Hawaii is the 50th state in the United States and it’s actually quite new to the group. It joined the states in 1959. Hawaii isn’t actually a state, like the others in the group. It’s actually a chain of hundreds of volcanic islands spanning a distance of 1,500 miles in the Pacific Ocean. Although immersed in American culture, Hawaii still has very strong Polynesian and Asian roots, which are very apparent throughout the islands. Although made up of hundreds of smaller islands, the ones most people are familiar with are Hawaii (Or The Big Island), Oahu and Maui. An interesting fact about Hawaii is that it does not observe daylight savings time.
Tourism is a major industry in Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, during the first eight months of 2011, nearly 5 million people had visited the island and had pumped 8.5 billion dollars into the local economy. In August of 2011, the average daily dollar amount spent per tourist was $179. So as you can see, Hawaii continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. We’re going to highlight some of the attractions that keep bringing them back to the island chain year after year.
Pearl Harbor, Oahu
Source – pet_r
Pearl Harbor is the only naval base to receive historical landmark resignation in the United States. It was the sight of the Japanese attack on US forces in 1941 that triggered World War II. In all, 2,390 people died in Pearl Harbor as a result of that attack. Now the compound houses five museums depicting various eras from US Naval history and World War II.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai
Source – dexxus
Known as The Grand Canyon of The Pacific, this natural wonder has a depth of 3,500 feet and offers spectacular views into the volcanic mountains of Kauai.
Haleakala National Park, Maui
Source – masteryofmaps
Haleakala means House of The Sun in Hawaiian. The park has an elevation of 10,000 and locals as well as tourists make the journey in the wee hours of the morning specifically to watch the amazing sun rises at this altitude.
Napali Coast, Kauai
Source – caryd
The Nepali Coast is the Hawaiian outback, featuring lush green hills, tropical forests and 17mile of rocky coasts and waterfalls. This area of the state remains uninhabited and the only way through it is to hike. Alternately you can tour the outer portions of it via boat or helicopter, but to get the full effect of the beauty of this untouched landscape, you really want to be on the ground.
Source – stuseeger
Oahu is known as The Gathering Place and Waikiki is no exception. It truly is the meeting point of the world wear east meets west in a beautiful mess of culture, entertainment, shopping, beaches and world class resorts. The Waikiki Strip is Hawaii’s equivalent to California’s famed Sunset Strip. Definitely the place to see and be seen.
Source – slworking
Surfers from all over the world come to Haleiwa to experience the laid back atmosphere and country lifestyle of this small surfing community. It’s the gateway to the North Shore of Hawaii, which is considered to have the best surfing waters in the world.
Hawaiian Fishponds of Molokai
Source – 4nitsirk
The Hawaiian Fishponds of Molokai are made from volcanic rock and coral and are more like fish swimming pools than actual ponds. Their design let the tide bring the fish to the pond, but kept them from escaping once the waves rolled back out. Most of these were created more than 700 years ago and once upon a time, only Hawaiian royals were permitted to eat any of the fish contained within the ponds.
Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, Molokai – This royal coconut grove contains hundreds of coconut palms planted during the rein of King Kamehameha V in the 1860s. The grove is one of the region’s natural landmarks and is world famous among tourists.
Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach), Lanai – You’re going to need a four wheel drive vehicle to get there and even then you’re going to have to walk a ways. This eight mile stretch of secluded beach is notorious for beaching and wrecking ships that pass it, one of which is still visible in the waters, dating back to the 1940s. It’s a popular place for beachcombing and treasure hunting among those who know how to get there.
Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), Lanai
Source – jshyun
Puu Pehe is a natural landmark nestled between two bays in Lanai. Rising some 80 feet in the air, the giant rock seems oddly out of place sitting in the surf. Once you know the legend behind it – the tragic tale of two ancient Hawaiian lovers – you’ll never look at the rock the same way again.
Source – marmaz
Cowboys.. in Hawaii? Yes! And rodeos, too – in this quaint little western themed town and art center. Its kind of like a mix between a dude ranch and Main Street, USA. Just a neat and fun little side excursion, completely different from anything else you’ll see in Hawaii.
Hilo Farmers Market, Hawaii Island
Source – tobze
This farmers market has everything you’d expect from a farmers market, but with a Hawaiian flare of course. Aside from the locally grown tropical fruits and fruit byproducts like jellies, expect to find gorgeous flowers and variety of Hawaiian handicrafts from local vendors.
Coffee Plantations on Hawaii Island
Source – kenya
Kona is home to hundreds of coffee plantations, all of which are brewing up some variety of 100% Kona coffee. Guides will take you on a tour of the processing facilities to learn more about the coffee harvesting process. There are gift shops as well as ample opportunity to sample each plantation’s wares.
Before you go:
- Remember that, despite its location, Hawaii is still a part of the US so US travelers won’t need any special documents to be granted entry.
- Be advised of the Pacific Hurricane Season and when the most likely time for the islands to experience a storm might be to plan your trip accordingly.
- December is the most expensive time to travel to Hawaii due to it being in the middle of the peak travel season. Plan accordingly and book your accommodations well in advance.