Hawaii Travel Guides

Island Hopping: How Do I Travel Between The Different Hawaiian Islands?

island hopping hawaii

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii you may be wondering how you can fit in a visit to more than one of the islands. There are 6 main islands which are accessible to tourists: O’ahu, Island of Hawai’i (or Big Island), Maui, Lanai, Moloka’i and Kauai. All of the Islands are unique and have their own selection of incredible sights to see, so it’s only natural that you’d want to take in as much as possible by doing some island hopping. But what is the best way to travel between the different Islands of Hawaii?

Island Hopping by Plane

Unless you have booked a cruise, then the only way to travel between each of the Hawaiian islands is by plane. An inter-island service is offered by the two commuter airlines: Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines. Flights between the islands take between 20 and 50 minutes long. Travel time is definitely not wasted exploration time, as the views offered by these flights are simply spectacular. The pilot will often make a point of showing off the stunning scenery and making sure you get the most out of your trip. Some of these planes only carry 9 passengers so it is a different sort of flying from the flight you took to get to Hawaii from the Mainland!

These are the airports you can fly to on the main 6 islands.

  • Oahu – Daniel K. Inouye (Honolulu) International Airport (HNL)
  • Kauai – Lihue Airport (LIH)
  • Maui – Kahului Airport (OGG) or Kapalua-West Maui Airport (JHM)
  • Molokai – Molokai Airport (MKK)
  • Lanai – Lanai Airport (LNY)
  • Big Island (Island of Hawaii) – Hilo International Airport (ITO) or Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA)
island hopping hawaii
View of the sea cliffs on the flight to Molokai, Hawaii

Travel by boat

Many people ask whether you can travel between the islands of Hawaii by boat. Over the years there have been various ferries in operation but currently there is only one ferry service operating between islands, and this is between Maui and Lanai.

It takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour to travel between Maui and Lanai by passenger ferry. From Maui, the ferry departs daily from Lahaina (the public loading dock in front of Pioneer Inn) and leaves at 6:45am, 9:15am, 12:45pm, 3:15pm and 5:45pm. The ferry service departs Lanai from Manele Bay (the public loading dock) at 8:00am, 10:30am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm and 6:45pm. It costs $30 each way to take the trip, or $20 for children. Go here for further information. 

Lanai is a great place to get away to for a bit of privacy and luxury as it is the smallest of the inhabited islands, and also home to the Four Seasons, a world class resort. Read more about travelling to Lanai from Maui on our blog.

Book a Day Trip to Another Island

Another way to experience a neighbouring island without the hassle of booking your own flights, or more accommodation is to book a day trip with a tour company. This is a great way to take in some key sights on the other islands whilst keeping your base on just one island.

Some examples of trips you can take to other islands are:

Oahu
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Volcano Tour from Honolulu, Oahu

From: $462.04
This will be an experience of a lifetime! The recent eruptions of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii have captured the world's imagination. This fully narrated Volcano Adventure features a hike over the lava flow that covered the village of Kalapana and famous Kaimu black sand beach in the 1980's.

We hope this helps you plan your Island hopping tour of Hawaii.

Have you visited more than one island on your Hawaiian vacation? Tell us about your experiences in the comments. 

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