What Is The Biggest Time Difference Between Two Places In The US?

A map showing the most popular time zones of the USA.
A map showing the most popular time zones of the USA.

The United States straddles over five different time zones, or 11 if its overseas territories are included. The Eastern Time Zone is the eastern-most of the time zones while the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone represents the western-most time zone. In between the two extremes are, arranged from west to east, are the Alaska, the Pacific, the Mountain, and the Central Time Zones. However, there are three additional time zones used in the United States which are the Atlantic, the Samoa, and the Chamorro Time Zones.

The Eastern Time Zone

The Eastern Time Zone is the US’ eastern-most time zone, and in some definitions it is considered as the de facto time zone for the United States since the nation’s capital, and its most populous city are both under the time zone. There are 17 states which entirely fall under the Eastern Time Zone and these include West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia, Vermont, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, Maine, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. All these states lie under the Eastern Time Zone, at least partially, between the months of March and November. An additional five states have portions that are under the Eastern Time Zone, and these are Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, and Michigan.

The Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone

The time-zone that lies westernmost in the US is the Hawaii-Aleutian, also known as HAST. The time zone gets its name from Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands which fall under the time zone. Some of the cities in Hawaii that fall under this time zone include the state capital, Honolulu, Kapaa, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, and Hilo. Other regions encompassed under the Time Zone which are outside of Hawaii are the Johnston Atoll and Adak Island in Alaska. Other regions also fall under the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone such as the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, but since they are not American territories, they are considered not to be under the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone.

Places in the United States with the Biggest Time Differences

Therefore, the biggest time difference between two places in the United States are on locations which lie under the two time zones; the Hawaii-Aleutian and the Eastern Time Zones. The difference in time between the two time zones is six hours. Therefore, Hawaii’s capital Honolulu and America’s most populous city, New York which lies under the Hawaii-Aleutian and Eastern time zones respectively, are examples of two places in the United States which have the largest time differences.

There are regions that lie further west than the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone, but these are mainly uninhabited islands. Examples are Howland Island and Baker Island which lie under the Chamorro Time Zone and is 12 hours behind the Coordinated Universal Time. The Chamorro time zone is also referred to as UTC-12. Samoa, an inhabited US Territory lies one hour ahead of the IDLW, on the Samoa Time Zone. The Samoa Time Zone is one hour behind the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone. Other regions which lie under the Samoa Time Zone include the Midway Islands and the Kingman Reef.


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