Hawaii is a group of volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands are located 3,857 kilometers from San Francisco, California, to the east and 8,518 kilometers from Manila, in the Philippines, to the west.
The capital is Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu. The islands were annexed by the United States in 1900 and as a US territory, the population growth and the establishment of a plantation system for the cultivation of sugar cane and pineapple ensured.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter jets attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu. The surprise attack destroyed nearly 20 ships, killed more than 2,000 American soldiers, and propelled the United States into World War II.
Hawaii became the 50th state of the US on August 21, 1959.
The geography of Hawaii is one of the most diverse and unique in the United States. It consists of eight main islands and numerous smaller islands, islets, and atolls. The islands are located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,400 miles from the mainland United States and about 4,000 miles from Japan.
Hawaii’s main islands are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island). Each island has its own distinct topography ranging from mountain peaks to sandy beaches. The Big Island is the largest with an area of 4,028 square miles while Niihau is just 69 square miles.
The climate of Hawaii varies by island but generally features mild temperatures year-round with plenty of sunshine. Average temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius). Rainfall can be heavy at times due to tropical storms but generally stays between 15-25 inches per year on most islands.
The landscape of Hawaii can be divided into four main regions: coastal lowlands; central highlands; interior highlands; and volcanoes. The coastal lowlands feature sandy beaches surrounded by coral reefs that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The central highlands are characterized by rolling hills that reach elevations up to 6500 feet (1981 meters). This region is home to many waterfalls as well as lush forests full of native plants and animals.
The interior highlands are located on Maui and consist of some of Hawaii’s highest peaks including Mount Haleakala which reaches an elevation of 10,023 feet (3055 meters). This region also features valleys such as Iao Valley which contains a variety of native plants and wildlife habitats.
Finally, Hawaii is home to five active volcanoes which make up part of its landscape: Kilauea on the Big Island; Mauna Loa also on the Big Island; Hualalai on the Big Island; Loihi off the coast near Kilauea; and Haleakala on Maui. These volcanoes have shaped much of Hawaii’s topography over millions of years through lava flows that have created new landforms such as cinder cones or lava tubes which can be found throughout the state.
Overall, Hawaii’s geography is incredibly varied offering everything from mountain peaks to sandy beaches making it one of the most unique places in America to visit or live in.
Cities in Hawaii
Below are the top 15 cities by population in Hawaii. For all cities and towns in the state, please see Hawaii cities list.
Honolulu is the capital and most populous city in Hawaii, located on the island of Oahu. It is a vibrant city that offers something for everyone. From the bustling Waikiki Beach to the spectacular Diamond Head State Monument, Honolulu offers a variety of attractions and activities. The city is home to an array of museums, galleries, and historical sites, making it a great destination for culture enthusiasts. The nightlife in Honolulu is also quite vibrant, with numerous clubs and bars to explore.
The second-largest city in Hawaii is Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Located on the east side of the island, it’s known for its lush rainforest landscapes and stunning waterfalls. Hilo also boasts some unique cultural attractions such as Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens and Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy here from kayaking to hiking to whale watching.
Kailua-Kona is located on the western side of Hawaii’s Big Island, where visitors can experience beautiful beaches, breathtaking sunsets and adventure-filled days out exploring nearby volcanoes or snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary. With its charming downtown area full of shops and restaurants serving up delicious local dishes like poke bowls or loco moco, Kailua-Kona has something for everyone looking for a fun day out or a relaxing vacation away from it all.
Maui is known as “The Valley Isle” due to its central valley between two mountain ranges—the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala—which make up two thirds of this Hawaiian paradise island. From snorkeling off Kaanapali Beach or taking in views from atop Haleakala Crater to exploring Iao Valley State Park or enjoying Maui’s world class golf courses – Maui offers something for everyone! Visitors can also find plenty of shopping opportunities in Lahaina Towne Centre or Kahului Shopping Center as well as many wonderful restaurants serving up traditional Hawaiian cuisine like Kalua pork tacos or lomi salmon poke bowls.
Counties in Hawaii
The State of Hawaii consists of 5 counties. They are:
- Hawaii County, Hawaii
- Honolulu County, Hawaii
- Kalawao County, Hawaii
- Kauai County, Hawaii
- Maui County, Hawaii