including a well-known shipwreck at Shipwreck Beach (or Kaiolohia) that travelers go to see often. The 1940s shipwreck is a testament to how Hawaii’s windy and rocky beaches can be dangerous. Even though the beach has incredible views, visitors are not advised to swim there. 

The best time to visit Lanai is between June and November since those months are the warmest and driest months. Lanai is a secluded island, so travelers do not have to be concerned with crowds and can spend their time relaxing.