Which Hawaiian Island Is Right for You?


Thanks to the just-approved Southwest flights now making it possible to go from mainland U.S. to Hawaii for less than the cost of dinner, America’s most isolated state is becoming a new vacation option for many. But which island(s) to visit? Should you start with the family-friendly resorts of Maui? Or seek out poke on Oahu?

Even if your vision of the Aloha State is based solely on 1961’s Elvis Presley–starring Blue Hawaii—which both created enormous vacation demand here, and also much of the island chain’s pop culture image—know that you have many options. Seven of the eight major landmasses amid the 130 or so islands are inhabited, and six are primed for tourists. (The seventh, Niihau, is only open to those who know the island's owners.) There's an island for everyone—and for every age and stage of Elvis. Here’s a need-to-know primer to help you plan your next trip to the Hawaiian islands.