HawaiiA land of spectacular natural beauty with diverse natural scenery, magnificent beaches, a vibrant native culture, and landscape created by volcanic activity, Hawaii has become a top destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists.With eight main islands, there is something for every individual to appreciate.
The state of Hawaii is the made up of almost the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island Chain. It is located in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, northeast of Australia, and southeast of Japan, with a total area of 10, 931 square miles (28, 311 square kilometers). Within the United States Hawaii has the fourth longest coastline, approximately 750 miles (1210 kilometers).
Hawaii is the most recently formed of the 50 United States and joined the union on August 21, 1959. It is also the northernmost island group in Polynesia, and has a complex history of settlers. Its population grew significantly from the immigrants who worked on the sugar plantations beginning in the 1850s. As a result, a large percentage of Hawaii’s population is of Asian heritage. However, the aboriginal culture of Hawaii is Polynesian, and modern society throughout the island reenacts ceremonies and traditions.
Although it is the 11th-least populous of the states, Hawaii is the 13th-most densely populated, and has a total population of approximately 1, 375, 000. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture.
The eight main islands include Hawai’i (The Big Island), Kauai (The Garden Island), Maui (The Valley Isle), Oahu (the Gathering Place), Molokai (The Friendly Isle), Lanai (The Pineapple Isle), Ni’ihau (the Forbidden Isle), and Kaho-olawe (The Target Isle). All but Kaho’olawe are inhabited, and each is known for its unique lifestyle:
Hawai’i is known as The Big Island. It has a resident population of 175, 784 and is associated with attempts to develop “sustainable tourism” in effort to preserve the beauty of what is the largest island in the United States. The North Kona and South Kohala districts on the western coast of the island are the primary resort areas.
Kaua’i is The Garden Island with lush tropical rain-forests and warm sunny beaches, home to Koloa Town and Poipu Beach. Known for Hanelei Bay (of Puff the Magic Dragon fame) where the Princeville Resort is located, Kauai has been featured in more than seventy Hollywood movies and television shows, including the musical South Pacific, Disney's 2002 animated feature film and television series on Lilo & Stitch, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones' Raiders of the Lost Ark, Six Days Seven Nights, the 2005 remake of King Kong, Tropic Thunder Soul Surfer, M*A*S*H, Just Go with It, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Elvis Presley film Paradise, and most recently The Descendants.
Maui is The Valley Isle featuring numerous golf courses and popular vacation spots – from the West shores of Kapalua, to the southern and elegant Wailea. In addition, many claim Maui’s Upcountry to have the best climate in the world. The communities of Makawao, Olinda, Pukalani and Kula, provide spectacular views of both the North and the South Maui shores, alongside beautiful weather.
O’ahu is recognized as the Gathering Place and is home to the state capital, Honolulu. 75% of the entire state population lives in O’ahu. Honolulu is the main deepwater marine port for the Hawaii, and the largest city. The island of O’ahu is also home to a number of well-known features including Waikīkī, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Hanauma, Kāneʻohe Bay, Kailua Bay and North Shore.
Moloka’I (The Friendly Isle) boasts of being the “real Hawaii” and strives to preserve the rural setting and natural habitat of the island. It is perfect for those looking to escape city life.
Lana’i, The Pineapple Isle, known for its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. Today, Lānaʻi City is the only town found on the island. Kamoku is the most populated area with 2800 residents because it contains the larger part of the city. There are also two resort hotels, both managed by Four Seasons Hotels, and each with their own golf course. The island has no traffic lights, or shopping malls, and any public transportation is supplied by a hotel contractor.
Ni’ihau (the Forbidden Isle) is generally off-limits except for relatives of the island's owners, U.S. Navy personnel, government officials and invited guests.
Kaho-olawe is referred to as The Target Isle and as always been sparsely populated, due to its lack of fresh water. During World War II, Kahoolawe was used as a training ground and bombing range by the Armed Forces of the United States. After decades of protests, the U.S. Navy ended live-fire training exercises, and the whole island was transferred to the jurisdiction of the state of Hawaii in 1994. The Hawaii State Legislature established the Kahoolawe Island Reserve to restore and to oversee the island and its surrounding waters. Today Kahoolawe can be used only for native Hawaiian cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes.