Deciding how many days to spend in Hawaii and on each particular island is the first step in planning your tropical vacation.
The answer depends on a few factors, such as the type of holiday you are planning.
Are you the kind of person who just wants to relax by the pool or on the beach, or a sightseeing extraordinaire who wants to explore? Perhaps a couple of newlyweds looking for a honeymoon vacation?
This guide on how many days in Hawaii will break down how to properly budget and allocate your time on the islands.
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There is no such thing as too many days but the right amount of time depends on what your interests are.
Or perhaps your time is limited and you are wondering how much you should expect to see and do in that time.
At a glance, here is what you can expect to see and do in Hawaii with 3-14+ days.
🌴 3 days in Hawaii is enough for: A short beach vacation on one island.
If you only have three days or so for your vacation, you will want to keep things as simple as possible.
This will usually mean choosing Oahu or Maui for your vacation. These islands have the most direct flights and you will not want to risk delays or cancellations that come with layovers (if possible).
While the Hawaiian islands are small enough to do a bit of exploring in a limited time, you need to consider the time lost to hotel check-in / check-out, commuting, packing, etc.
With such limited time in Hawaii available, keep it simple. Book accommodation in the tourist-centered regions which provide everything you need in one place (Waikiki in Oahu, or Kihei in Maui).
If you have a particular tour or activity on your bucket list, arrange for guided, organized tours to avoid losing any extra time to logistics.
🔎 READ MORE: HAWAII ITINERARIES FOR ANY ISLAND & TRIP LENGTH
🌴 5-7 Days in Hawaii are enough for: Some sightseeing and beach time on one island.
Regardless of which you choose, 5-7 days is considered the ideal amount of time for any one island.
With a week or so available, you will have ample hours for any type of vacation you desire.
Whether your perfect vacation is as slow as an extended beachside unwind or a whirlwind sightseeing road trip, and everything in between, you should have enough time to do what you desire without feeling rushed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you will be ready to leave when the time comes! If you’re anything like us, the thought of leaving always comes with the idea of moving to Hawaii forever.
Although not recommended for most, visiting two islands is possible with 7 days in Hawaii. If this is you, be sure to load our complete guide to island hopping in Hawaii.
🔎 READ MORE: 5-7 DAY HAWAII ITINERARIES
🌴 10 Days in Hawaii is enough for: 2-4 islands and plenty of sightseeing.
Is 10 days in Hawaii too long?
If you enjoy slow travel or need a lot of beach time, but also want to see the island in its entirety, 10 days will be just right. If your ideal Hawaiian vacation means exploring as much as possible, however, 10 days on one island might be too long. It is perfect, however, for visiting 2+ islands.
While not recommended for most, it is actually possible to visit all 4 major Hawaiian islands and get to see the highlights of each in just 10 days.
For most who are making their first visit to Hawaii with 10 days available, we suggest splitting your time between Maui and Oahu.
These two islands have the most flight options and cater best to tourists. What’s more, flights between the two are fast and cheap.
🔎 READ MORE: 10 DAY HAWAII ITINERARY
🌴 14 Days in Hawaii is enough for: Discovering ALL of the Hawaiian islands, if desired.
If you are able to get to spend two weeks in Hawaii, lucky you! With this much time, you have plenty of options on how to spend it.
For those who want to say they’ve seen it all, even if only briefly, you can actually visit ALL 7 inhabited Hawaiian islands!
Of course, this is also a great opportunity to get to know one island very intimately, and also allow plenty of time for soaking in the aloha spirit.
For most travelers with 14 days in Hawaii, we recommend deciding on the 2-3 islands that interest you most and booking 4-5 nights in each.
Regardless of which group you fall into, be sure to click the link below in the Read More box to find a variety of well-constructed itineraries for all manner of two-week Hawaiian vacations.
🔎 READ MORE: 14 DAY HAWAII ITINERARY
Hawaii is a place of unspeakable natural beauty, but let’s be honest, most people visit for the pristine beaches.
If your visit to Hawaii is intended to be a relaxing vacation on the beach, 5-7 days is really the ideal amount of time.
It will take you a day or two to adjust to the time change, and you will also lose about half a day on each side dealing with check-in / check-out of hotels, packing and unpacking, transport to/from the hotel, etc.
With ~5 days to spend in Hawaii for a beach holiday, keep it simple. Oahu has the best beaches, but all islands provide accommodation options located right on the shoreline. Choose your favorite or the one that meets your Hawaii budget best and avoid the need for any further planning!
Personally, our ideal vacation always involves a lot of photography and exploration. We love a good beach, but can’t sit still long!
If you are like us and want to see as much as possible, you will want a minimum of 10 days if possible, but 14+ would really be ideal.
Getting TO Hawaii is expensive and time-consuming, but flights BETWEEN the islands are fast and affordable.
In other words, 10+ days in Hawaii is the right amount of time if you are planning on island hopping and want to see as much as possible in a singular visit.
🔎 READ MORE: HAWAII ISLAND HOPPING ULTIMATE GUIDE
If you plan on doing any amount of sightseeing in Hawaii, you will want a minimum of 5 days available, including your days of arrival and departure.
Each of the Hawaiian islands boasts incredible natural beauty that extends far beyond palm trees and golden-sand beaches.
The volcanic genesis of these places creates otherworldly landscapes unlike anything you will see anywhere else on the planet, including one of the only true RED SAND BEACHES in the world.
Give yourself ample time for exploration if photography and sightseeing are a priority on your Hawaii vacation. We suggest 3-4 days at a minimum per island you plan on visiting.
🔎 READ MORE: HAWAII PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS & DESTINATIONS
5 days in Hawaii is the perfect amount of time for enjoying ONE island, but is not enough for island hopping. Oahu and Maui are the best choices for first-time visitors.
5-7 days is considered the ideal amount of days for a vacation to any one Hawaiian island. Once you’ve arrived in Hawaii, however, inter-island flight times and costs are low. If you want to see multiple islands, allow at least 3 days for each.
3 days is the minimum amount of time you will want to spend in Oahu, regardless of whether your vacation is centered on sitting by the beach or exploring. 5+ days is the ideal amount of time in Oahu.
3 days is the minimum amount of time you will want to spend in Maui, regardless of whether your vacation is centered on sitting by the beach or exploring. 5+ days is the ideal amount of time in Maui.
If you are only planning on staying at your beachside resort, 3 days can be enough for the Big Island. If you plan on exploring, however, you will realistically need a minimum of 5 days to cover much ground as the Big Island has lengthy commute times between destinations.
Need some help planning your upcoming trip of a lifetime?
Browse the titles below for help planning the most important elements of a Hawaii vacation.
This includes what to pack, how to find cheap flights, budgeting tips, where to stay, the best itineraries, and everything else you need to consider.
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We truly hope this guide on how many days in Hawaii has helped you plan your dream vacation!
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