Living in Hawaii: Which Island Is Right For You?


When thinking of Hawaii, what first comes to mind? Is it the miles of white sand beaches or the waterfalls cascading down the lush green mountainside? The magnificent sunsets, sunrises and bottomless cocktails? Or perhaps the salty sweet ocean air mixed with the sound of palm trees swaying in the wind. Whatever your answer, the islands’ magical charm has washed over anyone lucky enough to step foot on our world-famous red dirt. But what if someone were to ask you, “Which island is your favorite?” or better yet, “Where would you want to live in Hawaii?”

While each island exudes its own style, spirit and characteristics, it is hard to choose between the bunch. Many visitors love everything “Aloha” but they’re not quite sure which island best fits their lifestyle. Here is an easy guide to Hawaii’s four most popular islands and their own unique traits.


napali look out kukuiula kauai

Kauai is known for being the oldest and northernmost island. The first thing visitors point out is just how vividly colorful everything is. From the crystal blue waters to the white sand beaches, the bright hibiscus flowers waving at you as you drive past, and the most overwhelming hues of greens from lawns, trees and their signature craggy mountains. Hence the nickname “The Garden Island.”

Offering a quieter way of life, Kauai is mix of of rural, untouched country and a relaxed second gear lifestyle. Luxury resorts, hotels and small bed and breakfasts pepper the island allowing for a calm and comfortable vibe. Breathtaking views can be seen from the Napali Coast to Waimea Canyon (deemed the “Grand Canyon” of the Pacific). As they say, “You don’t simply go to Kauai, you absorb it with every sense.”


Home to Honolulu, the state capitol and the majority of Hawaii’s population (something like 95%), Oahu is arguably the most popular island. Filled with a vibrant mix of urban culture and natural beauty this is the only island filled with skyscrapers, freeways and a thumping nightlife. The LA of Hawaii, visitors can enjoy shopping, museums and art festivals. Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor and the North Shore draw crowds of visitors each year. For those looking to enjoy a quicker paced lifestyle with nonstop entertainment, Oahu is the place for you.


Maui, the second largest island in the chain, is known for some of the best beaches in the world. Turquoise waters, white sand beaches and a laid back atmosphere make it easy to see why Maui is so adored. Almost a mix of Oahu and Kauai, Maui offers secluded rural towns and busy urban districts. Great for tourists who want a little bit of everything. Spectacular whale watching, sailing and snorkeling can be enjoyed. Popular destinations include Historic Old Town Lahaina and the long and winding scenic road to Hana. For those who like peace and quiet with an extra touch of entertainment and activities.


Known as The “Big Island,” it is larger than all of the other islands combined. Still technically growing from the active volcano, Hawaii offers fewer beaches with a unique black and grey sands. The island has an astounding 11 out of 13 possible climate zones, which means that yes, it even snows. Hawaii’s diverse scenery offers snow-capped mountains, black-lava deserts, waterfalls and tropical rain forests. Visitors enjoy the botanical gardens in Hilo, coffee plantations in Kona and the active volcano in Kilauea. The Big Island offers the largest selection of lifestyle options by far.

– – –

Each island offers a wide spectrum of lifestyles, as you can witness firsthand through the growing populations each year. We could go on and on describing them, but words can only go so far. The true magic of the islands can only be felt in person. Once you step foot on the red dirt, you’ll understand what we’ve been talking about all along.