If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, chances are you’re wondering which island is the best option for you. Both Kauai and Maui are beloved by tourists for their pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and abundance of activities. But which one is right for you? Here’s a quick comparison of Kauai and Maui to help you decide.

Kauai Maui Comparison Coast Waterfall



Kauai: Kauai is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. Poipu Beach is great for swimming, bodyboarding, and surfing, while Anahola Beach is perfect for those who want to enjoy a more laid-back experience.  And then you’ve got the North Shore with Hanalei Bay. Not sure many beaches on Earth compare to this one.

Kauai Maui Comparison Hanalei Bay


Maui: Maui’s beaches are also incredibly beautiful. Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular tourist spots on the island, while Lahaina‘s Baby Beach is a great place to relax too. South Maui has some incredible beaches as well, from Maluaka to Poolenalena.

Kauai Maui Comparison Kaanapali



Kauai: Kauai has numerous hiking trails that wind through its lush rainforests. The Kalalau Trail is one of the most popular trails on the island and takes hikers through some of Kauai’s most stunning Na Pali scenery.

Kauai Maui Comparison Hike Na Pali Coast


Maui: Maui also has plenty of great hiking trails, including the Pipiwai Trail (past Hana Town), which features hiking through bamboo forests and past waterfalls. At the end, Waimoku Falls treats hikers to a 400-foot-tall waterfall.

Kauai Maui Comparison Hike Bamboo Forest


Shopping & Dining

Kauai: If you’re looking for souvenirs or local Hawaiian goods, Kapaʻa town is the place to go. There are plenty of shops selling beads, shells, koa wood products, and more. You can also find locally made soaps, candles, and other Bath & Body products in Kapaʻa town.  As for restaurants, there are quite a few good spots to dine, but also some not-so-great spots.

Kauai Maui Comparison Shop


Maui: Lahaina is Maui’s shopping district and offers a wide variety of shops selling souvenirs, clothing, art, jewelry, and more. You can also find a number of Bath & Body shops selling locally-made soaps, lotions, and candles. Paia Town is also a popular shopping zone.  And it’s not really fair to compare dining, since Maui outshines most culinary destinations on the planet!

Kauai Maui Comparison Shopping



When it comes to finding the perfect waves for surfing, it’s hard to beat Kauai and Maui. These two Hawaiian islands offer some of the best surfing conditions in the world, and they’re both popular destinations for surfers of all skill levels. So, which island is the better choice for your next surfing vacation? Let’s take a closer look at Kauai and Maui to find out.

Surfing Kauai: The Garden Isle

Kauai is often referred to as “The Garden Isle” because of its lush, tropical vegetation. It’s also one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, which means that it’s easier to get around and explore all of the different surfing spots. Kauai is home to some of the best surf breaks in Hawaii, including Cannons, Pinetrees, Hanalei, Tunnels, Shipwrecks, Pk’s and so many more. The waves here are nothing short of spectacular thanks to less island-blocking, but they can also be very dangerous if you’re not careful. Kauai is also known for its strong currents and rip tides, so it’s important to heed the warnings of the local lifeguards (if any.)

Kauai Maui Comparison Surfing


Surfing Maui: The Valley Isle

Maui is a bit larger than Kauai, but it’s still easy to get around thanks to its well-developed road system. Maui offers some great surf spots for beginners, including Breakwall in Lahaina and Kihei’s The Cove. These spots are more protected from strong currents and large waves due to island blocking, making them ideal for beginners who are just learning how to surf. For experienced surfers, the North Shore can be good if not windy.  These spots are for advanced local surfers only.

Kauai Maui Comparison Surf

Both Kauai and Maui offer something special for surfers of all skill levels. If you’re looking for better waves and perfect conditions, Kauai is the place to be. However, if you’re a beginner or you want to enjoy some easier waves while still being able to experience all that Hawaii has to offer, Maui is probably a better choice. Whichever island you choose, you’re sure to have an incredible time surfing in Hawaii.


So what have we learned?

It’s just dumb to try and compare these islands.  Each is unique and incredible in its own right. When deciding which island to visit, it’s important to consider what sort of activities you’re interested in and what type of atmosphere you prefer (Kauai is mellow and quieter while Maui has more people and events). Do you want to spend your days relaxing on the beach or exploring hiking trails? Are you interested in shopping for souvenirs and having amazing meals? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and decide which island is right for you.

Kauai Maui Comparison Sunrise Hammock