21 Fascinating Facts about Hawaii that Will Surprise You

HawaiiHawaii is an amazingly beautiful Pacific island paradise where everyone will find something they enjoy. From beaches and Polynesian culture to rare orchids and rain forests, each island is unique with its own special places and features.

Hawaii includes eight main islands plus 124 mostly uninhabited islets, reefs, and shoals. Tourist visit six of the main islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii, Molokai, and Lanai. The other two are Kahoolawe, a former U.S. Navy bombing target with strictly limited access due to unexploded ordinance; and tiny Niihau, a privately owned island, off-limits to visitors, where 200 native Hawaiians live a traditional lifestyle.

The Land of Hawaii

islands of Hawaii

Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Titus

  1. Many know about the stunning black sand and white sand beaches of Hawaii, but did you know some Hawaiian beaches also have yellow, red or green sand?
  2. The Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters (vowels: a, e, i, o, u and consonants: h, k, l, m, n, p, w) plus a symbol called ‘okina (‘) that indicates a slight pause. Every word and syllable of the language end in a vowel. Since there is no “s” the plural for lei is lei, luau for luau, etc.
  3. Hawaii lays claim to the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala Crater on Maui, and the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea on the Big Island. Kilauea has been erupting for 30 years.
  4. hawaiiHawaii is growing – literally. Lava flows from Kilauea Volcano add 42 acres of land a year and there is a new island forming off the southeastern coast of the Big Island. The new island, already named Loihi, still lies a few thousand feet below the ocean’s surface.
  5. The highest sea cliffs on earth are on Molokai, measuring 3,315 feet by the Guinness Book of World Records.
  6. There are 33 miles of swimming beaches on Maui.
  7. A tiny plot of land and a small white obelisk situated on Kealakekua Bay, the Big Island, is actually British soil. It was deeded by Hawaii as a monument to Captain James Cook, the first European to contact, and subsequently, be killed by the native Hawaiians.

Hawaii’s Environment

  1. hawaiiHawaii has its own time zone HST (Hawaiian Standard Time) and does not observe Daylight Saving Time.
  2. Mount Waialeale on Kauai, is one of the wettest places on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of 488 inches. The name means “overflowing water.”
  3. There are no snakes and no rabies on the Islands of Hawaii.
  4. About two-thirds of the 10,000 humpback whales that migrate from Mexico to the north Pacific swing by Hawaii on the way. The best whale watching is in Maui and Kona from January to April.
  5. Hawaii supplies more than one-third of the world’s commercial trade of pineapples.

Hawaiian Structures

  1. hawaiiThe world’s most powerful telescope will be atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island. When completed, the Thirty Meter Telescope (or TMT) will have nine times the light-gathering power of today’s best telescopes. The $1.2 billion telescope will be operational in 2018.
  2. Hawaii is one of four U.S. states that ban billboards so not to spoil the natural beauty of the environment. And they did it in the 1920s, decades before their followers Vermont (1968), Maine (1980s), and Alaska (1998).
  3. Kauai has a “Coconut Tree Ordinance” that prohibits buildings taller than four stories (roughly the height of a mature coconut palm). The two exceptions are the Kauai Marriott that was built before the ordinance and the 11-story St. Regis Princeville Resort which is built down the side of a cliff.
  4. Hawaii is the only U.S. state to have royal palaces: Hulihee Palace in Kailua Village on the Big Island and Iolani Palace and Queen Emma Summer Palace in Honolulu, Oahu. King Kalakaua installed electric lights in Iolani Palace in 1887—four years before the White House got electric lights.


  1. hawaiiOn July 11, Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day honoring the Chief who united the Hawaiian tribes in 1810. As such, it is the only state to honor a monarch.
  2. The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated population center on earth with their closest neighbor being California 2,390 miles away.
  3. The island of Molokai does not have any traffic lights and Niihau has no paved roads.
  4. Hawaii has the highest life expectancy in the U.S. At 82.4 years, it is 3.7 years higher than the national average.
  5. The gift of a lei upon arriving or leaving is a symbol of affection. Lei should never be thrown away but returned to the earth by hanging as decoration, burying, or burning.

To find out more about the fascinating Hawaiian Islands, contact a Covington Vacation Advisor and go visit the Pacific paradise in person!

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