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If you’ve ever wondered exactly how far Hawaii’s tropical islands are from the sunny shores of Southern California, you’re not alone. Many West Coast residents dream of island getaways to Hawaii, but don’t have a good sense of the distance or travel time involved.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Hawaii is approximately 2,556 miles from San Diego as the crow flies. By plane, it takes about 5 hours to travel between San Diego and Honolulu.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore all aspects of the Hawaii-San Diego distance, including:

How many miles Hawaii is from California cities like San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco

Flight times to Honolulu and other Hawaiian islands

Driving distances and routes if traveling by car, motorhome or cruise ship

What to expect for travel expenses

Flight Distance and Travel Times from California to Hawaii

Mileage and Flying Times to Honolulu

The flight distance from San Diego to Honolulu is around 2,556 miles. Nonstop flights take about 5 hours and 30 minutes on average. This makes Honolulu the closest major Hawaiian island for travelers from California.

Flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu are very similar, with a distance of 2,556 miles and average nonstop flight times of 5 hours 20 minutes. Given the proximity, it’s no wonder that Hawaii is such a popular vacation destination for Californians!

Flights to Other Hawaiian Islands

In addition to Oahu where Honolulu is located, there are several other inhabited Hawaiian islands that visitors can fly to.

  • Maui – nonstop flights take about 5 hours 40 minutes from California and cover a distance of 2,623 miles.
  • Kauai – expect a flight time of 5 hours 50 minutes and distance of 2,652 miles nonstop from SoCal.
  • Big Island (Hawaii) – at the southernmost part of the island chain, the Big Island is 2,668 miles from San Diego with average nonstop flights taking 5 hours 55 minutes.

So while the most populous island of Oahu may be the quickest and shortest hop over, the other islands are only marginally farther and make tempting destinations in their own right!

Route Flight Distance Average Nonstop Time
San Diego to Honolulu 2,556 miles 5 hours 30 minutes
Los Angeles to Honolulu 2,556 miles 5 hours 20 minutes
San Diego to Maui 2,623 miles 5 hours 40 minutes
San Diego to Kauai 2,652 miles 5 hours 50 minutes
San Diego to Hawaii (Big Island) 2,668 miles 5 hours 55 minutes

With flight times under 6 hours, travelers from San Diego or Los Angeles can easily escape to sunny Hawaii for a tropical vacation! Flights are frequent and it’s amazing how quickly you can trade California palm trees for Hawaiian ones 😎☀️🌴.

For current flight deals, check sites like Kayak or Google Flights.

Driving or Cruising from San Diego to Hawaii

Driving Routes and Mileage

Unfortunately, there are no direct driving routes between San Diego and Hawaii as they are separated by the Pacific Ocean. To drive the shortest route by land and ferry between the two cities, you would likely have to go north through the western United States and Canada, then take the ferry from Alaska to Russia, and continue driving west across Asia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

According to estimates, such a route would measure approximately 11,000 to 14,000 miles.

The closest you could get to driving directly from San Diego to Hawaii is by taking a ferry or more likely having your vehicle transported as cargo by ship across the Pacific Ocean. But this is an extremely expensive and uncommon option few travelers utilize.

Cruise Ship Travel Times and Expenses

Taking a cruise ship is a popular way for tourists to travel from California to Hawaii. Cruise ships offer a relaxing way to travel between the two destinations and allow you to see some beautiful islands along the way. Some example cruise times from San Diego to Hawaii include:

  • San Diego to Honolulu on Norwegian Cruise Lines – 7 days
  • San Diego to Maui on Disney Cruise Line – 14 days (stops at multiple islands)
  • San Diego to Kona on Holland America – 24 days (extended transpacific cruise itinerary)

Cruise fares can vary greatly depending on room type, specific islands stopped at during the itinerary, and any other package amenities. But overall, most 7-night cruises start at around $900 per person for an interior stateroom.

Luxury options with balcony rooms, specialty dining and more can cost up to $5,000+ per traveler. Expenses like alcohol, shore excursions, souvenirs and shipboard activities would all be additional costs to factor into your Hawaii cruise vacation budget.

What to Budget for Hawaii Vacations from California

Average Airfare Costs

When budgeting for a Hawaii vacation from California, airfare is often the biggest expense. Currently, average roundtrip flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu tend to run $350-$500. Of course, prices fluctuate depending on factors like seasons, demand, and how far in advance you book.

Generally, the best fares can be found by booking early or traveling during shoulder seasons like April-May or September-October. Travelers departing from the San Francisco area should expect to add around $100 to the average airfare.

Here are some tips for scoring deals on flights to Hawaii:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates if possible
  • Watch for airline sales and sign up for fare alerts
  • Consider budget carriers like Southwest Airlines which often has competitive fares to Hawaii
  • Book at least 2-3 months in advance for the lowest fares

Lodging Expenses in Hawaii

After airfare, lodging will likely be your second biggest expense for a Hawaii vacation. Hotel and resort prices can vary dramatically across the different islands and regions. For example, luxury resorts in Maui generally start around $500 per night, while more budget-friendly hotels and condos in Oahu can be found for $150-$250 per night depending on the area and season.

Island Average Hotel Price Per Night
Oahu $230
Maui $390
Kauai $310
Big Island $260

As you can see, nightly accommodation prices can really vary across the islands. Oahu tends to have more budget lodging options, while Maui is generally the priciest. Some ways to reduce your lodging costs include:

  • Consider condos or vacation rentals which often provide more space and amenities for less cost compared to hotels
  • Look for resort deals and packages during slower seasons
  • Stay in less touristy regions to save money on popular islands like Maui

When budgeting, make sure to factor in taxes and fees which can add 15% or more to lodging costs. Also, some resorts charge mandatory daily resort fees around $30-$50 on top of the room rate.


As you can see, Hawaii is quite a distance from San Diego and California, requiring an extended travel time no matter how you choose to get there. But the payoff is huge when you arrive in paradise!

By flying, you can reach lovely Honolulu nonstop from San Diego in just over 5 hours. Or take a leisurely cruise ship ride of 6-7 glorious days at sea before docking on the enchanting islands. However you decide to travel, use the information in this guide to help plan your Hawaiian vacation from the West Coast.

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