Hawaii Week: Small Islands

Smaller Hawaiian Islands

Beyond the main 4 islands we’ve discussed this week, tourism dwindles sharply for the other Hawaiian islands. Odds are most people can’t name the other 4 main islands off the top of their head. Here’s the scoop on the other islands and the ways you can visit them.


Four Seasons Manele Bay, Lanai: Pool

Lanai is a very remote island with only one major city. You can travel to the item by plane or boat and the two top spots to stay are the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele and the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay. Most people that come to the island golf, snorkel, hike, or take Jeep tours. Check out the Vacation Gals for their experiences renting a Jeep and hiking in Lanai.


Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement and National Historical Park

Molokai residents have largely opposed increased tourism in the area and as a result most sections of the island are undeveloped. As far as the island goes, this is the one you are most likely to witness the authentic Hawaiian experience. One must-see to understand the history of this island is the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. In the past, people with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) were kept isolated here. Visitors won’t be able to reach the park by car, they’ll need to make advance reservations, and guests must get a permit from the Hawai’i State Department of Health. Still, the park represents an emotional experience, a hiking opportunity, and a historical lesson.



Ni’ihau came to be known as the “Forbidden Isle” because travel was limited to this island. In 1864, a private citizen bought the island from the Kingdom of Hawaii. Since her death, the island has passed to her descendants and they continue to preserve her wishes that the island be reserved for traditional Hawaiian life. There are no radios, TVs or cell phones on the island and solar power is used to provide energy to the island.

In general, the only people who have been able to visit the island have been family members and friends of the island’s owners. In recent years, helicopter transport has been made available to the island through Niihau Helicopters. Half day trips are available for $385/person with a minimum of 5 persons per tour. Safaris start at $1750/person and give you the opportunity to hunt Wild Polynesian Boar and Hybrid Sheep. Here’s one traveler’s take on her visit to Ni’ihau.


Kaho'olawe Hawaii

Known as the “Target Isle”, Kaho’olawe is uninhabited. It’s the former site of a US Navy bombing range and as a result the island is largely damaged and polluted. Restoration efforts are underway but as of this time no recreational travel is allowed to visit this island and there is no foreseeable time frame for allowing travel again.

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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