A Guide to Choosing Between Maui and Kauai for an Hawaiian Island Vacation

Hawaii offers an abundance of gorgeous beaches, watersport opportunities, hiking trails, locally sourced foods, and cultural experiences. With each Hawaiian island sharing something specific and unique, picking which one can be a tough challenge. If you’re trying to decide between Kauai and Maui, the two most popular spots in the state, here’s a guide to help you to choose the one best suited to your travel style.

Weather Expectations

Hawaii has two seasons in general. There’s summer from May to October with average daytime temperatures around 85oF, while winter stays from November until April with around 78oF of average daytime temperature. The Hawaiian islands receive more rainfall during winter, leading to possible low visibilities, road closures, and flooding. Kauai is one of the rainiest places on the whole planet. Travelers can find sunshine more often on the southern side, but it’s not guaranteed in winter. With less rain than Kauai, the leeward side of Maui are generally drier, which includes Wailea, Kapalua, Kihei, Lahaina, and Ka’anapali. But, the windward side, including Hana and Iao Valley, is wetter.

Water Activities

Both the Hawaiian islands offer several opportunities for ocean activities like surfing, diving, snorkeling, and outrigger canoe paddling. But each island also holds something unique to experience. Being the only Hawaiian island with navigable rivers, Kauai is the best place for river kayaking. Enjoy bird watching while peacefully paddling along the Hanalei River. You can also cruise to the Wailua River State Park and submerge in a waterfall swimming hole. The beaches in Maui are more accessible with calmer water. Molokini, located three miles off the coast of Maui, is a partially submerged volcanic crater and also the only island marine sanctuary in Hawaii. With a clarity of around 100-150 feet, the calm waters in the area are ideal for diving and snorkeling.

Outdoor Experiences

Covering more than 75% of the island, Haleakala is a dormant volcano and sacred site in Maui, which is also home to the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene, and more than 100 other endangered species. Watching the sunrise, sitting above the clouds at 10,000 feet atop the sacred summit is a divine experience; and so is stargazing at night. Kauai offers many trails for hikers with some spectacular viewpoints, especially in the Waimea Canyon State Park. The ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific,’ offers colorful views and unique geological formations. With its 4000-foot steep sea cliffs, the Kalalu Trail of Kauai, running along the rugged Na Pali Coast, is considered one of the most beautiful yet challenging hiking trails in the U.S.

The Best Miami Hostels for Backpackers

If you’re the kind of person that can head off into the unknown with just a backpack for company, then there’s a high chance that you’re going to end up in Miami eventually. After all, it’s one of the coolest cities in the world. Not only does it have incredible beaches, but the nightlife is legendary, and the shopping is second-to-none. If you do find yourself in Miami, you’re going to want to find yourself a hostel. Luckily, these are the best hostels in Miami for backpackers.

The Best Miami Hostels for Backpackers

Generator Miami

Those who want to party the nights away and find some new friends to hang out certainly won’t have any problems at Generator Miami. This hostel is the biggest that the city has to offer, and features a whopping 8 floors of rooms and dormitories. Featuring a large pool area and ample outside space, it’s perfect for those who want to socialize. Plus, it’s right by the beach!

Rock Hostel

The Art Deco district needs to be checked out during your trip to Miami, so why don’t you stay there? The Rock Hostel is located in this district and offers an urban and modern vibe for any travelers passing through. Not only do you get breakfast included with your stay, but you also get to make use of the fun social events that the staff put on on a daily basis.

The Best Miami Hostels for Backpackers

Freehand Miami

If you’re heading to Miami for the party scene but want to spend your days chilling out, Freehand Miami has got your back. This amazing hostel is chilled out and laid-back, and offers guests the chance to laze around in their pool, take a yoga class, or even take a shuttle bus to the Everglades. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the most affordable hostels that Miami has to offer.

If you’re backpacking through Florida, you just have to check out these hostels in Miami.