Where to Stay: If choosing to stay in Wailea’s resort area, we love the Makena Beach & Golf Resort, which is at the end of the resorts and near a state park and beach, providing a more private getaway just down the road from shops and restaurants. Thank you. Oahu (O-ah-who) is a popular vacation destination for families, and an important history lesson for kids. Although the Big Island is double the size of all the other islands combined, it doesn’t offer as much in terms of resort areas and on-island activities as Oahu and Maui. I grew up on OAhu, so I'm going to be a bit prejudiced here- but I'll let the Maui folks make their case later. We otherwise have the opportunity to choose to be in Oahu or Big Island (Anthony would be working at Kona airport). What is the permitting process like on Oahu? My only qualification here is that I have kids with whom I travel a lot and that I've been to both Maui and Oahu a few times (though not since 2000--this summer we return, finally). The islands are quite diverse. Buy a good travel guidebook for each Island, and a good (real) map ... and dig in. That said, Big Island is my husband's favorite. By Diana Lambdin Meyer. We already have a package booked on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island but it starts on 1/27. Big Island vs Oahu. Here Are The 9 Best Cities In Hawaii To Raise A Family. This small island only offers three hotels, two of which are Four Seasons’ properties. I’m not sure why, but it is a common misconception that Oahu is the Big Island. They have some similarities, such as their world-renowned beaches, but we will mostly talk about their differences here. TripSavvy / Lara Antal Oahu: Ideal for Families . By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. each island is different from the next. However, head northeast to the resorts in Kaanapali, which are closer to a rain forest and the mountains and experience different weather. That means that if you’re living in a two-bedroom home and assuming you have two adults in your home, you need to earn a combined income o… Yes, send me expert advice, handpicked recommendations, and tips for my family. If you choose Oahu & do not rent a car, then Waikiki is the best area to stay. Kauai doesn't have active volcanoes like Big Island does, but Kauai has amazingly beautiful nature, relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, great beaches and is the perfect size to spend 3-4 days on. FREE how-to newsletter. As the youngest of the islands, it is also still growing, as Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are still active. Honolulu is a vibrant city filled with resorts, restaurants, shopping and attractions. Oahu vs. Maui A Comparison of Oahu and Maui. O‘ahu. You can’t miss the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, which provides suites for larger families and is located at the start of Kohala Coast, near Kona. There were 64,382 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a woman whose husband did not live with her, and 30.40% were non-families. The Big Island, or the island of Hawaii proper, is perfect for families who want to get a taste of the full range of what Hawaii has to offer. Maui. LOSER: Big Island. That’s a lot of people, there is plenty of social opportunities happening, you’ll just need to find the scene you feel comfortable in. You have pointed out the major differences between living on the Big Island of Hawaii and living on Oahu. Unsubscribe any time. From white sand beaches to the frosted tips of mountains, your family can explore 11 different climactic zones all within a short drive of each other. Oahu is known as the “Gathering Place,” and for good reason. (You can catch Kilauea’s orange glow in the evenings from an observatory.) The center of the island is filled with forest reserves for Mauna Kea, Kapapala and Kau Forest, as well as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the latter of which borders the southeastern coast. Island Layout: Visitors will arrive to the island’s west coast, landing in Kona. And it doesn’t hurt that vacation prices on the island of Kauai tend to be more affordable than what you’d find at the more crowded destinations of Mauai, Oahu or the Big Island. It also offers a less crowded island vacation experience that can serve up just the R&R that many families so desperately need without making you feel like you are at … Island Layout: Honolulu, Waikiki and Diamond Head are located on the island’s southeast side. Well, I think the Big Island is fantastic for older kids because its the high adventure island with the manta ray night snorkel, Volcanoes National Park, clear and calm ocean waters for ocean sports, and a lot of diversity. Oahu is also home to Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii and the state”s largest city. A Quick, Adventurous Trip is Closer than Ever as Resorts World Bimini Reopens . Hawaiian Island Showdown – Maui vs The Big Island! I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. Fair Wind operates two boats. Another unique family-friendly Big Island experience is a trip to Mauna Kea. As they descend down to the ocean along the Chain of Craters road, the climate changes dramatically, as well as the scenery. We suggest visiting both, but if you’re forced to choose, it comes down to your preferences on these three things: accommodations, activities, and entertainment. Instead, it’s a rather sleepy island. Having just returned, here are some sights and family activities on Hawaii's Big Island to help you plan and make the most of your visit. Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai. Honolulu, the state capital, is located on this island. It’s far less developed than Maui (though many travelers choose between Maui or Kauai for their trip to Hawaii). U.S. News has identified top hotels for families in Hawaii - The Big Island by taking into account amenities, reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class ratings. This island is by far the most popular for travelers, partially due to the accessibility of everything from nightclubs and world-class restaurants to sandy beaches and quaint surf towns. It is protected by a large reef which makes it popular for families with young kids and with those who like to snorkel. We'd probably stay for 7-10 days. Although not the largest of the islands, Oahu is the most populated. Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. It offers everything you could ever want in a vacation from breathtaking views to luxurious accommodations and a foodie’s heaven to activity central. While most of the islands feature beautiful beaches, family-friendly resorts and a touch of local culture—from outrigger canoeing to luaus—each island is different from the next. The Big Island also has all the fun beach activities you think of when you imagine spending your days in the salty sea: boogie boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking as well as stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Honolulu, the state capital, is located on this island. Visit Family Vacation Critic on Facebook! Where to Stay: The luxurious Kohala Coast resorts offer plenty for kids, including cultural programs, kids’ clubs, and safe bay waters for snorkeling. More Resorts. United States - Family Vacation to Hawaii - Kauai and Maui or Oahu - I am planning a trip to Hawaii around Christmas time for our family of 4 and my mom. The Big Island is huge and should be a stand-alone island for your trip if you choose it. If you’re off to Maui, you may have a second (or third, depending on where you’re coming from) leg of the journey. Although the Big Island is double the size of all the other islands combined, it doesn’t offer as much in terms of resort areas and on-island activities as Oahu and Maui. Once upon a time, the grotto was only available for Hawaiian royalty, as it was a sacred place. No doubt, Hawaii is one of the most desirable vacation destinations on earth. Summary. This will probably be the only time we're in Hawaii.We've done our research but can't decide on the Big Island or Maui.We love the adventure and array of sites that the Big Island offers but it seems like the beaches aren't the best. Here, we’ll help you decide which one is truly best for your first visit to Hawaii. The island is just 13 miles wide and 18 miles long and it provides an intra-island shuttle to help visitors traverse it. Hope that helps. If you plan to take public transportation, tours, etc, then Oahu would be much better than any of the other islands.. My husband and I traveled to Oahu and then the Big Island last September (5 nights in each). Visitors are advised not to drive past a certain point and to turn around for the return drive. You can easily get of of Oahu … Most families choose to stay in Poipu, where the weather is better and the biggest resorts can be found. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission. Then just go to Oahu. Beaches here are often small and man-made. Often thought of as the most luxurious of the islands due to its large array of four- and five-diamond beachfront resorts, Maui provides a more relaxed stay-on-the-resort type of vacation than Oahu. I’m interested in how it all goes, would you write me back once you make the move and let me know how it’s going? If you’re only going to be on the island for a few days, Waikiki is the easiest place to stay. You’ll need to visit all the islands if you want a big choice, otherwise try Oahu, […] Best Oahu Resorts for Families. Visit Family Vacation Critic on Instagram! Both the Big Island and Kauai are great options for outdoor and nature lovers. There is so much to do in Honolulu, you may not ever leave the city, unless you decide to tour nearby Pearl Harbor; the island’s famed North Shore, where the surfing community lives; or the Dole Pineapple Plantation to sample the freshest pineapple you may ever eat. WINNER: Oahu. Kids will love the children’s programs, too. Oahu is the island of Honolulu and Waikiki. This island is by far the most popular for travelers, partially due to the accessibility of everything from nightclubs and world-class restaurants to sandy beaches and quaint surf towns. If you’re looking for untamed wilderness and a scenic trip away from crowds of other tourists, this island is ideal for you. We love the location at Manele Bay. People come to the Big Island to slow down — to disconnect from the day-to-day madness that is life and reconnect with family and the beauty of nature. United States - Oahu vs. Big Island - Hello Travellers. Answer 1 of 8: We (two adults and 2 kids) are arriving on Jan 23 to Honolulu. All three are found on the island of Oahu. Oahu is also home to … Big Island - Much more laid back than Waikiki. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu. Oahu. Best for Families. The island of O‘ahu is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands (after the Big Island and Maui) but home to about two-thirds of the population of the state. Hit the Big Island’s Best Beaches. Its 227 miles (365 km) of coastline are famous for beautiful white sand beaches and world-class surfing but there is way more to experience here. Should we move? The Big Island has more than its fair share of the latter, in fact, that you will need more than a few days to make it from one side of the island to the other. They also report that the 2-bedroom housing wage – that’s the hourly wage needed to afford Hawaii’s elevated cost of living – is a whopping $35.20 per hour. The Big Island, or the island of Hawaii proper, is perfect for families who want to get a taste of the full range of what Hawaii has to offer. We are a family who believe in showing our daughters the world when it comes to traveling. Very relaxing and … I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. The grounds of the resort are lovely and the main pool features a walk-in sand entrance, which is a big hit with kids. ... Big Island. The northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the fourth largest of the island chain. It takes time to get to paradise. If you like quiet, intimate gatherings on the weekend – you could live on any island, conceivably. I really enjoy your forum and the information you share with us on it!! If you like nightlife – you can only live on Oahu. Don’t Miss: Visit the island’s signature Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto that is covered in hanging ferns and tropical foliage near a waterfall. Two-thousand on the Big Island will get you a lot more, a house even. Don’t Miss: The USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri Battleship and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Museum & Visitor Center. Things to Do On the Big Island With Kids.