Maui vs Kauai: Which Hawaiian Island is Best for You?

So, you’ve got your heart set on a Hawaiian vacation and are planning a trip to Hawaii. You’ve narrowed your choices down to two main Hawaiian islands: Maui or Kauai.

You can envision yourself on both islands, chilling on a dreamy beach eating luscious Hawaiian fruit and then hopping in a helicopter for the views of a lifetime.

They’re both tropical, lush, exciting and relaxing. And both are island paradises. However, some significant differences can help you choose which is better: Maui or Kauai?

Maui vibe

Maui has a more polished and sophisticated vibe than Kauai. It’s made for lovers and honeymooners. It even has a romantic lavender farm you can visit.

Photo: Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

Kauai vibe

Kauai is more rustic. More mellow. And far less touristy – it’s not as developed as Maui and receives about half the visitors that Maui gets.

Weather in Kauai vs Maui:

There isn’t too much variance in the temperature between Maui and Kauai. But the rain makes all the difference.

Photo: Wikimedia, Charles Haynes

Driving in Maui

Depending on where you stay, you may not even need to rent a car. For example, if you stay in Lahaina – the largest tourist area – you’ll be able to walk almost everywhere.

Driving in Kauai

Only about 20% of Kauai is accessible by car. And making it more of a challenge, the roads don’t run along the coastline. You can’t see those stunning views from your vehicle.


Photo: The Shops at Wailea