10Best Explores Islands of Hawaii

  • Hawaii - Paradise in the Pacific

    Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 2,000 miles from the nearest continent, the islands of Hawaii make up the most isolated archipelago on earth. Out of the hundreds of islands, the larger southeastern islands are the most commonly visited. Whether basking on a beach, hiking to a jungle waterfall, learning to hula or catching that perfect wave, experiencing Hawaii is easier than you might think, with frequent 5.5-hour flights departing daily from Los Angeles.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Oahu - A Little Bit of Everything

    While not the largest island, Oahu is home to the state capital and a majority of the state's population. Visitors to Oahu have pretty much every quintessentially Hawaiian experience at their disposal, including sun-kissed beaches, snorkeling, dramatic mountain views, a thriving nightlife and local flavor. Tour a pineapple plantation, visit Pearl Harbor, hike to the top of Diamond Head and party at Waikiki Beach, all in a day's time.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Oahu - Surfer's Paradise

    Hawaii and surfing go hand in hand, and the North Shore of Oahu draws the best of the best to its legendary waves – often reaching heights of 30 feet or more. Novice surfers can learn on milder waves during the summer months, but if you want to see some big wave surfing, visit between November and February when the winter waves bring out the pros, especially during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing each year.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Lee Aeder

  • Big Island - Hawaii's Youngest Island

    The island of Hawaii – often referred to as the Big Island – is larger than all the other islands combined. It's also the youngest in the chain and home to some of the world's most active volcanoes. With such a vast area, you'll discover a dramatic range of geography, including snow-capped mountains, tropical rain forests, volcanic deserts and black sand beaches.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Big Island - Watch an Active Volcano

    You'll find amazing beaches on any of the Hawaiian islands, but one experience you won't find elsewhere is watching a volcano in action. The Kilauea volcano has been slowly expanding the size of the Big Island without pause since 1983, and when conditions are right, you can get up close and watch red-hot lava oozing into the sea.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Maui - Hawaii at its Best

    Question those who've visited Hawaii before what island was their favorite, and many will point to Maui. The second-largest island has some of the best beaches in the world, along with charming villages, beautiful drives, championship golf courses and the chance to watch a sunrise from the top of Halaekala.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Maui - Best Whale-Watching in Hawaii

    From December through April, humpback whales make their way to the warm waters off the coast of Maui, blessing visitors to the island with some world-class whale-watching opportunities. Even if you forgo a boat tour, you'll find many look-out points on the island where you can see the majestic creatures from shore.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Kauai - Hollywood's Hawaii

    The dramatic natural beauty of Kauai, Hawaii's oldest island, has inspired Hollywood for decades. Take a helicopter tour, and you'll recognize vistas from Jurassic Park, Hook and George of the Jungle. When you're not gazing in awe at the sheer cliffs, cascading waterfalls and lush valleys of the island, you can relax on its 50 miles of beaches.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Molokai - Rustic Hawaii

    More than half of Molokai's population are native Hawaiian, and with much less development than the more popular islands, it's a place where you can connect with nature and the state's rich heritage at the same time. For an unforgettable Molokai experience, try riding a mule along the world's tallest sea cliffs on the Kalaupapa Peninsula to one of the state's most remote settlements.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ron Dahlquist

  • Lanai - Luxury and Tranquility

    Visiting Lanai lets you truly get away from it all, as the island doesn't have a single traffic light. What it does have is two luxurious Four Seasons resorts and plenty of seclusion, whether you're catching some sun on the beach, hiking through the other-worldly landscape at the Garden of the Gods or 4-wheeling through the pine forest along Munro Trail.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority/Pierce M Myers Photography