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10 Road Trip Ideas for Hawaii

Here's what you need to know...
  • Hawaii is a unique state that is rich in history and beauty
  • There are many opportunities for road trips here, such as the Road to Hana or Molokai
  • Before taking off on your journey make sure you have the right insurance coverages at competitive prices

Although its statehood didn’t begin until 1959, the Aloha State has a long and interesting history. Hawaii is a state like no other.

Its ancient Polynesian history has left behind many artifacts such as temples. Its geographical history, rich with earthquakes, tsunamis and erupting volcanoes, has made this a state of varying landscapes, flora, and fauna.

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Taking a road trip through this state will give you many opportunities for sight-seeing, relaxing, and even taking part in unique recreational activities.

Fun facts about Hawaii

  • Over 1,500 years ago, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands made their way to the Hawaiian islands with only the stars to guide them.
  • Hawaii is the only state in America that grows coffee
  • Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the earth.
  • There are no racial or ethnic majorities in Hawaii.

Hawaii Roadtrip Planning


Big or small, every good road trip starts with some kind of a plan. Using this tips can help your road trip run more smoothly.

  • Plan trip ahead but leave flexibility – Have an idea of what want to do and when you want to accomplish it. However, with many factors out of your control such as weather and traffic, be prepared to have to change some of your plans at some point in your journey.
  • Have your car checked out – Before starting your road trip, have your car examined by a mechanic. Make any necessary maintenance appointments and necessary fixes before you leave.
  • Budget your time and money – Unfortunately, you will likely be somewhat constrained by your time and financial budget. Making sure to plan ahead for how you will spend these two valuable resources will make your trip more enjoyable in the long run.
  • Have fun car activities planned – This tip is especially important if you have children. Make sure everyone has several things to entertain them. From electronic devices to go old word searches or even a game of eye spy, having something to do can help down time go faster.
  • Plan for the worst but expect the best – Be sure to take along a road emergency kit tailored to your Hawaii road trip. This will include water, high energy snack bars, flashlights, fully charged cell phones, road flares, a fully stocked first aid kit, a warm blanket, and sunscreen.
  • Make sure you have the right coverage – Make sure you have the right type of coverage for the vacation you are taking; vacations are also a good reminder to comparison shop for the best rate!

Unique Auto Insurance Laws and Requirements in Hawaii

In Hawaii, drivers are required to have the following insurance coverage:

  • $10,000 per person for personal injury protection (PIP)
  • $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident bodily injury liability
  • $10,000 per occurrence property damage liability

Hawaii is a no-fault state. This means if you are in an auto accident here, each driver needs to file a first-party claim with their own insurance.

No matter who is at fault, your insurance must pay your claim up to your policy limits. No-fault also means you are limited when it comes to filing a civil lawsuit to compensate you for physical and emotional damages from an accident.

Road Trip Ideas in Hawaii


#1 – Road to Hana

The Road to Hana begins in Kahului and runs through Hana. As one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist attractions, it features stunning waterfalls as well as many roadside stands. Here you will find fresh flowers and leis, a multitude of Hawaiian baked treats such as banana bread as well as handmade jewelry.

At face value, the Road to Hana is only 52 miles and looks quite doable in an hour.

However, not only do the roadside stands eat up more time but the hundreds of hairpin turns, amazing views, occasional landslides, accidents, and nearly 60 on-lane bridges add to the time it takes to complete this road trip.

Most people who have taken this unforgettable road trip recommend giving yourself at least 2.5 hours to complete it.

#2 – Garden of the Gods


Garden of the Gods, also known as Keahiakawelo, is located about 45 minutes from Lanai City. This barren and rocky area is best viewed at dusk when the rocks are colorfully illuminated.

Here you can see one-of-a-kind rock towers, spires, and other rock formations that have been created by erosion over many centuries.

On clear days, you can see the islands of Oahu and Molokai. It is important to note, however, that Polihua Road is not paved and can only be accessed with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. It is illegal to remove or stack rocks here.

#3 – Hamakua Coast

There is never a shortage of things to do and see on the Hamakua Coast. This area offers deserts and tropical rainforests.

You can take in all of the amazing scenery, hike to waterfalls, and visit its small towns. There is not much in the way of modern development which gives visitors a feel for how people have lived here for over a century. Some places of interest include:

  • Kalopa State Park
  • Laupahoehoe Point
  • The Town of Honomu
  • Waipio Valley
  • Honokaa

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#4 – Chain of Craters Road

Chain of Craters Road, which used to be known as Cockett’s Trail, is a must-see if you like scenic drives. If you feel like venturing out during your drive, you can stop and explore the many trails, the temple, petroglyphs, and ancient agricultural sites.

This road is nearly 20 miles and has an elevation change of 3,700 feet. It begins at Crater Rim Drive, just over three miles from the Kilauea Visitor Center. Visitors to this area should know that along the Chain of Craters Road there is no availability for food, water, or even fuel.

#5 – Molokai

Molokai features something for almost everyone who wants to relax and experience the true Aloha spirit. Here, you can enjoy its pristine and uncrowded beaches or explore the Jurassic sea cliffs overlooking a lush jungle. Locals may invite you to real luaus and you can feast on local cuisine.

What you won’t find on Molokai are chain stores, high rise buildings, fancy restaurants, or stoplights.

#6 – Windward Coast

The Windward Coast of Oahu is just a short drive from Waikiki and Honolulu. Be sure not to miss the historic Nuuanu Pali Lookout stop while traveling to the white sandy beaches here.

Your eyes will be treated to the turquoise waters of the ocean. Kailua is a thriving beach town with several trendy shops and different eateries.

From the Windward Coast, you have easy access to Sea Life Park, Valley of the Temples, Hanauma Nature Preserve, Kualoa Ranch, and Makapuu Lighthouse.

#7 – The North Shore


If you are searching for the perfect wave, it can likely be found at Oahu’s North Shore. The best surfers in the world come to this surfing mecca during the winter for its large waves.

However, during the summer, the waves are smaller and better suited for beginning surfers and families. Many popular surfing competitions are held here such as the Super Bowl of wave riding and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Be sure to treat yourself to some rainbow flavor shave ice here and shop in Haleiwa Town.

#8 – Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park features the large shield volcano of Haleakala. It is located on east Maui. Both mountains and coast can be found here with a variety of different plants and animals. Some of the world’s rarest birds, plants, and invertebrates call this area home.

You will also be able to view ancient farmland along the coast and waterfalls in Haleakala National Park. If you prefer to avoid crowds, plan your trip here after 3 p.m. If you will be taking a camper into the park, be sure you have the proper auto insurance coverage.

#9 – Onomea Scenic Drive


Located along the Hamakua Coast is the Onomea Scenic Drive. Locals take this drive often due to its true natural beauty. The road has many twists and curves and takes you through a tropical rain forest.

Here you can take in amazing views of the ocean and the collapsed Onomea Arch. There are also many memorable photographic and scenic opportunities along this road. Take your time on this road and be prepared for its narrow paths.

It is also a good idea to make sure you have full insurance coverage, including collision and comprehensive, before traveling this road.

#10 – Waimea Canyon Drive

Another Hawaiian feast for your eyes that is not to be missed is Waimea Canyon.

Reddish lava beds have invaded the canyon and it is like Hawaii’s own version of the Grand Canyon. However, it has ever-changing colors and is only a mile wide. You can visit this area by helicopter, hike into the canyon, or simply view it from the road.

Comparison Shopping Before Your Road Trip

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Before taking your road trip, it is a good idea to be sure you are paying the best rates for your auto insurance. This can be easily done by using an online price comparison tool that allows you to compare multiple policies at once.

Then you can determine which best fits your needs and your budget. You should also be sure that you have the appropriate insurance coverages for all your adventures.

Compare car insurance rates from multiple companies in Hawaii today!

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