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How To Get From Maui To The Big Island For A Day Trip


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ebony Obregon



Are you visiting the beautiful island of Maui and want to explore the neighboring Big Island for a day trip? You’re in luck! Hawaii offers a diverse range of stunning islands, each with its own unique attractions and experiences. The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian islands and offers breathtaking landscapes, active volcanoes, and rich cultural heritage.


Getting from Maui to the Big Island for a day trip may seem like a logistical challenge, but there are several options available to make your journey seamless and enjoyable. Whether you prefer the convenience of a short flight, the scenic route by ferry, the guidance of a tour, or the freedom of a private boat, you can easily make the trip and explore the wonders of the Big Island in just one day.


In this article, we will explore the various options for traveling from Maui to the Big Island for a day trip. Each option has its own advantages and considerations, so you can choose the one that best fits your preferences and schedule. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can embark on an unforgettable adventure to the Big Island from the shores of Maui.


Option 1: Inter-Island Flights

One of the quickest and most convenient ways to get from Maui to the Big Island for a day trip is by taking an inter-island flight. There are several airlines that offer regular flights between the islands, providing you with the opportunity to maximize your time and explore the Big Island’s wonders at your own pace.


Maui’s main airport, Kahului Airport (OGG), offers numerous daily flights to the Big Island’s two major airports, Hilo International Airport (ITO) and Kona International Airport (KOA). The flight duration between Maui and the Big Island is approximately 30-45 minutes, making it a convenient option for day trippers.


When considering inter-island flights, it’s important to do some research and compare prices and schedules to find the best option for you. Some popular airlines that operate inter-island flights include Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. These airlines offer competitive rates and convenient flight times, allowing you to plan your day trip efficiently.


Once you arrive at either Hilo or Kona airport, you can rent a car or hire a taxi to explore the Big Island’s attractions. Hilo, located on the eastern side of the island, offers access to stunning waterfalls, lush rainforests, and the famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kona, on the western side, is known for its beautiful beaches, world-class resorts, and vibrant cultural sites.


Keep in mind that inter-island flights require some planning in terms of booking in advance and being mindful of flight availability. It’s recommended to book your flights well ahead of time, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred flight times and avoid any last-minute hassles.


Another advantage of taking an inter-island flight is the opportunity to enjoy spectacular aerial views of the Hawaiian islands. As you soar through the sky, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the breathtaking landscapes, volcanic formations, and crystal-clear waters that make Hawaii a true paradise.


Overall, opting for an inter-island flight from Maui to the Big Island for a day trip provides you with the convenience and flexibility to explore the various attractions and natural wonders that the Big Island has to offer. It’s a great choice for those looking to make the most of their time and experience the highlights of the island in a single day.


Option 2: Ferry Services

If you prefer a more leisurely and scenic route, taking a ferry from Maui to the Big Island is a fantastic option. Although it takes longer compared to an inter-island flight, the ferry ride offers a unique experience and allows you to soak in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean as you journey from one island to another.


Currently, there is one ferry company that operates regular service between Maui and the Big Island: the Expeditions Maui-Lahaina to Lanai Ferry. The ferry departs from Lahaina Harbor in Maui and arrives at Manele Harbor in Lanai. From Lanai, you can catch another ferry that will take you to the Big Island’s Kaunakakai Harbor in Molokai.


Once you reach Molokai, you can rent a car or take a taxi to explore the island’s magnificent sights, such as the towering sea cliffs of Kalaupapa National Historical Park or the beautiful Papohaku Beach. From Molokai, you can catch a shuttle or hire a taxi to travel to the Big Island’s nearby airport, where you can continue your day trip adventure.


It’s important to note that ferry schedules and availability may vary, so it’s essential to check the Expeditions website or contact them directly to confirm the departure times and make reservations in advance. Planning ahead will ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable journey to the Big Island.


While the ferry ride may take longer than a flight, it offers stunning ocean views and the chance to spot marine life, such as dolphins or even whales during the winter months. The gentle sway of the boat combined with the fresh ocean breeze creates a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere that allows you to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Hawaii’s waters.


Keep in mind that the ferry service between Maui and the Big Island is subject to weather and sea conditions. Therefore, it’s advisable to check for any updates or potential cancellations due to adverse weather before embarking on your day trip.


Opting for a ferry service from Maui to the Big Island is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a scenic journey and experience the peacefulness of the ocean. It allows you to appreciate the natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands and create unforgettable memories along the way.


Option 3: Guided Tours

If you prefer a hassle-free and informative way to explore the Big Island from Maui, joining a guided tour is a great option. Guided tours offer the advantage of having an experienced and knowledgeable guide who can enhance your day trip by providing insights, historical context, and insider tips about the Big Island’s attractions.


There are several tour operators on Maui that offer day trips to the Big Island, providing you with a comprehensive itinerary to make the most of your time. These tours usually include transportation, allowing you to sit back and relax while enjoying the scenic drive from Maui to the Big Island.


The guided tours often include visits to popular attractions such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. You’ll have the opportunity to witness the raw power of Kilauea, explore ancient Hawaiian cultural sites, and marvel at the island’s stunning waterfalls and lush landscapes.


One of the advantages of joining a guided tour is that the logistics, including transportation and itinerary planning, are taken care of for you. You don’t have to worry about booking flights or figuring out directions. The tour operator ensures a seamless experience, allowing you to focus on enjoying the sights and sounds of the Big Island.


Additionally, guided tours often provide the opportunity to interact with locals and fellow travelers, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the island’s culture and traditions. You may have the chance to sample local cuisine, learn about the history of the Hawaiian people, and participate in traditional activities like lei making or hula dancing.


When choosing a guided tour, it’s important to consider the duration, cost, and specific attractions included in the itinerary. Look for reputable tour operators that have positive reviews and offer knowledgeable guides who can provide you with an enriching experience.


Whether you’re a solo traveler or vacationing with friends or family, joining a guided tour from Maui to the Big Island is a convenient and informative way to explore the island’s highlights. Sit back, relax, and let the experts take care of the details as you embark on a memorable adventure through the unique landscapes and rich history of the Big Island.


Option 4: Renting a Private Boat

For those seeking a more customized and adventurous day trip from Maui to the Big Island, renting a private boat is an excellent option. Renting a boat allows you to have complete control over your itinerary, giving you the freedom to explore the Big Island’s pristine coastline, secluded beaches, and hidden gems at your own pace.


There are various boat rental companies in Maui that offer a range of vessels, from small motorboats to luxury yachts, depending on your preferences and group size. Renting a boat gives you the flexibility to plan your own route and visit the attractions that interest you the most.


Before embarking on your private boat adventure, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines for boating in Hawaiian waters. Ensure that you have the necessary boating licenses or certifications if required and that you are aware of any restricted areas or protected marine environments.


With a private boat, you can cruise along the coastline of the Big Island, stopping at picturesque spots to swim, snorkel, or simply relax on secluded beaches. You’ll have the opportunity to discover hidden coves, encounter colorful marine life, and soak in the beauty of the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island.


Renting a boat also allows you to customize your day trip experience by adding activities such as fishing, water sports, or beach picnics. Pack a cooler with refreshments and snacks, and enjoy a leisurely lunch on board while taking in the stunning views and gentle ocean breezes.


It’s important to plan your boat rental in advance to secure your preferred vessel and ensure availability. Check with rental companies for any additional services they may offer, such as guided tours or the option to hire a captain or crew to navigate and enhance your experience.


While renting a private boat offers unparalleled freedom and adventure, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Familiarize yourself with maritime safety practices, including weather conditions and emergency procedures. Be mindful of the ocean conditions and always adhere to boating regulations for a safe and enjoyable day on the water.


Renting a private boat from Maui to the Big Island provides a unique and personalized way to explore the beauty of this incredible island. You’ll have the freedom to create your own itinerary, discover hidden gems, and make unforgettable memories in the breathtaking waters surrounding the Big Island.



Embarking on a day trip from Maui to the Big Island is an opportunity to witness the diverse beauty and captivating attractions that Hawaii has to offer. With several transportation options available, you can easily make the journey and explore the wonders of the Big Island in just one day.


If convenience and speed are important to you, inter-island flights provide a quick and efficient way to reach the Big Island. Enjoy breathtaking aerial views while maximizing your time on the island. Alternatively, ferry services offer a scenic and leisurely route, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean as you journey from Maui to the Big Island.


For those looking for an informative and hassle-free experience, joining a guided tour is a great option. Explore the highlights of the Big Island with knowledgeable guides who can provide insights into the island’s history, culture, and natural wonders.


If you crave adventure and want to customize your itinerary, renting a private boat allows you to explore the island’s coastline at your own pace. Enjoy the freedom to discover deserted beaches, hidden coves, and have unforgettable encounters with marine life.


Whichever option you choose, make sure to plan ahead, research your chosen method of transportation, and consider the specific attractions you wish to explore on the Big Island. Finally, don’t forget to check for any travel advisories or weather conditions that may affect your day trip.


From the volcanic landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the cultural sites of Hilo and the pristine beaches of Kona, the Big Island has something to offer every traveler. So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable day trip and immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of the Big Island from the shores of Maui.