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The Unique Personalities of Hawaii’s 4 Largest Islands


Hawaii is known for its glistening beaches, hidden waterfalls, idyllic year-round weather, legendary luaus and palm trees dancing in the island breeze. And while you’ll find these items at any of Hawaii’s main vacation islands, each of the four largest islands also bring their own signature ambiance and experience to the table.

To help you find the Hawaiian destination that’s perfectly matched to your travel style, here’s a brief tour of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai and their standout features.


This is where the action is! The most popular and populated of Hawaii’s islands, Oahu is No. 1 for visitor arrivals, and for good reason.

Bustling Waikiki is world-renowned for its famous beaches and strolling along its iconic golden sands is a must for every visitor. Immerse yourself in the customs, culture and history of the islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center, pay homage at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, hike to the top of Diamond Head to take in the breathtaking view and snorkel the crystal-clear waters of Hanauma Bay.

Waikiki’s active nightlife invites you to indulge your palate at a variety of celebrity chef-owned restaurants that tempt you with culinary fusion dishes that are both exotic and familiar at the same time.


Maui has earned a well-deserved reputation for romance and its pampering spa resorts keep it a popular honeymoon destination, but it is so much more. From the lush waterfalls of the Iao Valley and the tranquil beaches of Ka‘anapali and Wailea, to the unforgettable Road to Hana, you’ll find breathtaking natural beauty at every turn that inspires all ages. Be sure to watch the sunrise from the slopes of Haleakala; it’s an experience you’ll never forget.


Known as the Island of Adventure, this is the place for active travelers and nature lovers. Larger than all the other islands combined, it offers 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones, ranging from the snow-capped mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea to the black sands of Punalu‘u Beach. A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not to be missed.


Looking to venture a little off the beaten path to a quieter island? This is the island to choose. Experience the expansive grandeur of Waimea Canyon, aptly named the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. Kayak up the Wailua River, surf the waters of Hanalei Bay, swim with sea turtles in Poipu and indulge in a pampering spa treatment at a luxury spa resort. Cruising along the Napali Coast on a boat tour is a dream.

Whichever island is right for you, you’ll want to make the most of your experience with exciting activities and excursions that are as memorable as Hawaii itself. AAA and Pleasant Holidays make it easy and affordable to book the Hawaii vacation of your dreams with exclusive offers. Ask your AAA travel professional for details.


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