Situated 2,000 miles south-west of the American mainland, Hawaii comprises a group of eight islands, seven of which are inhabited. It has a rich, complex history and is thought to have been settled originally by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, probably around 300 AD. A second wave of migrants in the 11th century was followed by the first Europeans, and some historians believe the Spaniards may have found Hawaii in the 16th century, whereas British explorer Captain James Cook’s first recorded visit was in 1778. More immigrants came from China in 1778, Japan in 1885 and Puerto Rico in 1889. Koreans arrived in the early part of the 20th century and again in 1965. The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is mainly Polynesian and traditions continue to be re-enacted today, however, the wide span of Hawaii’s ancestry groups contributes to its vibrant cultural heritage.
Things To See In Hawaii
The islands enjoy an amazing diversity of natural scenery and a warm tropical climate. Tourists flock here because of the many public beaches, their picturesque oceanic surroundings, and to watch the active volcanoes.
Oahu – The Gathering Place
The majority of residents live on Oahu, the site of the capital Honolulu. Here visitors can have fabulous town, country and beach experiences, enjoying the rich diversity Hawaii offers. The historic Nuuanu Pali Lookout is a scenic spot just a short drive north-east of downtown Honolulu through dense forests of tall trees. A landmark on the verdant windward coast, it provides dramatic, panoramic views of the Koolau cliffs.
For great surfing, the North Shore is the place to be. In summer beginners enjoy smaller, gentler waves, while in winter veterans are exhilarated by the massive waves that act like a magnet for experienced surfers from all over the world.
The North Shore is about an hour-long drive from the famous Waikiki beach, on the South Shore, the ultimate place to swim on Oahu and a popular choice for places to stay. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a fabulous resort and spa right on the beachfront, and guests have unrivaled views of Diamond Head Crater – the iconic state monument. Downtown adventures include visits to Honolulu’s vibrant cosmopolitan nightclubs around the city.
Hawaii – The Big Island
Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, is home to some big things – the largest park in the state is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; the biggest mountain in the world in terms of area covered and volume is Maunaloa, one of five volcanoes on the island, and Maunakea is the world’s tallest sea mountain. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO), one of the most important land-based astronomy sites in the world, is also in the Big Island that is located in the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.
Molokai – The Friendly Isle
If outdoor adventure beckons then the tranquil island of Molokai with its natural scenic beauty and unspoiled terrain is the ideal place. The Molokai’s isolated Kalaupapa Historical National Park is its most famous attraction, reached by a mule ride or on foot. There are fishponds along the island’s south shore and the historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove dates from the 1860s when it was a royal plantation.
With so much to do and see in Hawaii, visitors to the island love to return time and again to make sure they don’t miss out on any of the fabulous sight and activities.
What’s your favorite Hawaiian island?