Here’s how the various spots for sun, sand, and surf stack up with T+L readers in this year’s World’s Best Awards.
California natives can look smug come winter, and it’s not because of their comparatively temperate climate. It’s because they know that they have Hawaii in their back pocket.
The six main islands of Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai serve as the ideal metaphoric family mediator: bring your demands to the table, and they will be met. Farm-to-table cuisine? Hiking? Lying on a glorious beach while others see volcanoes and hike? Done, done, and done.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
For the seventh year in a row, Maui has earned the coveted top spot from T+L readers. Here, you can enjoy 30 miles of beaches (don’t miss the golden shores of Wailea and the black sands at Pailoa Bay) and hike to Haleakala, one of the world’s largest dormant volcano craters. But its fellow honorees are constant and deserving companions on the list. Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle for its verdant jungles, has a relaxed atmosphere that prompted one reader to write, “very peaceful.” Added another: “Kauai is our favorite island — very lush, laid-back, yet still has prime restaurants and shopping.”
Oahu offers as much action as visitors wish — it is home to the capital of Honolulu — and the North Shore is many a surfer’s dream come true (or pipe dream, as the case may be). Wrote one fan: “There is something for everyone.” The Big Island, known more formally as Hawaii, has extraordinary beaches, lush rain forests, and lava fields that resemble pictures sent by NASA from outer space.
Who could possibly choose one island over another? Luckily, T+L readers did, so we don’t have to. Read on for the list of winners and see how they scored.