Hawaii, United States

About Hawaii

Hawaiʻi is the newest of the 50 U.S. states, and is the only state made up entirely of islands. It occupies most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. Hawaiʻi’s natural beauty, warm tropical climate, inviting waters and waves, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaiʻi has many North American and Asian influences along with a vibrant native culture. The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

Hawaii Tourism and Recreation

Visitors come for scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, and sailing; for the hula, luau, lei, and other distinctive island pleasures; for the tropical climate and magnificent scenic beauty; and for a remarkable variety of recreational facilities, including 7 national parks and historic sites, 74 state parks, 626 county parks, 17 public golf courses, and 1,600 recognized surfing sites.

Hawaii Climate

One of the wonders of Hawaii is its remarkably delightful and stable weather. It is the only one of the 50 states that is both in the tropics and surrounded by the ocean. This, together with the topographic diversity of the individual islands, are what create Hawaii's magnificent climate. Interestingly, Hawaii's two most frequent forecasts are either "Mostly Sunny" or "Partly Cloudy." How the weatherman differentiates between the two is a mystery to most, but rest assured that the weather here is nothing if not moderate.

Each of the islands of Hawaii can be thought of as mini-continents, where on each island you find desert, tropical rainforest, temperate, and tundra climates. Hawaii has the longest coastline in the USA, yet is quite mountainous. Fifty percent of the state has an elevation of 2,000 feet and 10 percent is over 7,000 feet. Kauai's highest point is 5,240 feet, Maui's is 10,023 feet, and Hawaii's (the Big Island) highest elevation is a towering 13,796 feet. The combination of so much coastal area and mountains results in diverse climatic conditions, especially on Hawaii and Maui.

Hawaii Transportaion

A system of state highways encircles each main island. Only Oʻahu has federal highways, and is the only area outside the contiguous 48 states to have signed Interstate highways. Travel can be slow due to narrow winding roads, and congested in cities. Each major island has a public bus system.

Commercial airlines provide most mainland and inter-island travel. Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and go! use jets between the larger airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona, and Hilo, while Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight service between the islands. Norwegian Cruise Lines provides passenger cruise service between the islands. The Hawaii Superferry operates between Oʻahu and other major islands.