Hawaii - Overview (U.S.)

Spotlight on Hawaii

Hawaii is the most remote island chain in the world, over 2,000 miles from the nearest landfall. Distance makes for splendid isolation - these Polynesian islands are removed from all else but one another. Hawaii consists of eight major islands plus 124 minor islands, reefs and shoals, strung like a necklace across the Pacific for over 1,500 miles. The eight major islands (which make up over 99% of the total land area) are Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (known as Big Island), Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe (uninhabited) and Niihau (privately owned). Each of the major islands has an identity all its own. Oahu is as different from Molokai and Maui as Kauai is from Lanai and the Big Island - each as varied and colorful as the official state flower, the hibiscus. With their collective mass of 4.1 million acres or 6,450 square miles, these islands form the fourth smallest state in the United States. Beyond mere geography, to Hawaiians the land is "mother". The Hawaiian word for land, 'aina, literally means "that which feeds". It doesn't belong to us; we belong to it, and are part of it. Many have embraced Aloha, since visitors are Hawaii's major source of income. The Islands host approximately 7 million people each year whose average expenditures (excluding airfares) exceed 10 billion dollars! (1999) Remember...it's much harder to be a traveler than a tourist. A tourist seeks only an escape that fades - a traveler's reward lasts a lifetime! The Hawaiian Islands have only two seasons: "summer" between May and October and "winter" between October and April. The climate is subtropical, with a normal annual temperature of 77°F, making these islands "- the peacefullest, restfullest, balmiest, dreamiest haven of refuge for a worn and weary spirit the surface of the earth can offer." -Mark Twain

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