How to get around Hawaii: island hopping and volcano spotting


It’s easy to get around in Hawaii. Frequent flights connect the islands, and the roads are mostly in good shape.

The most populous island, Oʻahu, has good public transit, while the adventurous will find rugged roads ready to test their 4WD skills in remote corners across the islands. From hopping a 20-minute flight between islands to tackling the road beyond Hana in your own SUV, here’s the rundown on transportation in Hawaii.

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Interisland flights connect the islands of Hawaii

Almost all travel between Hawaii’s islands is in the air. Interisland flights are short and frequent. The busiest airports are Honolulu (Oʻahu), Kahului (Maui), Kona and Hilo on Hawaiʻi (Big Island), and Lihuʻe (Kauaʻi). Smaller airports with regular service include Lanaʻi City (Lanaʻi), Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi, Kapalua and Hana on Maui, and Kamuela (Waimea) on the Big Island.

Hawaii’s main carrier – Hawaiian Airlines – offers a web of frequent interisland flights on jets. Much-needed competition between the main airports is provided by Southwest, although its schedule is limited. Service to the smaller airports is provided by Mokulele Airlines, which operates small prop planes. These flights fly lower than the jets and can double as sightseeing excursions.

Advance fares for interisland flights can be as low as $50. Walk-up fares are closer to $200. Airline regulations concerning surfboards, bicycles and other oversized baggage vary and can be restrictive, not to mention expensive.

Ferry boat between island of Maui and LanaiHawaii’s sole interisland ferry route serves Maui and the island of Lanaʻi © Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images

Ferries only run on one route

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