If you are thinking about visiting more than one Hawaiian island during your trip, it’s very easy. Scroll to find out everything you need to know about Hawaii island hopping.
This Hawaii island hopping post was originally written January 4, 2020 and was updated January 13, 2022 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Have you ever dreamed about taking your family on vacation in Hawaii? Crystal blue water, magnificent sunsets over the ocean, your family all together making memories.
It sounds hard to beat, but Hawaii is a vacation destination that is only limited by your own creativity.
You can spend your entire time relaxing by the pool and sipping cocktails, but with the wide range of activities at your fingertips why would you want to limit your family’s experience?
Seeing as how Hawaii is made up of 8 major islands and more than 124 tiny islets, you and your family will likely want to spend some of your holiday exploring some of the diverse islands that make up the beautiful state of Hawaii.
You might be wondering, is it possible to island hop around Hawaii with a family in tow? How much will it cost to visit several Hawaiian islands? What kind of family adventures are available today in Hawaii? Are there Hawaii island hopping vacation packages?
Well look no further, the following information will provide you with everything you need to know about island hopping in Hawaii with kids.
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Hawaii Itineraries complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
Hawaii Island Hopping FAQs
There are dozens of daily flights between the islands and the prices vary greatly depending on the time of day. It can cost $50-$150 to go island hopping Hawaii.
No. There are no bridges. Travel between Hawaiian islands is limited to inter-island flights and limited ferries.
Yes, but only between Maui and Lanai.
Hawaii Ferry Services Between Maui and Lanai
Lucky for you, there is a ferry service in and around the isles of Hawaii. This service runs from the island of Maui. The ferry to Molokai was discontinued in 2021.
These affordable ferry services run between Maui and Lanai, making Lanai a perfect island destination if you and your family have booked accommodation on Maui.
Round trips with the ferries from Maui to Lanai are less than half the price of flights from Honolulu or Maui to Lanai.
If you are staying on Maui your family could travel return to Lanai for less than the price of flights for a family of four from Honolulu or Maui to Lanai. It’s the cheapest way to travel between these Hawaiian islands.
Keep scrolling to see the Hawaii ferry routes and read my detailed Lanai ferry review HERE.
Ferry From Maui to Lanai
The ferry from Lahaina, Maui leaves in front of the Pioneer Inn at the public loading dock. The ferry departs at 6:45 am, 9:15 am, 12:45 pm, 3:15 pm, and 5:45 pm.
Leaving Manele, Lanai the ferry disembarks from the public loading docks at 8:00 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:45 pm.
The journey takes approximately 1 hour and you can expect to see breathtaking views of the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe. On occasion, you might even see the Big Island from the ferry.
Nothing compares to the amazing chance to see Humpback whales from January to April during the crossing.
Prices for each direction of the crossing are as follows: $30 Adults (ages 12+), $20 Children (kids under 12 years old), free for infants (under 2 years old), $25 Military (must have valid ID).
This means for a round-trip with 2 adults and 2 children you will pay $200, taxes included.
You can rest easy, knowing you and your family are safe on one of Expeditions’ US Coast Guard certified vessels.
You can also do Lanai tours from Maui if you want an easy day trip.
Ferry From Maui to Molokai (discontinued)
There used to be a quick 90-minute ferry to bring you and your family from busy Maui to Molokai, “The Friendly Isle.”
The least developed of the 8 major Hawaiian Islands, Molokai is the perfect getaway for any family that wants to explore pristine beaches and mysterious jungles.
However, this ferry service was discontinued in 2021. The really confusing part is that the website is still active and makes it look like it’s still operating. This is not the case. There is no ferry from Maui to Molokai.
The only way to get from Maui to Molokai is with an inter-island flight.
Hawaii Interisland Flights
The majority of island hopping around Hawaii takes place via the air. What better way to see stunning aerial views of your favorite vacation destination?
If you’re staying on Oahu, then Lanai is an easy 35-minute flight from Honolulu airport to the public use airport on Lanai, just 3 miles from Lanai City.
Flying is also the best way to get from Oahu to the other main Hawaiian islands (Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai.)
The cost to island hop in Hawaii totally varies on the time of year and which islands you are flying between. But traveling between Hawaiian islands has never been easier.
Let’s take a look at how to travel between Hawaiian islands via Hawaii interisland flights.
If you’re staying on Oahu your options to travel to Lanai and Molokai island flights are limited to the flight services available on the islands.
Fares with Hawaiian Airlines between Honolulu and Lanai City start from $550 return for a group of 4, making a one or two day trip to Lanai easily accessible without the long wait on the ferry.
Flights are $138 return per person Saturday to Wednesday and $143 return per person on Thursday and Friday. Prices are consistent year-round.
If you are flying from Maui, you will have a layover in Honolulu, making the journey time from Maui to Lanai by plane 1-hour 40-minutes.
Flights from Maui to Lanai range between $180 – $250 per person return. This puts return prices for a family of 4 over $700.
Find the latest rates and schedules for Hawaiian Airlines interisland flights
Mokulele Airlines operates over 120 flights between 7 Hawaii cities for Southern Airways Express every day.
Flights can be purchased from Honolulu, O‘ahu (HNL), Kahului, Maui (OGG), Kamuela, Hawai‘i (MUE), Kapalua, Maui (JHM), Kona, Hawai‘i (KOA), Hana, Maui (HNM), and Ho‘olehua, Moloka‘i (MKK).
Multiple departures range from early in the morning until the early evening. Allowing ample ability to work around any family’s timetable.
Prices with Mokulele Airlines vary and there are often sales and special offers at any given time. For this reason, it’s best to keep your eye on their website in the weeks leading up to your vacation.
By continually checking the website for offers you can make sure your family is getting the best deal.
It’s good to note that infants fly free when on the lap of a parent (a valid birth certificate will be required at check-in).
With Mokulele Airlines, children between the ages of 2-11 qualify for the Keiki Discount. The Keiki Discount is 25% off their everyday low fares. This deal can make it the cheapest way to island hop in Hawaii with kids.
Mokulele Airlines always operate with two licensed pilots to ensure optimal safety for your family.
Get the latest rates and schedules for Mokulele Airlines
The newest airline to start offering interisland Hawaii flights is Southwest Airlines.
What’s awesome about Southwest Airlines is that they won’t charge you a bag fee for your first two bags (or one bag and surfboard). Plus, there is no change fee if your plans change.
They also offer the cheapest interisland Hawaii flights right now.
Get the latest rates and schedules for Southwest Airlines Hawaii interisland flights
Where are the Airports in Hawaii?
The biggest airport in Hawaii is Honolulu International Airport. This is the airport where most flights from the Mainland U.S. and Asia fly into. Get my top tips for Honolulu Airport HERE.
From here, visitors can head to Waikiki (about 8 miles away), Disney’s Aulani Resort (about 20 miles away), the North Shore (about 22 miles away), or Kailua (about 19 miles away.)
While there are 2 airports on the island, the most popular one is in Kahului. There are usually direct flights here from the West Coast of the U.S.
From here, visitors can head to Ka’anapali (about 28 miles away,) Kapalua (about 34 miles away,) Kihei (about 10 miles away,) or Wailea (about 16 miles away.)
There’s also the Kapalua airport, which is less popular and usually more expensive than Kahului. But, if you are staying in Kapalua or Ka’anapali, it can save you a lot of time to fly into Kapalua airport.
The airport on Kauai is in Lihue, on Kauai’s east shore. There are usually direct flights here from the West Coast of the U.S. Read my full guide to the Lihue Airport HERE.
From here, visitors can head to Princeville (about 28 miles away,) Hanalei (about 30 miles away,) Kapaa (about 9 miles away,) or Poipu (about 13 miles away.)
There are two major airports on the Big Island: Kona and Hilo. There are often direct flights here from the West Coast of the U.S.
From Hilo Airport, visitors can head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (about 29 miles away.)
From Kona Airport, visitors can head to Hilton Waikoloa Village (about 16 miles away.)
The Lanai airport is about 3 miles away from Lanai City. There are no direct flights here from the Mainland, so you’ll probably need to fly into Honolulu International Airport and take an interisland flight.
The Molokai airport is about 15 minutes from Kaunakakai and about 40 minutes from Maunaloa.
There are no direct flights here from the Mainland, so you’ll probably need to fly into Honolulu International Airport or Kahului Airport and take an interisland flight. It’s super easy to do a Maui to Moloka’i day trip on Mokulele.
Hawaii Island Hopping Cruises
Another way to visit the 4 main islands (Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, and Maui) is by doing a Hawaii island hopping cruise.
For families who like to cruise, this is a great way to see several islands without having to move hotel rooms. And it’s a nice way to get a taste for each island.
The downside is that you often don’t have much time to really explore because you’re only off-ship for a set number of hours. And the cruise ports are usually a bit away from the tourist spots. So, you have to carefully choose what you’d like to do on each island.
Hawaii Island Hopping Adventures
Oahu is definitely the most populated Hawaiian island and it has the most activities, attractions, and adventures in Hawaii.
Some of the top things to do on Oahu include the Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, hiking Diamond Head, and the Dole Plantation.
This is also where you’ll find Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Visitors can still enjoy the character breakfast or dinner or their signature luau without staying at the resort.
Find out the best things to do on Oahu
Maui is a top honeymoon and babymoon location, but it’s also a great family travel spot.
Some of the top things to do on Maui include driving the Road to Hana, seeing sunrise at Haleakala, hiking the Iao Needle, the Maui Ocean Center, and snorkeling at Molokini.
The most popular places to stay on Maui are Kapalua, Ka’anapali, Kihei, and Wailea.
Find out the best things to do on Maui
Known as “the Garden Island,” Kauai is often called the most beautiful Hawaiian island for its stunning beaches, coastline, and mountains. It’s popular for honeymoons and adventure travelers.
Some of the most popular things to do on Kauai include hiking the Na Pali coast, snorkeling on the North Shore, going tubing down a sugar cane canal, and doing a boat ride.
Most people stay down in Poipu, in Kapaa, or up in Hanalei/Princeville.
Find out the best things to do on Kauai
As the name implies, the Big Island is the largest Hawaiian island and so diverse, in terms of climate and landscape.
Some of the top things to do on the Big Island are exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, seeing heiau, checking out waterfalls, and doing an ATV tour.
Most visitors stay in Kona, where there are lots of resorts.
Find out the best things to do on the Big Island
Lanai is the smallest inhabited island of Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of things to do.
On Lanai, you can take your family on a horseback ride through the jungle, snorkel in endless tidepools, or relax on 18 miles of secluded Hawaiian beaches.
If your family is feeling adventurous you can check out the 5 Top Breathtaking Hikes on the Island of Lanai.
Find out the best things to do on Lanai
Molokai is home to Hawaii’s longest continuous fringing reef, making a snorkel trip a complete essential.
If you want to combine history and adventure take a guided mule trip along the planet’s highest sea cliffs. After 2.9 miles of magnificent terrain, explore the ancient Kalaupapa National Historic Park.
Previously a fishing village, the historic settlement was once home to a community of exiled lepers in the 19th century.
If sticking to a budget is important to your family, consider staying at one of the island’s 9 budget-friendly hotels. And read my full Hotel Molokai review.
Find out the best things to do on Molokai
How Many Islands to Visit?
There is nothing worse than going on vacation only to return home more tired than when you left.
Your family holiday should be one where you can all relax and spend quality time together… or apart. It’s important when booking your trip to not try to squeeze too much into your vacation.
If you are traveling to Hawaii for 5 days, consider doing a 1-day island excursion with a local guide.
They will be able to take you and your family on an action-packed day that will still allow you and your family your much-needed downtime to relax beachside.
For vacations of about a week in Hawaii, consider spending a night or two on either the beautiful island of Lanai or Molokai.
Both are particularly accessible from Maui and will give you and your family the feeling of adventure. And you will be able to incorporate some valuable family time on the untouched beaches of these tropical paradises.
If you and your family will be in Hawaii for over 10 days, consider visiting two of the more densely populated islands (the Big Island, Oahu, and Maui) and spending a quiet respite with your family on Lanai or Molokai.
Or you could visit both Lanai and Molokai from your home base in Maui.
Island to island travel in Hawaii is pretty easy to do. There are lots of combinations for an amazing Hawaii island hopping adventure!
Check out my comparison posts of Maui vs Oahu, Oahu vs Kauai, Kauai vs Big Island, Kauai vs Maui, and Maui vs Big Island.
Which is the Cheapest Hawaiian Island to Visit?
I’d say Oahu is the cheapest island to visit because there are the most direct flights there and things on the island tend to be cheaper than other islands.
Because there are so many activities and attractions there, you’ll find plenty of cheap and free things to do on Oahu.
Check out 105 tips for doing Hawaii on a Budget
Is it Easy to Island Hop in Hawaii?
Yes, it’s really quick and easy to take an inter-island flight to a neighboring Hawaiian island.
As you plan your Hawaii vacation, keep in mind that you’ll be spending time getting to/from the airport and possibly renting/returning a rental car. This will take up part of your vacation.
Can You Travel to Niihau?
Kind of. Niihau is a private island and you need permission to visit.
However, you can take a boat ride from Kauai and snorkel off the coast of Niihau.
How Long Does it Take to Fly Between the Hawaiian Islands?
If you’re wondering how to get from island to island in Hawaii, here’s a breakdown of the flights between Hawaiian islands.
Hawaii Island Hopping From Oahu:
|Honolulu, Oahu to Kahului, Maui||30 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Kapalua, Maui||35 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Lanai||35 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Molokai||35 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Lihue, Kauai||25 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Kona, Big Island||40 Minutes|
|Honolulu, Oahu to Hilo, Big Island||45 Minutes|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Maui
|Kahului, Maui to Honolulu, Oahu||39 Minutes|
|Kahului, Maui to Lanai||2 Hours 2 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Kahului, Maui to Molokai||2 Hours 17 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Kahului, Maui to Lihue, Kauai||49 Minutes|
|Kahului, Maui to Kona, Big Island||35 Minutes|
|Kahului, Maui to Hilo, Big Island||40 Minutes|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Kauai
|Lihue, Kauai to Kahului, Maui||49 Minutes|
|Lihue, Kauai to Lanai||2 Hours 11 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lihue, Kauai to Molokai||2 Hours 27 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lihue, Kauai to Honolulu, Oahu||35 Minutes|
|Lihue, Kauai to Kona, Big Island||55 Minutes|
|Lihue, Kauai to Hilo, Big Island||2 Hours (non-direct)|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Kona, Big Island
|Kona, Big Island to Kahului, Maui||35 Minutes|
|Kona, Big Island to Lanai||2 Hours 27 Minutes|
|Kona, Big Island to Molokai||3 Hours 10 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Kona, Big Island to Lihue, Kauai||55 Minutes|
|Kona, Big Island to Honolulu, Oahu||47 Minutes|
|Kona, Big Island to Hilo, Big Island||2 Hours (non-direct)|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Hilo, Big Island
|Hilo, Big Island to Kahului, Maui||40 Minutes|
|Hilo, Big Island to Kapalua, Maui||2 Hours 23 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Hilo, Big Island to Lanai||2 Hours 16 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Hilo, Big Island to Molokai||2 Hours 11 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Hilo, Big Island to Lihue, Kauai||2 hours (non-direct)|
|Hilo, Big Island to Kona, Big Island||2 hours|
|Hilo, Big Island to Honolulu, Oahu||55 Minutes|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Lanai
|Lanai to Kahului, Maui||2 hours 7 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lanai to Kapalua, Maui||2 hours 47 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lanai to Honolulu, Oahu||35 Minutes|
|Lanai to Molokai||1 hour 36 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lanai to Lihue, Kauai||2 hours 4 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lanai to Kona, Big Island||2 hours 19 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Lanai to Hilo, Big Island||2 hours 29 Minutes (non-direct)|
Hawaii Island Hopping From Molokai
|Molokai to Kahului, Maui||2 Hours 15 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Molokai to Kapalua, Maui||1 Hour 37 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Molokai to Lanai||1 Hour 34 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Molokai to Honolulu, Oahu||29 Minutes|
|Molokai to Lihue, Kauai||2 Hours 8 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Molokai to Kona, Big Island||2 Hours 12 Minutes (non-direct)|
|Molokai to Hilo, Big Island||2 Hours 27 Minutes (non-direct)|
Island hopping Hawaii can be a lot of fun if you have enough time to really explore each island.
I recommend purchasing my Hawaii Island Hopping Guide with 1-3 day itineraries for Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Lana’i, and Moloka’i.
We hope this article has helped you learn about the best ways to get around and see all that the beautiful islands of Hawaii have to offer without breaking your budget.
Need More Tips For Your Perfect Hawaiian Family Vacation?
Whatever you and your family decide, you can rest assured that your vacation will be an amazing adventure for your loved ones.
Hawaii Travel With Kids has all the answers and the best tips for planning your perfect Hawaiian Holiday with your family, including Hawaii island hopping!