You could say, two Islands are better than one, especially with Hawaiian Airlines offering low fares on 125+ daily flights between the Islands. That means you can choose flight times that fit your schedule, whatever your itinerary might be. Witness the sunrise at Haleakala, then hike across Kilauea. Eat lunch in Honolulu and grab pau hana drinks in Princeville. Wake up in Kona and fall asleep in Ko Olina. Island hop to your heart’s delight — these trip ideas will help you start planning.
Spend time in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu, then venture into Kauai’s peaceful nature spaces.
Town and country from Oahu to Kauai
Enjoy the best of both worlds by balancing the urban bustle of Oahu with the idyllic countryside of Kauai. Here’s how:
On Oahu, begin your trip in Hawaii’s most populated city, Honolulu, where culture and creativity abound. Waikiki is on every visitor’s radar, with premium stores and spirited street performers ready to entertain. Just a stone’s throw away, the art blocks of Kakaako beckon with galleries, boutiques, breweries and POW! WOW! murals covering nearly every wall. Feel free to go on an urban art walk around the community. Make sure to stop at Chinatown, where you’ll satisfy cravings for Guangdong chow fun and Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
Kauai bound, the flight from Honolulu (HNL) to Lihue (LIH) is just a quick 40 minutes, but you’ll feel a world away once you set foot on the Garden Isle. You can drive east to Wailua Falls, a dramatic double-tiered waterfall, considered one of the Island's most beautiful, that is easy to photograph from its overlook. Continue to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, standing 200 feet above sea level and home to one of the state's largest populations of nesting seabirds (reservations required), and end the day in the quaint towns of Hanalei or Kapaa. If you went west from the airport, make the drive to Waimea Canyon, known as The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. This scenic gorge is some 3,000 feet deep, covered in vegetation and waterfalls, with top-notch hiking trails. You can also catch an awe-inspiring view of the Nāpali Coast at Kalalau Lookout (pay heed to park signs), then head to Poipu for a classic oceanfront sunset.
In one trip, you can float down Kauai’s backcountry canals and snorkel around Maui’s Molokini Crater.
Grand adventures from Kauai to Maui
Thrill seekers can check off their Hawaii bucket list with exciting excursions on Kauai and Maui.
On Kauai, start with an immersive boat tour along the enchanting Napali Coast, where towering cliffs guard a remote shoreline and sea caves only accessible by water. Keep the adrenaline by swinging through the trees at Koloa Zipline, Kauai's longest zipline course that offers a special harness to let you zip upside down. Then, head inland to float down open canals and through tunnels — the former irrigation system of the historic Lihue Plantation — with Kauai Backcountry Adventures.
Make your way to Maui with a 50-minute flight from Lihue (LIH) to Kahului (OGG). You’ll be ready for a snorkel or scuba trip to Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic crater off Maui that’s home to over 250 species of tropical fish.
Explore Haleakala National Park on Maui before traversing Kilauea at Hawaii Island’s own national park.
National parks from Maui to Hawaii Island
Hawaii’s two national parks are nothing short of spectacular — vast volcanic landscapes that spawned unique biodiversity. Maui’s rises 10,023 feet above sea level, while Hawaii Island’s contains two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Maunaloa. Fortunately, with a quick flight, you can visit both in one trip.
Start on Maui at Haleakala National Park, which contains over 30 miles of hiking trails, from alpine desert to shrubland. Its name means "house of the sun,” fitting as sunrise and sunset are the most popular times to visit. (Reservations required for sunrise viewings.) Take your time exploring this sacred landscape and remember to leave no trace.
Hawaii Island is next, with just a 40-minute flight from Kahului (OGG) to Hilo (ITO). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park stretches 335,259 acres from sea to summit, with 150 miles of hiking trails that include lava fields, a summit caldera and lava tube. It's open 24 hours daily, year round, which is ideal for late-night eruption viewings. And don’t forget that fourth graders and their families get free access to the USA’s National Parks sites.
Journey from Hawaii’s youngest and largest Island to the state’s grandest history collections on Oahu.
History tour from Hawaii Island to Oahu
Budding history buffs will combine visits to Hawaii Island and Oahu, mapping out stops at their most notable landmarks.
On Hawaii Island, start at the Lyman Museum in Hilo. Its Island Heritage Gallery features centuries of Hawaiian history, while the adjacent Mission House is the Island's oldest standing wooden structure. Take a scenic journey north along the Hamakua Coast or Saddle Road to Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site in Waimea, where you can retrace the steps of Kamehameha I who built the heiau (temple) with his warriors before unifying the Hawaiian Kingdom. Nearby, Parker Ranch offers self-guided tours of its historic homes and grounds. Continue an hour’s drive south to Kona Coffee Living History Farm (about an hour away), where you can learn about Hawaii's early coffee pioneers.
Head to Oahu with some time to reflect on the hour-long flight from Kona (KOA) to Honolulu (HNL). Your first stop might be Bishop Museum, which famously houses the world’s largest collection of Pacific cultural artifacts. Near downtown, Iolani Palace is the royal residence of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs, offering specialty tours like a white-glove experience that showcases rare objects not on display to the general public. Over a million people visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial every year to pay respects to the USS Arizona and its fallen crew members, while others seek out Hawaiian Railroad Society, the Island’s only active historic railroad, located in Ewa Beach near Ko Olina on Oahu’s west side.
Note: Due to web limitations, the use of diacritics in the Hawaiian language are omitted from this article.