You might be thinking why these two particular islands? Well, these two are the most famous islands when it comes to fascinating landscapes and activities that go beyond the beach. Of course, Kauai and the Big Island also have stunning beaches. Yet, to really enjoy these places, going on a hike is necessary.
Kauai is considered to be the most colorful island in Hawaii. As Garden Island, it is filled with nature’s vibrant hues that create a natural kaleidoscopic scenery. On the other hand, the island of Hawaii, more commonly referred to as the Big Island, is known for its diversity. Varying climate zones turned the Big Island into a sanctuary for countless species of animals and plants.
Both islands are great destinations for a vacation. Ideally, your itinerary would include both of these places for a perfect getaway. However, most can only focus on one destination at a time. With that in mind, how would you know which of these islands you should visit first?
Kauai and the Big Island offer unique and unforgettable experiences. A vacation on either of these islands is guaranteed to be an adventure of a lifetime. Here are their best features and destinations you can go to, so you would know which island suits you best.
The Garden Island of Hawaii has numerous destinations that are sure to surprise you. Kauai is known for its beautiful landscape with an enriched environment, making it one of the prettiest islands in the state. Here, you can enjoy the beauty of nature and bask in the warmth of the sun. Talk about a revitalizing vacation!
One way or another, you are probably familiar with the scenery of this island. For the ones near the island, they know Kauai for its internationally renowned beauty.
However, for many, they recognize it as the setting for some of the most famous movies in the world. This includes Jurassic Park which features the stunning environment of Kauai. If you’re one of those people, then you would know just how unique and captivating Kauai’s landscape is. It is composed of towering jagged mountains and abundant rainforests that give that island life.
Naturally, as the oldest island in all of Hawaii, it also has great biodiversity which just makes its wildlife much more interesting.
Kauai truly is a wonderful place. You can spend your vacation here just admiring the views and it is guaranteed to be an invigorating feeling. However, if you think that’s all the island has to offer, then you are sorely mistaken.
To find out just what a vacation in Kauai would be like, here are some of its best features you should take a look at.
What Makes Kauai Unique
Most Stunning Helicopter Tours
Kauai has one of the most captivating landscapes in all of Hawaii. The island itself is filled with towering jagged mountains that create a scenic view. This alone makes a helicopter tour across the island more than worth it.
As the oldest island in the whole state, Kauai has the richest wildlife with the thickest rainforests you can see. Here, you can view abundant foliages and greeneries and the occasional waterfalls that are always exciting to see. The island is painted with vibrant hues of nature’s plants and geological formations
Helicopter tours in Kauai last for almost an hour. You can fully appreciate the island’s environment and landscape from an eagle-eye view.
This may be an expensive activity, but it is guaranteed to be worth every penny. After all, you won’t just be paying for a seat in a helicopter, you would be paying for an experience of a lifetime.
Historical Landmarks and Fascinating Museums
Kauai being the oldest island in Hawaii makes it have one of the most fascinating histories. It has existed for as long as 5.1 million years, giving it more stories to tell.
Its natural history can be appreciated by exploring its environment, but how about its connection to humanity?
Naturally, as the first island to exist, it is also the home of the very first settlers in Hawaii. It is also famous for being the only island in the state never to be conquered by King Kamehameha.
As a tropical island, Kauai’s production of cane and coconut also became part of its history. These played a huge part in their trades, especially with the Europeans. Sugar mills and plantations are still intact up to this day for you to observe.
Kauai’s deep and rich history can only be skimmed through in a few paragraphs. To really understand the beauty of the island’s past, it is best for you to learn straight from one of their esteemed museums.
To help you, here are some of their most popular historical sites and exhibits you should visit.
The Kaua`i Museum is the best place for you to explore the island’s rich history. Here, you can enjoy exhibits that educate viewers about Kauai’s past. There are arts and artifacts that date as far back as the 13th century.
Ever since the museum has been established in the 1960s, its collection has only been improving. It is known to preserve Kauai’s history and enrich its culture through its displays.
The said displays exhibit numerous items that were used by the inhabitants of the island in the past. Actually, many of these are still used by the natives in their daily lives.
There are also events held in this place to showcase rare exhibits or artistic works. You should definitely visit this museum if you want a piece of Kauai’s history.
The Kilohana Plantation offers an exciting experience showcasing the island’s historical plantation. Here, you can ride on a train while dining or drinking rum.
On the plantation’s train ride, you’d be able to observe miles of orchards, crops, and trees. All of these are significant to the island’s history and current industry. These include sugarcane, taros, mangos, cashews, and longans.
Dining options on the plantation include the Mahiko Lounge and the Plantation House. Here, you’d be treated to fresh food and beverages that come straight from the plantation. There’s also a serene atmosphere and picturesque view for you to enjoy.
Lastly, one of the plantation’s biggest features is its safari. There’s a lot for you to explore in its 105 acres (42.49 ha) of land. You’d be able to have encounters with both flora and fauna that are guaranteed to pique your interests.
Waioli Huiia Church and Mission House
The Waioli Huiia Church and Mission House are outstanding structures that you shouldn’t miss. These edifices passed the test of time as they remain erect despite almost being two centuries old.
This historical landmark lies in the town of Hanalei. It is frequented by visitors to observe the beautiful American Gothic facade. Here, you can also enjoy seeing the various furniture, items, and even a lava rock chimney that may be older than your great-grandmother!
If you are a fan of olden architecture, then this destination is for you. The Waioli Huiia Church is sure to pique your interest with its stained glass windows and steep roof. Make sure to appreciate the surroundings as well, as you’d be treated to a scenic view and tranquil atmosphere.
Tranquil and Captivating Beaches
No trip to Hawaii is ever complete without experiencing one of its amazing beaches. You have to have a day on the beach whether you just want to lounge around or engage in beach and water sports. Lucky for you, Kauai does not lack great shores for you to enjoy.
Additionally, the beautiful fine sands and pristine waters are complemented by Kauai’s landscape. Most of its best beaches have astounding mountains as their backdrop. This makes for surreal scenery and an ideal picture!
There are several beaches in Kauai you can spend your day. However, they differ in marine life, the strength of waves, and the quality of sand. To know which beach suits you best, here are some of the island’s most famous that you should check out.
Waimea Bay Beach
Waimea Bay Beach has perhaps some of the most fascinating beaches on the whole island. Beaches here have charming scenery of fluttering trees and grassy lawns. However, these are not what they are most known for.
This place in Kauai is famous for having the best black-sand beaches. There are many spots for you to explore that showcase beautiful dark shores that are just perfect for a picture.
It is recommended to enjoy the beach through strolls or picnics. Swimming here would only be gratifying when the water is clear.
Hanalei Beach Park
Do you imagine your Hawaiian trip on a premiere beach of pristine sand and turquoise waters? Then the Hanalei Beach Park is for you. This destination is a favorite for many tourists and locals alike. It is guaranteed to give you a satisfying beach experience.
The Hanalei Beach Park has white glittering sands, azure waters, fluttering trees, and a gorgeous mountain as a background. It is the perfect place for a relaxing day at the beach with cocktails in your hand.
This beach park is also a great choice for families as it is well-equipped with facilities and amenities. There are lifeguards, restrooms, showers, grills, picnic tables, and parking lots.
For your activities, there are also stalls where you can rent equipment for various water sports. Occasionally, there may also be food services for you to enjoy!
Poipu Beach has one of the most fascinating landscapes on all of Kauai’s beaches. It has a crescent-shaped shore encompassed by lush vegetation. This beach is also famous for being one of the most gorgeous beaches in the whole country.
Poipu Beach offers a unique beach experience for you. Here, you can go snorkeling, boogie boarding, and surfing. All in the beauty of its golden sand and clear waters that are sure to make your jaw drop.
This is a great destination no matter what group you are with. It has a fun atmosphere for families and friends, while also being charming and romantic for couples.
Bountiful Land You Can Explore to Your Heart’s Content
Helicopter tours and road trips are a great way to see the beauty of Kauai. However, nothing beats the feeling of wandering in the middle of a rainforest or hiking the sides of a skyscraping mountain.
The Garden Island of Hawaii is best appreciated by exploring its abundant environment. There’s much to see from its flora and fauna as it has high biodiversity. This means you would be able to encounter numerous species of both plants and animals!
There are about 127 species of plants and 21 species of animals that are endemic to Kauai. This makes a hike on this island a unique experience you wouldn’t be able to replicate anywhere else in the world. Here, you are guaranteed to have a new appreciation for the wildlife.
Kauai has so many rainforests and mountains you can visit. However, you wouldn’t be able to explore these destinations in a short amount of time.
With that in mind, here are the most popular hiking spots on Kauai you should definitely see. Choose the ones that pique your interest the best so you can plan ahead!
Wailua is a frequent destination for those who want natural scenic views. The first thing you would notice once you’ve reached this part of the island is its numerous coconut trees. In fact, this place is actually nicknamed the Coconut Coast for this reason.
This place is a nature lover’s haven. Here, there are numerous attractions to discover, including rivers, grottos, and waterfalls. Wailua is also known to have abundant vegetation thanks to its fertile lands.
There’s no lack of scenic views and natural attractions in this place. It is recommended to go on hikes, cruises, or a helicopter tour for a complete experience.
Waimea Canyon State Park
The Waimea Canyon State Park is one of Kauai’s most unique features. It is a natural beauty of rock formations that are shaped by the Waimea River. Years of erosion created a geological wonder that’s sure to take your breath away.
There is a lot to explore in this park’s vicinity. Luckily, there are day tours and facilities to make you comfortable. This includes parking spaces, restrooms, and vantage points to appreciate the scenery.
Waimea Canyon State Park is the place to be for the traveler who wants to enjoy a vibrant view. Not only is the canyon colored by lush vegetation and fascinating rock formations. Rainbows also frequently appear here. There are also waterfalls and, of course, a river.
Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is a great destination to appreciate the island of Kauai’s gorgeous landscape truly. Here, you can gawk at the towering mountains and breathtaking coast of the island. It is easily one of the most interesting places you can visit.
The Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park has an extensive area spanning over 6,175 acres (2,499 ha) with its coastline stretching for as much as 16 miles (26 km). There is so much to do and explore in this park that your adventurous soul is guaranteed to be satisfied.
It goes through 5 different valleys, so make sure to research which part of the island suits you and your group best. You can hike or visit trails, waterfalls, or sea cliffs. All of which are sure to take your breath away.
Exhilarating Culture-Based Festivals
Kauai is a rural place with a laid-back atmosphere. Yet, this doesn’t mean that the island is boring or uneventful! In fact, Kauai, like most of the Hawaiian islands, is known for its tight-knit communities. And no one knows how to celebrate better than a friendly community.
The Island of Kauai is known for its rich history and a deep past of enriched culture. Hawaiians are proud of their heritage, traditions, and lifestyle.
When there’s an event, their pride in their culture lights up the whole island. Your Hawaiian vacation can only be truly complete if you’ve managed to join in these amazing festivals!
Events in Kauai are largely based on honoring their culture. Yet, they are also very different from each other. In order to know which one suits you the best, check out these popular festivals you are sure to enjoy. Take note of the dates so you can plan out your vacation accordingly.
Kōloa Plantation Days Festival
The Kōloa Plantation Days Festival is a celebration of Kauai’s diverse culture brought upon by its deep history. As a renowned plantation in the past, many came to work on this island and are now the ancestors of numerous locals. This festival aims to celebrate those people along with the native Hawaiians that accommodated them.
This festival lasts for ten long days and is celebrated during the month of July. It is held in the area of Old Koloa Town, where cultural booths and exhibits are set up. There are also food, music, and performances for you to enjoy.
Yet, the main features of the Kōloa Plantation Days Festival are the parade and rodeo. If you are lucky enough to revel in this celebration, it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for you.
Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade
If you plan on visiting Kauai during the month of December, then the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade is something you cannot miss. This amazing event will be a delightful experience as it brings a new color to the Christmas cheer.
In this parade, communities join in and light up their own houses. Winter decorations would fill the island in an illuminated display of festivity that’s just lovely to see.
During this time, trucks, caravans, and even boats are decorated with colorful Christmas lights. It is a fun way to bring warmth to a cold night. This is a great celebration to visit for every member of your family.
Kaua’i Mokihana Festival
This is the best festival for you to join if you want a full encounter with Hawaii’s rich culture. During this event, traditions, beliefs, and the arts of Hawaii are celebrated in a display of entertaining festivity.
The Kaua’i Mokihana Festival is held during the month of September and lasts for about a week. Competitions in hula and lei are also fulfilled at this time. This means you would be treated to great performances by the locals.
A Taste of Hawaii’s Rich Flavors
A trip to a Hawaiian island isn’t just a feast for one’s eyes, they are also a journey for your taste buds. Visitors to Kauai are treated to the best of Hawaiian cuisine and the locals’ favorite dishes. Each meal in this place is sure to take your mouth on a delightful expedition.
The specialty of food establishments in Kauai is using the island’s natural resources to produce fresh dishes. This means you would be eating the freshest vegetables and fish that are plentiful here.
Cooks on this island are also adept at cooking meat, especially pork which anyone who’s been to a luau would know.
There are numerous food establishments offering cuisines from all around the world, but with a special Hawaiian twist. Your options may be overwhelming, so here are some restaurants you can check out. This might give you a better idea of what you can expect your meals to be on the island.
Tidepools Grand Hyatt Kauai
The Tidepools Grand Hyatt Kauai offers luxurious dining that exemplifies the elegance of Kauai. Here, you would be treated to an excellent ambiance. Your eyes would be filled right before you get to taste their mouthwatering dishes.
This restaurant offers one of the best scenes you can enjoy during your meal. It is perfect for an intimate time in a unique picturesque setting. Here, you can have a lavish feast of fresh meals you are sure to love.
Tidepools Grand Hyatt Kauai is most known for its steaks and seafood. With the hands of their expert chefs, you would be able to taste food as you’ve never had before. There is also a bar for your drinks, and a patio to enjoy the view.
Merriman’s Kauai is an established restaurant in Hawaii, and it is easy to know why. This esteemed food establishment offers a great taste of the state’s regional cuisine. Here, you can enjoy the best seafood and meat made with fresh island ingredients.
This restaurant is known to be one of the first ones to introduce the farm-to-table concept. Now, you can enjoy their food with a stunning view and a tranquil atmosphere. Each meal in this place would be scrumptious and a delightful experience.
It is recommended to try their selection of meat and fish for an intimate dinner. If you’re with your family or friends, however, you can choose to order pizzas and burgers.
If you’re searching for the best Japanese restaurant in Kauai, then look no further. Aina Kauai is an esteemed restaurant that takes the Japanese tradition of Kaiseki to a whole new level.
Aina Kauai doesn’t just offer you food to enjoy. It offers a taste of tradition and a course for you to experience. Your meals would be filled with subtle flavors and crisp textures. They make sure to utilize the freshest ingredients available to create a mixture of harmonized tastes.
Refined techniques and serious respect for their customers make this place a must-visit. Who knows, your favorite Japanese restaurant might become this astounding establishment in Kauai.
The island of Hawaii, more commonly referred to with its nickname as the Big Island, is a
destination you cannot miss. This astounding island offers a large variety of places and activities you can enjoy.
You may have guessed it, the Big Island is actually the biggest island in the whole state. In fact, its enormous terrain comprises more than half of Hawaii’s whole land area.
For visitors like you, that means there are endless sights and tourist spots to enjoy on this island. There is just so much to appreciate in this huge island’s landscape, including its several volcanos!
The Big Island is known to have been made by at least about 6 volcanoes. To this day, 5 of these are still intact and active. These helped shape the island into a mixture of different zones with varying climates and biodiverse wildlife.
There are several climate zones on the Big Island for you to explore. Each one has a unique environment that serves as a habitat for various species.
There are deserts and tundras as well as different-colored beaches. This makes a vacation on this island similar to a trip around the world!
Its sheer size alone is a thing of wonder, yet there are more fascinating things on the island for you to discover. With that in mind, here are some of Big Island’s most famous destinations for you to understand its beauty.
What Makes Big Island Unique
Discover the World’s Most Captivating Volcanos
Big Island is a hotspot of active volcanos. In the state of Hawaii, there are only 6 active volcanos, and 5 of these are located on Big Island. That’s why if you want an exhilarating vacation, then this is the best destination.
The volcanos of the island, namely, the Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and Kohala, offer varying adventures you are sure to love. They have different climates that gave the volcanos distinct and rich environments. A visit to each one of these places would be a unique and fun experience.
It is recommended for you to try and reach one of the volcanos’ peaks. Only here would you be able to see jaw-dropping panoramic views of the island. It might be an exhausting trip, but it is guaranteed to be more than worth your while.
To have a better idea of Big Island’s beauty, you should take a closer look at its major volcanos. Here are the 5 main volcanos of the island that are simply a must-see.
Check which one piques your interest the best so you can plan it to be accessible to your accommodation.
On the southeastern part of the Big Island, lies the fiery volcano Kilauea. It is a shield volcano known to be one of the most active volcanos in the whole world. It is relatively young as it is only 280,000 years old compared to the others that date back to a million years.
This area has a tropical climate, giving it a rich environment. Wildlife in this place is guaranteed to fascinate you. On the outskirts of its area, there is also a desert, jungle, and a ranch. There would be much for you to explore!
This volcano is also perfect if you want to observe nature at work. It consistently erupts every 2–3 years, so fresh traces of eruption would always be visible. Just make sure to research ahead of your visit so you wouldn’t be at any risk.
Mauna Loa is characterized by its gentle slope as a shield volcano. Yet, despite its low angle, its peak actually goes over 13,679 feet (4,169m). Its towering facade makes it a great destination for a challenging but rewarding hike.
When people think of volcanos, some of the first few words that come to mind would be, hot and dry. Yet, Mauna Loa would sooner freeze you than make you sweat!
This astounding volcano lies in the Periglacial Zone of the Big Island. That means at its warmest, the temperature only goes to 50 degrees F (10 C).
Mauna Loa is known for having some of the best sights you can ever see on the island. On its peak would be a sea of clouds that would look like heaven on earth.
So, you better start practicing your hiking skills. This is not a destination you would want to miss.
Mauna Kea is an astounding volcano that garners visitors from all around the world. Like its neighbor, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea is known to be a dormant shield volcano. That means it has gentle slopes that stretch out.
This volcano is known to be the highest in all of Hawaii. Its peak goes as high up as 13,803 ft (4,207.3 m). It is also a very old volcano with its age estimated to be at least a million years old. Its history and natural beauty give it a unique character you are sure to enjoy.
Be sure to visit this volcano and try your best to reach its peak. It would be one of the best sceneries you would be able to appreciate in your whole life. If you have time, you might want to go stargazing or simply enjoy the panoramic view.
If your stay on the Big Island is situated in its western area, then you are in luck, because the gorgeous Hualalai is probably within your reach. The climate in this part of the island is hot and arid so make sure to pack comfortable clothes.
This volcano may only be the third most active on the island, but its significance in the environment cannot be ignored.
In fact, Hualalai is famous for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. You would best appreciate the place by going on adventures.
There are several nature reserves and animal sanctuaries you can visit near this volcano. There is even a fascinating plantation that you can explore!
Just make sure to research ahead before planning your trip here. It is still an active volcano, so be sure to visit only when it’s safe.
Kohala is known to be the oldest among the five volcanos on Big Island. It has a rich history that gave it very abundant wildlife you are guaranteed to love.
Kohala is encompassed by fascinating natural attractions. The mountain itself mostly experiences a wet climate, but on its side is an arid area. On its foot, there are beaches and valleys for you to explore.
On the south of this astounding volcano, lies the fascinating town of Waimea. This is a historic place rich with greeneries. There are cattle around and a prevalent Paniolo culture you are sure to appreciate.
All-In-One for Nature Lovers
Have you been scratching your head thinking about the best place and time for your vacation? Maybe you’re having a hard time wondering whether you want to experience a cold trip or some sandy desert. Well, you don’t have to worry anymore, because Big Island has all of these for you!
There’s no easier way to encounter numerous ecosystems than going around Big Island. It has about 8 various climate zones that showcase the diversified beauty of our world.
Here, you can see dry forests, coastal dunes, and frosty deserts without traveling far! This makes it an ideal destination for those who want to appreciate nature.
Naturally, the different biomes of the island made way for varying plants and animals to thrive. In turn, this gave the Big Island high biodiversity that is sure to fascinate you.
In fact, this island is the only one left in Hawaii that is still constantly expanding. That means the island is never the same as it was the previous year.
The island is named Big Island aptly due to its size. This is both a blessing and a challenge for you as there are tons of amazing destinations to go to, but how would you know which one to prioritize?
Exploring Big Island’s different zones is a must-do to complete your vacation. Here are some of its most popular spots for nature lovers that you should check.
Mauna Kea State Park
The Mauna Kea State Park is one of the best destinations on the island for those who want to explore a cold environment. This place is also known as the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area and is located on the tallest mountain on the island.
This state park is best enjoyed just before sundown. Visitors of the Mauna Kea State Park would often tell that here is the best sunset they have ever seen in their lives.
What’s more, the elevation and lack of light pollution make this place ideal for stargazing.
There is also a visitor’s center for you to go to. You can expect fascinating souvenirs, hefty snacks, and a clean restroom for your comfort. Make sure to bring warm clothes and prepare for some hiking.
Kona Cloud Forest
If you want to encounter Big Island’s woods, then the Kona Cloud Forest is the place to go. There’s nowhere better to observe the various species of flora and fauna on the island than this forest.
The Kona Cloud Forest is a tropical fog forest. This means it thrives mostly on the lowering of clouds for its water. Due to this, the place is usually moist and wet, giving it naturally healthy soil.
Cloud forests are uncommon in the world. There are numerous conditions to produce this kind of environment. This is why the Kona Cloud Forest is significant to Big Island. Endemic species can be observed here that you cannot see anywhere else in the world!
For anyone with an adventurous soul, going to the Ka‘ū Desert is simply a must! This is far from anyone’s idea of a Hawaiian destination, but you are sure to be satisfied.
You might not have cocktails and fluttering palm trees, but the experience in this place would make your trip worthwhile.
The features of this place are mainly the rock formations and other signs of volcanic activities. In fact, the most popular attraction of the Ka‘ū Desert is the Great Crack. This is an 8-mile-long crack (12.87 km) that is 60 feet (18.28 m) in width and depth.
There are many hiking trails for you to try in this place. You just have to prepare hiking gear to make your trip easier. Also, make sure to check the availability of the place first. It is not recommended if there is a notable volcanic activity.
Colorful Beaches Perfect for Photos
The Big Island is the youngest among the Hawaiian islands. This means it still has an ever-growing environment for you to enjoy.
Unfortunately, this also makes its beaches daintier than the other islands’. However, you shouldn’t worry, because Big Island’s beaches are some of the prettiest in the world.
The island’s beaches may not be as lengthy or enriched as the other Hawaiian islands, but they are some of the most colorful.
Big Island has its fair share of golden and white beaches, but there are more hues than that. The true stars of this place’s beach scene are its red, black, and green sands.
Beaches on Big Island may also vary from calm and serene to lively and rocky shores. These give you a wider range of activities to choose from.
More importantly, the island’s beaches are the best settings for the perfect photo to spruce up your social media accounts!
Now, the real challenge when it comes to Big Island’s beaches is finding which one you’d like the most. Ideally, you’d have to have the time and energy to visit each and every single one. But then you’d have no time for the island’s other features. With that in mind, here are some of Big Island’s most famous beaches that might suit you.
Papakōlea Green Sand Beach
Have you ever seen a beach with green sand? If not, then going to the Papakōlea Green Sand Beach is a must for you! However, don’t worry if your answer is no. This place is still a great destination because it is guaranteed to be the best green-sand beach you would ever see.
The Papakōlea Green Sand Beach is one of the only two green sand beaches in the entirety of the country.
Its astounding scenery makes for a perfect setting for your next social media post. What’s more, is that you can swim in its waters!
On the other hand, it is important for you to manage your expectations. One of the beauties of the Papakōlea Green Sand Beach is that it is undisturbed. That means there are no lifeguards, food stations, and other amenities. Make sure to prepare necessities before going!
Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach
Beaches usually have golden or white sand, but Punalu’u is an astounding black-sand beach you shouldn’t miss. This amazing beach offers unique scenery that is sure to take your breath away. It is a popular beach with amenities for your comfort.
The Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach is famous for its black sand, as well as the Hawksbill and green turtles that frequent this area.
That means here, you can have the perfect beach day while having an encounter with such fascinating creatures.
You can snorkel, swim, or have a picnic in the beach’s vicinity so you wouldn’t run out of things to do. To top it all off, camping is also allowed as long as you attain a permit first. Talk about a great way to experience the beauty of nature!
When you think of Hawaii’s beach, there is a huge chance that you’re actually thinking of Hāpuna Beach.
This destination is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Big Island. Here, you can have the perfect beach day that you deserve.
Hāpuna Beach has a thriving aquatic scene and a backdrop of healthy vegetation. It makes for a breathtaking setting for your vacation.
There are numerous activities for you to do all year round in this place. It is also filled with amenities so you are guaranteed to have a comfortable and enjoyable time!
Most Challenging and Most Rewarding Hikes
Big Island has one of, if not the most fascinating landscape in the world. It is composed of grand rock formations that are just amazing to see.
Of course, you already know of its many volcanos, but there are also numerous mountains and lush rainforests for you to explore.
Your vacation on the Big Island can be as relaxing or adventurous as you want it to be. However, the best way to appreciate its best features is by going out and discovering its scenic views.
There’s no better way to do this than by going on hikes and reaching peaks that act as the best observation spots on the island.
From the island’s volcanos and mountains, there are just too many trails to choose from. There are those that are beginner-friendly, while there are also some that even hiking experts get exhausted in. Yet, no one who’s been on a hike on this island has been disappointed.
A hike on Big Island is guaranteed to be a worthwhile activity. You just have to prepare accordingly for a smoother experience.
The next step would be knowing which hike is best for your level and preferences. So make sure to search for the one that would suit you before going!
A Journey for Your Tummy
Like any other island in Hawaii, the Big Island offers meals that are sure to satisfy you. As an island abundant with resources, you are guaranteed to be fed with the freshest ingredients.
Fortunately for you, cooks in Big Island are adept at bringing out the best flavors in these ingredients. This makes the island a sanctuary for food lovers.
Big Island does not lack good food establishments. They serve a wide variety of meals, including local Hawaiian, American, Asian, and European dishes. There are even some that incorporate two or more of these cuisines in their menu. Each meal you’d have on this island would be a trip to a different place in the world!
Whether you want seafood, meat, pasta, or pastries, Big Island has it for you. What you should decide on is which food establishment you’d think would suit your preferences best.
That is why you should check out these astounding restaurants that might just feed you your new favorite food.
Merriman’s is a popular food establishment in the whole state of Hawaii. There are numerous branches of this restaurant scattered around, but the most well-known is the one in Waimea. It is considered to be part of the town as it has been operating for more than 20 years.
Merriman’s specialty is bringing out the flavors of the region. This includes using the fresh island ingredients for a crisp and juicier texture. Here you can enjoy award-winning meals that are sure to take your taste buds on a savory journey.
If you want to have a nice intimate meal, then Manta is a solid option for you. This establishment offers an open-air dining experience overlooking the astounding Kauna’oa Bay. Of course, their food is also exquisite and elegant.
There are several things on Manta’s menu but their selection of seafood is the most impressive. In fact, one of their most famous dishes utilizes mahi-mahi cooked with fresh ingredients you are sure to love.
This restaurant also has a wine bar, so you can get your fill of nice drinks. Imagine drinking delectable beverages while treating your eyes to picturesque views.
Da Poke Shack
The Da Poke Shack offers you the chance to experience the locals’ favorite dishes. This food establishment serves fresh poke. If you’re not familiar with that, it is simply diced raw fish that the Hawaiian love!
Getting a taste of Big Island’s poke is sure to make you have a new appreciation for seafood. It is a unique and delectable way to enjoy fresh fish and other salads. Who knows, this might just be your new favorite dish.
Fun Events and Celebrations
If you’ve ever had a vacation on an island, then you would be familiar with what they call island time. Basically, this means the place has a much more leisure atmosphere that makes for the perfect relaxation.
In this case, how would you get to experience a lively Hawaiian setting? Well, you just have to go to an event or festival!
What gives Big Island its unique character is not just its astounding landscape. Although it is young compared to the other Hawaiian islands, it still manages to have a rich culture and deep history. These are celebrated through annual events that breathe life into the island.
This does not mean that the island stops being a relaxing place. During a festival, it just turns livelier and more colorful with its personality much more pronounced. This makes it a great chance for you to feel like a part of Big Island’s tight-knit community.
Going to an event or celebration on Big Island would be the cherry on top of your vacation. Yet, there are numerous festivals celebrated on the island annually.
You would have to choose carefully which one you would love to experience, so you can book your vacation accordingly. With that in mind, check out these events that might help you create your itinerary.
Hawaii Kuauli Pacific & Asia Cultural Festival
Hawaii Kuauli Pacific & Asia Cultural Festival is an event that honors the varying cultures of Hawaii. During this time, you would be able to see Big Island as a melting pot of cultures. It is a grand event that visitors and locals enjoy every year.
This event is usually held in the middle of the year. Various performances and exhibits are made to exemplify the different cultural expressions. There are also food, fashion, hula dancing, competitions, and even cultural workshops. You wouldn’t run out of things to do to enjoy this festival!
Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival
The Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival is a fascinating event that showcases the island’s love for jazz and blues. This is done during the weekend, with performances from relevant artists all around the world.
This festival honors the jazz and blues music scene, while also giving the artists a chance to showcase their talents.
Going to this festival is sure to be an unforgettable experience. It is not every day that you can enjoy the beauty of Hawaii while being serenaded by the best live music.
Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival
The Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival of Waimea is a breathtaking festival that anyone would love to see! This event features cherry trees from Japan which are as old as 6 decades already. It is a cultural event held in the southern part of Kohala.
During this festival, the Japanese culture is appreciated, especially with what it brings to Hawaii. There are numerous exhibits and cultural workshops that you can enjoy.
There would also be performances, food tastings, and demonstrations. By the end of this festival, you would probably have a new liking for the rich culture of Japan.
What Is Better – Kauai or Big Island?
Choosing between Kauai and Big Island is a hard task. They are both astounding destinations that offer unforgettable experiences. Yet, it is guaranteed that you would appreciate one of these islands better. The catch is that only you can decide which is better according to your preferences.
The Hawaiian islands are depicted by pop culture as a tropical paradise filled with beaches, hula dancing, and tiki torches. Yet, Kauai and Big Island are known for much more.
Of course, both of these islands have jaw-dropping beaches as well. However, they are more popular for their fascinating landscapes and exhilarating hikes.
Kauai is the island for you if you want to experience a vacation in a more rural setting. This island is smaller, but it also receives fewer visitors. That means there are more quiet beaches and tourist spots.
Generally, Kauai’s atmosphere is more laid-back. You would fit in here perfectly if you would adjust yourself to go with the island time.
Although despite the serenity, the best way to appreciate Kauai is actually by exploring its natural beauty. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t pamper yourself.
The Big Island is better for those who want to spend their vacation always on the go. This enormous island has numerous fascinating destinations you cannot miss. It is important to plan your itinerary here in order to appreciate it best.
Overall, the Big Island is still rural, but it has more crowded places, especially during the winter season. However, the island offers some of the most stunning views worldwide, making it more than worth visiting.
The Big Island’s atmosphere is also livelier. There are several active volcanoes and its environment just gives so many activities to do. Even its pristine beaches are best enjoyed by snorkeling in the waters!
It is important to note that both islands’ landscapes make them harder to travel through. Yet, your problem with transport can easily be answered by renting a car. There are even self-drive tours that you can enjoy.
In conclusion, Kauai is generally a better choice for those who want to experience a more relaxing vacation out in nature.
On the other hand, the Big Island offers more thrills and a diverse environment to explore. It is up to you to choose which one fits best your idea of a perfect Hawaiian vacation.
Is Kauai or Big Island Cheaper?
Kauai is a cheaper destination than Big Island. The average cost of a stay in Kauai goes for about $152 daily. On the other hand, a stay on Big Island may go as far as $206 per day.
Kauai or Big Island for Families
Kauai may be a better choice for families, especially with kids or the elderly. Big Island has its attractions scattered around its large land. It is also best appreciated through hikes. On the other hand, anyone can appreciate the vibrant attractions of the Garden Islan Kauai.
Is the Big Island or Kauai Better for Kids?
Kauai is a better choice for kids. There are enough activities for your kids to enjoy on both islands. Yet, Big Island has more travel time in between destinations. Activities here also tend to be more exhausting. Kauai, on the other hand, has a more laid-back atmosphere perfect for kids.
Kauai or Big Island for Honeymoon
For a romantic and more intimate destination, Kauai is a better choice. There are more vibrant and special attractions in Kauai that you can enjoy easily. Big Island, on the other hand, is a better choice if you want a honeymoon filled with adventures.
Kauai vs. Big Island Beaches
Kauai is more popular for its beaches than Big Island. There are more white-sand beaches on this island, as well as better reefs. As the oldest island, it has thriving marine life perfect for underwater activities.
Snorkel in Kauai vs. Big Island
Big Island is a better choice for snorkeling than Kauai. Although Kauai has more stretches of beaches, the number of snorkeling spots is less. On Big Island, there are huge fields of corals to look forward to.
Kauai or Big Island in March
Big Island is a better choice to visit during the month of March. During this time, Hawaiian islands receive more rain. The sheer size of Big Island guarantees that it has more places to go. That means a better chance for you to find a dry area.
Big Island or Kauai in August
Kauai may be a better choice to visit during the month of August. This time, it is summer in the Hawaiian islands. As the state’s Garden Island, it is best to visit during this season.
Big Island or Kauai in December
The month of December belongs to the rainy season, making Big Island a better option for visiting. Kauai is actually known to be one of the wettest places on earth. This means you would have less time to appreciate the island’s natural beauty.
Is Kauai the Big Island?
Kauai is not the Big Island. Each main island in the Hawaiian state is given a nickname based on its characteristics. Kauai is known as the Garden Island for its natural beauty. On the other hand, the island of Hawaii is given the name Big Island due to its sheer size.
How Far Apart Are Kauai and the Big Island?
The distance between Kauai and Big Island goes as far as 305 miles (490 km). This equals about 265 nautical miles. Kauai is actually the farthest main island in the state to the Big Island.
How Much Bigger Is the Big Island Than Kauai?
The difference in the area of the two islands is more than 3,474 sq. miles (9,000 sq. km). The area of Big Island is 4027 sq. miles (10,432 sq. km) while Kauai is only 552 sq. miles (1,430 sq. km). In this area, Big Island is actually the biggest island in the entire state.
How Much Older Is Kauai Than the Big Island?
The difference in age between these two islands goes for as long as 4 million years. Kauai is the oldest island in the state with its age going as far back as 5 million years. On the other hand, Big Island is actually the youngest with only up to 800,000 years of age.
Why Is Kauai Older Than the Big Island?
The tectonic plates shifting towards the northwest means that the islands in the south-eastern area are older.
How Do You Get From the Big Island to Kauai?
The main and only public form of transportation that you can take to go from the Big Island to Kauai is a plane. Luckily, there are three commercial carriers to do this job. There are more expensive options for you to try. This includes chartering or joining interisland cruises.
How Do You Get From Kauai to the Big Island?
The easiest way to get from Kauai to the Big Island is through a plane. For this purpose, there are three main commercial carriers. You can choose between direct and indirect flights. Other options for transportation may be through private boats or aircraft vehicles.
Can You Fly From Kauai to the Big Island?
Interisland flying is allowed in Hawaii. You can charter and go from Kauai to the Big Island. It is an expensive trip but is filled with the best views of the state.
Is There a Ferry From the Big Island to Kauai?
Currently, there are no ferries going from the Big Island to Kauai. There used to be a ferry service for these islands, but their operation has ceased due to environmental concerns.
How Long Does It Take to Get From the Big Island to Kauai?
Direct flights from Big Island to Kauai only take about 40 to 50 minutes. For indirect flights, however, it depends on the trip, but it is sure to take a few hours. If you are traveling by boat, then it would take about an hour.
Big Island or Kauai First?
Big Island may be a better destination to visit first if you plan on going to both islands. Here, your experience would be filled with hikes and exploration.
It might get exhausting. This way, once you go to Kauai, you can focus on relaxation. You would have the perfect Hawaiian vacation with a well-rested body after leaving.