Oahu vs Big Island: Which Hawaii Vacation Is Right For You?

To help you decide between Oahu vs Big Island for your next big trip, here are some key differences that may help you decide which one is right for you.

Are you looking for a getaway to an exotic tropical paradise? Look no further than Hawaii—a U.S. state that offers an array of activities and breathtaking scenery. With eight main islands, each one is unique in its beauty, culture, and offerings.

One of the most popular destinations is Oahu— a bustling island with sandy beaches and stunning views, as well as vibrant nightlife and city attractions. If you’re looking for something more relaxed, Big Island may be just what you’re looking for. It has all the landscape of Oahu but at a lesser crowded pace and beautiful black sand beaches.

Oahu is the third-largest island in the Hawaiian chain and has been a popular vacation destination for years. The main attractions are Waikiki—a combination of beachside resorts, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife—and North Shore—a dramatic coastline with some of the best surfing beaches in the world. Other activities include snorkelling, hiking, scuba diving, and boat tours along its picturesque coastline.

Big Island is the largest island in Hawaii and offers a more rural setting. It’s home to Volcanoes National Park where you can witness spectacular lava flows and explore craters.

Big Island also has plenty of white sand beaches and waterfalls to explore as well as beautiful nature reserves full of native birds and plants. In addition, there are small towns steeped in native Hawaiian traditions such as hula dancing and outrigger canoeing.

So, to help you decide between Oahu vs Big Island for your next big trip, here are some key differences that may help you decide which one is right for you.

Oahu vs Big Island Sights And Attractions

Popular attractions on Oahu include Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head State Monument, Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. For nature lovers, there are snorkelling spots, hiking trails, and boat tours along the scenic coastline.

Shopping destinations like Ala Moana Center and International Market Place offer a unique experience with their vibrant streets and bustling crowds. Other popular activities on Oahu include surfing on North Shore, nightlife in Honolulu and cultural experiences at Iolani Palace.

Oahu vs Big Island: Which Hawaii Vacation Is Right For You?
The Akaka Falls.

Popular attractions on Big Island include Volcanoes National Park, where visitors can explore and learn about the area’s volcanic activity. Other natural wonders on Big Island include Akaka Falls, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The Kona Coast offers stunning white sand beaches, waterfalls and plenty of outdoor activities.

There are also several cultural experiences to be had; outrigger canoeing, hula dancing, and luau feasts with exclusive music and fire shows. Furthermore, there are unique local stores to explore in Kailua-Kona town.

Oahu vs Big Island Activities And Adventures

Oahu offers plenty of activities and adventures for visitors of all ages. Popular activities include surfing on the North Shore, hiking up Diamond Head for stellar views of Honolulu, snorkelling in Hanauma Bay, and taking a sunset cruise around Waikiki Beach. Foodies should not miss out on the delicious Hawaiian cuisine that’s available throughout the island.

Other activities include exploring Kailua town, visiting historic sites such as Iolani Palace, attending a luau event or taking a tour around Polynesian Cultural Center. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a day trip to Lanai Island or charter a boat for deep-sea fishing!

Big Island is an adventurer’s paradise and offers plenty of activities to do. Popular activities include snorkelling and swimming at Honaunau Bay, exploring Volcanoes National Park, visiting Kilauea volcano and its black sand beach, hiking in Waipio Valley, golfing on the Kohala Coast, surfing at Kailua-Kona town or taking a manta ray night tour for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Don’t forget to take a dip in the thermal pools of Kalapana Hot Ponds! Additionally, visitors can explore traditional Hawaiian culture by attending an authentic luau feast or a hula show.

Oahu vs Big Island Accommodations and Amenities

Oahu vs Big Island: Which Hawaii Vacation Is Right For You?
The Four Seasons Resort Oahu At Ko Olina.

Oahu has accommodations for every type of traveller. Luxury resorts, stylish boutique hotels, cosy bed and breakfast inns, and budget hostels can all be found on the island. If you are looking for a luxury stay experience, consider staying at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu or The Kahala Hotel & Resort. For an affordable yet comfortable stay, check out the Aqua Pacific Monarch Waikiki or the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. If a hostel is more your style, try the Coconut Waikiki Hotel or HI Honolulu Hostel. No matter what type of accommodations you are looking for, there is something available to meet your needs in Oahu.

Big Island offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. Luxury resorts, spacious vacation homes, charming bed and breakfasts, cosy condos, and budget-friendly hostels can all be found on the island. For a luxurious experience, consider staying at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows or Hilton Waikoloa Village. If you’re looking for something more affordable, check out the Hilo Seaside Hotel or the Kamuela Inn. Hostel options include the Aloha Crater Lodge and High Surf Hale Hostel. No matter what type of stay you’re looking for, you’ll find something to meet your needs on Big Island!


This article has discussed some of the best places to stay in Oahu vs Big Island for different types of travellers. Luxury resorts, stylish boutique hotels, cosy bed and breakfast inns, budget hostels, spacious vacation homes, condos, and everything else in between can all be found on these two islands. So regardless of your budget or preferences, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs on either Oahu or Big Island.

Based on your preferences, we would recommend looking into the Hilo Seaside Hotel or the Kamuela Inn for a more affordable option. For something luxurious, try the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows or Hilton Waikoloa Village. And if you’re on a tight budget, the Aloha Crater Lodge and High Surf Hale Hostel are both excellent hostel options.

No matter which island you choose to break away to, Oahu vs Big Island will offer something that is sure to exceed your expectations.

From luxurious resorts and beachfront villas to cosy bed and breakfast inns and budget hostels, the diversity of accommodation options allows for the perfect vacation no matter what your preferences or budget may be.

Plus, both islands are full of natural beauty and cultural attractions that are certain to make your trip truly unforgettable. So why not plan a getaway to one of these beautiful Hawaiian Islands today?

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