it’s been a while since I’ve been there, but I guess there have been no significant changes… ;-)
We found it very hard to choose just one of the islands for our trip as the landscapes differ a lot – so we went for Kauai, Big Island and a bit of Oahu (in four weeks).
I was equally impressed by the flora on Kauai and the volcanic sights on Big Island.
Most interesting places? Too many, but I’ll pick two highlights: Na’Pali Coast State Park, Volcanoes National Park.
Hope that helps – have a nice trip!
thanks for the reply and yes any information helps, but the idea was to go to one of the islands, rent a car and make a road trip along the entire coast line, all round.
So the main issue is which island has the nicest coast line to drive around, with the widest array of activities and panorama’s to encounter while you’re at it. Such as national parks, cliffs, valleys, gorges along the coasts, beaches, snorkeling and diving spots, surfing possibilities, cities, traditional native villages, archaeological sites, etc..
Of course it’s hard to combine all of those, especially if one doesn’t want to drive too far inland, but surely some islands are bound to have a wider variety of sights and activities along the coast, have better road quality or are more impressive to see.
I see – in that case I’d choose Big Island. Basically we did what you described (drive mostly along the coast with only the occasional short trip inland) and we covered a lot of the things you listed.
But still: we did the same (drive along the coast always staying at camp grounds) on Kauai and a little on Oahu in four weeks time (without particular hurry). So, if you have the time, I recommend picking at least a second (Kauai?) island to see the full bandwidth of Hawaiis attractions.
I went on a cruise around the islands in 2006 and we spent time on Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii. Honestly, you can circumnavigate each island by car in a single day. You can obviously make it take longer by doing things along the way, but the islands – even the ‘big island’ of Hawaii – aren’t really that big.
Oahu and Maui seemed to me the most tourist oriented as far as beaches, luaus, night life, etc. Maui also is home to Haleakala National Park – the view from the top is awesome.
I thought Kauai was the most breathtaking as far as waterfalls and scenery and the Na’Pali Coast is amazing – see it from the sea or air.
The Big Island, of course, is where the volcano activity is and Volcanoes National Park.
But all the islands have a bit of everything. I also think Hawaii (The Big Island) would probably fill a good bit of your interests the best, but second the suggestion to check out another island – for instance, if you fly in to Honolulu, why not stay a day or two on Oahu before hopping a puddle-jumper to Hawaii?