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Best Island / location to stay?

Victoria, Canada
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84 posts
21 reviews
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Best Island / location to stay?

I am considering booking a trip next year to either Kauai or the Big Island. I am very familiar with Oahu and Maui but have never been to either of the others. (Molokai and Lanai seem a bit too laid back)

I like snorkeling and kayaking - not so much for hiking. Definitely some beach time, shopping and eating out. Looks like the Big Island doesn't have many beaches and the ones they have are small and black sand.

Where is the best place to stay on Kauai to stay connected but not too busy? Need to be fairly close to attractions and shopping but not necessarily right in town. I've heard Tunnels is the best beach to snorkel.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Kaua'i, HI
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for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
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1. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

Aloha from Kaua'i!

I would post this same question on the Big Island of Hawai'i forum as well for more answers in regards to that island.

Here on Kaua'i, I would suggest looking at the South Shore - Po'ipu Beach area. However you do not indicate what time of year you are coming, and that can factor into where to suggest to stay.

The North Shore is green and lush and gorgeous, but during the winter months you will get more rain there and the ocean is generally not considered swimmable due to high surf and rough ocean conditions.

Tunnels is indeed a good beach for snorkeling, but again, it depends on the time of the year.

The South Shore has many accomodation choices, as well as a year round swimming beach (always check daily ocean conditions anywhere you go however) - and good snorkeling as well.

What time of year are you planning for?

Malama Pono,

Janet

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

IF you are coming during the summer months, then I would note :

1. I would much prefer scenic Kauai over the Big Island as we have found the Big Island too warm due to reflected and stored heat in that island's lava rock formations

2. I would strongly suggest the North Shore of Kauai due to its many extraordinary beaches for snorkeling, including Tunnels, Hideaway, Hanalei Bay, Anini, Ke'e

Chicagoland
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3. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

Provided you are not looking for another Waikiki or Kaanapali or a huge choice of restaurants and shopping (or excellent snorkeling), and you're not planning to visit in winter, you'd probably enjoy Kauai.

Big Island is a great desitination in winter, and it has the best sealife of the islands -- although its' beaches are not as easy-access as Maui's. Best lodgings are Kohala area (NW). If you want to explore the volcano and rain forest, that is SE; you'd stay in two locations.

California
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for Oahu
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42,288 posts
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4. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

Well -- I can't say much until I know when you are traveling (it makes a big difference) and how many nights you will have (it makes a big difference).

Sorry!

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

We've made about 2 dozen trips to the islands, with visits to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Our favorites by far are Kauai and the BI. Just last night I was talking with my wife about making reservations for next spring and I asked her where she wanted to go… “North Shore Kauai, of course” was her reply. Everybody has their favorite, (heck, I even like Waikiki!) but for sheer beauty and a quiet, laid back vacation, the North Shore cannot be beat!

Denver, Colorado
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333 posts
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6. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

What kind of shopping are you wanting to do? Here's an in depth comparison of the regions on Kauai

hawaiigaga.com/where-to-stay-in-kauai.aspx

San Diego...
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5,801 posts
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7. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

We need more details or else you're just going to get each person's personal bias I'm afraid.

Time of year, condo/house or hotel, activities you like etc etc.

Might want to start with the Top Questions threads on the right hand border. Those old threads have a lot of info so that you can do some research.

Victoria, Canada
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84 posts
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8. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

Thanks for the feedback. I would be traveling in late July/early August. It's warm at home too, but that's the only time I can get vacation and we can't snorkel in our cold Canadian water. :)

I am not a big crowd type of person or have an active night life. I like being in a setting with some people around but not crazy like Waikiki - live music is a plus, friendly people even better.

This might be the first time I travel alone, so as a woman I want to feel safe. I like public markets, quaint towns and beautiful scenery. I prefer staying out of town and talking with the locals, but not too remote. Does that help? I'm social but not a partier. Thanks again.

Edited: 07 October 2012, 03:20
California
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9. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

kauaivacationrentals.com/rental/house.html…

Take a look at this cottage in Poipu. I'm not sure of your budget. From what you said, I'd recommend the South Shore--several condos and hotels to choose from on a great beach and close to shopping and restaurants. If you want something a little farther from the beach, I know of a cute home in Koloa if interested.

San Diego...
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10. Re: Best Island / location to stay?

Based on that, I'd focus on the town of Hanalei where you can walk to activities but still be fairly quiet. That time of year the North Shore is great. You wouldn't do badly on the South side = Poipu, but it's busier and less likely to have good snorkelling conditions.

Hanalei is pretty small and safe compared to most American towns. It's not Mayberry though. Keep your doors/windows secure as there have been burglaries in some number and the rare sex crime (just like everywhere else in the world).

I'm not a BI fan so you'll have to get advice there from others.