87 Interesting Facts About Hawaii

Last updated on November 5th, 2023

57. Hawaii features 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones as classified by the Koppen Climate Classification System of 1884.

58. 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.

59. 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. It was outlawed in 1959 when it became the 50th US state. This was to protect the state’s family atmosphere.

60. Speaking of what’s legal and what’s not, it is illegal to own a pet snake in Hawaii. Should you be found to own a snake, you are liable for a prison stay of up to 3 years, or a fine of over $200,000.

Highway in Hawaii. Hawaii fact sheet
Facts about Hawaii. Image credit – Steve Jurvetson

61. The maximum speed limit on Hawaii’s freeways is between 50 to 60 mph. Contravening this speed limit results in a fine of $200 to $1,000, a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license, 36 hours of community service or a two to five-day jail sentence. Better stick to those speed limits!

62. Hawaii is one of the most eco-conscious states in the US, and banned the use of plastic bags in 2011. If you are found to be in possession of a plastic bag anywhere on the island, you are liable to pay a fine anywhere between $100 and $1,000.

63. Hawaii has a relatively low crime rate, and reported figures as low as 251 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2017.

coconuts in Hawaii. Hawaii fact file
Image credit – Falco Ermert

64. Fancy sending something fun and useless to a friend? How about a coconut? You can mail a coconut to just about anywhere in the United States for as little as $12 to $20.

65. The largest dormant volcano, the Haleakala volcano, is responsible for the formation of at least 75% of the island of Hawaii. The last eruption of Haleakala took place over 200 years ago, with only three volcanoes now classified as “active.”

Lava flowing into ocean - Kilauea Volcano, Big Island, Hawaii.
Lava flowing into ocean – Kilauea Volcano, Big Island, Hawaii.

66. Due to volcanic eruptions, the landmass of Hawaii is constantly growing. In fact, it is the only state in the U.S. that 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. Thanks to the presence of no less than three active volcanoes, it grows by up to 42 acres a year.

67. Tourists swarm the beaches of Papakolea Green Sand Beach annually to see the beauty of the volcanic olivine crystals for themselves. This beach is one of only four in the world that features this rarity, making it a popular tourist destination.

palm tree n a beach. Hawaii fact sheet
Image credit – Janine

68. 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.

69. Did you know that you could fit Hawaii into Alaska 60 times!?

70. 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.

71. In 2022, 9.2 million people visited the island state of Hawaii, bringing in billions of dollars to the island’s economy.

72. The Hana Highway, a 60-mile popular tourist destination in Maui, features 59 bridges and around 600 hairpin bends.

73. The awards for the largest outdoor pool in Hawaii goes to the Marriott Kauai Beach Club. The pool is a whopping 26,000 square feet.

74. Honolulu’s Halekulani Hotel is a must for those who want to take in one of the island’s most popular attractions – the Orchid Pool. The pool is open to visitors staying at the hotel, and features a mosaic of an orchid made up of 1.25 million individual glass tiles.

75. The Waianapanapa Beach in Hawaii is truly one of a kind as it features beautiful black sand that draws visitors from across the globe.

76. Black coral was named as the state gem of Hawaii in 1987.

77. Hawaii is a great place to visit, but not to live, with the cost of living exceptionally high for residents. To combat this, visitors are encouraged to tip between 15 to 20% of their bill at restaurants, clubs, and bars on the island.

78. 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

79. More than 60 movies have been filmed in Kauai’s tropical rainforest, including Jurassic Park. Other famous movies that were filmed in the rainforest include The Descendants (2011) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) among others.

80. Popular children’s animated movie Lilo & Stitch is the first of its kind to be set on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The movie was released in 2002, and drew inspiration from the real life town of Hanapepe.

Vintage Brasilian Rotary Dial Telephone, No Manufacturer Markings, Dated 1977
Image credit – Joe Haupt

81. The first telephone was established in Hawaii in 1931.

82. Hawaii was the location for specialized astronaut training in December, 1970 when Apollo 15 commander and lunar module pilot Dave Scott and Jim Irwin took part in training in Hawaii’s Big Island.

83. Hawaii is completely smog-free thanks to its clean air and lack of industries. Instead, the island is regularly covered in vog, which is a mixture of volcanic gasses and fog owing to the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in 1983. The volcano is still semi-active today, and releases volcanic gasses that make for some pretty stunning sunsets and moonrises.

84. The hula dance was created in Hawaii. It uses hand motions to tell stories and to pay respect to gods, goddesses, and nature.

85. June 11th is known as King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii, and is a day where locals pay tribute to the first king of the great island state of Hawaii.

86. The third Friday in August is a holiday, commemorating Hawai’i statehood in 1959. The day is also known as “Admission Day.”

87. Who was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress? In 1959, Daniel Inouye, became the first Japanese American elected to Congress. He fought heroically for the United States in WWII.

About the flag of Hawaii

Flag of Hawaii
Flag of Hawaii

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Hawaii features eight horizontal stripes, alternating among the colors white, red, and blue. They represent the eight biggest islands of the state.

At the upper left corner is a scaled-down Union Jack, which is the flag of the United Kingdom. It highlights the close historical ties between the old Hawaiian Kingdom and the UK’s Royal Navy.

2. Adoption

Hawaii adopted this flag on December 29, 1845. The last modification was in 1898.

3. Technical Details

The flag’s width is half of its length. The stripes are of equal thickness, with the topmost being white, followed by red and blue. The same pattern appears down to the bottom. Note that the Union Jack on the corner uses a 4:7 ratio instead of a 1:2 ratio.

4. History

In 1778, Captain George Vancouver from the British Royal Navy visited the islands of Hawaii for the first time. He returned in 1793 aboard the HMS Discovery and met the ruler, Kamehameha I. His gift was a Red Ensign – a red banner with a miniature British flag on the upper left. It became the unofficial flag of Hawaii until 1816.

Between 1809 and 1811, Captain Alexander Adams arrived in Hawaii and became a commander of the Kingdom’s navy. In 1816, he negotiated the purchase of an American ship called Forester on behalf of Prince Liholiho. The king sent Adams to China to sell sandalwood aboard this ship. Before leaving, he left his flag for use at the port, effectively becoming the Hawaiian flag. It had eight stripes and the British flag.

Captain Adams refused to sail under the US flag when the War of 1812 between the US and the UK broke out. The British Empire was at the height of its power at this time. He feared that everyone on the islands would perish if they did not pledge their allegiance to Britain. His voyage to China was the first time a ship sailed under the flag of Hawaii with the Union Jack.

5. Other Flags

The governor of Hawaii uses a different flag with blue at the top and red and the bottom. Before statehood, eight white stars surround the letters “TH,” which stands for “Territory of Hawaii.” After statehood, the acronym gave way to the word “HAWAII.”

Early versions of the Hawaii flag had varying numbers of stripes from seven to nine, signaling the inclusion or exclusion of some islands. Some had a red band at the top, unlike the standard white.

The Union Flag flew over Hawaii for a few months, from February to July 1843. It was during the short British occupation led by Captain Lord George Paulet. He and his men eventually had to flee with the arrival of American warships.

6. Flag Facts

Every July 31, Hawaii celebrates Flag Day called La Hae Hawai’i. It started in 1990 under the initiative of Governor John Waihee. It coincides with Sovereignty Restoration Day or La Ho’iho’i Ea.

An inverted Hawaiian flag indicates that the state is in distress. It is also the chosen symbol for the Hawaii sovereignty movement – a political and cultural campaign to re-establish an independent kingdom of Hawaii.

Hawaii – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationHI
State CapitalHonolulu
List Of 50 U.S. States And Their Capital
Largest CityHonolulu
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 10,931 sq miles; Land Only: 6,423 sq miles
1,435,138 (Estimate July 1, 2023 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
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
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
GovernorJosh Green (D)
Lieutenant GovernorSylvia Luke (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 BirdNene
State InsectPulelehua
State FishHumuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa
State Island FlowerHawai'i 'Ohi'a Lehua
State GemĒkaha kū moana
State Island Lei Material: Ni'hauPupu Shells
State Marine MammalHumpback Whale
State MammalHawaiian Monk Seal
State Land MammalHawaiian Hoary Bat
State Musical Instrument (traditional)Pahu
State PlantKalo
Longitude154° 48′ W to 178° 22′ W
Latitude18° 55′ N to 28° 27′ N
Time ZoneHawaii-Aleutian Time Zone
Area Codes808
Table last updatedDecember 21, 2023