50 Interesting & Fun Facts About Hawaii State to Know

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Clouds looming above a coastal city with buildings along the beach
Hawaii is visited by millions of people, for its landscape and culture

Millions of people visit Hawaii every year to see the tall volcanoes and the various beautiful landscapes. Each of the major islands that make up the state of Hawaii has something unique to offer visitors.

And there are some really interesting and fun facts about Hawaii state to know, like that it has haunted places and people on the islands, like the Night Marchers.

This article covers 50 facts ranging from Hawaii's history to the culture of Hawaii and more. Below, you will even find some scary, weird, and cool facts about Hawaii that you might not have known. Keep reading to learn more!

  • 50 Hawaii facts

50 Hawaii State Facts

  1. Hawaii Fun Facts
    1. Hawaii is the 2nd widest state in the US
    2. Hawaii's chain of islands is the longest in the world
    3. The biggest waves in Hawaii are on Oahu's north shore
    4. Hawaii has a ban on plastic bags
    5. Hawaii does not follow daylight savings time
    6. Hawaiian Standard Time is Hawaii's own time zone
    7. The peak of Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii
    8. Gambling is illegal in Hawaii
    9. Millions of tourists visit Hawaii every year
    10. More than 8% of energy in Hawaii comes from wind power
  2. Interesting Facts About Hawaii
    1. Honolulu is the state capital of Hawaii
    2. Hawaii grows in size every year from the volcanic eruption of the Kilauea Volcano
    3. Hawaii makes up just a few of the islands in the Pacific Ocean
    4. Honolulu saw record-breaking temperatures in 2019
    5. Iolani Palace was home to King Kalakaua and his family
    6. The highest temperature in Hawaii was recorded at 100 degrees Fahrenheit
    7. The Hawaiian population is almost one and a half million people
    8. The oldest Catholic Church in the United States is in Hawaii
    9. Hawaii has eight major islands
    10. Hawaii is home to an endangered species, the Hawaiian monk seal
  3. Facts About Hawaii History
    1. European explorer Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii
    2. King Kamehameha was the leader of the Hawaiian islands in the late 18th century
    3. Hawaii was annexed by the US at the end of the 19th century
    4. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the US
    5. Pearl Harbor was a significant site during World War II
  4. Facts About Hawaiian Culture
    1. There are approximately 355,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii
    2. The Hawaiian alphabet, one of the official Hawaiian languages, only has 12 letters
    3. The official flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus
    4. The eight main islands all have an official flower
    5. Hawaii has the most isolated population on earth
  5. Cool Facts About Hawaii
    1. Hawaii has a black sand beach called Waianapanapa Beach
    2. Hawaii is one of the only states in the US that grow coffee commercially
    3. Snakes are illegal in Hawaii
    4. Hawaii's flag is a combination of two country's flags
    5. The Dole Plantation has over one million visitors every year
  6. Facts About Hawaii Culture
    1. Hawaii is a diverse state
    2. Aloha is the word Hawaiians use to say hi and bye
    3. There are two official languages in Hawaii
    4. Surfing was invented in Hawaii
  7. Facts About Hawaii Volcanoes
    1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has two of the most active volcanoes
    2. Hawaii is made up of volcanic islands
    3. The largest dormant volcano is Hawaii's Mount Haleakala
    4. Hawaii's Mauna Loa is an active volcano, and it is the largest in the world
  8. Weird Facts About Hawaii
    1. You can mail a coconut from Hawaii
    2. The official state gem is black coral
    3. Billboards are not allowed in Hawaii
  9. Scary Facts About Hawaii
    1. The Pali Highway in Hawaii is haunted
    2. The Hawaiian Night Marchers are deadly ghosts that live on the islands
    3. Hawaii has the second most shark attacks in the US
    4. Hawaiians get a vog or volcanic smog report

Show all

Hawaii Fun Facts

Four white structures with domes atop a barren mountain
Observatories at the top of the 13,756 feet tall Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest mountain

First up are ten fun facts on Hawaii.

Hawaii is the 2nd widest state in the US

Hawaii comes in second to Alaska, which is the longest US state. Alaska is 900 miles longer than Hawaii at 2,400 miles from east to west. Hawaii, spanning from island to island, is just over 1,500 miles wide.

Hawaii's chain of islands is the longest in the world

From the west to the east, Hawaii is 1,523 miles long. This distance spans from the Kure Atoll to the Big Island. There are over 100 islands in the chain, but only seven of them are populated.

A big ocean wave breaks with an island in the background
One of the fun facts about Hawaii state, Oahu's big waves reach up to 30 feet

The biggest waves in Hawaii are on Oahu's north shore

The north shore of Oahu has more than seven miles of beaches that attract the world's best surfers. Some of the world's most competitive surfing competitions are held here. The biggest waves are usually in the winter, and they can reach up to 30 feet high.

Hawaii has a ban on plastic bags

It was the first state to implement this ban. Businesses are banned from having plastic bags at checkout, even those which are compostable or reusable plastic. Reusable plastic bags are only allowed if they are thicker than ten mils. The only bags that are allowed are reusable fabric or cloth bags, and reusable and recyclable paper bags.

Hawaii does not follow daylight savings time

Hawaii does not change its clocks twice a year as most of the country does. It is the only state that does not use daylight savings time. They last observed it in 1945 and used it for a few years during World War II.

Hawaiian Standard Time is Hawaii's own time zone

The time is ten hours behind the Coordinated Universal Time. Since Hawaii does not follow Daylight Savings Time, they are in the same time zone all year. There are some islands in Alaska that follow Hawaiian Standard Time in the winter, but otherwise, it is just Hawaii.

The peak of Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii

It is also the tallest mountain in Hawaii. It stands 13,756 feet above sea level, with a total of 33,000 feet from its base underground. It is one of the most recognizable spots on the Big Island. It is very important to native Hawaiians as it is the home and meeting place of a lot of Hawaiian deities and ancestors.

Gambling is illegal in Hawaii

There are two states in the US where gambling is illegal: Hawaii and Utah. Many Hawaiians frequent Las Vegas when they want to gamble. However, some lawmakers are pushing to legalize online sports betting in Hawaii. The state can tax online sports betting quite highly and use the funds for social programs.

Millions of tourists visit Hawaii every year

In 2021, more than six and a half million people visited Hawaii, all of whom arrived by air travel. These visitors spent over 13 billion dollars during their time in Hawaii which was slightly less than the pre-pandemic high of just under 18 billion dollars in 2019. The number of visitors in 2019 was also higher, with over 10.2 million staying on the island for at least one night.

White wind turbines atop a mountain, with the sky and mountains in the background
Wind turbines in Maui, one of the 3 islands in Hawaii with wind projects

More than 8% of energy in Hawaii comes from wind power

There are nine wind project areas in the state. They are limited to the places where the turbines do not pose a risk to birds, specifically endangered species. The wind power is on three islands, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.

Interesting Facts About Hawaii

Aerial shot of a coastal city with buildings, greenery, and a mountain in the back
Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is home to the famous Waikiki Beach

Next up, there are some interesting Hawaii state facts.

Honolulu is the state capital of Hawaii

Honolulu is on the island of Oahu, and more than 350,000 people live in the capital. The population is more than one-third of the population on the island and almost one-quarter of the state's entire population.

The city is a world-renowned tourist destination and is a popular base for tourists, due to Honolulu having a high number of landmarks. Many of the famous landmarks are in the neighborhood of Waikiki.

Molten lava and steam coming out of a volcano into the surrounding ocean
The Kilauea Volcano has added acres of land in Hawaii since it first erupted in 1983

Hawaii grows in size every year from the volcanic eruption of the Kilauea Volcano

As the volcano erupts, the lava flows down the volcano and builds up at the end of the islands. Since it first erupted in 1983, there have been more than 570 acres of land added to Hawaii. But more than 40 square miles of existing land have already been destroyed.

Hawaii makes up just a few of the islands in the Pacific Ocean

There are around 100 islands that are a part of Hawaii, but there are around 30,000 in the Pacific Ocean. The portion of land that Hawaii takes up is very insignificant. But Hawaii still makes up around 15% of the population, with just over ten million people living on the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Honolulu saw record-breaking temperatures in 2019

Between June and August 2019, Hawaii saw its highest recorded temperature ever on multiple islands, with the most record-breaking days in Honolulu. The record in Honolulu was 95 degrees Fahrenheit on August 31st, and there were 44 other days over the summer with record temperatures.

This is in extreme contrast to the usual weather in Honolulu. Honolulu typically experiences 90 rainy days a year. A refreshing reprieve, from these high record-breaking temperatures.

Iolani Palace was home to King Kalakaua and his family

It was the head of the Hawaiian government during his rule and later his sister's rule, Queen Liliuokalani. It remained their home until Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown. It also served as the Hawaiian capital for nearly 80 years until it was restored in the late 1970s.

The highest temperature in Hawaii was recorded at 100 degrees Fahrenheit

The record was recorded in Pahala on the Big Island with an elevation of 870 feet. It was recorded on April 27th, 1931, and remains the state's highest temperature.

The Hawaiian population is almost one and a half million people

Oahu is the most populated island, where more than half the population lives. There are more than 950,000 people living on the island.

Oahu is significantly more populated than the Big Island, which has 186,000 people. Maui has just under 150,000 people, and Kauai has 67,000 people. The other islands have less than ten thousand people or are unpopulated.

The oldest Catholic Church in the United States is in Hawaii

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace was built in 1843 in Honolulu. Today it is still in use, making it the oldest continuously used cathedral in the United States. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The bell in the tower of the cathedral is also the oldest in the state, dating back to 1917.

Hawaii has eight major islands

The eight Hawaiian islands are Hawai'i Island, Maui Island, Oahu Island, Kauai Island, Moloka'i Island, Lanai Island, Niihau Island, and Kahoolawe Island. Hawai'i Island is also called the Big Island, as it is the largest island in land mass.

All eight major islands attract visitors from all around the world thanks to their natural beauty. For example, Kaui Island has "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific" - Waimea Canyon and Lanai Island has the stunning beaches of Hulopo'e Beach Park and Polihua Beach.

A seal lying on its stomach on a beach
Hawaiian monk seals are endangered species endemic to the state of Hawaii

Hawaii is home to an endangered species, the Hawaiian monk seal

It is one of the most endangered in the world. The number of seals is down to one-third of its historic levels, with around fifteen thousand total. However, the population has been growing since 2013, thanks to recovery efforts. They are only found in Hawaii, with a majority on the northwestern islands and the remainder on the main islands.

Facts About Hawaii History

Aerial view of a harbor with navy boats docked and buildings surrounded by greenery
Pearl Harbor, the most visited site in Oahu, was attacked in 1941 by Japan

There are a lot of historical facts about Hawaii, both before and after it became a US state.

European explorer Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii

He arrived on the islands on January 18th, 1778. The Hawaiians welcomed Cook and his crew, and they traded metal with the locals in exchange for time on the land. Cook and his people frequented the islands and lived there for some time. Their time on the islands continued until many died in a Hawaiian mob when they realized the sailors were not Gods.

mark52/Depositphotos.com
A bronze statue with a yellow cloak between the flags of the US and Hawaii
King Kamehameha, leader of Hawaii in the 18th century, unified the Hawaiian islands

King Kamehameha was the leader of the Hawaiian islands in the late 18th century

Kamehameha became the leader after he was born to a royal family. His father was a chief, and his mother was the daughter of a chief. He spent his time as a leader, uniting the islands as one and bringing a unified culture among them. And he was the leader when James Cook and his crew arrived on the islands.

Hawaii was annexed by the US at the end of the 19th century

In 1898, the United States and President William McKinley officially annexed Hawaii during the Spanish-American War as a way to expand the country. They officially made Hawaii a territory in 1900, and Samuel Dole became the first governor.

Hawaii is the most recent state to join the US

Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21st, 1959. The people who lived in Hawaii pushed to become a state for more than half a century before it finally succeeded. The push for statehood was difficult because of Pearl Harbor. But even once they succeeded, some Native Hawaiians did not want to be a part of the United States.

Pearl Harbor was a significant site during World War II

The harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, by Japan, which was fighting against the US and the Allied powers. Today it is an active military base and a memorial for those who died in the attack. It is the most visited site on the island of Oahu.

Facts About Hawaiian Culture

A flower with bright yellow petals and stamen and a reddish center
The Yellow Hibiscus, also known as Pua Aloalo, is Hawaii's state flower since 1988

The Hawaiian people have lived on the islands for a long time. This information on Hawaii and the Hawaiian culture has everything you need to know.

There are approximately 355,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii

These people have a family history in Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or the other Pacific Islands. There are approximately 1.4 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. This amount is only half a percent of the total population. Hawaii has the biggest population of them.

The Hawaiian alphabet, one of the official Hawaiian languages, only has 12 letters

Five of the letters are vowels, which are the same as the English language. The other seven letters are H, J, L, M, N, P, and W, all of which you will see repeated often within Hawaiian words.

The official flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus

The flower is native to Hawaii. It is also called the Pua Aloalo. The flower was designated as the official state flower in 1988. It comes in other colors, but only the yellow one is the official one.

The eight main islands all have an official flower

Each island's flower is also designated in a certain color, similar to the state flower. Niihau's official flower is not a flower but a pupu shell. It is a white shell that can only be found on the island. They are rare and expensive, commonly found on extravagant lei.

Hawaii has the most isolated population on earth

The closest point to Hawaii in the continental United States is in California and even that is 2,390 miles away from Hawaii. West of Hawaii, Japan is 3,850 miles away, and China is 4,900 miles away, making it the most isolated but populated place in the world.

Cool Facts About Hawaii

Waves crashing against the black sand of a beach with large rocks and greenery
The black sand beach in the Waianapanapa State Park surrounded by a rocky coastline

Hawaii is a unique state, and these cool Hawaiian facts prove it.

Hawaii has a black sand beach called Waianapanapa Beach

The beach is in Hana on the island of Maui. The black color of the beaches comes from the volcanoes in the area, which erupts and changes the geography of the surrounding area. The beach is hidden, surrounded by rocky coastlines and adjacent to the bright blue water.

White signage saying Hawaiian coffee in front of rows and rows of coffee plants
A plantation of coffee, the state's second-biggest crop, in Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the only states in the US that grow coffee commercially

Coffee is the second biggest crop in Hawaii, and there are more than 10,000 acres where it is grown. Each year, Hawaii grows just over one hundred million dollars worth of unroasted coffee. But the value increases by nearly 50% when the coffee is roasted.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaii

They are not native creatures to the state, and they do not have any predators in Hawaii to keep them from overpopulation. Furthermore, they take over the food and habitats of the animals who are native to Hawaii, which endangers them. Any snakes on the islands, although there are usually not any, are under the strict watch of the government.

Hawaii's flag is a combination of two country's flags

In the upper lefthand corner of Hawaii's flag is the United Kingdom's flag. The rest of the flag is similar to that of the United States with stripes. There are eight white, red, and blue stripes, and each one represents one of Hawaii's main islands.

The Dole Plantation has over one million visitors every year

The pineapple plantation was founded in 1922. It is the largest in the world, with more than 20,000 acres. More than five million cans of fruit and juice are produced every day at the plantation, along with other treats like DoleWhip. It is also home to the largest pineapple maze in the world, which is an iconic Hawaii landmark.

Facts About Hawaii Culture

EpicStockMedia/Depositphotos.com
A surfer on a yellow surfboard riding a big wave
Surfing, also called he'e nalu by Hawaiians, was invented in Hawaii

Next up are some interesting Hawaii facts about the state's culture.

Hawaii is a diverse state

There are many different races of people that live in Hawaii as of the 2020 Census. The most prominent races are Asians, who make up 36% of the population, and whites, who make up 25.3%. Another 25% are two or more races, 11.1% are Hispanic or Latino, and 10.5% are native Hawaiians.

Aloha is the word Hawaiians use to say hi and bye

But, it also has a deeper meaning. Aloha is the word Hawaiians use for the love and respect they share for each other and the people they care for. It can be used in many different ways and contexts, but it always has a positive connotation.

There are two official languages in Hawaii

The two languages are Hawaiian and English. It is the only state to have two official languages. Even though both languages are used in most government settings, there are some official situations in which Hawaiian is used over English. Some laws require Hawaiian to be used for some public acts and transactions.

Surfing was invented in Hawaii

Hawaiians called the sport he'e nalu, and they created different boards of different lengths. The longest surfboards were for royalty, ranging between 14 and 16 feet long. The surfboards for commoners were shorter at 10 to 12 feet long. If a commoner tried to ride a wave that a royal person wanted to, they could be punished with the death penalty.

Facts About Hawaii Volcanoes

Steam coming out of a volcano crater on a sunny day
Steam coming out of Kilauea, an active volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

With so many in the state, there is plenty of information about Hawaii volcanoes.

Ocean waves crashing on a rocky black cliff
The volcanic coast of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to two active volcanoes

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has two of the most active volcanoes

Kilauea and Mauna Loa are both in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park was created to protect them and many more. The park is as high as 13,681 feet above sea level. The park is a World Heritage Site.

Hawaii is made up of volcanic islands

There is a tectonic plate under the islands that causes the volcanoes to erupt. They erupt in the pattern of the tectonic plate, which is why they are in a line. When the lava from the volcanos dries, it creates land. The land builds up over time, which creates the islands.

The largest dormant volcano is Hawaii's Mount Haleakala

Mount Haleakala sits at 10,023 feet above sea level, and its home is a 30,000-acre national park of the same name. The name Haleakala means "house of the sun." The name comes from the legend that Maui, a demigod, brought the sun closer to earth while standing on the volcano.

Aerial shot of mountains with clouds looming above and several buildings below
Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, rises 13,1000 above sea level

Hawaii's Mauna Loa is an active volcano, and it is the largest in the world

The volcano sits 13,100 feet above sea level. It has another 42,600 feet below sea level and underground, a total height of 55,700 feet from base to peak. The volcano covers half of the Island of Hawaii, where it is located. It has erupted 33 times since 1843, and it last erupted in March and April of 1984.

Weird Facts About Hawaii

Klodien/Depositphotos.com
A yellow building surrounded by trees and plants
The 20,000-acre Dole Plantation is the largest pineapple plantation in the world

There are also some weird state facts about Hawaii that many people don't know.

You can mail a coconut from Hawaii

The USPS sends more than 3,000 coconuts from Hawaii every year and they get sent all over the world. To mail one, you just need to pay the postage and put the recipient's address directly on the coconut. The heavier the coconut, the more it costs to send it. The average cost is between $12-20.

The official state gem is black coral

The coral is called a polyp, and it is a living creature. Even though they are called black coral, they come in many colors. The coral is an Endangered Species since it is often harvested. It is difficult to gather as it grows deep in the sea, usually between 300 and 3,000 feet below sea level.

Billboards are not allowed in Hawaii

Hawaii's government does not allow anyone to put up billboards or other signs for advertising in the state. There are some exceptions, like public announcements, the sale of land and buildings, or other government notices. One of the main reasons for the outlawing of billboards is to protect Hawaii's natural beauty.

Scary Facts About Hawaii

The haunted Pali Highway is one of the scary facts about Hawaii state
The Pali Highway in Oahu, Hawaii is a site of ghost sightings

Finally, here are some scary, fun Hawaii facts.

The Pali Highway in Hawaii is haunted

There are many stories and ghost sightings that have happened on the highway. Many of the ghosts come from when King Kamehameha tried to unify the islands, and many of his men were pushed over a bridge onto the highway. Some of the demigods also have a history on the road. For example, Kamapua'a, will not let you take pork across the highway.

The Hawaiian Night Marchers are deadly ghosts that live on the islands

These ghosts are said to roam the islands at night. The legend of the marchers says that if you encounter the ghosts at night and look at them, you will die. To avoid this, you must lie on the ground and pretend to be dead until they pass. They are spirits of the old chiefs and warriors whose goal is to protect the islands.

A shark swimming above colorful corals and fishes underwater
Hawaii has the second highest number of shark attacks next to Florida

Hawaii has the second most shark attacks in the US

Since 1837 when shark attacks started to be recorded, there have been 182 attacks in Hawaii. The number of Hawaiian shark attacks is significantly lower than in Florida, which is the highest state with 896 attacks. A majority of these attacks are non-fatal. However, up to three people die from the attacks each year.

Hawaiians get a vog or volcanic smog report

Vog affects the air quality in Hawaii, and it can be better or worse depending on volcanic activity. If the weather or wind conditions are right, vog can get very bad, and it can be dangerous to people on the islands. Vog can cause headaches, difficulty breathing, and a sore throat.

Conclusion

There are many facts about the state of Hawaii, and you likely did not know many of them before. The islands have a diverse population and a landscape full of wildlife, volcanoes, and history. From a visit to the Dole Plantation to surfing, there are a lot of things to do in Hawaii. And, even if you get bored, you can always head to the post office and mail a coconut back home.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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