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Fun facts about Hawaii
Today I thought I’d do something different and talk about 20 fun facts about Hawaii. If you’re new here, I talk about many things on this blog, from things to do in Hawaii to how to visit Hawaii on a budget.
20 interesting facts about Hawaii
Let’s dive right into the fun facts about Hawaii. When you’re done, make sure to check out my other blog posts. I have over 100 blog posts to help you plan your Hawaii vacation.
Now, let’s get to the Hawaii fun facts.
1. Hawaii is the most isolated population center on earth
Contrary to what some people believe, Hawaii is not the most isolated place on earth. Other areas in the world are more isolated.
However, Hawaii is the most isolated place on earth that has a considerable population. If you didn’t know, Hawaii is home to about one million residents.
2. Not everyone in Hawaii is “Hawaiian.”
I talk about this more in 20 things you should never do in Hawaii. When you visit Hawaii, do not assume that everyone is “Hawaiian.”
Being Hawaiian is not like being Californian. Living in Hawaii, and even being born in Hawaii, does not make one Hawaiian.
The term Hawaiian (or kanaka) is reserved for those with Native Hawaiian heritage.
3. Hawaii does not have only 4 islands
When most people think of Hawaii, they think of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. Maybe they even think of Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kaho’olawe.
However, there is much more to Hawaii Nui than just the 4 (or 8) main islands! In total, the Hawaiian archipelago consists of 137 islands, islets, and atolls.
The rest of Hawaii is over 1300 miles Northwest of the Hawaii we know and love. It is collectively known as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
4. Hawaii has the tallest mountain in the world
Move over, Mt. Everest. Did you know that Hawaii actually has the tallest mountain in the world? When measured from the seafloor, Mauna Kea is the tallest in the world at 33,000 feet.
5. Hawaii has the highest sea cliffs on earth
When you think of sea cliffs, you probably think of the amazing Na Pali Coast in Kauai. However, the highest sea cliffs in Hawaii (and the world) are actually located on the island of Molokai.
The beautiful sea cliffs of Molokai.
6. The Big Island and Oahu are not the same island
Okay, this isn’t really a fun fact, but as a Hawaii Travel Agent, it’s something that I have to point out at least once a week.
The Big Island is officially known as Hawaii Island, which makes things more confusing.
Oahu, the island that is home to Honolulu and Waikiki, is home to most of Hawaii’s population but is not the Big Island.
The Big Island is geographically the biggest (and most diverse), and Oahu is simply the island where the most people live.
I made this handy-dandy map to help show how the Big Island and Oahu are different.
7. Hawaiian and English are the official languages of Hawaii
Everyone in Hawaii speaks English, but Hawaii and English are both official languages.
The Hawaiian language has 7 continents and 5 vowels. Yes, just 12 letters! That is why some Hawaiian names can be confusing.
The Hawaiian alphabet also has the ‘okina (‘ symbol), which is consisted a consonant. It is a glottal stop and makes the Hawaiian language easier to read if you understand how it works.
For example, Kaho’olawe is pronounced ka-ho-o-la-vay. If you know that the ‘okina is a stop, it helps you from saying Kah-hoo-la-we. And yes, “w” is usually pronounced as a “V” so “we” says “vay.”
My Grammarly app is so mad at me right now, but hopefully, you followed what I was saying.
Don’t worry; this isn’t a full Hawaiian lesson. I don’t even speak very much Hawaiian, but I can read Hawaiian words, and you can too with a little practice!
Pidgin, although not an official language, is also widely used in Hawaii. Hawaiian Pidgin is influenced by the Portuguese, Hawaiian, Cantonese, and American English languages.
It’s worth mentioning that you should probably not try to speak pidgin if you have no idea what you are doing. Just learn some basic Hawaiian phrases and stick to English – everyone will understand you.
Hawaiian words you should know:
Aloha: Hello, Goodbye, and more
Mahalo: Thank you
A hui hou: Until we meet again.
Mauka: Toward the mountain, often used in directions.
Makai: Toward the ocean, also used when giving directions.
You can learn more in a first-timers guide to Hawaii.
8. Hawaii was the first state to ban plastic bags
This is one thing that I share 10 things to know before going to Hawaii. Although other states have followed, Hawaii was the first state to ban plastic bags.
Make sure to take your own cute, reusable bags, so you aren’t stuck with carrying all of your stuff out of the store or farmers market in your hands.
9. Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time
Since 1967, Hawaii has not observed Daylight Savings Time. I don’t know about you, but I think that this is a good choice. If you’re a parent with kids, you know how awful Daylight Savings Time is!
Due to Hawaii’s geographic location, the sun rises and sets at approximately (though not exactly) the same time throughout the year, so Daylight Savings Time isn’t really needed.
When planning your Hawaii vacation, it’s important to remember that the sun does set earlier (or later) in Hawaii than it does at home, depending on the time of year.
10. Hawaii is the only state to grow coffee
Hawaii is the only state that commercially grows coffee. You’ve probably heard of Kona coffee, but coffee is grown in other parts of Hawaii, such as Kauai, too.
When you’re at home, make sure to buy only 100% Kona coffee. Sometimes companies use “Kona Coffee” as a marketing term, and the coffee may have little or not actual Kona coffee in it.
Coffee can only be considered “Kona coffee” if grown in particular areas on the Big Island.
If you’re visiting the Big Island, make sure to check out a Kona coffee farm tour.
More things to do on the Big Island:
- 4-day Big Island Itinerary
- Where to find sea turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii
- The 7 Best Things to do on the Big Island
- 25 best things to do in Kona
11. There are no snakes in Hawaii
Wildlife is abundant in Hawaii, but a lot of the more pesky animals, such as snakes, are missing. You can learn more about the animals that are in Hawaii in my animals in Hawaii post.
You also can’t bring a snake to Hawaii as a pet. They are illegal, along with other animals such as ferrets, hamsters, piranhas, and bearded dragons. You can learn more in my post, “Can I bring a dog to Hawaii?”
12. Hawaii is home to the largest pineapple plantation
Hawaii holds a lot of records, as you’ve probably noticed. Oahu is also home to the world’s largest pineapple farm – The Dole Plantation.
By the way, I have an entire blog post about the best pineapple farms to visit in Hawaii, so make sure to check it out.
In addition to being the world’s largest pineapple plantation, The Dole Plantation is also home to the world’s largest maze.
The Pineapple Garden Maze is over 3-acres and 2.5 miles.
13. You really need a rental car in Hawaii
I realize that this isn’t the most exciting thing in this list of fun facts about Hawaii, but it’s important!
To fully explore all that Hawaii has to offer, you really need a rental car. You can take my word for it or read an in-depth blog post about rental cars in Hawaii.
If you’re looking for the best way to rent a car in Hawaii, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
You’ll find the best deals on any of the Hawaiian Islands, and you don’t have to pay anything until you pick up the car.
14. Many famous movies were filmed in Hawaii
If you love movies, this Hawaii fun fact is for you. Some of the most popular movies were filmed in Hawaii, including:
- Jurassic Park
- Jurassic World
- Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
- 50 First Dates
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- South Pacific
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall (filmed at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu.)
You can even take movie tours at places like Kualoa Ranch. Movie buffs will enjoy the Kualoa Ranch movie site tour.
You can even drive through “Jurassic Park” in your own ATV in the ATV Raptor Tour.
A helicopter tour in Kauai is an unforgettable adventure.
15. There are no billboards in Hawaii
When you drive around Hawaii, you’ll notice that something is missing. Billboards! You might not even notice because Billboards are annoying, and you don’t want to look at them.
In Hawaii, billboards are against the law. So instead of giant Realtors faces, Insurance Salesman faces, or McDonald’s Burgers, you’ll see Hawaii’s beautiful landscapes.
This also means no large political signs, and who can argue with that? Instead, you’ll often see sign-waving events for locals to support their causes or candidates.
16. Removing shoes before entering a home is custom
It’s customary to remove your shoes when entering a home in Hawaii. It’s a sign of respect, and many homes (and vacation rentals) even have a place to put your shoes just outside of the door.
Other parts of the country (including where I grew up) also do this to some extent, but it’s widespread in Hawaii, so make sure to do it as a sign of respect.
It’s not just my opinion that wearing shoes inside is gross; there is scientific evidence that shoes carry some of the worst things into the home, such as:
- Staphylococcus aureus (staph)
- Mold and Yeast
- Escherichia coli (E. coli)
- fecal matter 💩
So, the locals in Hawaii are doing it right.
17. Surfing was invented in Hawaii
Surfing was invited in Hawaii and was originally called “wave sliding.” There are cave paintings that date back to the 12th century depicting people riding waves.
Another Hawaii fun fact? It is thought that SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) also originated in Hawaii.
18. All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii
All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii. There is only one other state where all forms of gambling are illegal: Utah.
Maybe this is why Vegas is considered to be the “9th island?” Hawaii locals are obsessed with Vegas! You’ll always find great deals from Hawaii to Vegas as a result.
19. Haleakala is the largest dormant volcano in the world
This is the last time that I will share a record in this list of fun facts about Hawaii. But hey, world records are fun facts!
Haleakala, in Maui, is the largest dormant volcano in the world. The highest peak of Haleakala is just over 10,000.
However, like Mauna Kea on the Big Island, most of Haleakala is below the ocean. When measured from the seafloor, Haleakala is over 30,000 feet.
It’s important to note that Haleakala is dormant and not extinct; the last eruptions are estimated to be about 250 years ago.
Haleakala is also home to Hawaiian silverswords, which aren’t located anywhere else in the world. The only places you’ll find these rare plants are Haleakala and Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa on the Big Island.
20. You can mail a coconut from Hawaii
Want to send a piece of Hawaii to a friend or relative back home? Mail them a coconut! Yes, you can mail a coconut (just a coconut) back home to a friend.
It costs about $15, and you can also find decorated coconuts if a plain coconut isn’t interesting enough for you.
Fun facts about Hawaii
There you have it, 20 Hawaii fun facts. Did you learn any new fun facts about Hawaii? Did I miss any Hawaii fun facts that you think should have made the list? Either way, let me know in the comments.
Looking for more Hawaii travel tips?
- The best Hawaii sunset locations
- Maui vs. Kauai
- 4-day Kauai Itinerary
- How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a select amount of clients her month. Please contact me to check availability.
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