Hawaii might be the 50th state, but unless you’ve been living underneath a rock you’ll know that Hawaii is not a part of the contiguous 48 states of the union.
In other words, Hawaii does not share a land border with any of the other states.
Hawaii is a tropical island archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean- the only state that is an archipelago and the only state located outside of North America.
This makes the closest states to Hawaii the west coast states of California, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.
Together with Hawaii, these states form a group known as the West Pacific States, with each state having a Pacific coastline.
You might wonder what the closest state to Hawaii is, and exactly how far away it is from Hawaii.
Well, if you’ve ever wondered, for example, how many miles California is away from Hawaii, this is the article for you. Read on to find out more!
What Is The Contiguous United States?
The contiguous United States is also known as the Lower 48. It is made up of the 48 adjoining U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, that are located on the North American continent.
Therefore, the vast majority of the United States is included in the term, with the only exceptions being the states of Alaska and Hawaii and offshore territories and U.S jurisdictions like Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.
The term is different from the term ‘continental United States’, which includes Alaska but not Hawaii and the offshore territories.
The lower 48 occupies a total of 3,119,884.69 square miles and is home to over 99% of the country’s population- some 328.5 million people.
The greatest distance entirely within the contiguous United States is between Florida in the Southeast and Washington state in the Northwest- an impressive 2,802 miles.
What State Is Closest To Hawaii?
If you were to look at a map, you would naturally assume that the closest U.S. state to Hawaii is California, right?
Well, depending on how you measure it, the closest other U.S. state to Hawaii might in fact be Alaska!
What most people don’t realize is that the Hawaiian islands are an extraordinarily long island chain that goes on for some 1500 miles.
Whilst uninhabited, these small islands and atolls are still technically part of the state of Hawaii.
From the northernmost point on Kure Atoll, the southernmost point of Alaska is a mere 1576 miles away!
What’s more surprising still is that even if you only count the distance from the main Hawaiian islands, Hawaii is still closer to Alaska than California.
The Fox Islands, an island group part of Alaska’s Eastern Aleutians, are located 2175 miles north of the northmost point of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
How Close Is California To Hawaii?
If Alaska is closer to Hawaii than California, you’re probably wondering how far Hawaii is from California.
Again, it depends on who you ask and how you’re measuring.
A quick google search will tell you that California is 2471 miles from Hawaii. However, other calculations come up with a smaller figure.
It seems that the shortest distance from Hawaii to California is from Hawaii proper, otherwise known as the Big Island.
Specifically, the distance from Hilo in the North East of the island of Hawaii to the area around Flumeville, some 120 miles north of San Francisco, is about 2,285 miles.
This makes San Francisco the closest major population center in the contiguous United States to the state of Hawaii.
How Far Is The Flight Between California And Hawaii?
Ok, so that might technically be how many miles California is from Hawaii, but that’s as the crow flies.
For practical purposes, like flying between the two states, how far is California from Hawaii?
If you were to fly out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and land at Honolulu international airport (HNL), the total flight distance would be approximately 2,388 miles, with a flight time of roughly five hours.
From LAX in Los Angeles, the flight distance would be roughly 2,551 miles with a flight time of about two hours and twenty minutes.
If departing from San Diego, your flight time would be roughly five and a half hours, with a total flight distance of 2,599 miles.
How Far Is It To Sail Between California And Hawaii?
Of course, flying isn’t the only way to get between Hawaii and California. Plenty of people like to sail it, too!
The distance as the crow flies between Hawaii and San Francisco, one of the most popular starting points, is about 2000 nautical miles.
However, in reality, the sailing distance will come to approximately 2500 nautical miles.
This is because you need to head south along the California coast first before in order to avoid the inclement weather of the North Pacific High.
Hawaii is actually closer to Alaska than California. The shortest distance as the crow flies between Hawaii and California is about 2175 miles.
However, the actual travel distance will be more than this. Flying from San Francisco to Honolulu, for example, is about 2,388 miles.