33 Hawaii Facts: Interesting Facts About Hawaii

Last updated on August 16th, 2019

Hawaii is the 40th most populous and the 43rd most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located outside North America. The state attained statehood on August 21, 1959, becoming the 50th state to join the union. It has no bordering states. See the complete list of the 50 states and their borders here. Hawaii (nicknamed: Aloha State, Pineapple State, Rainbow State) has 5 counties. The state’s capital is Honolulu. The abbreviation for Hawaii is HI. With these facts about Hawaii, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy, culture, volcanoes, islands, etc.

Facts about Hawaii

1. Hawaii is the only US state composed entirely of islands. These islands are volcanic islands (meaning they came into being due to the violent volcanic activity in the region and when the molten magma cools down and forms new land).[1]

2. The state’s coastline is the fourth longest in the U.S. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California.[1]

Hawaii on the map

3. Hawai’i is actually the largest island (10,432 sq km) in the state of Hawaii from which the state derives its name.[1]

4. It is the southernmost U.S. state. It is also the only U.S. state that is not geographically located in North America.

5. The state has eight main islands and other smaller islands and islets. The main islands with the total area are Niihau – 180 sq km, Kauai – 1,430 sq km, Oahu – 1,545 sq km, Molokai – 637 sq km, Lānai – 364 sq km, Kahoolawe – 115 sq km, Maui – 1,883.5 sq km, and the Island of Hawaii – 10,432 sq km.) All except Kahoolawe are inhabited.[1,2,13] 

6. Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest mountain. If the height of this mountain is considered from its base, which lies in the Pacific Ocean, it is taller than Mount Everest.[1]

7. Mount Waialeale, on the island of Kauai, is one of the world’s wettest spots.[3]

8. Did you know that the Hawaiian Islands were first settled by Polynesians? Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. with a royal palace (Polynesian kings and a queen ruled the island for about 100 years).[4]

9. In 1778, Captain James Cook, the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands, named the islands the Sandwich Islands. Unfortunately, in 1779, he was killed during an affray with a number of Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay.[23]

10. Hawaii is the only state with an official second language, Hawaiian.

The flag of Hawaii

Flag of Hawaii. Facts about Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

11. Hawaii does not have any important mineral deposits.[23]

12. Did you know that Pearl Harbor Naval Base is located in Hawaii on the island of Oahu? The base was attacked by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941, and the event was responsible for U.S. entry into World War II.[4]

13. Did you know that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii? He is the only president who was born outside of the contiguous 48 states.[16]

14. The Hawaiian word “Aloha” is used as a simple greeting and has a cultural and spiritual significance to native Hawaiians. It is also a word for love, affection, and peace.[5]

15. Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968), born in Honolulu, Hawaii is considered by many the “Father of Modern Surfing.” He was a five-time Olympic swimming medalist. The Hawaiian Islands are a surfing mecca with some of the tallest and cleanest waves in the world.[6,23]

16. Did you know that the Hawaiian Hoary Bat is the only native land mammal in Hawaii?[7]

17. Billboards are banned in Hawaii (1927) and three other states Alaska (1998), Vermont (1968), and Maine (1978).[8]

18. Only two states in the U.S. do not observe daylight saving time (DST). One is Hawaii and the other is Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation, who do observe daylight saving time on tribal lands).[9]

19. Hawaii is the only state in the US where coffee is grown commercially. Kona coffee grown on the big island is considered the best of the state.[10]

20. From east to west, after Alaska, Hawaii is the second widest state in the U.S. The state is also called the most isolated population center in the world — some 2,390 miles from the U.S. and nearly 4,000 miles from Japan.[22]

21. Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time.) Hawaii is 3 hours behind the western states like California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada during Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).[11]

22. Oahu is the most visited of all the Hawaiian islands, at nearly 4.7 million visitors annually. Hawaii – The Big Island is the third most visited island.[14]

23. Did you know that before turning into a state, Hawaii was a kingdom? The first king of Hawaii was Kamehameha.[19]

24. Hawaii and Utah are the only two states in the U.S. where gambling is illegal (a 100% ban on gambling). That means no lotteries, horse races, sports betting, or even bingo.[15]

25. Hawaii has people from a variety of cultures and ethnicities, which is the reason why there is no dominant group of people in Hawaii. 

26. Due to volcanic eruptions, the landmass of Hawaii is constantly growing. In fact, it is the only state in the U.S. which continues to grow. The state has the most active volcano (Kilauea) in the world. The lava from the volcanoes spurts up and gets cooled by the water and creates new landmass.[25]

27. It’s weird but in the interest of the natural beauty of the island of Kauai, one cannot build a structure taller than a palm tree.[24]

28. Did you know that you could fit Hawaii into Alaska 60 times!?[17]

29. Did you know that tourism is Hawaii’s economic pillar? The industry supported more than 192,000 jobs and contributed $1.8 billion in tax revenues to the state in 2016.[18] 

30. According to US News – Hawaii stands out as the No. 1 Best State for health care in the U.S followed by Washington, Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. 

31. Did you know that the Earth’s tallest volcano – Mauna Kea – is in Hawaii? The volcano together with other four volcanoes makes up the Big Island of Hawaii. The volcanic mountain is so immense that it is sinking into the sea floor under the pressure of its own weight.[20]

32. The world’s largest plant maze is right here in Hawaii. Dole plantation’s garden maze was declared the world’s largest plant maze in 2008. It is crafted with 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants.[21] 

33. Hawaii lies just below the Tropic of Cancer.[23] 

Hawaii – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationHI
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalHonolulu
Largest CityHonolulu
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 10,931 sq miles; Land Only: 6,423 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodAugust 21, 1959
State rank by population40th
State rank by date of formation50th
State rank by area43rd
Number of Counties5
Bordering StatesNone
Official LanguageEnglish, Hawaiian
Highest PointMauna Kea
13,796 ft (4205.0 m)
Lowest pointPacific Ocean
Sea level
Mean elevation3,030 feet above seal level
Length 1,522 miles (2,450 km)
Width93 miles
GovernorDavid Ige (D)
Lieutenant GovernorJosh Green (D)
Electoral Votes4
State MottoUa mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)
State NicknameAloha State
% Water41.2
Noble prize WinnersBarack H. Obama (Peace, 2009)
Famous peopleJason Momoa
Bruno Mars
U.S. President Born in Hawaii1. Barack Hussein Obama II.
State TreeKukui
State Flag

Flag of Hawaii

State seal

Seal of the State of Hawaii.svg

State coat of arms

Coat of arms of Hawaii.svg

State quarter

Hawaii quarter

State BirdNene

Nene leg stretch
State InsectPulelehua

Kamehameha Butterfly (Vanessa tamehameha)
State FishHumuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa

Reef trigger fish. (11111536093).jpg

State Island FlowerHawai'i 'Ohi'a Lehua

State GemĒkaha kū moana,

Blackcoral colony 600.jpg

State Island Lei Material: Ni'hauPupu Shells

Shell lei
state Marine MammalHumpback Whale

Illustration of a whale next to a human diver. The whale is many times larger than the human.

State MammalHawaiian Monk Seal

Monk Seal
State Land MammalHawaiian Hoary Bat

Lasiurus cinereus semotus crop.jpg

State Musical Instrument (traditional)Pahu

Drum (pahu) LACMA M.2008.66.11.jpg

State PlantKalo

Taro Leaves
Longitude154° 48′ W to 178° 22′ W
Latitude18° 55′ N to 28° 27′ N
Time ZoneHawaii-Aleutian Time Zone
Area Codes808
Table last updated14 May, 2019