What Is The Time Difference Between California And Hawaii?

Knowing that there are six time zones in North America can be enough to confuse any traveler, and some of the time zones can be more noticeable than others, but we’re not talking about being a day ahead or behind, so making adjustments may be easier than you think. 

What Is The Time Difference Between California And Hawaii

While California uses pacific daylight time and Hawaii uses Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, there is about 3 hours difference between them, with California being ahead in time.

So with this out of the way, you might be wondering how this works if you were going on a connecting flight, as you might see a gradual change in this difference.

In this article, we look at these time differences a bit more closely and determine how each one works and how you can adjust accordingly. Read on to find out more about the interesting system of time zones. 

Hawaii’s Time Zone

Depending on where you are in the states, there could be anywhere between a 2-6 hours time difference with Hawaii, and this can depend on whether or not it’s daylight savings time or not. 

There are a few states that don’t observe this savings time, such as Hawaii, Arizona, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

This also applies to standard time, where a clock goes back one hour and is usually put in place to make better use of the daylight hours.

This has been seen as an inconvenience, and some states call for the time change to be dropped altogether, and there is some debate over the benefits of this system, with many Americans being divided over its implementation. 

You might hear that Hawaii has its own time zone, which isn’t completely accurate because a small part of Alaska shares the same time zone, and the rest uses Alaska’s standard time.

During daylight savings time, Hawaii is 4 hours behind mountain time, 5 hours behind central time, and 6 hours behind Eastern time, so you’ll notice the time difference more in the summer.

California’s Time Zone

California uses Pacific daylight or standard time, and this zone encompasses parts of western Canada, most of the western parts of the US, and western Mexico and can move between daylight and standard time, depending on the time of year.

 As California and Washington are wholly contained in this system, while states like Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon, use it in part alongside the mountain time zone, which is 6 hours behind Greenwich mean time during the summer.

This can be quite confusing, knowing that there are nine time zones that are recognized by the US and 11 if you count the two other uninhabited US territories.

This system will differ in some areas, for example, the state of Sonoro in Mexico, which doesn’t change its clocks as to be in sync with surrounding states that comply with mountain standard time, and they choose to stick to standard time.

If you work in an organization that uses different time zones and are struggling to manage the time difference, you can use applications that can send out alerts at certain times and planners to show you what members are available.

How Long Does A Flight Take?

If you were to take a flight from LAX airport in Los Angeles to Honolulu, and you are on a direct flight, you can expect the duration to be somewhere between five and a half to six hours and can, depend if you are landing on a different part of the island.

What Is The Time Difference Between California And Hawaii (1)

Connecting flights are more rarer in this instance but are possible, where you might travel from the east side of the island to Honolulu. 

If you have a layover, you could see your travel time go up to ten hours plus, but this is dependent on the time of year and might give you time to explore the island while you wait for the switching of aircraft, so it depends on how much time you have to spare.

Do I Need To Make Any Adjustments?

Considering there are only 3 hours between the two, you probably won’t notice much of a difference, but it might affect you more depending on what time your flight sets off, as if you get a later flight and arrive late, you then have to take away the three hours.

 If you are landing in Lanai, you might be on a connecting flight where you stop off in Alaska, which is GMT -8, and then you enter Hawaii’s time zone, which might be slightly confusing at first.

The best thing you can do here is trying not to nap on the plane, as when you land in Hawaii, you’ll find it easier to drop off to sleep, and you can then start making a consistent routine. 

You might also want to alert friends and family not to call you at an early hour, so calling you at their time of 8 AM is likely to disturb your sleep as it will be 5 AM where you are.

This might not affect you if you want to catch any live television, as you can view American channels from Honolulu local channels, so it won’t be an issue as long as you have access to these channels.


There are ways that you can take full advantage of being in these states without having to worry about the time differences, as these aren’t usually going to be an issue for you and, in some cases, can work to your benefit.

If you happen to take an early flight from California, you can be in Honolulu by lunchtime, giving you the opportunity to explore the local cafes and restaurants that will mark a very nice start to your vacation. 

Jodie Price
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