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The Best Ways to Get Around Hawaii

The Best Ways to Get Around Hawaii

Last Updated on November 16, 2023

Hawaii is a stunning paradise that is known for its beautiful beaches, lush green landscapes, and vibrant culture. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year who come to enjoy the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the Hawaiian people. In fact, according to Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, over 9.2 million tourists visited the islands last year alone. However, like any other new and unfamiliar place, navigating Hawaii can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating experience.

To make things easier for any budding visitors, here is a list of some of the best ways to travel around Hawaii’s unforgettable islands.

By public transportation

The main public transportation system in Hawaii is called TheBus, which is operated by the Oahu Transit Services. TheBus provides extensive service (over 90 routes) to the island of Oahu, with routes that cover popular destinations such as Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore. Other islands in Hawaii also offer public transportation options. The island of Maui has the Maui Bus, with routes running along Lahaina, Kihei, and Kahului. On the island of Hawaii, the Hele-On Bus provides service to various destinations, including Hilo, Kona, and Waimea.

One of the key benefits of using public transportation in Hawaii is the cost savings. Single-ride fares typically cost just a few dollars. Visitors can also take advantage of discounted options such as day passes and multi-day passes, which offer unlimited rides for a set period of time.

By bike

The Hawaiian islands are blessed with a plethora of scenic bike paths and routes that are perfect for cyclists of all levels. From the lush rainforests and breathtaking waterfalls on the Big Island to the picturesque coastal roads of Oahu, biking in Hawaii is an excellent way to see the islands from a different perspective while enjoying the sea breeze.

Biking in Hawaii also offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture and community. Many of the islands’ towns are bike-friendly, with designated bike lanes and paths, making it easy and convenient to explore the local shops, restaurants, and attractions on two wheels. In addition to their infrastructure being bike-friendly, there are also many bike rentals in Oahu, where locals and tourists alike can choose from a diverse range of bikes. From the Suzuki Burgman scooter, the Premium Hooligan 170 motorcycle, standard bikes with baskets for shopping, and even kiddie bikes—there are options for everyone.

By car

Having a personal vehicle allows for the ultimate freedom and flexibility to explore the islands at a personal pace. This will allow travelers to easily customize their vacation itinerary according to their preferences. Whether spending a day lounging on the famous beaches of Waikiki or embarking on a road trip along the stunning Hana Highway, having a car will provide countless advantages, from leisure and comfort to storage space. For those traveling as a couple, a group of friends, or a family, getting around Hawaii by car may be the best choice. It is also ideal for those with little children or senior citizens.

Luckily, anyone with a passport and a driver’s license can rent a car in Hawaii. As they say, a vacation starts right at the airport, which is why there are many car rentals at Honolulu airport. Whether a mid-sized Chevy Cruze, a Nissan Armada SUV, or even a convertible or a luxury vehicle, anyone with the valid requirements easily avail of a car that is best suited for their party. To make matters even more convenient, advanced booking can even be done online to match your trip.

If you are visiting Honolulu, also check out my Honolulu Travel Guide.

By boat

A popular way to get around Hawaii is by taking a cruise. There are numerous cruise companies that offer a variety of itineraries, from short day trips to multi-day voyages that allow you to explore several of the islands. These cruises often include onboard amenities such as restaurants, entertainment, and even spa services, making for a luxurious and hassle-free way to see the sights. However, while many cruises begin, stop, or end in Hawaii, only the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Pride of America encompasses Hawaiian islands from start to finish.

For those who prefer a more intimate and customized experience, chartering a private boat is another great option. In fact, chartering yachts in Florida and Hawaii are very popular given how they let you immerse in the pristine waters and balmy breeze. This option is ideal for those who want to visit secluded beaches, snorkel in pristine waters, and have the flexibility to go wherever the wind takes them.