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How Long to Drive Around Hawaii

How Long to Drive Around Hawaii

Hawaii, with its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage, is a dream destination for many travelers. One of the best ways to explore the islands is by embarking on a road trip. However, before setting off on your Hawaiian adventure, it is essential to plan your route and consider how long it will take to drive around this beautiful archipelago. In this article, we will discuss the approximate time it takes to drive around Hawaii’s main islands, along with some frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your journey.

Driving around the Big Island:
The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest and most diverse island of the Hawaiian archipelago. If you want to explore this island entirely, you should allocate at least a week for your road trip. The Big Island offers a variety of attractions, including the active Kilauea volcano, stunning waterfalls, black sand beaches, and lush rainforests. The entire circumnavigation of the island can take around 10 hours without stops, but it is advisable to take your time and enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way.

Driving around Maui:
Maui, often referred to as the Valley Isle, is famous for its pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and the iconic Road to Hana. To drive around the entire island, it will take approximately 2-3 days, depending on how many stops you make along the way. The Road to Hana alone can take a full day, as it winds through lush rainforests, past breathtaking waterfalls, and offers stunning coastal views. Be sure to allocate enough time to explore the Haleakala National Park, where you can witness a spectacular sunrise from the summit of the volcano.

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Driving around Oahu:
Oahu, the most populated island in Hawaii, is home to the state capital, Honolulu, and famous Waikiki Beach. To drive around the entire island, it takes about 4-5 hours, excluding stops. However, Oahu is known for its heavy traffic, especially in urban areas. It is recommended to plan your road trip during off-peak hours to avoid congestion. While on Oahu, make sure to visit the historic Pearl Harbor, hike to the top of Diamond Head, and explore the North Shore, famous for its legendary surf spots.

Driving around Kauai:
Kauai, often called the Garden Isle, is known for its lush green landscapes, dramatic cliffs, and picturesque waterfalls. To drive around the entire island, it takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on the time spent at various attractions. Make sure to explore the stunning Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and take a boat tour along the breathtaking Na Pali Coast. Kauai’s roads are generally less congested than Oahu, making it a perfect island for a relaxing road trip.


Q: Do I need a special license to drive in Hawaii?
A: If you possess a valid driver’s license from your home country or state, you can drive in Hawaii.

Q: Are there any toll roads in Hawaii?
A: No, there are no toll roads in Hawaii.

Q: Can I rent a car in Hawaii?
A: Yes, car rental services are available on all major islands, and it is a popular choice for exploring Hawaii at your own pace.

Q: How much does gasoline cost in Hawaii?
A: Gasoline prices in Hawaii can be higher than the national average, so it is advisable to plan your budget accordingly.

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Q: Are there any restrictions on driving off-road in Hawaii?
A: Off-road driving is strictly prohibited in Hawaii, and fines can be imposed for violating this rule.

Q: Are there any scenic drives in Hawaii besides the main islands?
A: Yes, there are several scenic drives on the smaller islands of Molokai and Lanai, which offer unique landscapes and cultural experiences.

In conclusion, the time it takes to drive around Hawaii’s main islands varies depending on the size and attractions of each island. To explore the Big Island thoroughly, allocate at least a week, while Maui, Oahu, and Kauai can be explored in 2-5 days. Remember to plan your route, consider traffic conditions, and make stops at the various attractions along the way. A road trip around Hawaii is an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and vibrant culture of the islands.

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