Hawaii FAQ

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The most recent state to join the union, Hawaii is a set of islands in the Pacific Ocean. The state derives its name from the largest of the islands, only some of which are publicly inhabited. Kaho’olawe, the smallest, is not inhabited. Until 1990, the United States military used it as a training ground. It is now a protected area only to be used for native cultural traditions. Niihau is privately owned. Kona, Hawaii is known for its exceptional coffees. It is the only place in the country that produces such. The flora and fauna of the area are so diverse, scientists, biologists, and researchers of all ilk study come from all over the world to study it and the active volcanos spotting the islands. There are countless attractions, accommodations, and activities to entertain natives and visitors alike. The weather is exceptionally beautiful almost year-round with many pristine beaches, making it a popular tourist destination. This state has a rich and tumultuous history as well as a prospering, promising future.

What Time Zone is Hawaii in?

Hawaii is in the Hawaii-Aleutian standard time zone. As the name suggests, it covers the areas of Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It is figured by subtracting ten hours from coordinated universal time. This reads as UTC-10. The mean solar time of the 150th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory is the basis for the clock time in this zone. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

When Did Hawaii Become a State?

Hawaii became a state on August 21, 1959 during the Eisenhower administration. The first known inhabitants of the islands were Polynesian travelers in the eighth century. It wasn’t until the 18th century that American traders made their way to the Hawaiian Islands. The area was rich in sandalwood which was highly valued in China. Traders took sandalwood out while settlers introduced Hawaii to the sugar industry. The United States soon deposed Queen, Liliuokalani and annexed Hawaii. In 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the importance of Hawaii to the U.S. became clear and its journey toward statehood began.

How Big is Hawaii?

Hawaii is 10,931 square miles. But that is only one answer. The deciding factor is if the question pertains to the “big” island of Hawaii or the entire set of islands known as the state of Hawaii. The big island is roughly 4,028 miles. There are over 185,000 inhabitants. The island of Oahu is smaller, extending 44 miles long, 30 miles wide, and 112 miles around. It is Hawaii’s third largest island. The Hawaiian Islands extend 1,523 miles or approximately 2,451 km, from the Big Island in the southeast to the Kure Atoll in the northwest making Hawaii the world’s longest island chain.

What to do in Hawaii

Tourism is vital to the Hawaiian economy. More than 7 million visitors come to the islands each year and spend over $10 million. Tourism is an all-year industry because the weather is always pleasant so there are myriad attractions of all types. Winter holiday months are especially popular for tourists. The islands are so naturally beautiful, there are many state parks and natural areas to visit such as the Kuilau Ridge Trail, Makawehi Lithified Cliffs, and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Reserve. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, and water sports are all popular activities with the plethora of beautiful beaches such as Waikiki Beach, Ko Olina Beach, Waimea Bay Beach Park, Poipu Beach Park, and Hanalei Bay. If a day trip is on the agenda, there are many points of interest and historical landmarks to visit such as the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Byodo-In Temple, and the Kalaupapa Overlook. There are endless shopping and dining venues as well as yearly cultural events that draw visitors both local and from abroad.

Where is Hawaii?

Hawaii is located far into the Pacific Ocean. It is a remote area of the United States more than 3,000 miles from the continental U.S. It is the only state in the union not in North America and is the southmost state. The state of Hawaii is more than 2,000 miles from the west coast of the United States, roughly 4,000 miles from Japan, and an estimated 5,000 miles from China.

How Many Islands are in Hawaii?

There are eight major islands included in the Hawaiian Islands. There are also 131 islets known as the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The eight main Hawaiian Islands located at the southeast area of the islands are Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. The smaller islands, atolls, and shoals are uninhabited and located at the northwest end of the island chain.

When was Hawaii Annexed?

In July of 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii after unceremoniously deposing Queen, Liliuokalani. The islands were once an independent state led by a hereditary monarchy, but American expansionists were eager to move in. The area became of true interest in the early 18th century when missionaries from America attempted to spread their faith after businessmen had begun sugar trades that became exceedingly fruitful for both peoples after the Civil War. Relations turned sour, however, when the U.S. approved the McKinley Tariff in 1890, which raised the import rates on sugar from Hawaii and abroad. American sugar plantations began to outsell Hawaiian plantations and the American growers in Hawaii were looking for a way out. Annexation was it. The problem was Queen Liliuokalani, who believed the root of all Hawaiian problems was foreign-born. Later, when sugar planter staged an uprising, the U.S. military intervened on their behalf and overthrew the queen without permission. President Cleveland intended to restore the islands to the queen, but the American public balked. He never acquiesced. When the 1898 war with Spain began, the American naval bases in Hawaii became of particular significance. President William McKinley signed a resolution annexing the islands, similar to how Texas joined the Union in 1845.

What to Pack for a Trip to Hawaii

The weather is almost always perfect in Hawaii. Light clothes and swim attire are always useful. There are some other important items vacationers should always bring with them to Hawaii. They include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Waterproof wallet
  • Beach coverup
  • Leave-in hair conditioner
  • Rain jacket or windbreaker
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Travel guidebooks

One thing you do not need in Hawaii is a suit or formal wear. Even at the finest of restaurants, Hawaii has its own attire that everyone wears. Formal attire would only be required on special occasions.

When was Hawaii a State?

President Eisenhower signed the Hawaiian Islands into statehood on August 21, 1959. A referendum was held during which over 90% of Hawaiian voters approved annexation. They felt it was reasonable after their extreme loyalty to the states in WWII. The state’s annexation took place 60 years after it first became a U.S. territory. Many people in the United States felt the annexation of Hawaii was wrong considering the overthrowing of the queen and the role American sugar planters had in everything. The prevailing sentiment of Hawaiian natives won out in the end and they became a state shortly after Alaska in 1959. A new American flag with 50 staggered stars was commissioned shortly after.

What is the Capital of Hawaii?

The island of Oahu is home to the capital city of Hawaii and the largest city in the world, Honolulu. It is also the second most expensive city in the United States, next to Anchorage, Alaska. It is the central gateway to the rest of Hawaii. Not only is it known for its cultural experience but also as a major hub for business and military defense. It has the distinction of being the only city of its size to be so remote in the entire world. It is the only United States city to be so far west. It is a major financial hub for all of the Hawaiian Islands. The name Honolulu translates to “calm port” or “sheltered harbor”. It has been the capitol city since 1845. Some scientists believe it had inhabitants as far back as the 11th century. Honolulu plays a big part in the history of the whole country as the home of Pearl Harbor, site of the infamous Japanese attack during WWII.

How Far is Hawaii from California?

The flight to Hawaii is long, regardless of the airline or flight. Most trips take at least five and a half to seven hours. California is roughly 2500 miles from the Hawaiian Islands. California’s curved coastline leaves its northern cities such as San Francisco closer to Hawaii and leaving from a northern city makes for a slightly shorter flight. Coming out of San Jose, Sacramento, or San Francisco, a flight takes a bit over five and a half hours. Leaving from Los Angeles takes roughly ten to 20 minutes longer. San Diego flights take the longest and can take six and a half hours or so. The jet stream pushes the ride home along a bit faster.

Where to Go in Hawaii

Six of the Hawaiian Islands are open to the public with a plethora of sights and accommodations. There are beaches everywhere with every imaginable activity offered. Shopping excursions can be along dusty streets of local vendors or in high-end shopping centers. Nightlife and every type of food from fine dining to the finest seafood food truck dishes are easy to find. The Kilauea Lodge in Volcano Village is a popular spot for locals as well as visitors. Other hotspots include the Lava Lava Beach Club and the Queens Marketplace.

What Airlines Fly to Hawaii?

There are myriad airlines that fly to the Hawaiian Islands from the United States and Canada as well as many other countries. There are also several that make inter-island flights. All the major airlines such as Canada Air, Air Pacific, Alaska Air, Allegiant, Continental, Jetway, American Airlines and more.

When is the Best Time to Go to Hawaii?

The best time to go to Hawaii depends on what’s important to you. The deepest plunge in room rates is between the months of September and November. The rainy season comes to an end in late spring. Summer has no rain and surf is calmer. The temperatures are hot, however along with the humidity. Fall brings the rain that can often last all day. There are also more storms and hurricanes in the fall months. In the winter, many tourists come for the holiday festivities and both accommodations and travel prices are considerably higher.

What Continent is Hawaii in?

Strangely enough, the state of Hawaii is not on a continent. This is because it is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Politically, it is said to be part of North America but technically it is on the continent of Oceana. North America is the closest continent to Hawaii. The nearest landmass is the tip of Alaska and then southern California.