US Virgin Islands vs Hawaii: Picking the Perfect Tropical Vacation

Ah! The life of a traveler, who wouldn’t want to jump on the next plane and explore all that this world has to offer?

From beautiful beaches and turquoise waters to tropical rainforests and mountain peaks, endless island destinations are available for us to escape from our everyday routine.

But what if I told you that you could only pick one of two places to go: US Virgin Islands vs Hawaii – where would you choose?

Vacation comparison between US Virgin Islands and Hawaii

For those seeking an unforgettable island experience with a unique mix of cultures and natural beauty, both locations should be high on your list. On the one hand, there’s the US Virgin Islands – consisting of three main islands (St Thomas, St John & St Croix) – where visitors can savor Caribbean flair like nowhere else.

On the other side is Hawaii – comprising 6 main Hawaiian Islands – offering spectacular scenery along with its own special Polynesian culture.

Whether snorkeling through coral reefs or exploring hidden waterfalls, each destination promises exciting activities. I’ll compare their respective climates and landscapes while also looking into local attractions such as museums, cultural sites and historical monuments.

Plus, I won’t forget about nightlife either; after all, part of vacationing is letting loose every now and then! So, for anyone longing for some fun in the sun, we have just what you need right here…

Comparing The Two Locations

If you’re looking for a getaway to the Caribbean Islands or Hawaii, the USVI and any island in Hawaii are excellent choices. These tropical locations have something to offer the adventurous traveler – from gorgeous beaches to lush rainforests. But which one is right for you? Let’s take a look at some of their key differences.

The US Virgin Islands lie in the Caribbean region, off the coast of Puerto Rico, and consist of three islands: St. Croix, St John, and St Thomas. With its crystal blue waters and postcard perfect sunsets, this archipelago offers an ideal escape from reality with its laid back atmosphere.

Visit Coki Beach on St Thomas for snorkeling adventures or soak up some rays on the pristine beaches like Magens Bay Beach or Trunk Beach in St John – all within close proximity to each other!

Vacationers snorkeling at Coki Beach, on the island of St. Thomas
Vacationers enjoying the crystal clear water at Coki Beach

Hawaii is about 5900 miles from the US Virgin Islands in the Pacific Ocean and consists of 4 major islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island (Hawaii), the less visited Molokai and Lanai, plus several small ones such as Niihau and Kahoolawe.

Explore Waikiki beach on Oahu, where you’ll enjoy world-renowned surfing spots alongside luxury resorts; laze around stunning Kaanapali beach on Maui; spot humpback whales near Lahaina town; or marvel at volcanoes while exploring the Big Island’s dramatic landscape.

Not only that but you will also be immersed in Hawaiian culture through local art galleries and traditional hula performances throughout your stay.

No matter what your holiday destination preference may be – whether it’s relaxing by blue water surrounded by palm trees or seeking out adventure, there is no doubt that either the US Virgin Islands or Hawaii has something special waiting for you!

Climate Of The US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are often compared to the tropical paradise of Hawaii. But how do their climates compare?

In the United States Virgin Islands, a tropical climate prevails year-round, with temperatures usually between 71 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit (25-33 C). The summer months tend to be hotter than the winter ones, but there is rarely any extreme weather.

Although hurricane season officially lasts from June 1st until November 30th each year, most hurricanes occur during August and September. In addition to Hurricane Season, the USVI also has a wet season which runs from April through October and brings more rain than usual for those months.

Visitors coming to the islands can expect warm days full of sunshine punctuated by brief showers throughout their stay, just be sure to plan ahead for possible tropical storms.

Hawaii’s Weather

Hawaii is a unique destination due to its diverse climates. In fact, six different climatic regions have been identified throughout the Hawaiian islands: tropical savanna, dry summer subtropical, warm temperate wet winter/dry summer, cool temperate wet winter/dry summer, high elevation tropics and maritime polar desert!

The two most popular destinations for tourists are Maui and Oahu. On these islands, you will experience some of the best weather Hawaii has to offer.

Looking along the shoreline of Oahu's Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the background
Waikiki Beach and Diamondhead on Oahu, Hawaii

The average temperature on Maui and Oahu ranges from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit year round with no extreme variations in temperature between day and night or seasonally. And with steady trade winds blowing across the islands all year, you can expect pleasant outdoor conditions anytime you visit.

From spectacular beaches with crystal clear waters to stunning mountain vistas hidden amongst clouds, it’s no surprise that Hawaii remains one of America’s favorite vacation spots!

Whether you’re looking for relaxation or exploration, from hot sands to snow capped peaks – yes, you read that right – Hawaii promises something special to say the least!

Geographic Characteristics

Embarking into a new world of geography, we explore the differences between Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands. While at first glance they may seem quite similar, each place has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from the other.

Hawaii is one of two states in the United States located outside North America – the other being Alaska. It consists of eight islands; Kaua’i, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Niihau and The Big Island – all in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Though much shallower than many ocean waters across the globe, Hawaiian beaches still offer beautiful views with colorful fish swimming freely through stunning water lagoons. If you’re feeling adventurous, head to The Big Island for some remote beach exploration!

The US Virgin Islands (USVI) consist of St Thomas, St John and St Croix, which all make up three outlying territories belonging to the United States found in the Caribbean Sea.

Overlooking Cruz Bay and sailboats in the US Virgin Islands
Cruz Bay, St. John

Each island offers stunning white sand beaches surrounded by calm water perfect for snorkeling or diving near popular spots like Virgin Gorda and Hassel Island’s Reef Bay Trail, respectively. One cannot visit without trying traditional local fare such as Cruzan Rum or sampling freshly caught seafood while overlooking breathtaking sunsets!

From majestic volcanoes rising up from deep blue seas to hidden coves lined with powdery sands – there is truly something special waiting around every corner when visiting either destination!

Popular Attractions In USVI

The USVI offers some of the most stunning beaches and attractions in the Caribbean. For those looking for a bit of history and culture, Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas has plenty of colonial-era buildings and sites that are sure to please.

If you’re looking for seclusion and beauty, Magens Bay on St Thomas is one of the best spots around. You can spend hours lounging or swimming here without ever wanting to leave. It’s no wonder this area is so popular among visitors!

Trunk Bay on St John is another great spot with its picture perfect views and blue waters. There are several trails leading from this beach for those who want to explore the island further. It’s also home to an underwater snorkeling trail, making it even more attractive for travelers seeking adventure.

St. Thomas' coastline on Magens Bay Beach, USVI
Magens Bay Beach – St. Thomas

Last but certainly not least is the Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John. Here you will find a diverse range of tropical ecosystems, from mangrove swamps to subtropical dry forests.

It also boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean Islands, with its clear water, vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life. The park is also home to various cultural and historical sites, including the ruins of the 18th-century sugar plantation Annaberg.

Popular Attractions In Hawaii

Prepare to be dazzled by the incredible attractions Hawaii has in store for you! From magnificent beaches and stunning scenery to the unique culture and history, this tropical destination won’t disappoint.

This article would be too long to list them all, but here are four of the most popular things to do on your Hawaiian getaway:

Waikiki Beach: This is one of the most popular attractions in Hawaii, not just on Oahu, and for good reason. It offers miles of beaches with warm inviting water, perfect for swimming, surfing, and soaking up the sun. Along the beach, you will find a variety of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Pearl Harbor: As a US Navy Veteran, I can’t recommend a visit to Oahu’s Pearl Harbor enough. This is the site of the infamous attack by Japan during World War II and is a National Historic Landmark.

You can tour the USS Arizona Memorial, explore the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, and more all while paying your respects to those that perished on that fateful day. It is an amazing experience to see the history and hear the stories of those who served.

Volcano National Park: For a truly unique experience on the Big Island, head to Hawaii’s Volcano National Park. You will find the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea and spectacular lava tubes in this very unique landscape. While you’re there, take a guided tour to explore the park and learn about the incredible geological features of the area.

Waimea Canyon: This majestic canyon on Kauai is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It is a sight to behold with its stunning red cliffs and lush green valleys. You can take a scenic drive along the rim or explore the canyon’s hiking trails. Either way, you will be in awe of the natural beauty of the area.

Looking into the colorful canyon of Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai
Stunning views in Waimea Canyon State Park

With so much going on in Hawaii, no two days here ever feel quite the same – making it impossible not to fall head over heels in love with this vibrant island!

Cost Of Visiting Each Destination

When it comes to Hawaii vs US Virgin Islands, the cost is a major factor in deciding between these two destinations. The dollars can add up quickly between flights, accommodations, meals and, of course, souvenirs!


Typically flights to the US Virgin Islands are cheaper than those to any of the Hawaiian Islands. For example, the average cost of a round-trip flight to the USVI from the East Coast of the United States is usually between $300-$500, depending on the airline and departure city, and between $300 to $800 from the West Coast.

On the other hand, flying to Hawaii from the US West Coast will run you around $400-600 round trip and from the East Coast, $800-$1000.

Most major airlines fly to both destinations, so you should definitely price shop. I have found that mid-week – Tuesday through Thursday – present some of the best rates. And it never hurts to get on the airline’s email list in case they are running specials throughout the year.

Accommodation Options

You shouldn’t have a problem finding accommodation options on Hawaii or the US Virgin Islands, depending on how much you would like to spend. From high-end resorts to a regular hotel room to hang your hat, both areas have the ideal place for your tropical getaway. But remember, this will be the home base of your vacation, so comfort is key!

If you are heading to USVI and want a stay to remember, you have to book a room or suite at The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas. It goes without saying that the Ritz-Carlton offers unparalleled luxury and service.

You can enjoy private balconies with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, access to a full-service spa, private beach access, and a variety of world-class restaurants and bars. They also provide a concierge service to help you plan the perfect Caribbean vacation.

The Point Pleasant Resort is a popular option on St. Thomas that is more budget-friendly. Located on St. Thomas’ east end, the resort is known for its stunning views of the Caribbean and tropical gardens.

You can take advantage of the on-site spa and fitness center, as well as the wide range of activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing. The resort also offers a variety of dining options, from casual beachside fare to fine dining.

Finding a place to stay in Hawaii is usually easy with a wide range of options no matter what your budget is. If you are looking to be pampered during your trip – and why not! – then check out The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, located on the Kona-Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.

It’s a luxurious resort that provides guests with all the amenities of a five-star experience. Guests can enjoy stunning ocean views, championship golf courses and a spa with relaxing treatments. The resort also features six restaurants where guests can sample the local flavors of Hawaii.

If you’re the type that wants to save a few dollars on your lodging but still be in the thick of things, then the Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki, located in Waikiki Beach, has your name written all over it. This hotel offers guests a unique combination of style and affordability, with rooms ranging from $100-200 per night.

What makes the Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki so special is that it’s only a block away from the beautiful Waikiki Beach, and guests can enjoy stunning views of the ocean from the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar.

In addition, the hotel offers complimentary amenities like free high-speed internet, beach gear rental, and a breakfast buffet. Plus it is conveniently located near shopping, dining, and entertainment options, making it the perfect base for an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation.

With careful planning and budgeting, you can find ways to save money while still having a great time exploring these beautiful locations. Or you can go all out and make it a vacation for the record books!

Cruise Ships

Who says you have to fly to either location? Don’t count out a cruise as your vacation vessel to either Hawaii or the US Virgin Islands. Most cruise companies will offer several packages spanning multiple days at sea while also stopping at various ports along the way to both destinations.

Prices vary depending on what type of package you choose. Even budget cruises typically range anywhere from $500-$900 USD per person for a 7 day/6 night trip.

Check out your Hawaii cruise options here…
Your Caribbean Cruise options are endless…

Best Time To Visit

Even though I don’t think there is a bad time to visit either Hawaii or USVI, I know you want to know when it might be more ideal for your upcoming trip. If you are like me and are not a fan of crowds, then look at booking your stay to the US Virgin Islands between mid-April and mid-June.

This is before the peak season of mid-June to mid-August, when prices rise and the islands are more crowded. And since the climate is fairly similar throughout the year, you will still enjoy plenty of sunshine as you venture out and about!

The best time to visit the Hawaiian Islands for ideal weather and less crowds is usually in the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October). The weather is generally milder during these times, with lower humidity and fewer tourists.

Related: Visiting Hawaii in September

Although I wouldn’t count out a visit in the winter to experience the wonderful whales that make their way to Hawaii each year. Ashley and I were fortunate to visit Kauai in January one year and watched the humpback whales breach from our balcony.

No matter which season you choose to visit the Hawaiian Islands though, you will still come away with memories to last a lifetime!

Outdoor Activities and Adventure Opportunities

When it comes to outdoor activities and adventure opportunities, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii are both top contenders! In the USVI, Rainbow Beach on St. Thomas’s East End offers up plenty of chances for exploration – visitors can take a sun-soaked stroll along the shoreline or explore the nearby coral reefs with snorkel gear.

There’s also Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, where you will find endangered species like sea turtles and seabirds. And if you’re looking for an even more thrilling experience, head to Coral World Ocean Park for scuba diving lessons or underwater tours!

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, there’s no shortage of outdoor fun either! From exploring diverse terrain across the Big Island or Kauai to soaking up some rays at one of the many beaches around Oahu or Maui, there are endless ways to get your nature fix here.

Plan a hike through lush forests or kayak off into the sunset, you’ll find all sorts of exciting adventures that will make your trip unforgettable.

Hiking along the Pacific Ocean on the Kalalau Trail
Endless views while hiking the Kalalau Trail in Kauai

So whether you choose USVI or Hawaii as your next vacation destination, rest assured you won’t be disappointed when finding great outdoorsy activities!

Wrapping It Up…

When choosing between the US Virgin Islands and Hawaii, many factors must be considered. Both places offer stunning natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities, and unique cultural experiences.

However, depending on your budget, climate preferences or the types of activities you enjoy, one may be more suitable than the other for your next vacation destination.

To truly capture the mesmerizing beauty both locations have to offer is like trying to bottle lightning in a jar – impossible! The US Virgin Islands boast crystal clear waters teeming with life, while Hawaii’s lush green hillsides provide an idyllic backdrop that will take your breath away.

Whether snorkeling beneath the waves off St Thomas’ coast or hiking through Haleakala National Park at sunrise, each experience is worth its weight in gold.

So if you’re looking for a place where adventure awaits around every corner and breathtaking views abound, then either the US Virgin Islands or Hawaii might just be perfect for you! But if I had to pick just one and you are looking for a more active vacation, then go to Hawaii and thank me later.

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