What to know about Hawaii before you visit, Honolulu, Hawaii
Reviews > North America > United States > Honolulu > What to know about Hawaii before you visit
Many people are surprised to learn that Hawai‘i actually consists of 137 islands stretching across more than 6,400 square miles in the North Pacific Ocean. The eight major islands commonly referred to as the Hawaiian Islands are Ni‘ihau, Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Läna‘i, Kaho‘olawe, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i was first inhabited by voyaging Polynesian settlers sometime between the 3rd and 7th centuries as they made their trek eastward from the South Pacific across the vast uncharted seas. However, Hawai‘i was unknown to Westerners until 1778 when British Captain James Cook discovered the islands.
Today, Hawai‘i is a modern, cosmopolitan, diverse, multi-cultural society. It is home to 1.2 million residents and welcomed nearly 7 million visitors in 2004. No other state is so closely associated with its native heritage, ancient traditions, and ethnic diversity. Notably, it is the only state with its own language, music, and dance.
Some of the more revered traditions are the Aloha Spirit hospitality, the dancing of hula, the everyday attire of aloha shirts and flower print dresses, the giving of a fresh flower lei for greetings and celebrations, and feasting at a lü‘au.
Especially popular with residents and visitors alike is the outdoor-inspired, tropical lifestyle and the spectacular year-round weather, averaging a sunny 77 degrees and marked by cooling trade winds.
Hawai‘i became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. The state flower is the yellow hibiscus; the state bird, nënë or Hawaiian goose; the state tree, kukui or Candlenut; the state song, Hawai‘i Pono‘ï; and the state seal and motto, Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘äina i ka pono, which translates in Hawaiian to, “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
Honolulu, the state capitol, is located on the island of O‘ahu, home to nearly three-quarters of Hawai‘i’s residents and the destination for most visitor arrivals.
Things about Honolulu you may be interested in
Read about Honolulu in our travel-guide
Explore the volcanos of Maui, HIThe World's Best Island
Recommended Honolulu Guide
Honolulu, like the rest of the Hawaiian State, has seen some sort of habitation since the time that the Polynesian migrants made their way into these volcanic islands. Nevertheless, the beginning of Honolulu history dates back to the reign of Kamehameha I (of the House of Kamehameha) who established the Kingdom of Hawaii. Following the capture of Oahu in the Battle of Nuuanu, Kamehameha I founded the Hawaiian Kingdom; by 1809, he chose Honolulu as the site of his royal court. Before he could do so, however, another important episode of Honolulu history has already taken place – Captain William Brown of Great Britain had reached Honolulu... Read more »
Recent reviews for Honolulu
Maui is the best - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Maui the magical island that has been named 'Best Island in the World' time and time again. Crystal waters, golden beaches, beautiful scenery, tropical breezes, swaying palms, award-winning cuisine and world class resorts just to name a few... Read more »
Paradise on Earth - Feb 22, 2006, by travelgrove-editor
Hawaii, everyone first thinks of it as the island of paradise and it is! The warmth of the islands invites you to start off by taking in a deep breathe of the fresh air, admire the cascading waterfalls, crystal clear waters, lush mountains,... Read more »
The perfect vacation on Hawaii - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
So much of Hawaii's appeal is tied to aloha, affection and love, it’s surprising to find there’s no word in the Hawaiian language for romance. Hard to believe, too, because if ever a destination inspired romance, it’s... Read more »
Hawaii for golf addicts - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Hawaii is the ultimate golf vacation destination. It’s a combination of Hawaii's year-round summer climate, pampering world-class resorts, and more than 80 world-class golf courses on six uniquely different and beautiful islands:... Read more »
Aloha Festivals and a lot more - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Guess which state has its own language, music and dance. As much as anything, it’s perpetuating these unique qualities that make Hawaii such an appealing and intriguing destination to the rest of the world. Art and culture is... Read more »
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