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The Hawaiian Islands are a tropical paradise, with each island offering stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and unique adventures. If you’re planning a trip to multiple islands, you may be wondering about transportation options between them. One way to island-hop is by ferry, specifically between Oahu and Kauai.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There is currently no public ferry service between Oahu and Kauai. The only option is booking a private charter boat.

Background on Public Ferry Service in Hawaii

Private Charter Ferry

Traveling between the beautiful islands of Oahu and Kauai in Hawaii has always been an exciting adventure. In the past, one of the popular modes of transportation for locals and tourists alike was the public ferry service. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the ferry service and why it is no longer in operation.

History of the Superferry

The public ferry service, commonly known as the Superferry, was introduced in Hawaii back in 2007. It was an innovative concept that aimed to provide a convenient and affordable mode of transportation for inter-island travel.

The Superferry was equipped with modern amenities, including comfortable seating areas, onboard restaurants, and even Wi-Fi connectivity. It quickly gained popularity among travelers who wanted to explore the different islands without the hassle of flying.

💡 Fun fact: The Superferry had the capacity to carry up to 866 passengers and 282 vehicles, making it a convenient option for families and individuals traveling with their cars.

Why Public Service Ended

Unfortunately, the public ferry service came to an abrupt end in 2009. Several factors contributed to its closure, including legal and environmental challenges.

One of the main concerns was the potential impact on the fragile marine ecosystem, particularly the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and humpback whales. Environmental activists argued that the Superferry’s high-speed operations could disrupt their habitats and cause harm to these protected species.

👉 Did you know? In 2007, a group of surfers famously blocked the departure of the Superferry on Kauai by paddling out to the harbor entrance, leading to a series of legal battles and public protests.

Moreover, legal disputes arose regarding the lack of adequate environmental assessments and the failure to comply with state laws. These legal battles ultimately led to a court ruling that suspended the ferry service, and it was subsequently shut down.

While the public ferry service is no longer available, there are still alternative options for traveling between Oahu and Kauai, such as domestic flights or private charter boats. These alternatives provide a chance to experience the stunning beauty of the Hawaiian islands, ensuring that the spirit of exploration and adventure lives on.

Current Options for Travel Between Islands

When it comes to traveling between Oahu and Kauai, there are several options available. Whether you’re looking for convenience, luxury, or a unique experience, there’s a mode of transportation that will suit your needs. Let’s explore the current options for traveling between these two beautiful Hawaiian islands.


Flying is the most common and fastest option for traveling between Oahu and Kauai. Several airlines offer daily flights, making it easy to find a schedule that fits your needs. The flight duration is typically around 30 minutes, allowing you to quickly get from one island to the other.

Did you know? The flight between Oahu and Kauai is known for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the stunning landscape of the Hawaiian islands. Make sure to book a window seat for an unforgettable experience!

Cruise Ship

If you’re looking for a more leisurely and scenic way to travel between the islands, consider taking a cruise ship. While not as common as flying, there are cruise lines that offer itineraries that include both Oahu and Kauai. This option allows you to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean while also exploring the islands at your own pace.

Pro tip: Before booking a cruise, be sure to research the specific itinerary and ports of call to ensure that it includes both Oahu and Kauai. Some cruises may only stop at one of the islands.

Also read: Can I Fly To Hawaii And Then Cruise The Islands?

Private Charter

If you’re looking for a more exclusive and personalized experience, a private charter is an excellent option. You can rent a private boat or yacht and travel between Oahu and Kauai at your own leisure. This option is perfect for those who want to explore the islands at their own pace and enjoy the privacy and comfort of a private vessel.

Fun fact: Private charters also offer the flexibility to explore other nearby islands, such as Maui or the Big Island, making it a great choice for island-hopping adventures.

Also read: Can You Take A Boat To Hawaii?

What to Expect on a Private Charter Ferry

Private Charter Ferry

Typical Duration and Route

When taking a private charter ferry from Oahu to Kauai, you can expect the journey to take around 3-4 hours, depending on weather conditions and the specific route taken.

The most common route is from Honolulu Harbor on Oahu to Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai, which offers stunning views of the coastline and the chance to spot dolphins and other marine life along the way.

It’s important to check the ferry schedule in advance and arrive at the harbor with plenty of time to spare.

Vessel Size and Amenities

Private charter ferries vary in size and amenities, but most are designed to accommodate a comfortable and enjoyable journey. The vessels are typically spacious, allowing passengers to move around freely and take in the beautiful scenery.

Some private charter ferries offer amenities such as air-conditioning, comfortable seating, restrooms, and even onboard cafes or snack bars where you can grab a bite to eat. It’s a good idea to check with the ferry company beforehand to see what amenities are available on your specific charter.

Common Activities and Sightseeing

During the ferry ride, there are plenty of activities and sightseeing opportunities to make the most of your journey. Many private charter ferries provide onboard entertainment, such as live music or informative commentary about the islands and their history.

You can also spend time on the deck, enjoying the fresh ocean breeze and taking in the panoramic views. Don’t forget to keep your camera handy, as you’ll have the chance to capture breathtaking images of the sparkling blue waters and lush landscapes.

Once you arrive in Kauai, there are several popular sightseeing destinations to explore. From the stunning Na Pali Coast to the majestic Waimea Canyon, the “Garden Isle” offers a wealth of natural beauty.

You can also take part in activities such as snorkeling, hiking, or even helicopter tours to see the island from a different perspective. Make sure to plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time on Kauai.

For more information about private charter ferries from Oahu to Kauai, you can visit

Booking Your Private Oahu to Kauai Ferry

Planning a trip from Oahu to Kauai? Taking a ferry is a convenient and scenic way to travel between the two islands. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, it’s important to make the necessary arrangements in advance. Here are some key considerations when booking your private Oahu to Kauai ferry:

Choosing an Operator

When selecting a charter operator, it’s important to choose a reputable and reliable company. Look for operators that have a good track record for safety and customer satisfaction.

One such operator is Hawaii Nautical, which offers a comfortable and hassle-free ferry experience. Their charters are well-maintained and their staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Research different operators and read reviews to find the one that best suits your needs.

Cost Considerations

The cost of a private Oahu to Kauai ferry can vary depending on several factors, such as the operator, the type of ferry, and the time of year. It’s important to consider your budget and compare prices from different operators.

While some operators may offer lower prices, it’s crucial to ensure that they provide a safe and reliable service. Remember to factor in any additional fees or charges, such as parking or baggage fees, when budgeting for your trip.

Ideal Time to Book

Booking your private Oahu to Kauai ferry in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak travel seasons. Ferries can fill up quickly, so securing your spot early will help ensure that you have a seat on your desired date and time.

It’s also worth considering the time of day you wish to travel. Early morning and late afternoon ferry departures tend to be less crowded, offering a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any public ferries currently running?

No ferries currently run between Oahu and Kauai. Travel options primarily include flights or private charters for inter-island travel in Hawaii.

How rough is the channel crossing?

The channel crossing between Oahu and Kauai can vary in terms of roughness depending on the weather conditions. Generally, the crossing can be smooth and enjoyable, especially during calm weather.

However, during periods of high winds or rough seas, it is possible to experience some motion on the ferry. If you are prone to motion sickness, it is recommended to take necessary precautions such as taking medication or sitting in the middle of the ferry where the motion is less noticeable.

The crew on board is trained to handle different sea conditions and ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers.

Is taking the ferry better than flying?

Whether taking the ferry or flying is better depends on your personal preferences and travel needs. The ferry provides a unique and scenic experience, allowing you to enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and the islands during the journey. It can be a great option for those who have enough time and want to savor every moment of their trip.

On the other hand, flying is faster and more convenient, especially if you have limited time or prefer to reach your destination quickly. It is also worth considering that ferry schedules may be subject to changes or cancellations due to weather conditions, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

Also read: Why Are There No Ferries Between Hawaiian Islands?


While there is currently no public ferry option between Oahu and Kauai, booking a private charter provides a unique way to island-hop in comfort and style. Just be prepared for a long journey time and plan accordingly. With advanced planning, taking the ferry can be a memorable part of your Hawaiian vacation.

We hope this guide provides all the details you need to decide if island-hopping by ferry fits into your Hawaii travel plans. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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