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Maui or Big Island?

Fort Collins...
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Maui or Big Island?

I’m planning a trip to Hawaii this year and want to try a new island. I’ve been to Kauai and Oahu- I love Kauai, especially the north. Should I go to Maui or the Big Island? Haven’t decided if my young kids (age 6 & 3) will travel this time. At which island and area should I stay?

• Likely travel in summer/ fall

• Prefer to avoid big resorts & areas that only cater to resorts

• Outdoor activity is a must (hiking, biking, SUP, etc.)- will drive for this

• Want to walk to restaurants from hotel/ condo

• Close beach (will drive short distance)

• Best advice if kids go?

• Best advice if kids don’t go?

• Ocean front condo recommendation?

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1. Re: Maui or Big Island?

I was primed to say Big Island until you said you'd be going in late summer or fall. September is Hawaii's hottest month -- and I've felt too warm on the Kohala Coast in late March! It would be a good time to visit Volcano -- but then you'd have few restaurant choices. If you wanted to see all of the island it would mean a lot of 'car time' -- not a favorite of most kids. It IS much less 'developed' than Maui.

After spending two to four weeks on all four major island for over 30 years, when we decided to buy we chose Maui because it has such variety. It has plenty of easy access beaches and natural beauty. It also has the 'man-made' options that let you enjoy 'home away from home', like Safeway and a wide variety of restaurants. You can be 'beach bum' all day and get gussied up for a nice dinner at night without driving for miles, there and back -- unless you are in Hana. There is a wide variety of condos to choose from. What's the budget? (Your money will go father in September after mainland schools are back in session.)

San Carlos...
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2. Re: Maui or Big Island?

The Big Island and Kauai are my two favorite islands because they are very different but both similar in that they are more rural and laid back than Maui. The Big Island requires much more time to get from place to place and that might be a concern if you do have small children with you. There are only a few real good beaches compared to Maui which has them in spades. Maui has many more options for dining and shopping than the BI. If kids go I would choose Maui, if not The BI is a great experience. We are going back in August for the fifth or sixth time.

Edited: 06 April 2013, 17:02
Reedsport, Oregon
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3. Re: Maui or Big Island?

With the BI if you want a nice beach close by you will be in one of the big resort areas most likely. There is some away from the resorts but beaches are not plentiful on the BI. And since there is limited beaches there is limited oceanfront condos other than some overlooking the ocean but no beach.

A couple of your requirements kind of contradict themselves. If you want to walk to a restaurant you will most likely be in a resort area of some sort.

Maui has many nice beaches and many have nice oceanfront condos and with restaurants close by. But you will most likely have a high number of people in the summer time. Honokowai area I would think would be a happy medium for you. Just north of Kaanapali so there won't quite as many people especially if you stay at a condo that has a beach. The beaches may be small but most likely it will only have the people from the condo on it. We stayed at the Hale Mahina last August and it has a very nice little beach in front of it. The whole time we were there every time I looked at the beach I could count on my hands the number people on it. Usually only needed one hand.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Maui or Big Island?

How many nights will you have? The Big Island is so much bigger and spread out than Maui, so it is better to see the BI with a minimum of 7 nights, but more is preferable. Also, many people reccomend splitting your stay with the majority of your trip on the West side, and then a couple nights in either the town of Volcano or Hilo to be close to Volcanoes National Park.

I agree that with the kids I would choose Maui, but without the kids I would choose Big Island as long as you have 7 nights or more.

Some of the resort areas on the Big Island on the Kohala Coast are actually quite nice and quiet, and can feel Hawaiiana, so I wouldn't automatically judge the resort areas, because that is probably your best choice if you want to be near the best beaches and restaurants.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: Maui or Big Island?

Yes, the beach and restaurant features you ask for are found in resorts or in tourism oriented communities on these two islands. I think it is a mistake to develop an anti resort stance before actually looking at the resorts. As was said, some Big Island resort areas are more natural and peaceful and Hawaiian in character than the town areas, and even have lower tourist density.

You should research the areas. There are many videos on YouTube and images that can assist you in getting a feel for the destination.

6. Re: Maui or Big Island?

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