Can You Drive To Hawaii From The Mainland? All Things You Need to Know in 2023!

Hawaii is a beautiful tropical paradise with stunning beaches, lush greenery, and an abundance of outdoor activities. It’s no surprise that many people dream of exploring Hawaii by car. However, the question on everyone’s mind is whether it’s possible to drive to Hawaii from the mainland. In this article, we’ll explore this question “Can You Drive To Hawaii From The Mainland?” with all the information you need to know about driving to Hawaii.

Can You Drive To Hawaii From The Mainland?

The simple answer is no, it’s not possible to drive to Hawaii from the mainland. Hawaii is a group of islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,500 miles from the West Coast of the United States.

While it may seem like a cool idea to drive across the ocean floor and reach Hawaii, it’s simply not feasible. The distance between the mainland and Hawaii is too great, and the ocean floor is too deep to make such a trip possible.

Different Ways To Travel To Hawaii

There are several different ways to travel to the beautiful paradise of Hawaii, offering travelers a range of options depending on their preferences, budget, and time constraints. Whether you’re looking for convenience, adventure, or relaxation, there’s a mode of transportation that will suit your needs. Let’s explore some of the popular ways to travel to Hawaii.


The most common and convenient way to reach Hawaii is by air. There are numerous major airlines that offer direct flights from various destinations around the world to the islands’ main airports. These include:

  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu
  • Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui
  • Kona International Airport (KOA) on the Big Island
  • Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai

    Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu
    Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu

Flying allows you to reach Hawaii relatively quickly, particularly if you’re traveling from the West Coast of the United States or other Pacific Rim countries. For example, a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu takes about 5 hours.

Once you’ve booked your flight, you’ll need to make arrangements for transportation from the airport to your hotel or resort. There are a variety of options available, including taxis, shuttles, and rental cars.

Cruise Ships

If you’re looking for a slower and more relaxed way to travel while also having the chance to visit numerous locations, then going on a Hawaiian cruise might be a very appealing choice. A lot of cruise companies provide trips that involve halts at various islands in Hawaii, which enables travelers to admire the breathtaking landscapes and take part in different activities throughout their journey. Going on a cruise to Hawaii allows you to have a distinct viewpoint of the islands from the sea, as well as the opportunity to unpack only once while relishing the amenities and entertainment provided onboard.

The best time to go on a Hawaiian cruise depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer warm weather, the best time to go is from June to August. If you prefer cooler weather, the best time to go is from April to May or September to October.

Private Yacht or Sailboat

If you’re looking for an exclusive and luxurious way to travel to Hawaii, chartering a private yacht or sailboat might be the perfect choice. This option grants you flexibility and privacy during your journey, giving you the freedom to explore the islands at your own pace. You can hire a captain and crew, or if you have the necessary skills and licenses, you can operate the vessel yourself. Sailing to Hawaii allows you to embrace the seafaring spirit and soak up the beauty of the Pacific Ocean en route.


Traveling to Hawaii by ferry is an option for those who prefer a slower-paced journey or are interested in island hopping between the Hawaiian islands. While there are no direct ferries from the mainland United States to Hawaii, inter-island ferries operate between some of the major islands like Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Oahu. These ferries provide a scenic and relaxed way to explore the archipelago, allowing you to witness the stunning coastlines and possibly spot marine life during the crossing.

Personal Watercrafts

For adventure enthusiasts and sea lovers, traveling to Hawaii on personal watercrafts can be an exhilarating option. Jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, and small sailing boats are some examples of personal watercraft that can be used for this type of travel. However, it’s important to note that this method requires extensive planning, experience, and knowledge of oceanic navigation. It’s recommended to consult with local agencies, adhere to safety guidelines, and be aware of weather conditions before embarking on such a voyage.

Comparisons Of Traveling To Hawaii By Air And Sea

While driving to Hawaii is not possible, there are still some ways to travel to Hawaii. Here are some comparisons of two methods (by Air And Sea) to help you decide which option is best for you:

Traveling By Air

  • Time: The flight time from the mainland United States to Hawaii depends on your departure city. The shortest flights are from the West Coast, which take about 5-6 hours. Flights from the East Coast take about 8-9 hours.
  • Cost: The cost of flights to Hawaii can vary depending on the time of year, the airline you choose, and your departure city. Generally, you can expect to pay around $500-$1,000 for a round-trip ticket. However, you can often find deals and discounts, especially if you book your flight in advance.
  • Comfort: Modern airplanes offer a high level of comfort, with spacious seating, in-flight entertainment, and food and beverage service. Most airlines also offer lie-flat seats in their business class cabins.

Here are some additional tips for finding cheap flights to Hawaii:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates. Flying during the off-season or on weekdays can save you a lot of money.
  • Consider flying into a smaller airport. There are often cheaper flights into airports like Honolulu (HNL) and Kahului (OGG) than into major airports like Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
  • Book your flight in advance. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to find a good deal.
  • Use a flight search engine to compare prices from different airlines.
  • Sign up for email alerts from airlines and travel websites. This way, you’ll be notified of any sales or discounts.

Traveling By Sea

  • Time: The distance between the continental United States and Hawaii is about 2,500 miles. This means that it takes a long time to travel by sea, even at a cruising speed of 20 knots. A cruise ship from California to Hawaii typically takes 7-10 days, while a freighter can take up to 3 weeks.
  • Cost: The cost of traveling by sea also varies depending on your mode of transportation. A cruise is the most expensive option, but it also offers the most amenities and activities. Freighter travel is the cheapest option, but it is also the most basic. You will typically have to share a small cabin with other passengers and there are few amenities onboard.
  • Comfort: Traveling by sea can be a unique and comfortable experience, but it typically involves sleeping in tight quarters and dealing with rough seas. Cruise ships have a variety of cabins to choose from, but even the most spacious cabins are not as large as a hotel room. And if you are traveling during the winter months, you may experience rough seas that can make sleeping and moving around difficult.

Overall, traveling to Hawaii by sea is a unique and adventurous experience. However, it is important to be aware of the time, cost, and comfort factors before you book your trip.

TIPs For Traveling To Hawaii

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, here are some tips to make your journey as smooth as possible:

  • Plan ahead: This is one of the most important tips for planning a trip to Hawaii. By booking your flights or cruise well in advance, you can get the best deals and ensure availability. You should also start planning your activities and itinerary early, so you can book any necessary reservations.
  • Pack appropriately: Hawaii is a tropical destination, so pack light, breathable clothing. You’ll also want to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Mosquito repellant is also a good idea, especially if you’ll be spending time outdoors.
  • Obtain necessary documents: Make sure you have a valid passport or ID card and any necessary visas or travel authorizations before departing for Hawaii. You can check with the US Department of State for more information on visa requirements.
  • Consider travel insurance: Travel insurance can provide additional peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected events, such as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. It’s especially important to have travel insurance if you’re traveling to a remote location or engaging in risky activities.
  • Respect the culture: Hawaii has a rich and unique culture that should be respected and appreciated. Be mindful of local customs and traditions, and treat the locals with respect. This includes things like dressing appropriately, not littering, and being mindful of noise levels.

People also read Can You Drink Alcohol on the Beach in Hawaii? Best guide in 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Drive To Hawaii?

Q. Can I bring my car to Hawaii?

Yes, it’s possible to bring your car to Hawaii by shipping it on a cargo vessel. However, this can be expensive and may not be practical for short trips.

Q. How long will the fastest boat take from the US to Hawaii?

The fastest boat from the US to Hawaii can take anywhere from 2 to 3 days, depending on the type of boat, the weather conditions, and the skill of the crew.

The current record for the fastest boat from California to Hawaii is held by the MOD70 Phaedo^3, which completed the journey in 3 days, 16 hours, 52 minutes, and 3 seconds in 2017. This boat is a high-performance trimaran that is capable of sailing at speeds of up to 30 knots.

Q. Can I take my car between different islands in Hawaii?

No, you cannot take your car between different islands in Hawaii. There are no bridges or tunnels connecting the islands, and the only way to travel between them is by plane, ferry, or boat.

If you want to drive between islands, you will need to ship your car. There are several companies that offer inter-island car shipping, and the cost will vary depending on the size of your car and the distance it needs to travel.

Q. What are some must-see attractions in Hawaii?

Some popular attractions in Hawaii include Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, Haleakala National Park, and the Road to Hana.


We have made the question “Can You Drive To Hawaii From The Mainland?” clear, even though it is not feasible. However, there are several other ways to reach this beautiful tropical paradise. Whether you choose to fly or sail, it is crucial to plan ahead, pack accordingly, and respect local customs. With careful preparation and research, you can have an amazing experience exploring everything Hawaii has to offer.


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