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20+ Fun Facts About Hawaii You Need To Know

With its epic natural beauty, oodles of adventures, and signature aloha spirit, Hawaii is the state of dreams. This tropical paradise offers so much to see and do, and the more you learn about it, the more you’ll fall in love with its lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, and endless black sand and white sand beaches; Hawaii is one breathtaking place.

From the bone-chilling vistas of the Big Island to the shore-front resorts of Maui, you’ll find a little bit of everything on the chain of Hawaii, from little-known fun facts to interesting new facts. Here are some of the best 20+ fun facts about the Aloha State you probably didn’t know.

1. The 50th State and One of the Two States Outside of Mainland USA

Hawaii was made the 50th state in 1959. Its islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles from mainland US, and it is the only state outside North America. Hawaii was one of four former independent nations (along with Vermont, Texas, and California) that are now part of the larger nation of The United States.

137 islands make up Hawaii, but there are eight main islands, and only six are open to tourism.

  • The island named Hawaii is nicknamed the Big Island since it’s also the state’s name.
  • Maui is the second-largest island in the chain, nicknamed Valley Isle after its beautiful kaleidoscopic valleys.
  • Kahoolawe is an unhabituated island at the moment due to concerns about marine ecosystems and the harsh environment.
  • Lanai was once privately owned by Dole Foods and was the largest plantation of pineapples. Today it is home to many exclusive resorts.
  • Molokai is called the Friendly Isle due to its down-to-earth vibes and people; they are the friendliest of the island chain.
  • Kauai, known as the Garden Isle, boasts many natural wonders.
  • Niihau is a private island owned and inhabited by native Hawaiians only. The Robinson family solely owns this island.

2. Hawaii Has Two Official Languages

Hawaii has two official languages, Hawaiian and English. Another unofficial language is Pidgin, a slang language combining words from different dialects of island life and culture. You do not need to speak any of these languages to enjoy Hawaii, but it can benefit your experience there if you take the time to learn them.

 Learning at least some Hawaiian will help improve your pronunciation when reading or speaking and will also greatly improve your navigation skills on the islands.

3. Hawaiian People Enjoy a Longer Life Span

It’s no wonder people that live in Hawaii enjoy a longer lifespan than the rest of the states. With its year-round, almost perfect weather, the sun driving vitamin D into you, and the relaxed laid back life of island living, Hawaii is the place to go for a long and healthy retirement.

4. Hawaii Has the Tallest Mountain in the World

Mauna Kea has dethroned Mount Everest as the tallest mountain in the world. It may only be 13,803 feet above sea level, but that is just the tip of this mountain. Measuring the volcanic mountain from the sea bed, it reaches heights of 32,696 feet which is 1,116 feet higher than Mount Everest.

To put it in perspective, the total height of Mauna Kea would put the tip of the mountain at the same height that commercial airplanes sometimes fly; that’s pretty impressive.

5. Coffee Is Commercially Cultivated in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to many coffee farms, and the Kona region produces some of the finest beans in the world. The region’s perfect conditions for a coffee tree are located on the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa, between 200-700 feet above sea level. This area measures about 2 miles wide, where black volcanic soil dominates, and it’s the perfect fertile ground for these trees.

6. Hawaii Is the Southern Tip of the United States

Although most people will think that Florida is the southernmost point of the United States (which is correct when referring to the mainland USA), Hawaii actually reaches just a bit further south to be the southernmost point of the United States.

7. Aloha In Hawaii Has A Triple Meaning

Hawaii truly is the friendliest of islands. The word aloha doesn’t just mean hello but is a general term used to greet someone and means goodbye as well.

Aloha also has a much deeper spiritual and cultural meaning. Aloha also means love, peace, compassion, affection, and mercy in the Hawaiian language.

8. Hawaii Is the Rainbow State

The Hawaiian Islands are located in the subtropical Pacific, and because of this location, the weather pattern is dominated by trade winds. Frequent rain showers accompanied by clear skies make for perfect conditions for rainbow formation.

The remoteness of these islands lends to the exceptionally clean air that’s free from pollution or continental dust and pollen! These four factors contribute to bright rainbows with a full spectrum of color.

9. Hawaii Has a State Fish

Hawaii’s state fish is the Reef Triggerfish, which has an extremely long name, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. The name of the state fish is a real mouthful and can seem daunting to pronounce out loud; that’s because it’s 21 letters long!

It’s pronounced who-moo-who-moo-new-coo-new-coo-ah-poo-ah-ah and translated means “fish with a snout like a pig.” The decision to choose the Reef Triggerfish as the state fish was made by public voting and the school children were instrumental in the decision to choose the official symbol of Hawaii.

10. Gambling Is Illegal in Hawaii

Casino gambling is legal in 29 US states, and four other states have laws that allow for limited casino-style gaming. However, in 1967, Hawaii became the only state in the US to end its practice of allowing casino gambling.

11. Shoes Are Not Worn Indoors in Hawaiian Homes

Most homes in Hawaii will have a sign reminding locals and non-locals alike to take off their shoes before entering their homes. Walking into someone’s home with your shoes on is considered disrespectful, rude, and simply something you just don’t do.

Removing your shoes is respectful of the place you are entering by keeping them clean and not tracking dirt or germs inside that may easily damage wooden floors or stain rugs by tracking in gritty red sand or dark clay, which are typical in Hawaii.

12. Beware the Urban Legend of Pele

There is a known urban legend on the island of Hawaii, the curse of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. It states that anyone who removes rocks or material from Hawaii will incur years of bad luck.

Many people believe this to be nothing but a myth; however, true or not, hundreds send back pieces of lava rock because they say they have experienced misfortune after taking them from Hawaii.

13. Hawaii Was Elvis Presley’s Second Home

Elvis created a lot of recognition for Hawaii with his three films filmed on location and his concerts. The most famous Aloha from Hawaii concert was the world’s first satellite TV concert. As a remembrance of this event, a life-size statue of Elvis stands outside the Niels Blaisdell Center, where the concert took place.

Hawaii rooted itself so deep in Elvis’s heart that he turned his den at his Graceland mansion into the Jungle Room and modeled it after Hawaii, with its rich greenery, peaceful blue waters, and exotic island feel. When he wasn’t in Hawaii, this was his favorite place to hang out and write music.

14. Hawaii Never Had a Written Language

Captain Cook not only discovered the island of Hawaii but also discovered that Hawaiians only had an oral language. Before western contact, there was no written version of the Hawaiian language.

Western missionaries living on the island created the first written version of the language between 1820 and 1826. They based the written Hawaiian language on the English alphabet.

The Hawaiian alphabet constitutes only 12 letters; five vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and a small base of seven consonants (H, K, l, M, N, P, W). The use of two symbols, the okina (apostrophe mark) and the Kahako (macron), appear over vowels and change how words are pronounced.

15. Queen Bees Are the Bees-Knees of Hawaii

Queen bees produce honey and lay more eggs to produce worker bees that pollinate crops in the US and Canada. Hawaii is one of the few places that can provide mated queens year-round, supplying about 25% of them across America and 75% in Canada.

Hawaii is among the most important suppliers of queen bees to Canadian beekeepers. Kona’s weather allows apiaries (bee farms) to mate queens at high-quality levels with a higher volume.

16. It’s Customary to Throw A Luau for a Child’s First Birthday

The word luau in Hawaiian means feast or party, and it generally always includes traditional Hawaiian food alongside other local favorites that showcase Hawaii’s diversity.

For some people who celebrate their child’s first birthday, holding a baby luau is important as, back in the day, infants had high mortality rates, which meant celebrating when they reached one year old would mark a milestone.

To this day, many locals keep up with these practices and traditions by having big parties where parents get together with grandparents, families, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the child’s first milestone in life.

17. Hawaii Is The Second Highest Island In the World

Hawaii is the second-highest island in the world, after New Guinea, with its highest tip reaching 13,806 feet, and it is also the largest island in the USA, covering 4,029 square miles.

No matter where you go in Hawaii, there are spectacular sights to be seen. Visitors can explore higher elevations and enjoy natural beauty, such as Kokee Mountain on Kauai, Haleakala mountain on Maui, or Kilauea on the island of Hawaii.

Dress appropriately for cooler temperatures at an elevation of 10,023 feet, such pants and several layers of clothing when visiting these high places; a visit to Haleakala’s summit could be more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit colder than resorts near sea level!

18. The Hawaiian Islands Are Volcanoes

All of the Hawaiian Islands are formed by volcanoes that rise from the seafloor through a vent called a hotspot. The last volcanic eruption outside of Hawaii happened at Haleakalā on Maui in the late 18th century. Lōihi, one of Hawaii’s newest volcanoes, is deep below water off the southern coast of the island of Hawaii.

19. All Beaches Are Public Beaches

There are so many different types of beaches in Hawaii that you can select whichever beach experience suits your mood, whether you are looking for black, red, white, or green sand. No matter what type of beach you’re looking for, Hawaii has it!

Luckily for us, all Hawaiian beaches are open to the public, with only a few exceptions of Federal Government-owned land.

The Hawaii Supreme Court states that anything below the highest wave line is considered state property and open to everyone. In general, this area will be found where wet sand changes over into dry sand during high tides; however, there’s really no way to know exactly where this line falls.

20. Hawaii Has Only Two Seasons

The weather in Hawaii is very consistent, with only minor changes in temperature throughout the year. Hawaii has two seasons: A summer from May to October and a winter season from November to April.

During summer, the average daytime temperature at sea level is about 85° F, while the winter months still enjoy an average daytime temperature of 78° (25.6° C). Temperatures drop by approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime hours on these islands.

Hawaii’s unique micro-environments are an incredible collection of diverse climates, each with its own plants and animals that we often take for granted.

Thanks to their shielding effect of mountains made up of volcanic rock and differences in weather depending on your elevation, your whole environment can pivot within just a few miles. One minute you’re surfing with a backdrop of snowcapped mountain peaks, and the next you’re hiking through tropical rainforests teeming with life right after passing arid deserts where it’s hard to spot any plant life.

21. Yes, Hawaii Gets Snow

You heard right; the tropical island does get snow, but only in the high elevated mountains above 10,000 feet, including the three highest volcanic mountains of Haleakala, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea.

22. Hawaii is the Most Geographically Isolated Island

Located at the bottom of the Hawaiian archipelago, the Big Island is the most distant of the Hawaiian Islands. Spanning a distance of over 2,300 km from the islands in the north to those in the south, Hawaii is one of the most isolated islands in the world.

23. Hawaii Does Not Observe Daylight Savings Time

Due to the Uniform Time Act, Hawaii isn’t currently observing daylight savings time. This state is located in a region where there are fewer variations between summer and winter hours, so it makes sense why Hawaii opted out of this change.

24. Kilauea Is the Only Active Volcano With a Visitor Center

Located on the island of Hawaii, Kilauea is the only active volcano with a visitor center in the US. The volcano’s visitor center, located in the town of Hilo, is the second-busiest volcano visitor center in the country.


I could write forever about Hawaii’s quirky and fantastic wonders, but that would take too long, so here are some FAQs that may answer more of your questions.

What Is Hawaii Famous For?

Hawaii is well known for its 750 miles of pristine coastlines decorated with majestic views of active and dormant volcanoes.

Are There Hurricanes in Hawaii?

Hurricanes are relatively rare on the island of Hawaii. Only two hurricanes actually made landfall in 1959 and again in 1992.

Why Is the Hula Dance So Important?

The hula dance was an important Hawaiian tradition as it was a way to communicate stories and a ritual to honor the Hawaiian gods and goddesses.

What Sport Was Invented In Hawaii?

Through time, surfing was brought to the island of Hawaii by seafaring Polynesian people. Surfing wasn’t just a sport in Hawaii but was an important ceremony of spiritual rituals as a way to ask the gods for their protection and goodwill.

The Wrap Up: Fun Facts About Hawaii

Hawaii is a truly amazing place to visit; with all its beauty and elegance, it has some quirky legends and traditions too. From Christmas traditions to cultural celebrations, there is something for everyone here. You can experience an album full of memories with no shortage of things to do and places to see on this island, and with every visit you leave having learned something new about the island. From the world’s highest mountain to the bees, Hawaii seems to have it all.

We hope that you found these fun facts helpful! Mahalo, for reading our post. Until next time, Aloha!


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