We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Maui or Big Island??

Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
863 posts
54 reviews
Save Topic
Maui or Big Island??

Greetings everyone!

I am in the very early stages of planning our spring break trip for 2013. Very early stages. I think that I have narrowed my search down to two islands: Maui or the Big Island.

I'd love to go to Kauai, but we are going there in August of 2013 with the football team and I don't want to go to the same place twice in one year. I don't want to go to Oahu because I'd like to avoid the larger city and crowds. Waikiki holds no appeal to me.

Maybe some of you could steer me in the right direction. Here are some of the particulars and further information about us:

We have to stay in a Marriott, as we will be cashing in points.

There will be four of us: hubby and me late 30s, son 17 and daughter 13.

We are not what I would call hikers. We love a good beach, love to swim in the ocean, and adore a good pool. We like the outdoors a lot, but prefer not to expend too much effort getting to it. In other words, I'm not interested in daily hikes.

We like to explore and get away from the tourist areas, or at least away from the big crowds.

We have a relatively healthy budget for food since airfare and car will be mostly free due to gift certificates that I won, and the hotel will be paid for in points.

Our favorite place that we have vacationed thus far is Isla Mujeres in Mexico. We liked it because we were able to live in the neighborhoods with the locals and there weren't huge crowds of partiers. It was definitely a live-in-your-swimsuit kind of vacation where dressed up meant wearing nicer flip flops.

My least favorite place that we have vacationed was Cancun. Didn't like the concrete jungle.....it felt phony. Loved the ocean there, though. We also didn't care much for Miami Beach. Too many fellow vacationers that were VERY impressed with their own physique.

Can anyone give me pros and cons of the islands that I've mentioned? Thoughts?

Thank you very much!

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Kauai
Kauai
Hawaii
Oahu
Oahu
Hawaii
Waikiki
Waikiki
Oahu, HI
oregon
Level Contributor
1,403 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Maui or Big Island??

I was talking to a couple guys that live in Kailua/kona about how much I love it there and how I don't like Maui. One said he thought Maui was too California. I thought that was a great description.

Mentioned in this post
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Eugene, Oregon
Level Contributor
863 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Maui or Big Island??

Oh my! "Too Caifornia" is a big black mark to a lifelong Oregonian!!

LA
Level Contributor
11,394 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Maui or Big Island??

Nah. Chose Maui. Much better beaches.

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
S W Arkansas
Destination Expert
for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
Level Contributor
11,079 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Maui or Big Island??

Too California?? not how I would describe it unless you stayed right on Kaanapali Yes, I do know Calif, my sister lived in Orange Co for years and I spent many a week on the beaches near there when I lived in Phoenix.

Maui
Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
Level Contributor
69,702 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Maui or Big Island??

Aloha,

I agree with Barefoot. If you stayed on the "main drag" in either Wailea or Kaanapali, yeah, you'll certainly see similarities to CA. Otherwise, not so much.

Mentioned in this post
Wailea
Wailea
Maui, HI
Kaanapali Beach Hotel
Kaanapali Beach Hotel
4,766 Reviews
Maui, HI
Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
Level Contributor
51,269 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Maui or Big Island??

I love Maui and hate California. Been there done that, yuck!! No way would I even compare the two. To each his own. Similarities? Beach, sand, that is where it ends.

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Canada
Level Contributor
9,497 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Maui or Big Island??

For a Big Island stay...the "Marriott" requirement would be the deal breaker for me.

Did you mention your length of stay?The rooms at the Marriott Waikoloa are teenie tiny, microscopic Lanai. Nice heated pool area though (rare) Any more than a couple of days with 2 teenagers would be the limit given the size of the accommodation....or perhaps I've misunderstood and you are planning on 2 rooms?

Kauai just fits your description of travel style to a tee. I could go to Kauai numerous times a year(and I have)...year after year...

The other "Courtyard by Marriott" property on the Big Island is in Kailua -Kona town....while it has been recently refurbished and re-branded...it lacks a certain special feel. Small adjacent beach area....far away from South Kohala with the best Island weather, clear blue skies, little rain and close proximity to the Island's best beaches.

Are there any condo villa options at your disposal ...such as the wonderful Marriott Waiohai in Poipu?...Beautiful property...great for a family.

Mentioned in this post
Waikoloa
Waikoloa
Island of Hawaii, HI
Lanai
Lanai
Hawaii
Kauai
Kauai
Hawaii
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kohala Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
Kohala Suites by Hilton...
1,200 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Poipu
Poipu
Kauai, HI
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,991 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Maui or Big Island??

How long is your vacation? You need probably at the very least 7-8 days to do the Big Island justice, since it is so big. The two islands are very different, and your family will probably enjoy either one, but it's just really a matter of personal preference. Read up on each island on here some more, there is lots of info. on both. Between the two my favorite is the Big Island because it has Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Kea, Akaka State falls, and really interesting varied micro climates (the Kona side of the island has the stark black lava flows for miles while the Hilo side is more green with waterfalls), and did not seem as crowded as Maui to me, but you will do a lot of driving on the BI. Just my preference though. Maui has the Road to Hana, which is definitely worth seeing.

Mentioned in this post
Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea
262 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Hana
Hana
Maui, HI
oregon
Level Contributor
1,403 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Maui or Big Island??

I didn't like Maui the first time I went so I thought I'd try it again. Didn't like it anymore the second time. BI and Maui are very different so it is hard to tell an individual which they would like more. The beaches on the BI may be farther apart but I prefer them to Maui. But the next person will say the opposite.

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Big Island, Hawaii
Level Contributor
31,162 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Maui or Big Island??

I agree with Wanderlust, the deal breaker is the Marriott requirement. Neither of the Marriotts on the BI are where I would choose to spend a vacation. Go to Maui or Kauai.

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Kauai
Kauai
Hawaii