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If you’re wondering how far apart Alaska and Hawaii are, you’ve come to the right place. These two iconic U.S. states may both be a bit isolated from the contiguous 48, but they are actually quite far from one another.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the distances between Alaska and Hawaii both by air and sea.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Alaska and Hawaii are approximately 4,800 miles apart as the crow flies across the Pacific Ocean.

We’ll start by looking at how you would make the journey between the two by air, including direct flights as well as options with stopovers. We’ll also calculate driving and ferry distances for a surface-based trip.

Additionally, we will examine the straight-line distance across the open ocean and discuss what that might have looked like before modern transportation.

Flight Distances and Travel Times from Alaska to Hawaii

Direct Flights Save Time but Are Rare

Nonstop flights from Alaska to Hawaii are few and far between. At over 2,300 miles apart, the journey requires a good amount of fuel and range from even the most robust commercial airliners. Currently, only a handful of seasonal chartered vacation flights offer direct service between Anchorage and Honolulu.

These rare nonstop flights can make the trip in just 5 hours, saving considerable travel time over connections. However, the convenience comes at a premium price. Major airlines stick to more economical 1-stop routings through major hubs like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

Common Flight Paths and Mileages with Stopovers

The most common routes from Alaska’s major airports to Hawaii see a short stopover in Seattle or along the West Coast. Flights beginning in Anchorage will then continue on to Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, or Lihue after a plane change.

Here are some typical mileages and flight times from Alaska to the Hawaiian Islands with a standard stopover:

  • Anchorage to Honolulu: 3,095 miles – 7 hours 5 minutes
  • Fairbanks to Kahului: 3,347 miles – 8 hours 40 minutes
  • Juneau to Lihue: 3,038 miles – 8 hours 25 minutes

As you can see, adding one short layover can nearly double the total travel time versus a rare direct flight. However, stopping to refuel along the West Coast is the most economical way to fly between Alaska and Hawaii for most passengers.

And the mileage differences between the major airports are relatively small.

Driving or Ferry Distances Between Alaska and Hawaii

Driving North to South Through Canada and the U.S.

Driving from Alaska to Hawaii would be an epic road trip adventure covering over 5,000 miles through Canada and the United States. The most logical driving route would start somewhere like Anchorage or Fairbanks, head southeast through Canada on the Alaskan Highway, drive south through Western provinces and U.S. states across the country all the way to Southern California.

From there, a short jaunt to a port city would be needed to board a ferry or cruise ship to traverse the final 2,500 miles of Pacific Ocean separating the west coast from the Hawaiian islands.

According to Distance Calculator, the driving distance between Anchorage and Los Angeles is approximately 3,629 miles taking major highways the whole route. This equates to a nonstop drive time of over 2 1⁄2 days behind the wheel.

Factoring in breaks and refueling stops, budget 4-5 days minimum transit time to make this epic cross-continent trek by vehicle. For ambitious adventurers intent on maximizing land portions, it’s possible to board ferries linking coastal cities along the West Coast and sail between ports from Washington or British Columbia all the way south to ports near the California-Mexico border.

Taking Ferries for a More Scenic Coastal Route

Rather than focusing solely on the quickest transcontinental journey to transit between Alaska and Hawaii, an alternative and more leisurely option would be boarding ferries for scenic passages aiming down the Pacific Coast.

One such epic route could start in Alaska from cities like Ketchikan, taking coastal ferries down through British Columbia with stops at Vancouver Island, Olympia National Park and other key ports.

From Washington or Oregon, hop on board ferries or small cruise ships that routinely sail to California ports like Santa Barbara before eventually docking in San Diego, Los Angeles or other hubs near the Mexico border.

From here is where the longestocean stint commences, traversing over 2,500 miles of open Pacific waters towards Hawaii. Packages can be booked transporting passengers, vehicles, and even pets.

As the Crow Flies: A Direct Route Across the Pacific

When looking at the distances between Alaska and Hawaii on a map, the most direct route from one state to the other is a straight line over the Pacific Ocean. This is known as measuring the distance “as the crow flies”.

Tracing this direct path between Anchorage, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii, we’re looking at a distance of approximately 2,450 miles. That’s quite a stretch over open waters!

To put this in perspective, that’s nearly the same distance as a direct flight between Los Angeles, California and Washington D.C. It’s certainly not a short jaunt.

Over Water the Whole Way

Unlike a trip across the continental United States, there is no way to travel between Alaska and Hawaii while remaining over land. Any route goes over Pacific waters the entire journey.

This means travel between the two rely solely on air and sea vessels. Unless you’re an incredible long-distance swimmer, a boat or plane is required!

Not Many Direct Flights

Despite the 2,450 mile crow-flies distance, there are surprisingly few direct flights between Alaska and Hawaii.

As of 2023, only a handful of airlines offer nonstop service, including Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest. These flights generally depart either Anchorage or Honolulu.

Airline Nonstop Flights
Alaska Airlines 2 daily from Anchorage
Hawaiian Airlines 1 daily from Honolulu
Southwest Airlines Seasonal from Honolulu

Flight times average around 5.5 to 6 hours due to strong tailwinds over the Pacific. Of course, there’s always the option of booking a flight with a connection as well, tacking on a couple extra hours to the journey.

Cruising Takes Over a Week!

Think the flight seems long? By sea it takes over a week to sail directly between Alaska and Hawaii!

Only a few small luxury cruise lines offer this route. They typically depart from Anchorage or other Alaskan ports and take 8-11 days before docking in Honolulu. That’s a whole lot of time staring at ocean!

Along the way passengers can enjoy amenities like restaurants, evening entertainment, and deck-side pools. There may also be brief port stops in British Columbia or the Pacific Northwest to take on supplies.

Certainly not the fastest way to island-hop, but guaranteed to be scenic!

How Early Explorers Would Have Traveled Between Alaska and Hawaii

Sailing Ships and the Challenge of Pacific Navigation

In the 18th and 19th centuries, explorers traveling between Alaska and Hawaii would have faced daunting challenges crossing the vast Pacific Ocean. Most would have traveled on sailing ships dependent on favorable winds and currents to make the journey of over 3,000 miles across open water.

Early Pacific navigators like Captain James Cook had only primitive means of determining their location – using instruments like quadrants and sextants to take measurements of the stars and sun. Without access to modern navigational aids, journeys in the Pacific carried great risks of getting lost and running out of provisions.

  • Captain Cook’s first voyage to chart the coasts of Alaska and Hawaii in the 1770s took over 4 years to complete the loop from England, around Cape Horn, and back.
  • Many early sailing journeys in the Pacific ended in tragedy – ships wrecked on reefs or islands, crews dying of scurvy or starvation.
  • The extreme distances in the Pacific, along with the unpredictable weather and gaps between islands where ships could resupply, tested the limits of what sailing technology could accomplish at the time.

    Successfully navigating from Alaska to Hawaii took excellent seamanship and no small amount of luck to prevail.

    The Significance of the Distances Between Settlements

    In addition to the sea barriers, the massive distances between areas of permanent settlement in Alaska and Hawaii profoundly influenced early exploration and travel:


    The early Russian settlement of Novo Arkangelsk (Sitka) founded in 1799 was over 1,200 miles from the next European settlement to the south in Vancouver Island and British Columbia.


    The Hawaiian islands are over 2,300 miles from the nearest continent at North America. Even travel between islands was a major endeavor – the channels between islands are up to 75 miles across.

    With knowledge of agriculture, woodworking, and metalworking limited or absent in indigenous Alaska and Hawaii cultures, settlements depended heavily on outside contact and trade to acquire materials and technology.

    Yet with information taking months to pass between areas and no rapid transit available, Alaska and Hawaii developed in extreme isolation compared to other colonized parts of North America. This drove strong senses of cultural identity and self-sufficiency in both regions.


    As we’ve seen, Alaska and Hawaii are separated by around 4,800 miles as the crow flies. Modern air travel makes the trip possible in just a day with a stopover or two. However, before airplanes, the vast expanse of ocean between made interstate travel extremely difficult for early American settlers and explorers.

    The distances involved impacted the development of both states in profound ways. Today, efficient transportation connects them to the rest of the country. But the sheer mileage still requires some ambitious travel to directly journey between Alaska and Hawaii.

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