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How To Rent An RV In Hawaii


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Hawaii RV Rental: Explore The Islands In A Camper

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful and popular destination spots in the world. Millions of people are drawn to the lush forests and sandy beaches. However, many devoted RVers have found that it’s difficult to transfer their lifestyle to these islands. This leaves many people wondering how to rent an RV in Hawaii or if it’s even possible.

In short, renting an RV in Hawaii is possible. There are no laws against them, but a variety of factors make it difficult to enjoy an RV on the islands. For instance, you cannot sleep in a vehicle overnight, there are not many RV parks in Hawaii, and it’s incredibly expensive to ship your own RV across the ocean.

There are a few places where you can rent an RV or camper van on the islands. However, it’s a very different situation compared to renting an RV in the states. The options are very limited and most of the RVs for rent will be small Class B models. Below we’ll explore some of the difficulties that RVers face in Hawaii, as well as some options you can explore if you do want to give it a try.

How to rent an RV in Hawaii

Because tourism is such a big industry in Hawaii, there are several car rental services on the islands. But if you’re looking for something larger, you may struggle to find a good solution. Campers who love large fifth wheels, Class A RVs, or other big models will be disappointed in the selection here. If you’re willing to compromise with a small camper van, you’ll have a few more options available to you.

If you need to know how to rent an RV in Hawaii, check out the sites and resources below. They may not be as extensive as you’re used to, but it’s the best you can hope for if you want to rent a camper here.

RV rentals in Hawaii

  1. RVshare: This is a popular RV rental service that connects you with real people who are willing to rent out their RVs. You can find a better range of towable trailers, motorhomes, and RVs here.
  2. Maui Camper and Van Rentals: This service is based in Maui and offers camper vans, Honda Elements, and Westy campers (both automatic and manual).
  3. Maui Westy Campers: This service is another option for Maui travelers. It offers VW campers and Nissan campers. The campers are fully stocked with travel essentials like bedding, towels, and kitchen supplies.
  4. Clementine the Camper Van: You’ll have to get lucky to score a ride in this vehicle, but Clementine is a single VW camper that is designed for an Instagram-worthy trip across Hawaii. It’s a cute vintage camper that has charmed many people!

As you can see, there are options available to people who want to rent an RV in Hawaii. You’ll just have to compromise a bit when it comes to the shape and style.

Once you have the vehicle you want, the problems aren’t over. Hawaii wasn’t built for RVers, and there are several laws and quirks that make it difficult to enjoy your mobile living space here. Check out the list below to decide if the hassle is worth it to you.

Why it’s difficult to go RVing in Hawaii

Cannot sleep in a vehicle

One of the most limiting factors of renting an RV in Hawaii is the fact that you cannot legally sleep inside it. That’s the whole point of renting one, right? The state wants to discourage people from sleeping inside vehicles, so you could be fined for spending the night in your camper van rental.

Camping is perfectly legal in many places though. So the workaround for most RVers is to pitch a tent outside your RV and spend the night here. This kind of defeats the purpose of having an RV in the first place, so it’s another reason why this practice isn’t very popular. At that point, you’re better off renting a cheaper car and using a tent.

Not many places to park

Another major issue is parking. Hawaii is popular and they have to make room for a lot of cars, especially if you’re close to the beach. If you’re driving a van or large RV, you’re going to have very limited options when it comes to parking.

If you park in forbidden areas, especially overnight, you can face fines of $1,000 or more. They’re not messing around when you see a “No Parking” sign!

Few places with hookups

If you rent an RV anywhere in the states, you’re guaranteed to find a decent RV park or campground somewhere nearby. Unfortunately, Hawaii just isn’t built for the comfort of RVers. There are very few parks that service RVs at all, and almost no campgrounds that offer hookups for electricity, sewage, or water.

If you love RVs for the convenience of cooking, cleaning, and showering within a vehicle, you may have to sacrifice these comforts. Dry camping is your best bet, and this can get old after a while.

The roads are not built for RVs

The infrastructure of the islands isn’t designed for large vehicles. There are lots of small, twisty roads in Hawaii, especially if you’re an adventurer who wants to explore new areas. Sometimes these roads can become muddy, blocked, or damaged. If you’re in an RV, they can become impossible to travel on.

No dump stations

Another issue is that there are no dump stations (or at least very limited ones) in Hawaii. You may be able to rent an RV, but you’ll have to use a cassette toilet and/or use a portable grey water tank so you can empty them in approved toilets. Nobody likes to handle this mess, especially when you’re in such a beautiful location!

RVs are unnecessary on small islands

One of the main appeals of an RV is the freedom of the open road. You can travel wherever you want with no limits or boundaries. But when you’re on an island in the middle of the ocean, there’s only so far you can go. Your options are limited by geography and roads, so the benefits aren’t usually worth the price.

Harsh climate for RVs

This is only an issue if you live in Hawaii and like to use your own RV or rent it out to tourists. The climate of Hawaii isn’t kind to vehicles and RVs. The air is humid and salty, which can create rust and corrosion on your exterior.

Shipping your own RV is impractical

If you see all these downsides and think, “I’ll just bring my own RV instead of renting one,” you still won’t come out ahead. Shipping vehicles to Hawaii is incredibly expensive, and the price increases exponentially if you’re shipping something as large and heavy as an RV. The cost also isn’t worth it unless you plan to permanently move to the islands.

At the end of the day, you can certainly rent an RV if you come to Hawaii, but it’s usually more hassle than it’s worth.

Choosing the right campground is important. It can be the difference between an RV trip, and a great RV trip. RV LIFE Campground Reviews is the most trusted source of campground information in the industry. Millions of RVers use and trust Campground Reviews, which also provides the vast resources available in RV LIFE Pro, the best tool for planning and navigating your RV trips.

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Author Emily Lawrence Avatar

Emily Lawrence

Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

2 thoughts on “How To Rent An RV In Hawaii

  1. Great post! We rented an SUV with a rooftop tent and had a blast in Hawaii. Here is our journey:

    https://www.theadventuretravelers.com/the-best-rooftop-tent-camping-and-campsites-in-hawaii/

    Michael

  2. Emily,
    As a former resident of Hawaii, I can attest to your warnings regarding R.V.ing there. When we first moved there, my wife and I shipped over our pickup with a cab-over camper on it, thinking we could stay in it until I found employment and a permanent residence. However, we spent many nights pulling into a large, off the path parking lots late at night and grabbing a few hours of sleep before departing before anyone discovered us. Fortunately, we got a permanent residence within a couple of weeks and were able to sell the camper to a service member who was moving back to the mainland and had it shipped at government’s expense. I did however want to pass on something we learned there before you publish another article about Hawaii. You stated in you article:

    “If you rent an RV anywhere in the states, you’re guaranteed to find a decent RV park or campground somewhere nearby. Unfortunately, Hawaii just isn’t built for the comfort of RVers”.
    Hawaiians are very touchy about being referred to as foreigners, since Hawaii became a state. The term “in the states” is met with considerable ire since then. The acceptable term when referring to any other location in the United States is “on the mainland”.
    Just Sayin’.

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