Searching for your next vacation destination? There are many reasons why Hawaii is always at the top of so many travel destination round-ups.
It’s an island that has something for everyone, from romantic couple getaways to memory-making family vacations, even the toughest-to-please travelers are sure to be delighted.
If you want to learn how to surf, experience a historic culture, or enjoy some top-rate cuisine, Hawaii delivers. Unlike many other beach and island destinations, this paradise offers a whole lot more than sun and sand.
25 Fun Facts About Hawaii for 2023
Here are a few fun facts about Hawaii that might surprise you. But consider yourself warned, once you learn more about this island state you might find yourself packing your bags before you know it!
1. The state’s flag design is derived from the eight islands that comprise Hawaii.
These islands are Hawaii, Kahoolawe, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, and Oahu. The most commonly traveled of these islands are Oahu, where Honolulu is the capital, Lanai, and Maui.
The choice is yours to either choose one island and explore it extensively, or hop around to see a few during your visit.
2. The Hawaiian language only utilizes 12 letters from the Latin alphabet as well as the ‘ symbol.
The kahakō is used to differentiate between short and long vowels. Unlike the Latin alphabet, the vowels are listed first in sequence and are then followed by the consonants.
Visitors can easily learn a few phrases before they embark on their journey while comfortable with the fact that English is also widely used on the island.
3. Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is actually growing in size!
The land area of the island continues to expand because of all the volcanic activity that occurs on the island. This is an interesting phenomenon as most coastal areas are more affected by erosion than expansion.
This just means that there’s more of Hawaii to love every year!
4. August 21, 1959, is a very important date in the state’s history, as that’s the day that it was admitted into the Union as the 50th state.
This makes Hawaii the youngest of all the states, and the last one added to the roster. As a visitor, you may be surprised the first time you see the US road signs along the highway, as the state feels so different from the other 49.
5. If you’re a surfing enthusiast or are looking to learn during your visit to the island, you’ll want to know that the Hawaiian word for surfing is heenalu.
Surfing was created by Polynesian people in Hawaii more than a thousand years ago! Today’s surfboards have undergone some innovations and improvements over that time, as the first boards used weighed more than 150 pounds and could be as long as 20 feet.
6. Residents of Hawaii have the longest life expectancy in the country.
Anyone who’s ever visited the island chain probably isn’t surprised as the people there lead active lives, spend a lot of time outdoors, and eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In Hawaii, the average life expectancy of women is 82.5 years and 77.1 years for men, with a combined average life expectancy for both genders of 79.8 years.
7. If you’re looking for some adventure during your vacation, you might be interested in trying cliff dying.
The highest cliffs overlooking a sea or ocean in the world are located on the island of Molokai. This is not an activity for the faint of heart! If you’re like most people, checking out the cliffs from the shoreline will be enough.
8. The Big Island is home to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on Earth.
This is the same volcano that erupted in 1790 killing more than 5,000 people. While there’s lots of notice these days before a volcano erupts, it’s still an active volcano.
A visit to Kilauea is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many visitors as how often does anyone get to observe an active volcano up close?
9. If you’re traveling during Daylight Savings Time, you won’t have to worry about adjusting your clock while you’re on the island.
Hawaii is one of the states that doesn’t participate in the practice. It also has its very own time zone! If you’re planning a trip to this island state, you’ll be on your very own timeframe, apart from any other place in the US!
10. The volcanic rock that tourists collect around the base of the Kilauea volcano is purported to bring bad luck to anyone who takes it out of the National Park.
One of the most amusing anecdotes that Park Rangers share is the amount of rock that’s mailed back to them! Tourists return the rocks with notes about how much bad luck they brought to them!
This is a great time to remind visitors that Hawaii is a natural wonderland, and it’s important to leave it as you find it. There are plenty of other souvenirs to take home from your visit to this beautiful land.
11. If you enjoy pristine landscapes, you’re in for a treat when you arrive in Hawaii!
The state has banned the use of all billboards. We think this is an effective way to keep your attention where it should be, on the natural beauty and stunning landscapes.
They were also the first state to ban plastic bags, and there’s a ban against snakes too. This place really is paradise.
12. Hawaii is one of those states that has a lot of nicknames.
You’re probably familiar with the most common of the bunch, The Aloha State. But, it’s also referred to as The 808 State, The Islands of Aloha, The Rainbow State, and our favorite, The Paradise of the Pacific.
That’s a lot of different ways to refer to a state that’s almost all rainbows and sunshine. We love it!
13. This is a fact that befuddles us somewhat, Hawaii is ranked 40th when the states are sorted by population levels.
Of course, not everyone can live here, but 1,415,872 (as of 2019) lucky folks get to call this paradise home. The majority of the full-time residents live in Oahu where there are the most job opportunities and services.
Even on this populated island, there are plenty of spots to enjoy some tranquility far away from the crowds.
14. Many tourists mistakenly refer to Oahu as the Big Island.
While Oahu is the largest island, the Big Island is actually a nickname for the island called Hawaii. Confusing, isn’t it? If you’re going to be staying in Honolulu or surfing the North Shore, you’re on the island of Oahu.
If you’re checking out some majestic waterfalls in Hawaii, you’re visiting the Big Island. Clear as mud, right? Fortunately, wherever you go in Hawaii, you’re sure to enjoy friendly people, gorgeous scenery, and delicious food, so there’s really nothing to worry about.
15. Hawaii is one of only two US states where coffee is grown for commercial use, with California being the other one.
Anyone who has enjoyed a mug of delicious Kona coffee is well aware of this fact! If you want to visit some coffee plantations on your visit, head over to the Big Island.
16. It’s no surprise that the state of Hawaii is home to more wildlife species than any other state in the US.
This is a state that takes wildlife conservation seriously as there have already been species like the Hawaiian thrush that have become extinct. Bird watchers will find that all the Hawaiian islands provide some pretty amazing opportunities for spotting new birds.
17. Leis are a cultural symbol of hospitality.
This means that if someone offers you a lei, you graciously accept it and put it on right away. There’s no reason not to do this anyway! Leis are made with fragrant flowers that will put some pep in your step!
Be sure that when you’re finished with your lei you return it to the land or ocean rather than throwing it into the trash. A lei thrown out to sea that comes back to you is a sign that you’ll return to the islands one day. How awesome is that?
18. The Dole Pineapple Maze is the largest natural material maze in the world.
And, yes, it’s the shape of a giant pineapple. It’s nothing to sneeze at either, this huge maze covers three acres and contains 14,000 plants.
This is a favorite tourist spot for families vacationing with kids, but anyone who’s young at heart will have a great time here. And, don’t forget to grab a Dole Whip while you’re there. It’s certain to be your first of many!
19. The island of Molokai used to be a place where patients with leprosy were housed.
Even today there aren’t too many people inhabiting the island. By land mass, it’s the fifth-largest island as well as the fifth most populated. At last count, there were only 7,345 Hawaiians living on Molokai.
20. Not all of Hawaii’s islands are open to outside visitors.
In fact, if you’re looking for a small island to enjoy, the tiniest one you’ll be able to see is Lanai. This small land mass is becoming a retreat for the ultra-wealthy and more of it is being bought up and converted to private land each year.
If you’re interested in experiencing Lanai, now’s the time to do so!
21. Hawaii is a popular location to film movies and television shows.
In addition to the obvious examples like Hawaii 50 and Lost, did you know that it’s also the backdrop for films like Jurassic Park and Tropic Thunder? The private nature preserve called Kualoa Ranch is where many of these films are shot.
22. Kauai Island has some pretty interesting building codes!
Did you know that developers and builders have to limit the height of any buildings so that they’re shorter than a coconut tree? That’s some pretty location-specific guidelines! Of course, this restriction allows the island to keep its unique and wonderful culture intact.
23. This fact might come as a bit of a shock, but we have to tell you that the world-famous Macadamia nut doesn’t come from Hawaii.
We were just as surprised as you when we found out! (It’s Australian.)
24. King Kamehameha I is the only monarch honored in the US.
June 11th is celebrated every year in Hawaii as King Kamehameha Day.
25. In the main Polynesian languages, Samoan and Māori, Hawaii means homeland.
We think that’s a beautiful sentiment, don’t you?
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a passport to travel to Hawaii?
If you’re an American citizen, you won’t need a passport to visit the Hawaiian islands as they’re a part of the US as the country’s 50th state. Visitors from other countries can expect to follow the same Immigration guidelines they experience when visiting foreign countries.
When is the best time of year to visit?
This is a question that comes up for debate a lot. While there’s no bad time to plan a trip to Hawaii, May is often considered the best month for a visit.
January is one of the wetter months but is when it’s more likely to see humpback whales. If you’re going over the summer months, June will be less crowded.
How long does it take to fly to Hawaii from the US mainland?
If you’re looking for a non-stop flight to Hawaii, more often than not, you’ll fly into Honolulu located on the island of Oahu. From the West Coast of the US, the flight is 11.5 hours from NYC, 9.5 hours from Chicago, and 7 hours from Phoenix.
Once you arrive in Honolulu, there are a number of different intra-island flight options available.
Which island in Hawaii is the best to visit?
The answer to this question is one of personal preference. First, decide which type of vacation you’re looking for, from relaxing to adventurous and everything in between, then choose the island that’s right for you.
As most US flights arrive in Honolulu, many visitors spend a few days on Oahu before visiting the other islands.
How easy is it to travel between islands once I’m in Hawaii?
Traveling between the islands of Hawaii is easy when there’s a flight available. Flights run regularly between the main tourist islands, but there are some that are serviced only by boat.
If you’re interested in visiting an island that’s not well-traveled, it’s worth it to hire a guide or at least work with a locally-based travel agent.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Hawaii Today!
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Hawaii has to offer. Happy travels!