Dreaming of a Hawaiian getaway but wondering how you’ll get there? Many mainlanders opt to make the road trip rather than fly, eager for adventure and excited at the prospect of driving up to a tropical paradise. If you’ve considered driving to Hawaii, you probably want to know exactly how long the journey will take.

Here’s a quick answer: driving from Los Angeles to Honolulu would take around 40-45 hours of nonstop driving time. Driving from San Francisco would add another 6-8 hours.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about making the epic road trip from the mainland US to Hawaii. We’ll look at optimal routes from various starting points, break down driving times, recommend places to stop, and provide tips to plan your perfect Hawaiian road trip adventure.

Routes and Driving Times to Hawaii

Driving from Los Angeles

While it may seem like a dream to drive from Los Angeles to Hawaii, unfortunately, it’s not possible. The Pacific Ocean poses a significant obstacle. However, you can still reach Hawaii from Los Angeles by taking a flight. The flight time from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is approximately 5 to 6 hours, depending on the weather conditions and the specific route taken by the airline.

Driving from San Francisco

Similar to the route from Los Angeles, driving from San Francisco to Hawaii is not feasible due to the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. However, you can easily catch a flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a travel time of around 5 to 6 hours.

Driving from Seattle

Driving from Seattle to Hawaii is not possible as well. The distance between the two locations is over 2,500 miles, and you would need to drive through multiple countries and cross the Pacific Ocean. However, you can book a flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a travel time of around 6 to 7 hours.

Driving from Portland

Just like the previous cities, driving from Portland to Hawaii is not a viable option. The Pacific Ocean is an insurmountable barrier. Nevertheless, you can catch a flight from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a travel time of approximately 6 to 7 hours.

Driving from Other Cities

If you are not located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, or Portland, the same principle applies. There are no bridges or roads connecting the mainland United States to Hawaii. Therefore, driving to Hawaii from any other city is not possible. However, you can still reach the beautiful Hawaiian islands by booking a flight from your nearest major airport to one of the airports in Hawaii.

Tips for Driving to Hawaii

Allow Plenty of Time

Driving to Hawaii is not possible as it is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, if you are considering a road trip once you arrive in Hawaii, it is important to allow plenty of time for your adventures. The islands are small, but the roads can be windy and congested, especially in popular tourist areas. It’s better to plan for extra time to avoid feeling rushed and stressed during your trip.

Bring Entertainment and Snacks

Long drives can be tedious, so it’s important to bring along entertainment and snacks to keep yourself and your passengers occupied. Pack your favorite music playlist, podcasts, or audiobooks to make the journey more enjoyable. Don’t forget to bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep everyone fueled and hydrated throughout the trip.

Consider Shipping Your Car

If you are planning to bring your own car to Hawaii, it’s worth considering shipping it instead of driving. Shipping your car can be more convenient and cost-effective, especially if you are traveling from a long distance. Many companies offer vehicle shipping services to Hawaii, and you can choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.

Book Accommodations in Advance

Before embarking on your road trip in Hawaii, make sure to book your accommodations in advance. The islands are a popular tourist destination, and availability can be limited, especially during peak travel seasons. Booking in advance will ensure that you have a place to stay along your route and can relax knowing that your accommodations are taken care of.

Prepare for Island Driving Conditions

Driving in Hawaii has its own unique challenges, so it’s important to be prepared for the island driving conditions. The roads can be narrow and winding, and you may encounter steep inclines and declines. It’s also common to encounter heavy rain or fog, especially in higher elevations. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and be cautious while driving.

For more information on road trips in Hawaii, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority at https://www.gohawaii.com.

Best Places to Stop on the Way

Driving to Hawaii might seem like an impossible task, considering it’s an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, with the advent of technology and engineering, there are now discussions about the possibility of building an underwater tunnel or a bridge that connects the mainland United States to Hawaii. While these plans are still in the early stages, let’s explore some of the best places to stop on the way to Hawaii if such a connection ever becomes a reality.

San Diego, CA

San Diego, the southernmost city in California, is a great starting point for your journey to Hawaii. With its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and world-class attractions such as the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld, you can kick off your adventure in style. Take some time to explore the famous Gaslamp Quarter, visit the USS Midway Museum, or enjoy a sunset cruise along the stunning coastline.

Las Vegas, NV

After leaving San Diego, make a stop in Las Vegas, also known as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Whether you’re into gambling, world-class shows, or fine dining, Las Vegas has something for everyone. Try your luck at the casinos, catch a mesmerizing performance by Cirque du Soleil, or indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

As you continue your journey, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon National Park. Marvel at the sheer size and beauty of the canyon, hike along its rim, or take a thrilling helicopter ride for a bird’s-eye view. The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder that simply cannot be missed.

San Francisco, CA

Next on your list should be the iconic city of San Francisco. Famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Take a ferry to Alcatraz Island, explore the bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, or simply enjoy a stroll along the picturesque waterfront.

Redwood National Park, CA

Continuing north, you’ll come across the majestic Redwood National Park, home to some of the tallest trees on Earth. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of these ancient forests, hike through scenic trails, or simply stand in awe of these ancient giants. It’s a truly humbling experience that will leave you feeling connected to nature.

Crater Lake National Park, OR

As you near the end of your journey, make sure to visit Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Formed by the collapse of a volcanic cone, Crater Lake is known for its striking blue waters and picturesque surroundings. Take a boat tour, go fishing, or simply enjoy a picnic while taking in the breathtaking views. It’s the perfect place to relax and reflect on your incredible journey.

While the idea of driving to Hawaii is still a dream for now, these destinations along the way offer plenty of adventure, natural beauty, and unforgettable experiences. So, if the day ever comes when you can drive to Hawaii, make sure to explore these incredible places along the route!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to drive to Hawaii?

Driving to Hawaii is not possible as it is an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. However, if you were considering the cost of shipping your car to Hawaii, it can vary depending on various factors such as the size and weight of your vehicle, the shipping company you choose, and the departure port. On average, the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii can range from $1,000 to $3,000.

What route is best for driving to Hawaii?

As mentioned earlier, driving to Hawaii is not possible due to the vast distance and absence of roads connecting it to the mainland. However, if you are interested in exploring scenic routes and experiencing a road trip, you can consider driving along the coastal highways in states like California, Oregon, and Washington to enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Can I drive my own car to Hawaii?

No, you cannot drive your own car to Hawaii. Since Hawaii is an island, there are no roads or bridges connecting it to the mainland. Shipping your car to Hawaii via a shipping company or transporting it by ferry is the only way to bring your vehicle to the island.

Is it cheaper to drive or fly to Hawaii?

Typically, flying to Hawaii is the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to travel to the islands. Driving from the mainland to Hawaii would involve crossing the Pacific Ocean, which is not feasible. The cost of shipping your car and the time it takes for the journey would likely outweigh the convenience and affordability of flying. Additionally, flying allows you to enjoy the breathtaking aerial views of the Hawaiian islands as you approach your destination.


With some planning and preparation, the epic drive from the mainland to Hawaii can be an unforgettable adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Taking the time to drive allows you to see parts of the country you’d never view from a plane window. Just be sure to allot plenty of time for the long journey, stock up on entertainment and snacks, and plan stops at interesting attractions along the way. The payoff at the end is well worth it – the magic of pulling up to a Hawaiian island after an open-road odyssey. Aloha!

Safe travels, and enjoy the ride!

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