People interested in world-class shopping, dining, and nightlife tend to be drawn to O’ahu. On the other hand, tourists who want to experience Hawaii’s natural treasures often end up on the Big Island.
Let’s go over some of the key differences when deciding whether to go to O’ahu or Big Island for an ideal Hawaiian getaway.
O’ahu: For City Dwellers
Although O’ahu isn’t as big as the Big Island or Maui, it has the largest population density of all the Hawaiian Islands. The reason for O’ahu’s huge population has to do with Honolulu. It’s the capital of Hawaii and the only major metropolitan area in the state.
O’ahu, which literally means “The Gathering Place,” is the most popular island with international tourists. Expect bigger crowds, higher prices, and tourist vendors if you decide to book your vacation on this island.
Since O’ahu is home to the nation’s capital, there’s no better place for tourists who are interested in shopping, historic sites, nightlife, or cuisine. Some of the iconic destinations in Honolulu include Waikiki Beach, the Diamond Head Volcano, Pearl Harbor, and the `Iolani Palace.
Outside of Honolulu, there are a few unspoiled beaches, especially on the island’s North Shore. Many outdoorsy tourists on O’ahu enjoy kayaking to the nearby bird sanctuary on Mokulua Islands or reef diving at Hanauma Bay.
If you’re looking for privacy and pristine natural scenery on your Hawaiian vacation, then O’ahu might not be the best destination for you. However, if you want to experience the best Hawaii has to offer in terms of cultural draws, entertainment, and fine dining, then O’ahu is the place to be.
The Big Island: For Nature Lovers
Measuring 4,028-square miles, the Big Island earns the title for the largest island in the USA. Anyone who’s looking for plenty of outdoor adventure and beach-related activities far from the crowds of O’ahu will be right at home on the Big Island.
Most people who visit the Big Island have only one thing in mind: Kilauea Volcano. Located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea Volcano is the most famous active volcano in all of Hawaii. Besides touring Kilauea, guests at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can explore 323,431 acres of preserved land. The landscape ranges from huge dry craters and lush rainforest areas.
For those more interested in taking it easy, the Big Island boasts some of the top-rated beaches in the world, especially in the western Kona district. Just a few of the most popular activities in Kona include snorkeling, sun-bathing, swimming, fishing, and, of course, surfing. Many of the world-famous Kona coffee plantations also offer tours to curious caffeine addicts.
Another popular thing to do while on the Big Island is to gaze up at the stars. This island has one of the most optimal latitudes in the world for taking in the majesty of the stars. If you didn’t bring a telescope of your own, no worries! The island’s Onizuka Center for International Astronomy by the dormant Mauna Kea volcano would be more than happy to help you out.
So, if you’re craving outdoor adventure and don’t mind sacrificing the conveniences of a major city, then book your vacation to the Big Island.
O’ahu or Big Island? Take a Helicopter Tour on either!
Whether you travel to O’ahu or Big Island, Tropical Helicopters offers guests exceptional helicopter tours. On the O’ahu Island Adventure tourists get to see all of O’ahu’s historic and natural wonders from helicopter, including Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Kaliuwa’a. Tropical Helicopters also offers a Doors-Off Over The Volcano tour that flies 500 feet above the Big Island’s Kīlauea Volcano.
No matter which island you decide to stay on, O’ahu or Big Island, be sure to check out Tropical Helicopters’ tours while you’re in the Aloha State!