Nothing beats the relaxed, refreshing vibe of a Hawaii beach vacation. If this is the kind of getaway you could use right about now, you’re probably dreaming about how to get to Hawaii from your city and state. This guide will give you a quick primer on traveling to Hawaii from mainland U.S.A. We even have tips to help you recreate the vibe of Hawaii at home!
What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit Hawaii?
Thanks to the warm climate, Hawaii is perfect for a visit almost any time of year. The best season to visit Hawaii really depends on what you want from your Hawaiian vacation.
If you want to enjoy long, lazy days by the beach, visit during the summer months for warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. But be sure to make plans and book flights and accommodations early, as this is a popular time of year to travel to Hawaii.
To enjoy the islands at a quieter time of year, when there are fewer travellers around, come to Hawaii in September, October, or November. The weather is still warm, but there’s typically more rain than in the drier summer months. It’s a great time to visit if you want to spend your Hawaiian vacation seeing city attractions and exploring the islands. Note: Because Hawaii was shut down for almost a year due to COVID-19, the demand for travel has substantially increased for the months that are typically quiet. For a while, September, October, and November might be busier than usual.
How to Get to Hawaii by Air
If you want to spend most of your vacation time in Hawaii, the best way to travel is by air. You’ll spend between 5 and 12 hours in flight, depending on your starting destination. In general, the further West you live on the mainland, the less time your flight will take to get to Hawaii.
If you live near a West Coast city like Sacramento or San Francisco, you can fly direct to Hawaii. A handful of airports in cities in the Midwest and on the East Coast also have flights that travel direct to Hawaii. From many other states you will need to take a connecting flight from a domestic airport to get to an international airport that flies to Hawaii.
What Airlines Fly Direct to Hawaii?
Six American airlines fly direct to Hawaii from the mainland USA. They are:
Planes make the trip daily, leaving from major cities across the U.S. They include:
- Anchorage, AK
- Seattle, WA
- Portland, OR
- Oakland, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Denver, CO
- Minneapolis, MI
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- New York City, NY
What Major Airports Are in Hawaii?
There are major Hawaiian airports on four of Hawaii’s biggest islands, including:
- Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport and Hilo International Airport on Hawaii Island
- Kahului Airport on Maui
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Oahu
- Lihue Airport on Kauai
How Long Does It Take to Fly to Hawaii from the Mainland U.S.?
The number of hours you spend in the air will depend mostly on where you live. Most flights to Hawaii leave from cities on or near the West Coast. These flights take five to six hours to get to Hawaii. A flight from Chicago to Hawaii takes 8 to 9 hours, while a flight from New York to Hawaii is a trip of 12 to 13 hours.
How to Get to Hawaii on a Cruise
Another way to get to the Hawaiian islands is by taking a cruise that travels through the Pacific Ocean. This can be a fun option for singles, couples, and families, as cruises have lots of activities to enjoy while you’re aboard the ship. You’ll also typically get to visit several port cities in addition to visiting Hawaii.
If you enjoy cruises and like visiting lots of different cities, a Pacific cruise might be the perfect combination of long, lazy days and island-hopping. Many cruise lines offer Pacific and Hawaii cruises with themed activities and programs, giving you the chance to learn about and enjoy Hawaiian culture.
Can’t Go to Hawaii? Bring Hawaii to You!
If you feel like you need a Hawaiian vacation, but it’s not in the cards for you right now, why not recreate that beachy island vibe at home? Here are some ways you can bring Hawaii into your home, all year round.
- Grow Hawaiian native plants, such as hibiscus. If you live in a cooler climate, grow them in pots, and bring them indoors over winter.
- Make a Hawaiian lei by threading flowers onto a length of cotton string. A lei made with fresh flowers will keep for several days, if stored in the fridge when you’re not wearing it.
- Add some island vibes to your home décor with bamboo wind chimes, or use Hawaiian-print sarongs as throws or bed covers.
- Learn to play the ukulele!
- Use Spotify or YouTube to create a playlist of music by Hawaiian artists.
- Watch a movie set in or filmed on the Hawaiian islands, such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, or Aloha. Use the Hawaiian Film Office to find a list of movies and TV shows filmed in Hawaii.
- Throw a luau in your backyard or right in your living room. Click here for our ideas for snacks, drinks, crafts, and more.
- Order delicious treats straight from the islands. A good place to start? Pineapple or chocolate manju, chocolate-coated macadamia nuts, or chocolate-dipped ika.
- Enjoy fresh or canned pineapple in muffins and cakes; salads and salsa; or on your backyard grill with chicken, pork, or fish.
- Make your morning coffee a cup of authentic grown-in-Hawaii 100% Kona or Ka’u coffee.
We have a lot of ideas on how to craft a full Hawaiian staycation. Click here to see them all!
Take the Spirit of Aloha Wherever You Go
In Hawaiian culture, “aloha” means more than just hello and goodbye. It also means love, affection, peace, and respect. The spirit of aloha means living in harmony with and caring for your world and the people you meet. Whether you plan a Hawaii vacation or bring Hawaii into your own home in some way, be sure to make the spirit of aloha welcome too!