The Hawaiian Islands are a magical archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that attract thousands of tourists each year who come to enjoy the islands’ stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and unique culture. But have you ever wondered just how spread out these islands are and what the distances between them look like?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Hawaiian Islands stretch across roughly 1,500 miles in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands are part of the U.S. state of Hawaii, located around 2,400 miles from California. The eight main islands that make up Hawaii are spaced between 5 miles to 250 miles apart from their closest neighbor.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the specifics and distances between all of the islands that make up the Hawaiian archipelago from northwest to southeast. We’ll explore what islands are the farthest apart and closest together. And we’ll look at driving distances, flight times, and average ocean miles that separate Hawaii’s magical islands.

Overview of the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands are a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean. They are known for their stunning natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and rich cultural heritage. The islands are a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year.

The Eight Main Islands

The Hawaiian Islands consist of eight main islands, each with its own unique characteristics and attractions. The largest and most populous island is Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. Other main islands include Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe.

The Big Island is famous for its active volcanoes, beautiful beaches, and rugged landscapes. Maui is known for its stunning coastline, world-class resorts, and the iconic Road to Hana. Oahu is home to the state capital, Honolulu, and is known for its vibrant nightlife and historic sites such as Pearl Harbor. Kauai, often called the “Garden Isle,” is known for its lush rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs. Molokai and Lanai are smaller, quieter islands with a more laid-back atmosphere. Niihau is a privately owned island with limited access to the public, and Kahoolawe is uninhabited and used primarily for military training.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

In addition to the eight main islands, there is a chain of islands and atolls known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. This remote and pristine area is uninhabited and is home to some of the most diverse and abundant marine life in the world. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are protected as part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which covers over 583,000 square miles.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are a critical habitat for many endangered species, including the Hawaiian monk seal, green sea turtles, and several species of birds. The area is also of great cultural and historical significance to the Native Hawaiian people.

Part of the U.S. State of Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are part of the U.S. state of Hawaii, which became the 50th state in 1959. Hawaii is unique among the states in that it is an archipelago, consisting of the Hawaiian Islands spread over 1,500 miles in the Pacific Ocean.

The state of Hawaii has a diverse population and a rich cultural heritage that blends Native Hawaiian traditions with influences from Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. The islands are known for their warm and welcoming spirit, aloha culture, and vibrant celebrations such as the annual Merrie Monarch Festival.

For more information about the Hawaiian Islands, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority at

Distances Between the Main Islands from Northwest to Southeast

Niʻihau to Kauaʻi – 17 miles

The first leg of our journey takes us from Niʻihau to Kauaʻi, with a distance of just 17 miles. These two islands are the closest in proximity, allowing for easy travel between them. In fact, on a clear day, you can even see one from the other! This close distance makes it convenient for residents and tourists to explore both islands and enjoy the unique experiences they offer.

Kauaʻi to Oʻahu – 105 miles

Next, we venture from Kauaʻi to Oʻahu, covering a distance of 105 miles. This is a significant jump compared to the previous leg, but still relatively close when considering the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The journey between these two islands can be done by air or sea, with frequent flights and ferry services connecting the two. So whether you’re looking to take in the breathtaking views from a plane or enjoy a leisurely boat ride, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Oʻahu to Molokaʻi – 25 miles

From Oʻahu, our next stop is Molokaʻi, which is approximately 25 miles away. This distance is relatively short, making it a popular destination for day trips or weekend getaways for those residing on Oʻahu. Molokaʻi is known for its pristine beaches, stunning cliffs, and rich cultural heritage. So if you’re craving a change of scenery and a taste of true Hawaiian beauty, a short trip to Molokaʻi might be just what you need.

Molokaʻi to Lānaʻi – 9 miles

Continuing our journey, we travel from Molokaʻi to Lānaʻi, which is a mere 9 miles away. This short distance allows for easy island hopping and exploring the unique offerings of each destination. Lānaʻi is known for its tranquility and natural beauty, making it the perfect place to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Lānaʻi has something for everyone.

Lānaʻi to Maui – 5 miles

Next up, we have the shortest distance on our list – just 5 miles separate Lānaʻi from Maui. These two islands are practically neighbors, making it incredibly easy to travel between them. Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant nightlife of Maui or soak in the natural beauty of Lānaʻi, a short boat ride is all it takes to get from one island to the other. So why not make the most of your Hawaiian adventure and visit both of these incredible destinations?

Maui to Kahoʻolawe – 7 miles

Our journey continues from Maui to Kahoʻolawe, a distance of just 7 miles. Kahoʻolawe is a small, uninhabited island known for its cultural and historical significance. While it is not currently open to the public for general access, there are organized tours and educational programs that offer a chance to learn about the island’s rich past and conservation efforts. So if you’re interested in Hawaiian history and culture, a short trip from Maui to Kahoʻolawe might be worth considering.

Kahoʻolawe to Hawaiʻi – 45 miles

From Kahoʻolawe, we move on to the largest of the Hawaiian Islands – Hawaiʻi, also known as the Big Island. This leg of our journey covers a distance of 45 miles. The Big Island offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush rainforests to active volcanoes. With its larger size, there are plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. So whether you’re interested in hiking through breathtaking national parks or relaxing on pristine beaches, the Big Island has something for everyone.

Hawaiʻi (Big Island) Size – 150 miles wide

Speaking of the Big Island, did you know that it is approximately 150 miles wide? This makes it the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and offers a vast array of activities and attractions. From exploring the stunning Waipio Valley to snorkeling with manta rays in Kealakekua Bay, there is no shortage of things to see and do on the Big Island. So if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable Hawaiian experience, be sure to include the Big Island in your itinerary.

Farthest and Closest Hawaiian Islands

Kauaʻi to Hawaiʻi: Furthest Apart at 250 Miles

When it comes to the farthest apart Hawaiian islands, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi take the top spot. These two islands are located approximately 250 miles apart. Kauaʻi, also known as the “Garden Isle,” is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty. Hawaiʻi, also known as the “Big Island,” is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is famous for its active volcanoes, including Kīlauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

The distance between Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi may seem significant, but it is not uncommon for people to travel between the two islands. There are several transportation options available, including flights and ferry services. Traveling between the islands allows visitors to experience the unique landscapes, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities that each island has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the lush rainforests of Kauaʻi or witnessing the power of a volcanic eruption on Hawaiʻi, these islands offer unforgettable experiences.

Lānaʻi and Maui: Closest Together at 5 Miles

On the other end of the spectrum, Lānaʻi and Maui hold the title for the closest together Hawaiian islands. These two islands are only about 5 miles apart, making them practically neighboring islands. Lānaʻi, also known as the “Pineapple Island,” was once home to extensive pineapple plantations and is now known for its luxury resorts and stunning beaches. Maui, the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, is a popular tourist destination with its diverse landscapes, including the famous Road to Hana and Haleakalā National Park.

The close proximity between Lānaʻi and Maui offers the opportunity for day trips or island hopping adventures. Visitors can easily take a short boat ride or hop on a ferry to explore the attractions and natural wonders of both islands. Whether you’re snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Lānaʻi or catching the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, these islands offer a range of experiences that showcase the beauty of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Hawaiian Islands Distance (Approx.)
Kauaʻi to Hawaiʻi 250 miles
Lānaʻi to Maui 5 miles

For more information on traveling between the Hawaiian Islands, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority at This website provides valuable resources and tips for planning your trip and exploring the different islands of Hawaii.

Whether you’re looking to venture across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean from Kauaʻi to Hawaiʻi or simply hop from Lānaʻi to Maui, the Hawaiian Islands offer a diverse range of experiences that are sure to leave you with lifelong memories. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through paradise!

Driving and Flight Times Between Islands

Oʻahu to Maui: About 30 Minute Flight

If you’re looking to travel from Oʻahu to Maui, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s just a short 30-minute flight away. Hop on a plane, sit back, and enjoy the breathtaking aerial views of the Pacific Ocean and the stunning landscape of the Hawaiian Islands. The flight time is so quick that you’ll barely have time to finish your in-flight snack before you touch down in Maui. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, this short flight makes it easy to explore the beautiful island of Maui.

Big Island Driving: Over 5 Hours to Circle

The Big Island, also known as Hawaiʻi Island, offers a unique and diverse landscape that is worth exploring. If you’re up for an adventure, you can choose to drive around the entire island. However, keep in mind that this journey will take you over 5 hours to complete. The Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and it’s home to stunning volcanoes, lush rainforests, and beautiful beaches. So, pack some snacks, turn up the music, and embark on an epic road trip to experience the wonders of the Big Island.

Maui to Lānaʻi: 45 Minute Ferry Ride

If you’re staying in Maui and want to visit the neighboring island of Lānaʻi, you can take a quick 45-minute ferry ride. Lānaʻi is known for its secluded beaches, rugged landscapes, and luxurious resorts. The ferry ride itself is an adventure, as you’ll get to enjoy the stunning views of the ocean and maybe even spot some marine life along the way. Once you arrive in Lānaʻi, you can spend the day exploring the island, relaxing on the beach, or indulging in some delicious local cuisine. This short ferry ride is a convenient way to experience the beauty of Lānaʻi without having to take a long flight or drive.


The Hawaiian Islands may seem close together on a map of the Pacific, but they actually span a vast area nearly the size of Connecticut. While some islands are just miles apart, others are over 200 miles distant from their neighbors.

Part of the wonder of visiting Hawaii is appreciating each island for its own unique character and landscape. Now that you know the distances between the islands, you can start planning an island-hopping adventure to take in the diversity of Hawaii’s natural and cultural wonders.

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