“The Islands of Aloha” are really the islands of adventure. From ziplining through rain forests and hiking up volcanoes to snorkeling in coral reefs and riding mules along cliffs, Hawaii’s diverse landscapes provide ample opportunity for fun.
Find out more about Hawaii at DiscoverAmerica.com.
Population: More than 1.35 million people live in Hawaii.
Geography: Located in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a chain of 132 islands, eight of which are considered main islands. This geography distinguishes Hawaii from other states. For example, Hawaii is the only U.S. state composed entirely of islands. It is also the southernmost state and the only state to grow coffee. Hawaii’s different elevations and microclimates create a variety of environments ranging from rain forests to volcanoes to beaches.
Higher Education: Founded in 1907, the University of Hawaii-Manoa is the flagship campus of the University of Hawaii education system and is located about three miles from the state capital of Honolulu. The university maintains an undergraduate enrollment of more than 14,000 students and awards more than 85 bachelor’s degrees, more than 85 master’s degrees and more than 50 doctoral degrees. It is one of the only universities with a focus on tropical agriculture and is well known for its business, education and law programs. Founded in 1965, Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) is the largest private institute of higher education in Hawaii with more than 8,000 students. Noted for its diversity, HPU enrolls students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. One-third of its students come from outside the United States. The school’s most popular programs include business administration, international relations and nursing.
Major Industries: Agriculture, manufacturing and services all contribute to Hawaii’s economy. Nursery products, pineapples, cane sugar, macadamia nuts and coffee are among the Aloha State’s top agricultural products. In terms of manufacturing, food processing is key, particularly refining sugar and canning pineapple. Printed materials such as newspapers are also important to Hawaii’s manufacturing industry. Tourism-related sectors such as hotels, restaurants and rental agencies are some of Hawaii’s most important services. Private health care, engineering and software development are also important. With Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases there, government services represent another vital sector of Hawaii’s economy.
Famous Hawaiians: Actress, model and singer Tia Carrere; co-founder and former CEO and chairman of America Online Steve Case; popular Hawaiian entertainer Don Ho; television actress Lauren Graham; Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman; film and stage actress Bette Midler; U.S. President Barack Obama; and the youngest player to win a USGA adult golf tournament, Michelle Wie, were all born in the Aloha State.
Pop Culture: The 2002 surfer film Blue Crush, starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake; the 2004 romantic comedy 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore; the 2008 romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand; and the 2011 drama The Descendants, starring George Clooney, Matthew Lillard and Beau Bridges were all set in Hawaii.
Culinary Specialties: From pineapples and coffee to pig roasts and SPAM, there’s not just one culinary delicacy synonymous with the Aloha State. To sample an array dishes, attend a luau. This traditional Hawaiian feast can feature everything from kalua pua’a, a pig seasoned with sea salt and roasted in an underground steam oven, and poi , a starch dish made by pounding boiled taro roots and mixing them with water, to lomi lomi salmon, a cold salad of diced salmon, tomatoes and onion, and haupia, a coconut pudding.
International Connection: Honolulu has sister city relationships with 26 cities including Baguio, Philippines; Mumbai, India; Mombasa, Kenya; and Rabat, Morocco.
• The coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands represent about 70 percent of all U.S. reefs, and about 200 of the 680 types of fish in Hawaiian waters cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
• Hawaii is the most isolated population center on Earth. It is 3,846 kilometers from California, 6,196 kilometers from Japan and 7,886 kilometers from China.
• Hawaii is the only U.S. state to have an official native language — Hawaiian.
Adventure Idea: With 132 islands and a variety of ecosystems, Hawaii offers all sorts of adventures. Try swimming with manta rays or watching hot lava meet the ocean off Hawaii Island. Go for an early morning hike in Maui to see the sunrise over Haleakala Mountain. Enjoy a mule ride along the coastal cliffs of Molokai. Zipline through the rain forests on the island of Kauai. And there's always catching that big wave.