Last updated on May 2nd, 2023 at 01:45 pm
All of our reviews are based on exhaustive research, industry experience, and whenever possible, hands-on testing. When you make a purchase using one of our chosen links we’ll a small percentage of the proceeds. This supports the site and keeps Jeffsetter running. You can read more here.
Hawaii is a dream location for many, and if you’ve always imagined driving your RV across the US from corner to corner, you may be wondering if it’s possible to take your rig to Hawaii. With golden sand beaches and turquoise waters, it’s no surprise Hawaii welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
So, let’s find out if RVs are allowed in Hawaii!
While there’s no law against RVs in Hawaii, they’re rare to see, and with transportation costs being so high to take RVs over to Hawaiian islands, it’s unsurprising many RVers stick to mainland US. Finding campgrounds in Hawaii can be difficult, and it’s essential to adhere to rules and regulations when considering RVing in Hawaii.
It’s not impossible to RV around the enchanting Hawaiian islands, but it may be worth considering a rental RV option, in place of transporting your own rig across the water.
There are a number of reasons why Hawaii can be a tricky place for RVs, and considering every option is worth it if you want to wake up to stunning crystal waters and soft sand in a camper.
Are RVs Allowed In Hawaii?
There isn’t a law preventing RVs from being driven in Hawaii, and if you can ship your RV across to an island, you’ve tackled one of the biggest challenges when RVing in Hawaii.
Getting your rig across the water only conquers one challenge however, as when you reach the islands, you’ll then have to manage the difficulty of finding a suitable place to park your rig.
Campgrounds and RV service points are not commonly seen on Hawaiian islands, and as it’s usually illegal to sleep in an RV, it may be more stressful than it’s worth.
There also tend to be strict rules to follow when parking your RV, so it’s worth researching ahead of time and having fallback options for your travels.
It may be possible to camp in some parts of Hawaii such as specific beaches, but campers may be required to first obtain a permit.
Parking your RV in an appropriate place and tent camping overnight in suitable places may be an option worth considering. Although, it does mean you won’t have the luxuries of an RV overnight and will instead have to settle for a sleeping bag and flashlight!
Why Is Hawaii Hard For RVing?
There are several reasons why Hawaii can be hard for RVing, and the biggest challenge once transporting an RV over to the islands, is to find areas to safely sleep and rest in your rig.
Traveling to Hawaii in an RV is something that needs to be thought about carefully as costs are high and it isn’t the most RV-friendly part of the country.
1. It’s Difficult to Get an RV To Hawaii
Flying to Hawaii and renting an RV on an island is a far more cost-effective option, but you may find there aren’t any large RV rental options like your mighty rig at home. You’ll likely find converted vans and smaller camper options, than large, luxury RVs – just take a look at Outdoorsy.
2. Hawaiian Islands are Limited
Part of the appeal of RVing is the freedom to choose your destination, and park with a different view every day if you fancy!
On an island, however, suddenly your home on wheels starts to seem a little unnecessary when you can drive across the entire Big Island in a day. All of the interstates, state highways, and secondary state highways only total 1,013 miles so you won’t need long to explore.
I’m sure many of you reading this have put in those kinds of miles in just a weekend, making the idea of shipping an RV to drive around 1,000 miles unnecessary for most.
If you’ve always dreamed about taking your RV to Hawaii but are put off by the expensive fees and limited travel, a rental camper might be an option well worth considering.
3. The Hawaiian Climate Can Be Challenging
The climate of Hawaii is partially harsh to RVs, with salty air and plenty of moisture from rain and humidity creating the perfect conditions for rust.
While some RV materials such as fiberglass, have a better chance of surviving, it’s impossible not to have some metal components that may be vulnerable to the Hawaiian climate.
If your heart is set on RVing in Hawaii, there are better times of the year to visit than others, and the below video is a great in-depth explanation of the best and worst times to visit.
Being prepared and knowing what to expect when you arrive in Hawaii means you’ll be far less likely to get caught out in heavy winds and downpours without a campground nearby for shelter.
4. Lack of Campgrounds
While there are some amazing national parks and campgrounds in Hawaii, most are lacking the kind of RV hookups you’d expect to see on the mainland. This can make things a lot tougher when traveling around the islands in an RV.
Adding solar power to your RV can make things a lot easier as whenever the sun is shining, you can top your batteries up.
5. Smaller Roads
Most roads in Hawaii aren’t built to handle larger vehicles, as there aren’t semi-trucks moving goods all around the island like there are on the mainland.
This hints that Hawaii’s roads and general infrastructure weren’t designed to handle large travel trailers or a big 30-foot rig! Smaller roads may make things tricky for RVs as there is inevitably less space to move around.
Can You Live/Sleep In An RV In Hawaii?
Traveling around Hawaii in an RV is legal, however, problems tend to arise when it comes to living or sleeping in an RV. Sleeping in vehicles is generally not accepted in Hawaii and RVers are most definitely not allowed to rock up to a gorgeous beach and call a spot home for the night.
Tent camping is better accepted, so it may be worth packing a small tent so you can sleep in peace and still have an authentic experience in Hawaii. There are campgrounds and designated camp spots, and these are the places you’ll want to be heading to at night in your RV.
What Are Hawaii RV Laws?
The laws in Hawaii for living or sleeping in a vehicle are very clear and state neither action is tolerated on the islands. Although this can make things hard for RVers, there are designated places to park your camper such as permit-run sites where you can park for the night.
Between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am, sleeping in a vehicle is not permitted, unless the vehicle and owner have been given permission to park on land, or are parked in an appropriate location such as a campground.
Where Can You Park An RV In Hawaii?
If you’ve been on many adventures in your RV, the chances are you’ve used a campground or two, and made the most of the hot showers, electric hookups, waste facilities, and more. Campgrounds in Hawaii, however, are not often fully serviced like the RV parks you may be used to, and won’t usually have amenities to readily use.
Camping at most Hawaiian campgrounds will first require RVers to get a permit online providing permission to stay on the land. The RV areas you’ll likely come across in Hawaii are very basic, and provide more of a place to safely stay, than somewhere to charge up batteries, do laundry, and empty gray and black waste.
Are There RV Parks In Hawaii?
RV parks in Hawaii are few and far between, but it’s possible to stay at a private campground, or state site, or obtain a permit to park your RV at a government-run campground.
Spaces at these campgrounds are limited, and if you’re traveling around Hawaii at the height of peak season, be prepared to head to these spots early to secure your space for a few days.
While there aren’t any specific rules that prevent you from RVing on Hawaiian islands, it isn’t a low-cost travel option and requires a lot of thought due to impracticalities.
Renting an RV is a far better choice if you want to travel around Hawaii in a temporary home on wheels, although it still may be challenging to find suitable places to park and sleep.
It may be worth having a break from the wheel and exploring Hawaii outside an RV for an easier trip!