Daydreaming about the feel of soft white sand between your toes? You'll have plenty of time to picture it during a Hawaii flight from California. The journey across the Pacific Ocean is a long one, no matter which ticket you book. There are plenty of flight choices, with airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Korean Air and Delta making daily trips between Californian and Hawaiian airports each day. Plan to spend at least six hours strapped into your airline seat, but take heart: The trip home will be shorter.

How Far Apart Are Hawaii and California?

Hawaii is about 2,500 miles from California. But while Hawaii is southwest of the mainland United States, the curve of California's coastline means that Hawaii is actually closer to northern cities like San Francisco than it is from southern cities like San Diego. Flying out of a northern city does mean a slightly shorter flight.

Does It Matter Which Hawaiian Airport I Fly Into?

The airport you fly into is relevant to your travel plans. After all, arriving on Oahu when you've booked a hotel room on Maui is fairly inconvenient. But your arrival at the airport doesn't make much difference in terms of travel time. Hawaii's largest airport is Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on the island of Oahu. The majority of flights from the mainland are bound for Honolulu. But if your flight lands at Kona International Airport on the big island or Kahului Airport on Maui, it won't make much impact on your flight time.

And if you do accidentally book a ticket to the wrong island, don't panic. Once you're in Hawaii, it's pretty easy to fly from one island to another. Inter-island flights typically take 45 minutes or less.

How Long Is the Flight to Hawaii From California?

For travelers who fly from Oakland, Sacramento (SMF), San Francisco (SFO) or San Jose (SJC), a direct flight to Honolulu takes about five hours and 40 minutes. The average flight to Honolulu from Los Angeles (LAX) is typically only about 10 minutes longer, clocking in around five hours and 50 minutes. And although San Diego is the furthest south west coast California city, its Hawaii-bound flights are the longest, lasting an average of six hours and 15 minutes.

How Long Is the Flight to California From Hawaii?

It's hard enough to leave Hawaii, so boarding a long flight is a little like rubbing salt into the wound. Luckily, the trip home should be shorter than the flight into Hawaii. The fast-moving wind known as the jet stream blows from west to east. It gives resistance to planes moving west, making those flights longer, but it eases the way for planes moving east.

Flying home to one of the northern California airports like San Francisco International takes just around five hours total, making this return route about 45 minutes shorter than the reverse. The trip from Honolulu to Los Angeles takes about five hours and 10 minutes, and flying into San Diego takes, on average, around five hours and 25 minutes.

What is the Best Way to Book Flights?

The best way to find flights to reach the islands of Hawaii is to look on different airline’s websites, comparing rates and seeing if they have any required connecting flights to get there. Airlines like American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Southwest and more offer non-stop flights from multiple airports in California. Many one-way tickets can be found between the price of $250-350, which is a pretty cheap flight price. Of course, making it a round-trip ticket will increase the ticket prices, but avoiding layovers and having a smooth flight to the Hawaiian Islands is worth it.

While Honolulu (HNL) may be the most common entry point, travelers can also fly into Hilo (ITO), Kona (KOA), Kahului (OGG), Lihue (LIH). Check multiple destination prices to make an informed decision.

Be sure to consistently check different websites to find the best flight price if you are looking to save money when booking your flight! Many airlines will offer discounts and specials as you get closer to your desired take off date as well, so keep your eyes peeled and enjoy your Hawaiian vacation!