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Everything You Need to Know About Hawaii Island Hopping

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 written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung 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 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.

Image of the Maui to Lanai ferry

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.

Tips for Hawaii Island Hopping featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Waves breaking on the cliffs near Lanai Lookout. | island hopping hawaii

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.”

Tips for Hawaii Island Hopping featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

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.

Hawaiian Airlines

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.

Find out how to go island hopping in Hawaii with tips from top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a Hawaiian Airlines airplane at Hilo Airport.

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

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).

Image of a 10-passenger airplane on the runway on Moloka'i.
This was our plane on Moloka’i. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

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

Southwest Airlines

The newest airline to start offering interisland Hawaii flights is Southwest Airlines.

Image of the wing of Southwest Airlines over the island of Oahu

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.

Find out top Honolulu airport tips by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a Hawaiian airlines plane at the gate at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

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.

Image of the runways at Kahului Airport on Maui

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.

Find out everything you need to know about Lihue Airport on Kauai by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of the Lihue Airport sign

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.)

Big Island

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.

Tips for Hawaii Island Hopping featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Woman holding hibiscus flower in front of airplane window

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.

Check out this honest Norwegian Hawaii cruise review by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a cruise ship in the ocean.

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.

Find out how to get from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on Oahu.

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.

Image of a red surfboard that says Hana 6 miles with coconuts in the background
an old surfboard at a roadside stand on the road to hana, maui

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.

Image of a couple taking a selfie on a boat along the Na Pali Coast on Kauai

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

Big Island

As the name implies, the Big Island is the largest Hawaiian island and so diverse, in terms of climate and landscape.

The Ultimate Guide to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Hawaii lava tourist. Tourists taking photo of flowing lava from Kilauea volcano around Hawaii volcanoes national park, USA.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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.

Image of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai.

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.

View of Kalaupapa as mules ride up in Molokai
View of Kalaupapa as mules ride up on Molokai. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

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

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    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.

    Tips for Hawaii Island Hopping featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Hiking woman on Hawaii, Waihee ridge trail, Maui, USA. Young female hiker walking in beautiful lush Hawaiian forest nature landscape in mountains. Asian woman hiker wearing backpack looking at view.

    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, Maui30 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Kapalua, Maui35 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Lanai35 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Molokai35 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Lihue, Kauai25 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Kona, Big Island40 Minutes
    Honolulu, Oahu to Hilo, Big Island45 Minutes

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Maui

    Kahului, Maui to Honolulu, Oahu39 Minutes
    Kahului, Maui to Lanai2 Hours 2 Minutes (non-direct)
    Kahului, Maui to Molokai2 Hours 17 Minutes (non-direct)
    Kahului, Maui to Lihue, Kauai49 Minutes
    Kahului, Maui to Kona, Big Island35 Minutes
    Kahului, Maui to Hilo, Big Island40 Minutes

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Kauai

    Lihue, Kauai to Kahului, Maui49 Minutes
    Lihue, Kauai to Lanai2 Hours 11 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lihue, Kauai to Molokai2 Hours 27 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lihue, Kauai to Honolulu, Oahu35 Minutes
    Lihue, Kauai to Kona, Big Island55 Minutes
    Lihue, Kauai to Hilo, Big Island2 Hours (non-direct)

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Kona, Big Island

    Kona, Big Island to Kahului, Maui35 Minutes
    Kona, Big Island to Lanai2 Hours 27 Minutes
    Kona, Big Island to Molokai3 Hours 10 Minutes (non-direct)
    Kona, Big Island to Lihue, Kauai55 Minutes
     Kona, Big Island to Honolulu, Oahu47 Minutes
    Kona, Big Island to Hilo, Big Island2 Hours (non-direct)

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Hilo, Big Island

    Hilo, Big Island to Kahului, Maui40 Minutes
    Hilo, Big Island to Kapalua, Maui2 Hours 23 Minutes (non-direct)
    Hilo, Big Island to Lanai2 Hours 16 Minutes (non-direct)
    Hilo, Big Island to Molokai2 Hours 11 Minutes (non-direct)
    Hilo, Big Island to Lihue, Kauai2 hours (non-direct)
    Hilo, Big Island to Kona, Big Island2 hours
    Hilo, Big Island to Honolulu, Oahu55 Minutes

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Lanai

    Lanai to Kahului, Maui2 hours 7 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lanai to Kapalua, Maui2 hours 47 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lanai to Honolulu, Oahu35 Minutes
    Lanai to Molokai1 hour 36 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lanai to Lihue, Kauai2 hours 4 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lanai to Kona, Big Island2 hours 19 Minutes (non-direct)
    Lanai to Hilo, Big Island2 hours 29 Minutes (non-direct)

    Hawaii Island Hopping From Molokai

    Molokai to Kahului, Maui2 Hours 15 Minutes (non-direct)
    Molokai to Kapalua, Maui1 Hour 37 Minutes (non-direct)
    Molokai to Lanai1 Hour 34 Minutes (non-direct)
    Molokai to Honolulu, Oahu29 Minutes
    Molokai to Lihue, Kauai2 Hours 8 Minutes (non-direct)
    Molokai to Kona, Big Island2 Hours 12 Minutes (non-direct)
    Molokai to Hilo, Big Island2 Hours 27 Minutes (non-direct)

    Island Hopping in Hawaii Wrap Up

    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!

    Now that you know about flights between Hawaiian islands, find out what to do! Check out my top Maui luaus, best things to do on Kauai, and my travel guide to Kona!

    Hawaii Island Hopping FAQs

    How much does island hopping in Hawaii cost?

    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.

    Can you drive to all the Hawaiian islands?

    No. There are no bridges. Travel between Hawaiian islands is limited to inter-island flights and limited ferries.

    Are there ferries between the Hawaiian islands?

    Yes, but only between Maui and Lanai.

    Tips for Hawaii Island Hopping featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.