Bahamas vs Hawaii Vacation: Which to Visit in 2024

Decisions, decisions… it can be difficult to decide between one tropical paradise and another to experience the best time. The Bahamas and Hawaii are both beautiful multi-island destinations, but which one is right for you? Here I’ll go into a deep dive comparing the Bahamas vs Hawaii so that you can determine which you should visit on your next vacation.

Bahamas vs. Hawaii: What is each famous for?

Luxurious beaches, scuba diving, and vibrant marine life are in both the Bahamas and Hawaii, but what makes each destination unique?

History, local culture, landmass, and location greatly impact cost, amenities, and what each destination is most well known for.

What is the Bahamas famous for?

The Bahamas is famously known for its chain of over 700 tropical islands and over 2,400 cays.

Light turquoise waters, swimming pigs, and an extensive history of pirates make this country in the Caribbean stand out. Hawaii typically has dark blue waters, you’re much more likely to see a pig at a luau than swimming in the water, and instead of pirate stories, you’ll hear more about Hawaiian mythology!

Home to many of the rich and famous, the Bahamas is known for its many private islands, expensive resorts, and luxurious amenities. With more than 30 cruise ships docking in the Bahamas’ harbors each season, booking a sea-bound holiday has never been easier.

For cuisine, you’ll find Bahamian specialties like conch (conch salad with tomatoes and peppers, stew, fritters, burgers, and more!), crawfish, guava, Bahamian rock lobster, and other seafood. Baked crab is also quite common and a must-try! Also, peas ‘n rice is a common side here.

What is Hawaii Famous for?

Hawaii is made up of several islands, the most popular being Oahu (home to Honolulu), Maui, Hawai’i (The Big Island), Kauai, and Lanai. (Need to know which of these islands to visit? Check out this article!)

Although Hawaii is also famous for these tropical islands, unlike the Bahamas, it has far more exciting land-based activities and sites to explore.

It has six active volcanoes, tropical forests, hiking trails, and abundant wildlife. Hawaii is also known for its lively surf culture and is home to many world-famous surf competitions.

Yet, similar to the Bahamas, you will find many popular water-based activities, such as fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming.

For cuisine, sushi, poke bowls, and seafood dishes are common thanks to daily fish hauls from local fishermen.

Of course, Hawaiian culture, clothing, and hula dancing are world-famous, with many visitors enjoying a luau or visiting a museum during their stay.

Bahamas vs. Hawaii: Types of Nature

Stunning pristine beaches, ocean spray, and abundant marine life are essential to a tropical getaway.

If your ideal vacation consists of lounging on a beach the whole time, you can easily do that in either location. In that case, you can make your decision of which location to visit based on cost, food, or other factors!

Or, if you want a visual, the Bahamas has plenty of beaches with stunning bright turquoise waters and white sand, while Hawaiian beaches are usually darker blue and sometimes have mountain views! Take your pick!

But, when exploring destinations, is the beach the only thing Hawaii and The Bahamas have to offer? By no means!

Let’s see what types of nature you’ll find in Hawaii vs the Bahamas.

What is nature like in the Bahamas?

I’ll start off by saying that the beaches in the Caribbean islands are like no other. One such fantastic example is Gold Rock Beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches on Grand Bahama Island gorgeously framed with mangroves.

Crystal-clear turquoise waters surround the many small Bahaman islands brimming with sea life.

The Andros Barrier Reef, situated near the Bahamian coastline, is the 3rd largest living organism in the world. Over 164 unique fish and coral species make the Andros Barrier Reef a popular excursion for snorkelers and scuba divers.

On land, visitors can discover the many unique rock formations, natural parks, and stunning beaches covering the around 700 Bahaman islands.

And on and around these islands, unique animal encounters await you, like swimming pigs, nurse sharks, stingrays, iguanas, and more. (In fact, these animal encounters are some of the most unique things to do in the Exumas, a famous district of 365 islands in the Bahamas!)

What is nature like in Hawaii?

Each island is known for different things, but generally speaking, you’ll find a warm tropical climate with beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, and gorgeous Jurrasic Park-esque mountains.

In fact, waterfalls, rivers, and mountains are three things you’ll find in Hawaii and not in the Bahamas.

And can you believe that Hawaii has over 20,000 unique species? Hawaii’s diverse ecosystem is brimming with life.

From chital (spotted deer) to Monk Seals, Hawaii has a wide variety of native and exotic animal species. (Fun fact: there are no dangerous snakes!)

Many plant and animal species were introduced to the Hawaiian islands centuries ago, including the taro plant, coconut palms, sugarcane, and banana tree. Now, these fruits and vegetables are popularly consumed by locals, having flourished in the lush tropical wilderness that is the Hawaiian landscape.

Offshore, marine animals live and play, with dolphins, sea turtles, and Monk seals a common sight. If you’re staying in Maui, I recommend joining a snorkel tour to Molokini. It’s a small, crescent-shaped island that is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on all of the Hawaiian islands.

And of course, Hawaii wouldn’t be Hawaii without the many dormant and active volcanos that cover the still-growing landscape. The volcanoes are a stunning sight to witness with hiking trails available throughout the mountainous regions on each island.

Bahamas vs. Hawaii: Notable Destinations

With so many islands to choose from within the Bahamas or within the Hawaiian Islands, it can be difficult to choose just one to visit! As such, it isn’t surprising to hear that many people go island hopping!

With many holiday packages and excursions available, those on holiday often visit a few Hawaiian or Bahamian islands during their stay. Of course, an essential factor is deciding which ones to see.

What are the most notable destinations in the Bahamas?

With over 700 islands and 2,400 cays, it’s almost impossible to give you a full list of islands to choose from in the Bahamas. Instead, I’ll list a few to give you a good idea of the sorts of places you can visit here.

If you are looking to party and have a good time, then Nassau is right for you! Its active nightlife is powered by its many high-end nightclubs, epic bars, and seafood restaurants. It’s also home to Atlantis, the most famous hotel in the Bahamas.

Harbour Island is known for being a hot spot for celebrity sightings. Maybe that’s due to its long stretch of pink sand beaches on its eastern coast or the cute pastel houses in Dunmore Town.

For those wanting to indulge in relaxation in the purest blue waters and swim with the famous pigs, Exumas is the best destination to visit. This group of 365 islands is my personal favorite in the Bahamas; Rose Island, Staniel Cay, and Compass Cay are some of the best cays to visit.

Conception Island is most well known for being uninhabited, making it a great day trip for those looking to escape the crowds.

Check out my list of best places to visit in the Bahamas for some more ideas!

What are Hawaii’s most notable destinations?

Tropical islands are what Hawaii is known for, and each island has notable destinations on it.

Whether you decide to stay on one island or visit more than one, you will have an incredible time in Hawaii. I could spend weeks on just one island and not get bored! But since the flight to Hawaii is a bit of a trek, it does make sense to visit more than one island at a time if you want to explore more.

Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (Big Island), and Kauai are the most popular islands to visit, followed by Lanai and Molokai.

I have a full post on what each island has to offer, but here are some highlights:

The Island of Oahu is most notable for Pearl Harbor National Memorial and the world-famous Honolulu. But if you ask me, you should definitely venture out of the touristy Waikiki Beach area and explore places like the North Shore and Kualoa Ranch. (Learn about where to stay on Oahu here!)

The Big Island of Hawai’i is the youngest and biggest of the Hawaiian islands. Its active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, are popular tourist attractions. It also contains many diversely colored beaches, including Papakolea (a green sand beach) and Punalu’u (a black sand beach).

Maui features Haleakala, a stunning volcano where you can drive to the top for the most incredible views and the Road to Hana.

Kauai, known as “The Garden Isle,” is the most lush and rainy of the Hawaiian Islands. Here you’ll want to visit Hanalei Bay, Waimea Canyon, and the Na Pali Coast.

Bahamas vs. Hawaii: Top Things to Do

As I mentioned earlier, one of the most significant differences between these two paradises is the types of things to do in each. Let’s compare the two- this will hopefully give you a clear sense of which destination is better for what you’re looking to do on vacation.

Top Things to Do in the Bahamas

The Bahamas is known for its amazing and fun outdoor activities. There are plenty of fun activities to discover from swimming with pigs, snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, and ATV rides.

For those looking to explore the local sea life up close, check out the Marine Habitat at Atlantis. It’s an outdoor marine habitat that houses over 50,000 aquatic animals and over 250 different marine species.

Of course, there are also many islands and beaches to explore, with Coco Plum Beach, Cable Beach, and Taino Beach as some of the most notable.

If you ask me (and have a pocket full of cash), the best way to see the Bahamas is to charter a boat and explore as many of the islands as you can! Day tours are a great way to see other islands, too!

You can also check out this list of things to do in the Exumas in the Bahamas for some more specifics!

Top Things to Do in Hawaii

Hawaii is known for its epic hiking trails, sparkling waterfalls, and volcanic mountains.

And of course, there are plenty of water-based activities to experience, such as world-famous surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and seasonal whale watching.

Each island has a ton to do and has things that they are famous for.

For example, on the Big Island, check out Akaka Falls State Park. This easy 30-minute hike is a great way to start your visit to Hawaii and provides a stunning view of a natural rainforest and a gorgeous waterfall.

For those looking to learn a bit more about the local history, you’ll enjoy visiting the Iolani Palace on Oahu. Originally the royal palace of the Hawaiian Monarchy, the Iolani Palace is an important piece of Hawaiian history.

A boat tour or a helicopter tour are great ways to take in Kauai’s Na Pali coast.

And have you really seen Maui if you didn’t drive the Road to Hana, the famous drive along Maui’s eastern coast?

Here’s a list of great articles if you want a more detailed view of what you can do on each of these islands:

Lanai is mainly best for those looking to stay at a high-end resort the whole time- as a generalization, there’s not as much to do on Lanai as on the other islands.

Molokai is for those really looking to walk off the beaten path!

Bahamas vs. Hawaii: What does it cost to visit?

When booking your vacation, the cost is an important factor. The Bahamas and Hawaii are both known as luxurious vacation destinations, so which one is more affordable?

How much does it cost to visit the Bahamas?

A Bahaman vacation is not cheap, with the average 7-day holiday costing anywhere from $2,500 to $8000 USD. This might even cost more if you visit during peak season, which usually starts mid-December and runs through April.

Due to the Bahamas consisting of over 700 islands, boat transportation is likely a requirement, limiting affordable transportation options. The Bahamas also imports 90% of its food, increasing the cost of food purchases and dining.

Sure, you could fly into Nassau and stay on the island to limit costs, but you’d be missing out on the full beauty of the islands!

Instead, many travelers opt for a Bahamas cruise, which can be as low as $800 USD, allowing you to explore the Bahaman Islands and save on your budget. That’s how I explored the Bahamas as I was growing up since my parents were huge fans of cruising. It was a very fun way to see the islands, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat now, too!

How much does it cost to visit Hawaii?

Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii imports most of its food and household products, increasing living costs and vacation budgets. This makes a typical 7-day Hawaiian vacation anywhere between $2000 and $4000 USD, on average.

For dining out, a meal will usually cost you between $15 to $45 USD. Flights to Hawaii can be pretty pricy too- though now that Southwest Airlines has direct flights to Hawaii, you can usually find a good deal there!

And there are ways to cut costs, like preparing your own food at a grocery store. (Also, $2 spam musubi at any gas station is the best Hawaiian breakfast you could ask for! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!)

For transportation, a $35, 4-day visitors transit pass can be purchased from ABC stores in Waikiki.

For lodging, you could opt to stay in a hostel for as low as $50 USD per night. If you prefer a higher level of comfort, a mid-range hotel or one with 3 or 4 stars may set you back $150 to $400 USD per night, but for some people, this is worth it.

What is the weather like each season?

Sun, rain, thunderstorms, hurricanes. It is important to check the weather before departure, but is it also important to check the season? Yes, it is!

What is the weather like in each season in the Bahamas?

January to June is the Bahamian dry season, while the wet season is from July to December.

During the wet season, you can expect 8 to 10 inches of rain per month, with thunderstorms typically happening in the afternoons.

Due to its proximity to the ocean, the Bahamian islands are known for being windy year-round, so dress accordingly. Average yearly temperatures range from 66 F to 90 F.

Though there is the potential for hurricanes, they are not very common in the Bahamas.

What is Hawaii’s weather like in each season?

Similar to most tropical destinations, Hawaii has two seasons: wet and dry.

The wet season occurs from November to March, while the dry seasons occur from April to October.

Although the temperature typically ranges from 65F to 85F throughout the year, the hottest month to visit is August. The best months to visit are June, July, and September due to low rainfall and warmer weather.

Though I will say, usually when it rains somewhere on a Hawaiian island, there is another part of the island that is dry that you could visit instead! Also, Hawaiian rain showers typically don’t last for too long.

Is there any time of year you shouldn’t visit?

Booking your vacation during the wrong time of year can ruin your trip. Torrential downpours, storms, and high heat can all be negative factors that contribute to a disastrous vacation, so it is important to confirm before you go.

Is there any time of year you shouldn’t visit the Bahamas?

Possibly. June to November is hurricane season, meaning wetter weather and possible storms. If you travel to the Bahamas during this time, check the weather reports regularly and consider purchasing travel insurance.

Is there any time of year you shouldn’t visit Hawaii?

No. Due to Hawaii’s tropical climate, it can be visited year-round. Warm average yearly temperatures, moderate rainfall, and a robust economy mean Hawaii does not really have an off-season.

So… The Bahamas vs Hawaii for Vacation: Which Should You Choose?

If you want my opinion- I’m in love with Hawaii and I’m not afraid to show it! The Hawaiian Islands have my heart.

But, of course, the Bahamas definitely have their appeal! They are great for luxurious and remote beach holidays if you’re looking for a shorter flight, or if you’re simply wanting to relax on the beach.

They definitely win if you’re looking for a shorter flight time from the East Coast. For example, Nassau is a 1-hour flight from Miami or a 3-hour flight from New York.

Meanwhile, Hawaii is at least 5.5 hours away from the California coast. If you’re traveling with kids, this might be too much to handle.

But if you don’t mind the longer flight, Hawaii is the best for tropical outdoor adventures and epic national parks, state parks, and other natural features.

All that said, I hope this post has helped you get a sense of both the Bahamas and Hawaii and has made your vacation decision easier!

In conclusion…

Still trying to decide on Hawaii vs Bahamas? Comment your questions below.

Also, you can easily check out all of my articles for each destination here:

And if you have other thoughts about the Bahamas vs Hawaii, or want to share which one you’d choose or which you like better, let me know in the comments as well!

Lastly, be sure to check out my travel essentials regardless of which destination you end up choosing!

Safe travels!


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About the author
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
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One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing your article comparing the Bahamas and Hawaii. It’s always interesting to explore different travel destinations and weigh their unique features. Both the Bahamas and Hawaii have their own charm and offer breathtaking experiences.

    Your article does a great job highlighting the distinctions between the two destinations. The tropical beauty of the Bahamas, with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, is indeed enticing. On the other hand, Hawaii’s diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests to stunning volcanic formations, create a mesmerizing backdrop for travelers.

    While the Bahamas boasts a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, Hawaii offers a blend of adventure, culture, and natural wonders. The Hawaiian islands provide opportunities for hiking, exploring active volcanoes, and immersing oneself in the local Polynesian culture, which is a unique aspect of the destination.

    Ultimately, choosing between the Bahamas and Hawaii depends on individual preferences and what one seeks in a vacation. Whether it’s a tranquil beach getaway or an adventure-filled exploration, both destinations have something special to offer.

    As the owner of I want to thank you again for the informative article. It’s sure to assist readers in making an informed decision when planning their next tropical escape.

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