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3 islands or 4

Hermitage...
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3 islands or 4

We have 13 nights and planning 4 in Oahu, 4 on Big Island and 5 on Kauai. But, we probably will never be back to the islands again, and we hate to skip Maui. Are 4 islands in 13 nights advisable? If we need to skip one of the four, which would you suggest. (we feel like Oahu is a must just for Pearl Harbor alone and the Big Island is a must for the volcanoes and we've been told that Kauai is gorgeous and Maui (while beautiful) had become more commercialized and resorts.) Traveling will be parents and 16 year old son. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Haleakala Crater
Geologic Formations, Mountains, Volcanoes
Kohala
Islands, Beach & Pool Clubs, Volcanoes, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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49,775 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: 3 islands or 4

We generally recommend no more than 2 island in 10 nights. 4 in 14 is really pushing it. You will be in and out of airports with 3 as it is. You can't see and do it all, prioritize!!

Florida
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2. Re: 3 islands or 4

3 islands in 13 nights is pushing it. I would suggest 2 islands. No way would I do 4.

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
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19 reviews
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3. Re: 3 islands or 4

How much do you love airports?! You will spend an amazing amount of time in them if you attempt 3 islands...2 islands max if you plan on any kind real "vacation". Check yourself by looking at the very few direct flights between the islands you wish to visit.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: 3 islands or 4

What is most important to you - as far as what you want to see and do? When are you planning to come? Do realize that lava isn't always visable, even if it is flowing, so you may not see that. The Big Island requires more time than any other island, unless you are just going to visit VNP. Do share a bit more - perhaps we can help, but I also wouldn't recommend more than 2 islands. :)

Nanaimo, Canada
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5. Re: 3 islands or 4

You are going to take one very long time just to get to Hawaii, so I wouldn't want to spend any more time on a plane than you have to, even with the short flights between islands. I'd definitely be starting with Oahu, and then just pick one more. Hopefully when it is time to return home, you will be fly out of the "other" island without having to return to Honolulu.

Also, don't discount a return to Hawaii. Most people are planning a return trip before they check in at the airport for their flights back home. Hopefully you will be included in that group!

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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6. Re: 3 islands or 4

You have time for 2 of the smaller islands. We generally recommend a week per island, more for the Big Island. Your plan will have you running around like crazy when you're not spending time at the airport.

Lion's Head, Canada
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7. Re: 3 islands or 4

It's hard to disagree with the previous comments, and while I have done 3 islands in 16, and 15 nights, we generally do only 2. One of those trips involved staying in Lanai for 3 nights (flew in from Oahu), and hopping on the ferry to Lahaina is not especially onerous, so was more like 2 islands.

You've really generalized your opinions of all the islands, so how about Oahu (for the reasons you stated), and Kauai, given your anti-Maui vibes. Your taste of the Aloha spirit will have you searching for a way to come back to see the other islands!

Hermitage...
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8. Re: 3 islands or 4

Thanks, all. Yes, figured that 4 islands in 13 nights was overboard. Still thinking about 3, but may need to rethink. Other than Oahu and the Big Island, I'm looking for relaxation, hiking, nice beaches, and a less crowded environment. That said: Kauai or Maui?

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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43,020 posts
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9. Re: 3 islands or 4

I would always choose Kauai for scenery and quieter experience. Maybe do Oahu and Kauai for a nice contrast. But when you are going can mean different recommendations. :)

ON, Canada
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10. Re: 3 islands or 4

I agree with the others about sticking to two islands with 13 nights, but if you really wanted to do 3 islands, I would consider 2 or 3 nights on Oahu (that would give you time for Pearl Harbor and Waikiki), 2 or 3 on the east side of the Big Island (fly in/out of Hilo) for Volcanoes National Park and a few other east side sites, and the rest of your stay on Kauai or Maui.

4 days on the BI isn't long enough to cover both sides, so if you want to see the east and west sides of the BI, I would allow at least 6 nights there (and 7 or 8 would be even better), otherwise just do the east side as you mention volcanoes being a priority.

I would fly to one island and home from the other, and try to arrange your inter island flights (with Hawaiian airlines) so that you aren't wasting the best part of the day travelling ... e.g. do early morning or late afternoon flights. It will be a lot of airport time in 13 days, but if you feel strongly about seeing 3 islands, it's doable.

What time of year will your trip be? That info will be helpful in recommending which islands and which location on the islands to stay for best weather.