Getting From Maui to Oahu: Ultimate Island Day Trip

Who said paradise was exclusive to just one island? If you’re an adventurer at heart, it’s time to dream big and venture outside the comfort of Maui and explore the beauty of Oahu.

With a bit of research and proper planning, you can make your day trip dreams a reality!

All you need is a well-thought-out itinerary that takes you from Maui to Oahu in the most beautiful (and exciting!) way possible.

Sound like fun? Then buckle up and let’s get started!

How to get from Maui to Oahu

Getting from Maui to Oahu is no Herculean task, don’t worry! Established inter-island flight routes allow visitors to island hop efficiently.

The best way to travel from Maui to Oahu is by flight.

Flying remains the best (and only, if you don’t count 10-day long Hawaiian cruises) way to travel between Maui and Oahu.

Frequent, full-sized airplanes shuttle people across the four largest islands daily.

performance at Polynesian Cultural Center oahu

Choose Your Airline Wisely

Hawaiian Airlines is your best bet for a range of flight times and minimal risk of cancellation.

Being the dominant airline operating between the islands, their two dozen daily flights are mostly Boeing 717 jets with over 100 seats.

You may also consider:

  • Ohana Airlines – division of Hawaiian Airlines with cheaper, smaller flights.
  • Southwest Airlines a competitor – great deals on flights to and from Maui, Big Island, or Kauai.

Smaller airlines tend to be less reliable, prone to delays or canceling flights without warning.

Maui-Oahu Flight Time

Flight times are short! The Kahului Maui to Honolulu Oahu flight takes 30 minutes; the Kapalua Maui to Honolulu Oahu flight takes 35 minutes.

Do account some time for checking in and boarding, although most inter-island flights leave from commuter terminals. This means quick security checks and onboarding.

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Flight Costs

Expect to pay anywhere between $75 to $125, depending on the season. While some people manage to grab deals that are less than $50, it’s more likely to cost around $100 per person.

Nab cheaper flights through travel websites such as CheapTickets, Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, Google Flights, and so on.

You’ll find that the best deals are during the off-season, between late September to early December.

PLANNING Your Day Trip

Itinerary 1: War Time Lore & Honolulu

Don’t want the hassle of planning and shuffling around on your own? This Maui to Oahu day trip does it all – you just have to show up.

After picking you up from your 30-minute flight, your professional driver and guide will:

  • Drive through Honolulu’s historic downtown to highlight landmarks such as the King Kamehameha Statue, Iolani Palace and Kawaiaha’o Church – anecdotes included.
  • Drop you off at the Battleship Missouri Memorial for an hour-long walk-through.
  • Lead you to another Pearl Harbor must-see; the USS Arizona Memorial can either be observed from shore, or visitors are taken on a Navy boat launch tour out to where it is moored.
  • Comment on various exhibits at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center.
  • If time permits, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head Crater, and the Nu’unanu Rainforest and Pali Lookout are possible additions to your day in Oahu. Regardless, you’ll end your day at Honolulu.
Submarine USS Bowfin in Pearl Harbor
USS Bowfin, Pearl Harbor

Itinerary 2: North Shore & Movie Magic

Not committed to downtown Oahu? The mountainous ranges and water adventures at North Shore may be the right call.

  • Pick up your rental car at the airport and set off for your first destination: Waimea Valley and the famous Waimea Falls. Nab a quick bite at Haleiwa Farmers Market, which is just next door.
  • Not far off is the Ehukai Pillbox Hike. Short, steep, and lined with World War II pillbox bunkers, it’s a fascinating glimpse into both history and nature on the island.


  • Young families and those who prefer to spend time in water may opt for Shark’s Cove instead! It’s a series of tidal pools, each featuring fish shoals and colorful shells. It’s also a top diving and snorkeling spot in Hawaii.
  • Once you’re hiked out or warmed up for water time, Sunset Beach is your next destination. This surfer’s paradise is an essential introduction to Oahu.
  • Your afternoon itinerary offers up more beach time at Turtle Beach, or a 2-hour shark dive experience! Don’t worry – a professional guide will ensure your safety within a dive cage.
  • On your drive back, loop through the Windward Coast and stop around the Kaneohe Bay area. Kualoa Ranch offers amazing tours through famous movie set locations; Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hawaii Five-O are just some names tied to the region.
  • Drive back to Honolulu for a quick dinner before your flight back to Maui.
Sharks Cove oahu hawaii
sharks cove, oahu

Itinerary 3: Historical Hawaii & Nature’s Course

Drive out to Central Oahu’s more northern attraction before making your way back down to Honolulu.

  • Dole Pineapple Plantation & Maze captures both the history of Hawaiian trade and a world record-breaking pineapple maze. For early morning coffee, expansive coffee fields lie north to offer premium quality roasts.
  • Nearby Kukaniloko Birthstones State Monument shows how the people welcomed new babies into the world. Eucalyptus and coconut copses surround the remaining 180 stone pieces of ancient birthing grounds.
  • Hidden at the feet of Wai’anae and Ko’olau is a 25-acre rainforest escape: Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. Find peace amongst lush ferns and tropical blooms.
  • Grab lunch at Wahiawa before crossing Lake Wilson for the Tropical Lighting Museum. Here, you get to dip your toes in war-time artillery guns, vehicles and artifacts.
  • Continue your nature-themed exploration with a hike up Manana Ridge Trail or Waimano Valley Ridge Trail. Both reward you with the rock-fringed Waimano Falls where you can cool off with a swim.
  • To experience life in the 1900s, stop by Hawaii’s Plantation Village next. The recreated homes glimpse at everyday living on sugar plantations. Join a 90-minute tour on the old Hawaiian Railway for a meandering, scenic ride.
  • Head back to Honolulu for beach time and city walks. If interested, enjoy a luau before your flight back to Maui.
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Maui to Oahu Day Trip FAQs

Eager attitudes will get you far when it comes to conquering the world, but the trip between Maui and Oahu isn’t for the hasty and unprepared! Here are some answers to common questions.

How should you account for time?

When we say it’s a full-day trip, we mean full day. You’ll have to wake up extremely early, only to return to your Maui hotel late at night.

This means catching 6am flights in order to reach Oahu around 7am. Plan for a flight back around 10pm so you can enjoy dinner on the island before flying.

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head
waikiki beach & diamond head

Who should attempt the Maui to Oahu day trip?

Only consider the day trip if you have substantial time. There’s so much to see on Maui alone! 5 days in Maui is the recommended minimum.

If you’re only there for an extended weekend, save Oahu for another time.

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Is there a ferry from Maui to Oahu?

There are currently no ferries between Maui and Oahu. With an island between them, it’s not the most efficient journey anyway.

Should you rent a car during your Oahu day trip?

If you’re not joining a tour – big yes. You can optimize your day and get around Oahu freely, saving on precious time.

Expand your sightseeing scope instead of being locked into a single area.

Rental cars are available for pick up at the airport at a cheap cost, and you can easily return them before your flight. Hertz is a reliable rental company; RentalCars is the cheapest.