Lanai is a great day trip from Maui. Lanai has great beach, excellent snorkeling, and it is a relaxing and easy day trip.
Molokai is further, and I think too big to easily explorer in one day.
You can take the ferry for Lahaina, I think around $60 round trip, or go with a boat company like Triology for about $160 per day.
The boat dock is walking distance to Lanai's beach. So, you don't have to rent a car to enjoy the beach.
"Partygoers prefer Lanai", I am surprised that anyone would describe Lanai as a partygoer place...Lanai is known for its peace and quiet. It has a Four Seasons hotel right on the beach, very quiet and relaxing hotel. Then it has another Four Season inland, I think even quieter and more relaxing. It has a golf course there.
People go to Lanai to relax on the beach, and there is great snorkeling if you just swim out. The beach was not crowded, and has shower and restroom facilities. Lanai makes a perfect day trip. We have been there twice, and will want to go back for more.
I have stayed on Molokai for a week, there was hardly any shopping or eateries to be had. Very few tourists on this island, and I think just a few thousand residents. If you were to spend one day on this island, you would join a tour or rent a car and drive around.
Went to Molokai a number of years ago as a day trip, only got to see part of the island, it is big. Not a lot of places to eat, we ended up having lunch at Hotel Molokai. The main town was a bit depressing because at the time a lot of the stores were boarded up. Not all but a fair number. It was a nice visit though.
And the Hotel Moloka'i is not a bad place to eat. Moloka'i is sometimes referred to as the most Hawaiian isle, since it hasn't been completely overtaken by tourism. The ferry over and back can be a fun whale watch of sorts. The history of Moloka'i is pretty interesting, which of course would be a part of the van tour.
Thank you for your thoughts! Is the main attraction to either, but particularly Lanai as it's closer, to see some additional landscapes and relax at the beach? I'm asking b/c wondering if we would have plenty to see, do and relax just staying on Maui or if a day trip to either island is so highly recommended in its own right that we'd do best to go.Thanks again.
One option, just to see something different, is to take one of the snorkel trips over to Lanai. Being on the water is nice. Trilogy provides a van tour of Lanai with local guides, which is interesting, plus the beach is beautiful.
I don't consider either a "must do" as there is more than enough to do on Maui and you won't see terribly different landscapes.
Konagirl's advice is good. If this is your first time to Maui, and since you are only there a week, you might want to save the "other island" visits for your second trip to Maui :)
I agree, you'll have more than enough to keep you busy on Maui for 6 nights, but if you really wanted to go to Lanai for a day trip, then sure do it, but nothing is a " must do" unless you really want to do it.
Partygoers prefer Lanai? Huh? Not that I've ever seen.
Lanai is easier for a day trip. As above, the snorkel trips from Maui are also a nice way to see a little (tiny) bit of Lanai.
The ferry is a good excuse to get out on the water and see Maui from the water. Lanai is pretty easy to get around. Molokai is big enough I would want an overnight.