Driving Times**

Click on a link to view a Google map of the route).

Kailua Kona to:

Volcano National Park

99 miles. 2:30 hours.

Waimea (Kamuela)

45 miles. 1 hour.

Kohala Coast Resorts

25 miles. 40 minutes.

Waikoloa Village Golf Club  30 miles -  40 minutes

Keahole (Kona) Airport

10 miles. 30 minutes.

Hawi - 55 miles. 1.5 hours.

Waipio Valley Overlook

60 miles. 2.25 hours.

Hilo to:

Volcano National Park

27 miles. 45 minutes.

Waipio Valley Overlook

52 miles. 1.75 hours.

Waimea (Kamuela)

55 miles. 2 hours

Kailua-Kona via the Saddle Road* - 90 miles. 2.5 hours

Kailua-Kona via the southern route - 122 miles. 4 hours

Kailua-Kona via Waimea

95 miles. 3 hours.

Kohala Coast Resorts via the Saddle Road* -

75 miles. 1.5 hours.

Kohala Resorts to:

Volcano National Park via the Saddle Road

122 miles. 3.5 hours

Volcano National Park via the Southern route

120 miles. 3.25 hours.

Waimea (Kamuela)

20 miles. 30 minutes

Wakoloa Village Golf Club  10 miles. 20 minutes

Keahole (Kona) Airport

30 miles. 40 minutes.

Hawi - 30 miles. 1 hour

Waipio Valley Overlook

43 miles. 1.5 hours

Hilo via Waimea

75 miles. 1.5 hours.

Hilo via Saddle Road*

75 miles. 2.5 hours.

*Some rental contracts prohibit driving on the Saddle Road. Please read your contract before selecting this route.

**Because of road and weather conditions the actual driving time may be different than the Google estimate.

  1. The state of Hawaii is one of the 50 United States and the rules of the road here are pretty much the same as they are where you live, however there are a few things you need to be aware of to make your Big Island vacation safer and more enjoyable.

  1. The maximum speed limit is 55 mph. (You’re supposed to be on vacation. What’s the hurry?) If the scenery has you dawdling along at a slower speed, pull over to let those behind you pass. The people zipping past you are either locals who are late for work or vacationers who are about to miss their flight.

  1. There are no marked police cars on the island; police officers drive personal vehicles. And instead of red lights, they use blue lights to get your attention. If you see a car or SUV behind you with a blue light on its roof remember the first driving tip.

  1. Unless otherwise marked, it is OK to turn right after stopping at a red light. Also, unless it is an emergency, avoid using your car’s horn. Aloha spirit is alive on the island and drivers are usually courteous towards each other.

  1. Gasoline prices are somewhere between “Ouch” and “Oh, My God!” Locals fill up at the Costco near the airport in Kailua Kona. If you are a Costco member, remember this tip when you are returning your rental car at the end of your vacation.

  1. Rental contracts may restrict the use of your rental vehicle. Read your contract before driving on the Saddle Road (Route 200) or the road to South Point.

  1. The weather on the Saddle Road is unpredictable, with rain, snow (yes, it does snow in Hawaii), sleet, and fog likely as you leave or approach Hilo. If you decide to drive that route: be sure you have at least a half tank of gas (there are no service stations along the route), “go” before you go (the only bathroom on the route is at the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area and it may be closed for repairs), don’t carry pork in your car and be sure to stop and pick up any old hags or beautiful women dressed in white who are hitchhiking. Read our History and Culture page for an explanation.

  1. Because of road construction, the traffic between the Kona airport and Captain Cook may be moving slowly (sometimes glacially). Budget a little more time to complete the drive, and please drive carefully while the infrastructure catches up with the population.

  1. When you ask for directions you may hear “Go” as in, “Go Hilo” (in the direction of Hilo) or, “Go Kona” (in the direction of Kona or perhaps even the west side of the island). You may also hear the words mauka (MAOW-ka) and makai (mah-KAI) . Since this is an island with gigantic mountains in the center, locals may tell you that what you are looking for is on the mauka (towards the mountain) or makai (towards the sea) side of a road.

  1. It takes nearly 6 hours of non-stop driving to completely circle the Big Island. Your passengers will like the trip better if you circle the island in a clockwise direction. Often there are steep cliffs on the ocean (makai) side of the road. Circling the island in a clockwise direction will place you on the mountain (mauka) side of the road.

  1. Free maps of the island can be found in tourist booklets (click here to view a sample) at the airport and shopping centers.  Click here to download a printable map from the Big Island Visitor’s Bureau. Map books that detail all the roads on either the east or west side of the island are available for purchase in most gift shops and grocery stores.

  1. Your car rental company may provide emergency road service as part of your contract. Inquire when renting a vehicle.  Although the only AAA office in Hawaii is on the island of Oahu, AAA emergency roadside service for members is available islandwide. Contact your AAA office for more information. The phone number for AAA emergency road service is 1-800-AAA-help.


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Driving Tips