The Ultimate Guide to Island Hopping in Hawaii - Marina Hawaii Vacations

The Ultimate Guide to Island Hopping in Hawaii

Author 05-22-2024

Hawaii, with its captivating beauty and diverse landscapes, is a dream destination for travelers looking for a tropical getaway. The archipelago comprises eight main islands, each offering its own unique blend of culture, adventure, and natural wonders. Island hopping in Hawaii is the perfect way to experience all the richness and diversity this Pacific paradise has to offer.

Whether you’re drawn to the lush rainforests of Kauai, the vibrant city life of Oahu, or the volcanic landscapes of the Big Island, there’s something for everyone in this incredible destination. Check out Marina Hawaii Vacations’ top tips for making the most of your getaway with this ultimate guide to island hopping in Hawaii.

Island Hopping Essentials:

couple packing suitcase

Before you arrive for your island-hopping adventure in Hawaii, it’s essential to plan and prepare. Here are some key essentials to keep in mind:

Research and Itinerary Planning:

  • Research each island’s attractions, activities, and accommodations to tailor your itinerary to your interests.
  • Consider factors such as transportation between islands, flight schedules, and travel times so you can map out the most efficient route.


  • Book inter-island flights in advance to secure the best deals and availability. You can also consider planning your travel in the off-season when demand isn’t as high.
  • Renting a car on each island provides flexibility and convenience for exploring at your own pace. But, if that’s too pricey, pay attention to the different island’s public transportation. In Oahu, for example, TheBus offers affordable transport all across the island, and it’s also conveniently located to Marina Hawaii’s Vacations beach rentals!


  • Pack light and bring versatile clothing suitable for various climates, from beachwear to cooler mountain temperatures. Light layers are the best way to go.
  • Don’t forget essentials like reef-safe sunscreen, insect repellent, hiking shoes, and waterproof gear for water activities.


  • Reserve accommodations well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.
  • Book your vacation rental directly with a property manager versus an online travel agency like Airbnb or VRBO so you can avoid hidden fees and extra taxes. Booking directly can save you thousands, making island hopping much more affordable than hotels and resorts.

Must-Do Activities Throughout Hawaii

Aerial View of Kualoa area of Oahu Hawaii

Now that we’ve covered some essentials for making your island-hopping adventure a success, let’s take a look at some of the top things to do on four of the most popular islands in Hawaii.


  • Start your journey in Honolulu, the capital city, and explore iconic landmarks such as Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head State Monument, and Pearl Harbor.
  • Immerse yourself in Hawaiian history and culture with a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center or the Bishop Museum.
  • For outdoor enthusiasts, hike to the summit of Diamond Head for panoramic views or enjoy a scenic drive along the North Shore to witness world-class surfing competitions and breathtaking coastal views.


Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui boasts diverse landscapes ranging from lush valleys and cascading waterfalls to pristine beaches and volcanic craters, and you can see them all when you visit. Here are our top recommendations:

  • If you travel to Maui from Oahu, odds are you’ll land at the Kahului airport, putting you in the heart of central Maui. This location gives you a prime opportunity to do one of the most famous activities in all of Hawaii. Drive the scenic Road to Hana, stopping at waterfalls, black sand beaches, and bamboo forests along the way. As one of the most gorgeous drives in the United States, it’s an experience you can’t miss.
  • Experience the sunrise atop Haleakalā, Maui’s dormant volcano, followed by a bike ride or hike down into the crater. This is where those light layers come in handy, as temps at the summit can be 30 degrees cooler than at sea level.
  • Snorkel or dive at Molokini Crater, a marine sanctuary teeming with colorful coral reefs and tropical fish.


Kauai is renowned for its verdant landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and cascading waterfalls. Discover why it’s called the “Garden Isle” with these top activities:

  • Explore the breathtaking Na Pali Coast by hiking the Kalalau Trail, taking a boat tour, or viewing it from above on a helicopter ride.
  • Discover the natural wonders of Waimea Canyon, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” with its vibrant red cliffs and lush valleys.
  • Relax on the secluded beaches of Poipu or Hanalei Bay, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.

Big Island (Hawaii):

As the youngest and largest island in the archipelago, the Big Island offers a diverse range of activities and landscapes, from rainforests and black sand beaches to active volcanoes.

  • Witness the fiery spectacle of Kilauea Volcano at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
  • Explore the underwater wonders of Kealakekua Bay or Honaunau Bay, ideal for snorkeling and spotting marine life.
  • Visit the historic town of Hilo and stroll through its charming downtown, lined with boutique shops, galleries, and local eateries.

Regardless of how many places you visit, island hopping in Hawaii is an unparalleled adventure that allows you to experience the beauty and diversity of this tropical paradise. From the vibrant city life of Oahu to the pristine beaches of Maui, each island offers its own unique charm and endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

With careful planning and an open spirit of adventure, your island-hopping journey in Hawaii is sure to be an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Kick-Start Your Adventure in Oahu with Marina Hawaii Vacations

vacation rental interior in Oahu

Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Oahu is the perfect spot to kick-start your Hawaiian island-hopping adventure. Plus, Marina Hawaii Vacations offers affordable Honolulu and Waikiki Beach vacation rentals, so you can enjoy a convenient home base while on the island.

Guests also receive a coupon booklet upon check-in, offering discounts on tons of top activities. Take a look at our available vacation rentals, and then book your stay directly with Marina Hawaii Vacations for the best rates and service in Oahu. We can’t wait to welcome you!