Hitchwiki: the Hitchhiker's guide to Hitchhiking (2024)

<map lat='20.8' lng='-157.5' zoom='6' view='0' float='right' country='United States'/>Hawaii is a group of islands in the Pacific ocean and belongs to the USA.

Despite being a series of islands separate from the mainland, it is probably the easiest US state for hitchhiking. Do not expect to travel very long distances, as all islands are fairly small, but do be prepared to drink a lot of beer and smoke a LOT of pot.


  • 1 O'ahu
  • 2 The Big Island
  • 3 Law
    • 3.1 County Laws
  • 4 Experiences


The main island, complete with international airport and the big city of Honolulu refereed to by the locals as "town".

Most hitchers are surfers trying to get between beaches and towns; not travelers, and mostly along the "North Shore".

The Big Island

Thumbing around the Big Island can be heaps of fun especially since it is not as crowded with seasonal tourists as some of the other more frequented islands. Rides often come in the form of "Hop in the back bra" from locals driving large pick-up trucks. Rides can also be ways of getting to meet locals and avoiding being the Haole (a term used to describe foreigners and white people). Beware that the east side of the Island can almost certainly expect rain at some point during the day all year round, while the west side may be boiling hot and dry for weeks. Don't be afraid to use the Shaka sign, the unmistakable pinky and thumb salute. It is the ultimate symbol of aloha and local culture in Hawaii.

The Big Island is probably one of the best and easiest places on the planet to hitch a ride. On the Eastern side of the island you will probably not wait more than ten minutes for a ride, and if you are waiting longer than that it will most likely be due to a lack of cars driving by (this is especially true on back roads that don't see much traffic. The few people that do drive by, however, will be more than willing to pick you up in most cases). The Eastern side of the island (especially the Pahoa area) is full of 'hippies' and Rainbows, so you will always be in good company and will definitely meet people while hitching, whether they be people who pick you up or others you run into on the side of the road while thumbing. There are also a number of intentional communities and communes in the area, and a lot of them will be more than happy to allow people wandering through the area stay for a night or two in exchange for a bit of cash or worktrade. There are also TONS of farms in the area that are always looking for people to worktrade (WWOOF is huge here, so you can also use the WWOOF Hawaii site to find farms). Accommodations will range from just a space in a field to throw up a tent, to little shacks, to cozy rooms in the house with food provided. Simply ask people who pick you up and other hitchhikers if they know of any worktrade opportunities and you will definitely find something.Both truck bed rides and rides in the cabin of cars are common here. Expect great conversation with people you never would have even imagine existed. The locals on this side of the island can be somewhat hostile, and it seems a lot of the island's Meth problem originates here. Be wary of locals offering you rides. There are the occasional nice locals, but you just have to be careful and vibe out the situation. If they sketch you out for WHATEVER REASON refuse the ride. You can be sure someone else will stop for you soon after, so it isn't much of a sacrifice.

The Western side of the island isn't quite as hospitable, but it is by no means a bad place to hitch. Wait times here will be longer--it is not uncommon to sit on the side of a busy highway for at least an hour waiting for a ride--but it isn't unbearable and you will definitely get picked up even if it takes slightly longer. You won't always be waiting forever, though. You will most likely get confused/dirty looks from tourists driving by, but these can be quite amusing and these looks provide entertainment for a lot of the hitchhikers in the area. Just ignore them and wait a little bit and someone will stop for you eventually. On this side of the island truck bed rides are more common, but you can still find people who will pick you up in the cabin of their cars as long as you don't look like a creep. Just smile and wave and be friendly and you will be fine. Worktrade isn't as big on this side of the island, but it is still there, you will just have to search harder to find it. Again, ask around. There are also lots of deserted sections of beaches that are safe to camp on for extended periods of time here (hint: if you need a place to crash near Kona ask other hitchhikers/people who pick you up about 'Seventy Nines' beach at the 79 mile marker and hopefully someone will point you in the right direction). I personally have camped on some of the beach parks in the resort area, which seems counter intuitive, but because they are ritzy most of the homebums (crazy homeless people who are usually aged 35+) avoid these areas, making them extremely safe. These spots are not good for long term camping, but if you get stuck in the Waikoloa area for whatever reason you can just wait until after dark and head to a closed off beach park. Just find a place that is out of sight, set up your tent, and set your phone alarm to wake you up around 05:30 or 06:00 before the park is opened.

It is possible to hitch the rest of the island with relative ease, but some areas of the island don't get much traffic and it can be difficult to get rides in these areas. Once you get past Volcano and into the smaller southern towns (Naalehu, for example) you should have no problem getting rides. South Point road is easy to get to but, since it is a ten mile road that leads to nowhere and is mostly frequented by tourists, you will have to wait a long while to find someone to take you down it.

The Northern area of the island can be hitched, but it is so remote that you may not want to attempt it. The bus service is by far the best way to travel through the northern areas of the island. The bus is a $1 and runs a few times a day and goes all around the island. The bus stops at every little town in the north on the Hilo-Kona route and the ride is absolutely beautiful.


An interpretation has been given by the Attorney General that "Att. Gen. Op. 75-17: Subsection (a) is not unconstitutionally vague." This means that if the police throw the book at you, it may be illegal to hitchhike on the property of any right of way in all counties except Honolulu county (the island of Oahu). However, as you can see below the law is very vague regarding the allowance of county interpretations:

Here is the text of the law (including controversial subsection (a))

291C-77 Pedestrians soliciting rides, business or attention of motorist. (a) Except as otherwise provided by county ordinance, no person shall stand in, walk along, or otherwise occupy a portion of a highway for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, business, or contributions from the occupant of any vehicle.

291C-1 Definitions. As used in this chapter:Highway means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained and those private streets, as defined in section 46-16, over which the application of this chapter has been extended by ordinance, when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

County Laws

Note: Due to the wording of the state law except as otherwise provided by county ordinance some counties in Hawaii are legal to hitchhike in based on their county code. It is unknown whether only statutes expressly allowing hitchhiking are considered for this, or if statutes prohibiting hitchhiking in certain circ*mstances can be assumed to allow it in circ*mstances not pertaining to their own county code.

Hawaii CountyOverview: Probably Legal*"

24-249 Pedestrians soliciting rides or business prohibited
(a) No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle.
24-3 Definitions
(35) "Roadway" means that portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.
  • State law may override this law. Hitchhiking may be illegal in Hawaii county.

Honolulu CountyOverview: Legal*

15-17.4 HitchhikingThe solicitation of free rides (hitchhiking) shall be permitted at any official bus stop of the city and county or in any open area where there are no official bus stops within a reasonable distance; provided however, that the person soliciting rides shall not stand for the purpose of such solicitation on the roadway; and provided further, that no person shall attempt to intimidate, threaten, or otherwise annoy passing motorists while engaged in hitchhiking.

  • Honolulu county is the only county which explicitly permits hitchhiking overriding the state law.

Kauai County

Overview: ProbablyLegal

No person shall stand in the roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment or business from the occupant of any vehicle but in no event shall the person solicit a ride, employment or business in an area where the vehicle stopping shall impede or endanger the normal flow of traffic.*

  • State law may override this law. Hitchhiking may be illegal in Kauai county.

Maui County

Overview: Illegal

Maui does not appear to have any county-wide statute regarding the legality of soliciting rides. Therefor state law takes effect making it illegal here.


My wife and I hitched around the whole island of Maui and Kauai with relative ease. I think the longest we waited for a ride was 2 hours in total from throwing a thumb, but most of the time we just walked with a sign strapped to our packs. I found that everyone was pretty friendly and I did not have issues with the locals. During my time working on the North Shore of Oahu I actually got picked up by a local on the North Shore who gave me a work trade opportunity, landscaping her property in exchange for camping, that lasted a few months. I think it just depends on luck and who you bump into, some locals are unfriendly, others are friendly. For Maui we had extreme difficulty hitchhiking on the west side along the north shore there around Honoapi’ilani Highway past Honolua Bay. The walk around there was pretty crazy as well as walking along the Road to Hana. Be careful around those parts as I got caught in a flood with rock slides happening all over the place and had to tramp in 18 inches of water for several miles before getting snagged by a pickup truck. In Kauai, I found hitchhiking a little easier than Maui, especially going towards the Kalalau Trail, but the west side of Kauai was much harder to hitchhike. The great thing about Kauai was pretty much every few miles there were campgrounds with showers making it very easy to stay clean and refill our water bottles before camping somewhere along the beach. I also had no problems hitchhiking on Oahu except for when we got to Hanauma Bay, we took a bus because we stood there for hours in the sun and not one person picked us up. -Brian Cray

I hitched in maui with extreme ease, the first time i put my thumb up i was in a car 30 seconds later, and half way around the island less than an hour later. The native locals are unfriendly, for good reason, although this is not absolute, the white locals are friendly, and you will always be picked up, and offered a beer, or some other goody- J-rod

Honestly, the natives are a little too arrogant, racist, and prone to violence for my taste. It almost ruined the experience for me. They get easily offended and sometimes aggressive if you don't kiss their ass and tell them they are awesome for being hawaiian. Very easy to catch rides here, though, with white people. It is the easiest state to hitchhike in outside of new england. I have only hitchhiked on Oahu, but it reminds me a lot of--for better or worse--northern California. A LOT of drugs, people hanging out on the beach disobeying all the unenforced regulations and laws, surfers and hippies all over the place, mild climate, heavily forested. In fact the only thing really different here from norcal is that it's obviously much warmer and the people are meaner. If you like swimming around to explore reefs my favorite spots are Kahe Point (Electric Beach) and Three Tables (Pupukea) Thewindandrain (talk) 08:52, 18 August 2013 (CEST)

I backpacked the Big Island for four months. For two months I hitched in small amounts just to get to places I wanted to see, but for my final month I hitched pretty much all day every day and camped out on beaches (or stayed in communes) every night. Very easy to find rides on the Big Island. Lots of hippies and Rainbows around and many great times to be had. The people on this island are so incredibly kind. While hitching through I had people let me stay at their homes for a few days, I had people buy me food and groceries even though I told them I had the means to pay for them myself. So much aloha here. Note: as mentioned above, be careful of native locals, especially on the Eastern side of the island. All the locals I met in the west and in the south were nothing but kind to me, but the locals in the east can be very sketchy and could definitely resort to violence. It is very easy to tell who doesn't have good intentions, though, so as long as you stay aware and are careful then you will be fine. There were times where I stuck my thumb out and had people pull over thirty seconds later. The Western side is just a bit more unpredictable, I suppose. This is definitely due to the fact that the Western side is where all the resorts are located and where all the tourists tend to stay. Locals on this side of the island were, in my experience, much more friendly than the locals on the Eastern side and were very very kind to me. Again, vibe out the situation and don't be afraid to refuse rides, but on this side of the island you shouldn't have problems with the locals. The Southern portion of the island can be kind of tricky. I had no problem getting to Volcano National Park from Pahoa, but once there I had an EXTREMELY hard time getting out. I was trying to head west to get to the southern most tip of the island to visit Green Sands (one of only two green sands beaches on the planet), but no one was stopping to pick me up. I would say 95% of the traffic in this area was tourists heading back from visiting the Volcano and none of them had any interest in picking up a hitchhiker. I thumbed for FIVE HOURS with absolutely no luck, and eventually had to set up camp in a National Park Campsite for the night. You had to pay to camp there, but since I had no money I could not pay the fee, so I simply set up camp and fell asleep and was woken at around 06:00 by a little Hawaiian man asking if I had paid. I said I had no money and explained I had gotten stuck there and he seemed confused but he left me alone after that. I then had to wait for two or three more hours before FINALLY getting a ride out of Volcano from some locals. The locals in the Southern areas of the island were EXTREMELY friendly and hospitable to me and showed me nothing but kindness and aloha. I had success in hitching from Kona to Hawii, the northern most point on the island. Traffic here can be scare, but it isn't too bad. Again, don't look like a creep and you will be fine. For all other areas in the Northern part of the island I would, again, recommend the bus. --DfizzleShizzle (talk) 21:52, 25 September 2013 (CEST)

Hitchhikernick - Hawaii (Feb 2009) was my introduction to hitchhiking after the bus that goes from Kona to Hilo never showed up, it proved quicker way to travel in that instance as well 😁. I also hitched a ride back up Chain of Craters road when I got exhausted trying to cycle back up.

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Check Nomadwiki for info on accommodation, showers etc. or Trashwiki for dumpsters...and share your wisdom:)

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Hitchwiki: the Hitchhiker's guide to Hitchhiking (2024)


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