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How Long Does It Take to Drive Around Hawaii

How Long Does It Take to Drive Around Hawaii?

Hawaii, the beautiful archipelago in the Central Pacific, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture. Many visitors dream of exploring all the islands and experiencing everything the Aloha State has to offer. If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, you might be wondering how long it takes to drive around the different islands, as well as the best ways to navigate your way through this paradise. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to driving around Hawaii, including estimated driving times, essential tips, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Estimated Driving Times

Hawaii consists of eight main islands, each with its own unique charm and attractions. The largest island, commonly known as the Big Island, offers diverse landscapes, including active volcanoes and black sand beaches. The second largest island, Maui, is famous for its stunning sunrises atop Haleakala and the scenic Road to Hana. Oahu, the most populous island, is home to the state capital, Honolulu, and the iconic Waikiki Beach. Kauai, often called the Garden Isle, boasts lush greenery and dramatic cliffs. Finally, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe are smaller islands with limited tourist access.

Here’s an overview of the estimated driving times to circle each of the major islands:

1. Big Island: To drive around the entire island, including stops at popular attractions like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Mauna Kea, it can take approximately 7-9 hours, depending on the traffic and the time spent at each destination.

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2. Maui: Driving around Maui takes around 4-5 hours without stops. However, most visitors choose to take their time and explore the numerous attractions along the Road to Hana, which can extend the drive to a full day or more.

3. Oahu: Although Oahu is the third largest island, driving around it is relatively quick. It takes about 2-3 hours to circle the island without any stops. However, the drive time can increase based on traffic conditions, especially around Honolulu.

4. Kauai: Known for its scenic beauty, Kauai can be driven around in approximately 3-4 hours. However, it’s recommended to allow extra time to explore the stunning Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon.

Tips for Driving in Hawaii

Driving in Hawaii can be a memorable experience, but it’s essential to keep a few tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey:

1. Plan your itinerary: Before embarking on your road trip, create a detailed itinerary of the places you want to visit and the routes you’ll take. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid any unnecessary detours.

2. Rent a car: To explore the islands at your own pace, renting a car is highly recommended. There are several car rental agencies available at the airports and major cities. Be sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

3. Be mindful of the weather: Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to stay informed about any severe weather conditions, such as heavy rains or flash floods. Check the local weather forecasts and road conditions before setting out.

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4. Take breaks and stay hydrated: Hawaii’s scenic beauty can be mesmerizing, but it’s crucial to take breaks during long drives. Stretch your legs, stay hydrated, and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way.


Q: Do I need an international driver’s license to drive in Hawaii?
A: If you possess a valid driver’s license from your home country, you can legally drive in Hawaii for up to one year. However, an international driver’s license can be helpful as an additional form of identification.

Q: Are there toll roads in Hawaii?
A: No, there are no toll roads in Hawaii. However, some parks and attractions may charge entrance fees.

Q: Can I drive between the islands?
A: No, it’s not possible to drive directly between the islands. You’ll need to take a short flight or a ferry to travel from one island to another.

Q: What is the legal driving age in Hawaii?
A: The legal driving age in Hawaii is 18 years old. However, drivers aged 16 or 17 with a valid license can drive when accompanied by a licensed adult aged 21 or older.

Q: Is parking readily available in Hawaii?
A: Parking availability varies depending on the location and time of day. In more congested areas like Waikiki, parking can be limited and expensive. It’s advisable to check for public parking options or consider using alternative transportation methods like buses or taxis.

Driving around Hawaii can be an unforgettable adventure, allowing you to discover the islands at your own pace. By estimating driving times, planning your itinerary, and following the tips provided, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable journey through this tropical paradise. So, buckle up, enjoy the stunning landscapes, and immerse yourself in the Aloha spirit as you explore the captivating islands of Hawaii.

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