The Big Island is a place of stark contrasts, from black sand beaches to rugged volcanic coastlines. Take a road trip on the biggest of Hawaiian islands. To avoid any confusion with the name of the entire state, the Island of Hawaii is often called the “Big Island,” and what an appropriate name it is. Nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, its sheer size can be inspiring.
Sometimes called “The Gathering Place,” Oahu certainly lives up to its name. The third largest Hawaiian island is home to the majority of Hawaii’s diverse population, a fusion of east and west cultures rooted in the values and traditions of the Native Hawaiian people. It’s this fundamental contrast between the ancient and the modern that makes discovering Oahu so enjoyable.
The second largest Hawaiian island has a smaller population than you’d expect, making Maui popular with visitors who are looking for sophisticated diversions and amenities in the small towns and airy resorts spread throughout the island. Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is dotted with quaint towns, artist communities and local favorites that have been around for generations.
Lanai "Hawaii's Most Enticing Island," is small enough for activities that feel more intimate and personal, but big enough for a variety of adventures. This may be Hawaii’s smallest, inhabited island but there’s certainly no lack of things to do on Lanai. Hike the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) or picnic overlooking Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), named for a maiden Puu and her handsome warrior.
“Hawaiian by nature,“ the island of Molokai remains true to its island roots. There are no traffic lights—just aloha—in the harbor town of Kaunakakai, where fisherman haul in their daily catch and farmers showcase fresh-picked produce from neighboring fields. Quiet your spirit and you’ll feel the mana (power) that protects the island, from an area near Maunaloa said to be the birthplace of hula.
Kauai is the most scenic of all the Hawaiian Islands and the fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Isle,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rain forests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls.