It’s a hard call but somebody has to make it. I’m willing to give it a try. First, some background. It wasn’t that long ago that Hawaii was just a dream to me, a place for only the lucky or the rich. But ten years ago we decided to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary with a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and Oahu. Wow and wow! I was immediately and forever smitten. After that trip I was determined to see all of those beautiful islands at least once, if only so I could pick my favorite. Thus I found myself coming up with more reasons to go.
‘Why don’t we go to Hawaii to celebrate my birthday?’ or ‘let’s go to Maui for my retirement present!’ Both worked. Last time it was, ‘we’ve got to see Kauai; how else will we know which island is the best?’ And so we finally completed our mission (okay, mainly my mission) to visit the four major Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. I loved everyone one of them but which is my favorite? They all have so much to offer.
There’s Oahu where we stayed at Waikiki, climbed to the top of iconic Diamond Head and looked down upon Honolulu. We paid our respects at Pearl Harbor, drove to the North Shore, and went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
On the Big Island (so called as the other three islands would fit into its massive size with room to spare), we hiked through lava tubes and watched a glowing volcanic vent at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We enjoyed the turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (perhaps my favorite beach in all of Hawaii) and stopped by the Waipio Valley Overlook.
We loved Waimea Canyon and the rugged Napali Cliffs on the island of Kauai, the oldest and smallest of the islands. It was there we woke up one day to an amazing sunrise when a hurricane was expected to arrive (but thankfully didn’t.) What’s not to like?
On Maui, the second largest island, we went to the top of Haleakala, drove the winding road to Hana (one of America’s most scenic drives), and visited many gorgeous beaches, including our favorite snorkeling beach, Maluaka.
And every night whenever we could we watched a beautiful Hawaiian sunset.How on earth do you choose between these beauties? Of course you really don’t have to but isn’t it fun to try? So if I am pressed, I would say that the Big Island is currently my favorite, with Maui running a close second. But we’ve been to the Big Island multiple times and to Maui only once. To be fair, it seems another trip to Maui is in order. And so we will escape the winter rain and snow of the Pacific Northwest and make our second trip to Maui to settle the matter once and for all.
‘Love is lovelier the second time around,’ goes the old song. Will the same be true of Maui? Will it take the top spot from the Big Island? It’s going to be tough but I’ll let you know the verdict when we return. Either way, we are the real winners.