I know there aren't any roads across the Pacific, obviously. But is there any possible way to drive a car to Hawaii?

Let's say you were attempting to drive to all 50 states in the U.S., is there a not too difficult way to get that same vehicle over to Hawaii?

  • 14
    so essentially, you're asking how to ship your car to Hawaii, or to travel by ferry or similar with your car to Hawaii?
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:28
  • 3
    Of course you can drive there, just ask the all-knowing Google! <G> (Never mind that it says "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean 2,756 mi) Jul 11, 2012 at 23:09
  • @MarkMayo, preferably a way to travel with the car out there, but I realize that shipping it by itself is probably the only way, and probably not worth it, economically.
    – jjeaton
    Jul 12, 2012 at 5:50
  • 6
    @LorenPechtel - you'll struggle to take the car with the kayak ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 12, 2012 at 5:55
  • This reminds me of a Richie Rich cartoon episode. But his car could also fly. ;)
    – DTRT
    May 10, 2018 at 15:27

4 Answers 4


According to Wikitravel, unless your car is amphibious (like the Aquada), you'll need to get it freighted to Hawaii.

Fortunately this seems fairly common, and a quick google search gives a few results, including this on Hawaii Car Shipping:

According to them it usually takes three to four weeks, you will need a variety of paperwork and (of course) shipping insurance. But it's certainly possible.

However, you won't be driving WITH it. It'll be being shipped. So that depends on your technicality rules for your challenge.

Unfortunately, as per the same Wikitravel link, the days when everyone arrived by boat are gone. The only way you can get there yourself by boat is by cruise ship from the western coast of North America, for example, and I'm not sure if any companies allow you to bring your own car, let along drive it onto the boat...

  • 1
    I spotted a few cars with Hawaii plates on them in Seattle, so at least some must be making the journey the other way!
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 11, 2012 at 23:18
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    @Gagravarr: This page says that the U.S. military, as a special benefit to its personnel, will often pay to have their personal cars shipped when they are transferred. Given the large military presence in Hawaii, I'd guess that's what happened to these cars. Otherwise I would have to think it would be more cost-effective to sell the car and buy another one, especially since car prices in Hawaii would presumably be higher. Jul 12, 2012 at 5:11
  • @Gagravarr Saw one on Vancouver Island a couple months back. Aug 17, 2012 at 14:39
  • @NateEldredge High car prices in Hawaii would make it less economical to sell your car and buy a new one. Most personnel who are involved in a transfer to or from Hawaii will be non-Hawaiians who've been sent there. They would want to bring their existing car to Hawaii to avoid having to pay a premium to buy a new one there. Though I suppose that, when they leave again, they might leave the now old-ish car in Hawaii and buy a new one when they're back in the continental US. Jan 13, 2015 at 10:58
  • @NateEldredge I suspect that people with large private craft bring their cars with them, and perhaps also officers of seagoing freighters. At least, that was the explanation I came up with to explain the Alaska-registered car I once saw in Amsterdam.
    – phoog
    May 10, 2018 at 15:32

There is a not-too-difficult way.

  1. Buy a boat large enough to transport a car.
  2. Drive your car onto the boat.
  3. Have the boat sail to Hawaii with your car on it. Depending on how strict your definition of driving is, you may want to stay on the car and/or keep it on at all time, for instance circling around the main deck. Bring enough gas.
  4. Once you have arrived in Hawaii, drive your car off the boat. Congratulations, you have driven to Hawaii.

If you are asking for not too difficult and not insanely expensive, well, that is another question.

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    I think step 1 will be pretty difficult actually. I bet there's a lot of paperwork involved in owning and operating a boat that big.
    – CMaster
    Apr 17, 2016 at 10:20

The correct answer is no, it is not possible to drive to Hawaii.

However, you can have your car transported there by freight (ship) and drive around the island you have it shipped to. Visiting more than one island with your car would incur additional charges.

If you're going for an extended stay you can ship other things in the container with your car. That is how many people do it when moving permanently to Hawaii.


Driving in my home state of New Mexico, I passed a fairly high-end expensive-looking car. It had Hawaii plates on it. I assumed the shipping charge would be relatively small compared to the cost of the car.

Slightly further along the highway I passed another car, this one looked to live up to a "beater" reputation as an older car with a rundown appearance. This car also had a Hawaii plate.

I would not have thought that it would be in any way cost effective to ship the second car to the US mainland. My assumption was that it would be more efficient to sell such a car in Hawaii and then purchase another after arriving.

Perhaps they got a discount for two cars.

  • 3
    As noted in comments above, the US Military will often ship service members' cars to/from Hawaii as part of transfers. And, of course, some private employers will do the same. The definition of "cost effective" changes when someone else is willing to pay the shipping fees. Jul 31, 2016 at 1:01
  • It's simply not that expensive to ship cars RoRo. Wild guess, HI -> mainland is like 900 bucks probably.
    – Fattie
    Nov 27, 2018 at 17:29
  • Just as a random comment, it is astonishingly cheap to ship containers (full size containers) worldwide. What kills you is all the ancillary costs - trucking or training it 1000s of miles at each end, etc. Again, RoRo car services are really cheap.
    – Fattie
    Nov 27, 2018 at 17:30

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