Does Hawaii have rest areas? How long can you stay at a rest area in Hawaii? Can you sleep overnight at a Hawaii rest area? Is camping allowed at Hawaii rest areas? What are the full Hawaii rest area rules?
Hawaii Rest Area Rules
The State of Hawaii does not have any formal highway rest areas. What they have instead are “scenic points” and “lookouts” which are essentially viewing areas along the sides of highways. Some of these scenic points and lookouts have their own off-ramps with marked parking spaces, while others are just a wide shoulder with no markings.
Some of these scenic points have limited hours. In these cases, there are signs posted prohibiting parking between overnight hours. Smaller scenic points have no signage at all.
The State of Hawaii has enacted a law banning staying overnight in a vehicle while parked along highways and other public areas along a highway. This law is found under, Hawaii Revised Statute, Statewide Traffic Code, 112…
291C-112 Certain uses of parked vehicles prohibited between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.; definition; exceptions.
(a) No person shall use any vehicle for purposes of human habitation, whether or not the vehicle is designed or equipped for that purpose, while the vehicle is parked on any roadway, street, or highway or other public property between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. or while the vehicle is parked on private property without authorization of the owner or occupant authorizing both the parking of the vehicle there and its use for purposes of human habitation.
(b) As used in this section “purposes of human habitation” includes use as a dwelling place, living abode, or sleeping place.
(c) This section does not apply to the parking of vehicles and their use for purposes of human habitation in parks, camps, and other recreational areas in compliance with law and applicable rules and regulations, or under emergency conditions in the interest of safety.
(d) The department of health shall promulgate rules and regulations, pursuant to chapter 91, necessary for the administration of this section.
How Long Can You Stay at a Hawaii Scenic Point?
There are no statewide maximum time limits for staying at a Hawaii scenic point, except in cases where a scenic point has signs posted prohibiting parking between overnight hours. Each county, however, has adopted ordinances that prohibit or limit parking along highways between certain hours. These ordinances apply to scenic areas and lookouts. (see “Counties Have Their Own Laws Too”).
Counties Have Their Own Laws Too
Hawaii County (which covers the Big Island) has an ordinance (Section 24-202) that prohibits parking a vehicle along a “Federal-Aid Highway” for more than 60 minutes between the hours of 2:00am to 6:00am. Federal-Aid Highway in Hawaii County is generally Highways 11, 13, and 270.
Honolulu County (which covers the island of Oahu) has an ordinance (Sec. 15-16.4) that prohibits parking a vehicle along a “Federal-Aid Highway” for any amount of time between the hours of 2:00am to 5:00am. It also limits parking to just 120 minutes between the hours of 5:00am to 2:00am. Nearly all highways that stretch through Oahu are federally-aided highways. Honolulu County also bans (Sec. 15-14.1) parking anywhere, anytime along Likelike Highway (State Route 63), as well as any freeway (Interstate H1, H2, H3).
Kauai County (which covers the island of Kauai) has an ordinance (Sec. 16-13.4) that prohibits parking a vehicle along a “Federal-Aid Highway” for any amount of time between the hours of 1:00am to 6:00am. Parking is further limited to just two hours between the hours of 6:00am to 1:00am. Federal-Aid Highways in Kauai are generally Routes 50, 56, 58, and 5020.
Maui County (which covers the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe) has an ordinance (10.48.110) that prohibits parking on any road or highway for more than 60 minutes between the hours of 2:00am and 6:00am.
Can You Sleep Overnight at a Hawaii Scenic Point?
No, you cannot sleep overnight at a Hawaii scenic point or lookout. State Law 291C-112 mentioned above strictly prohibits sleeping inside a vehicle between the hours of 6:00pm to 6:00am. Meanwhile, county ordinances will either prohibit or limit your ability to remain parked along highways during late night hours.
Is Camping Allowed at a Hawaii Scenic Point?
Yes, but only for limited hours. You can use scenic points for recreational purposes. Many of them have viewing decks and walkways. You could take photographs, shoot video, eat lunch, or even sit down to draw and paint. You can enjoy various camping activities as long as the scenic point has the space and facilities to accommodate it.
The counties of Honolulu and Kauai are going to limit your day time stay at a scenic area to just two hours, however.
Camping overnight is nearly impossible based on the state law against sleeping in your vehicle between 6:00pm to 6:00am, as well county-specific laws that ban or limit parking along highways during night-time hours.