Waimea Canyon
Published March/April 2011

Find the Perfect Island Fit

Which Hawaiian is right for your vacation?

BYStephen M. Wheeler
When it comes to vacations, like jeans, one style rarely fits all. Luckily, Hawaii is comprised of eight different islands. We polled our AAA travel experts to match the island to the traveler. So where do you fit? Read on to discover your perfect Hawaii.
 
THE HIKER/BIKER/KAYAKER
You’re the quintessential granola-chomping outdoorsman/woman.
 
Your Hawaii: Kauai or The Big Island
It’s true, the majority of our experts said the Garden Isle is for you. Our travel gurus just couldn’t deny the allure of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon — considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific — to you denizens of the outdoors, not to mention its waterfall-laden Na Pali Coast and all five of Hawaii’s navigable rivers.
 
The Big Island places a close second to Kauai in terms of outdoor recreation. The Hawaiian Valley of the Kings is a great destination to explore by ATV.
 
THE CULTURE JUNKIE/HISTORY BUFF
You’re the ‘museum-lover’ who leaves every experience replete with information.
 
Your Hawaii: Oahu
The results were unanimous: Oahu is the culture capital of Hawaii. Options for the “culturious” seem endless and include museums, palaces, WWII memorials, wartime submarines, restored historical homes, mansions and, of course, Pearl Harbor. *Oahu also ranked number one for nightlife.
 
THE BEACH BUM
You know who you are. Rolling over — and maybe a snorkel —  is the extent of your intended activity.
 
Your Hawaii: Maui 
Why else but for the great beaches, most notably Ka’anapali, but also close to Molokini Crater — a small island crater perfect for snorkeling. Maui is said to be laid-back and relaxing, a beach bum’s paradise. *Maui also beat out Oahu by the slimmest of margins for best family pick.
 
THOSE OTHER ISLANDS
We couldn’t help but notice that of eight Hawaiian Islands, only four placed in our poll. Upon further investigation, the reasons became all too apparent. Niihau, the oldest of Hawaii’s main islands, is privately owned, and some say Kaho’olawe still hides residual land mines left over from weapons testing that took place during World War II. On the other hand, Molokai and Lanai can be considered up and coming destinations. Open to tourists, though fairly off the grid, they are great options for those who really want to get away from it all. Even traffic lights have yet to be added to either island’s infrastructure.
 
STEPHEN M. WHEELER is the senior editor/director at AAA’s Going Places magazine.
For More Information
Call your local AAA Travel professional at 1-888-870-9392 or visit AAA.com.
Maui
Maui
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor
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