Oahu

 

Oahu
 

Whether you choose to prowl the crowded pavement of Waikiki or drive up to the surfer's paradise of the North Shore, you'll experience an undeniably diverse, family-friendly getaway on Oahu no matter where you go. You'll find many of Hawaii's top attractions, best-known beaches, priciest restaurants and biggest crowds on this isle. Make sure to save some time and visit the somber Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial, as well as the sprawling Polynesian Cultural Center. At both, you'll get a true sense of Hawaii's rich, often emotionally charged history and its place in the United States' own story.

Where to Stay

 

Manoa Valley Inn

Splurge: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Manoa Valley Inn, built in 1912, is just close enough to Waikiki for all the entertainment you could need yet far enough away for guests to truly relax. Large suites outfitted with antiques and original features offer equal parts Hawaiian and Edwardian charm. A full breakfast on the open lanai kicks off each day in true aloha spirit. Rates from $160 per night.

 

 

Sharon's Kailua Serenity

Save: Sharon's Kailua Serenity Bed and Breakfast might be the best bargain in Hawaii. Casual and kept by a friendly hostess (and two cute dogs), the Kailua Serenity is just five short blocks from Kailua Beach, situated alongside a picturesque canal. It couldn't feel further from overcrowded Waikiki. Best of all, an on-site pool beckons the overheated. Rates begin at $80 per night.

 

 


 

Maui

 

Maui

Honeymoon? Anniversary? Bucket-list getaway with your significant other? Head to Maui. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands is also the most sophisticated, with boutique resorts and small artists' towns dotting its valleys. Some itinerary suggestions: Take a leisurely drive for two along the ribbon-like hairpin turns of the Hana Highway, go whale-watching off the coast of Lahaina, or catch an ultra-romantic sunrise at the tip top of Haleakala Crater, cuddled up in a fuzzy blanket, before returning to your cozy B&B for a late lie-in.

 

Where to Stay

 

Hooilo House

Splurge: An elegant and modern inn in Lahaina, Ho'oilo House has snapped up awards from Fodors, BedandBreakfast.com and more for its privacy, perfect pool and oversized suites. High-end amenities like Gilchrist and Soames bath products and iPod docking stations add to the luxurious feel of each room, but incredibly friendly service and the included breakfast ensure this is no run-of-the-mill resort.

 

 

Ocean Breeze Hideaway

Save: Maui may get pricey, but this cozy and cute guesthouse proves that deals can be found. Ocean Breeze Hideaway's two suites and large family-friendly oceanfront condo offer great value, while a stretch of Maui's most unspoiled beach is mere minutes from the property. Lounge on the lanai with fresh tropical fruit and warm homemade muffins every morning and enjoy that ocean breeze.

 

 


 

Hawaii (Big Island)

 

Hawaii Island

In many ways, the Big Island is quintessential Hawaii, topped by one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and bordered by wild black-sand beaches. A snorkeling and scuba diving paradise, the Big Island's surrounding sea teems with wildlife, well preserved coral and dramatic formations. Seemingly alien landscapes awash in volcanic steam await your hiking boots in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea reigns. Not up for adventure? Toddle around Hilo, an artists' community where local sculptors and craftsmen carve beautiful figures into native koa wood—perfect for a souvenir.

Where to Stay

 

Holualoa Inn

Splurge: A Diamond Collection property, the Holualoa Inn is known for its lushly furnished rooms featuring fine art, light and expansive views. Lavish breakfasts made with fruit, vegetables and coffee grown on site start off days, and a sunset-facing pool deck caps them off in style before guests bed down in rooms outfitted with soft linens and warm wood. Rates start at $345 (and it's worth every penny).

 

 

Artists Cottage

Save: Mere minutes from Mauna Loa's summit and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Artist Cottage is a self-contained hideaway filled with the work of local artists. Enjoy a comfortable bed and self-serve breakfast of local fruits and Kona coffee before heading out for your morning hike. It's not likely you'll find accommodations closer to the volcano. Rates start at $185 per night.

 

 


 

Kauai

 

kauai
 

Wild and romantic swaths of emerald land: This is Kauai, the so-called Garden Isle. A perfect fit for the intrepid traveler, Kauai is packed with adventures. Hike the Na Pali Coast to a secret beach or take a catamaran cruise beneath the cliffs to spot spinner dolphins and sea turtles. Take a horseback tour of Hawaii's lush backcountry, paniolo-style, or kayak the winding Wailua River for an afternoon. Whichever wild experience you choose on this tiny island, you'll want to crash into comfort each and every night.

 

Where to Stay

 

Kauai Country Inn

Splurge: In keeping with Kauai's hidden-away charms, the Kauai Country Inn is just minutes from some of the island's best (and least crowded) coastline. Four comfortable suites outfitted in rich wood and full kitchens make great home bases between adventure activities, and the route to and from the hotel takes you past a spectacular waterfall. Rates start at $149 per night.

 

 

Hale Kua

Save: Soaring 800 feet above sea level, Hale Kua is all about the stunning views from its wraparound lanai. Fruit trees and taro patches surround the house, offering shade and seclusion, while in-unit amenities like washers and dryers make stays especially breezy. Convenience never looked so good. Rates start at $115 per night.

 

 

—by Dara Continenza