Hawaii — Overview
The Northern Pacific Ocean’s premier holiday destination, the islands of Hawaii were controversially annexed by the United States in 1900, but didn’t become a state until 1959. Today, Hawaii has become the US’s most popular holiday and honeymoon spot, given the nickname the Aloha State in reference to its laid back atmosphere that caters to millions of tourists annually.
Hawaii’s natural beauty sparked tourism waves all through the 20th century. The eight islands boast a tremendous array of natural attractions, including soaring volcanic highlands, active lava fields, secluded island getaways, thick rainforest treks, colorful coral reef systems, and hundreds of sun-kissed beaches. Traveling to the islands and cays can be time consuming, but this is quickly forgotten when visitors finally arrive at their breathtaking destination. Snorkeling, scuba diving, trekking, and surfing make up some of Hawaii’s most popular activities.
Accommodation in the main tourist areas are abundant, although districts like Waikiki can range from expensive to ridiculously expensive when it comes to high-season rates. Nevertheless, budget conscious visitors still have an opportunity to visit this wondrous archipelago by staying away from the beachfront resorts or traveling during the off season. Most major cities have a range of restaurants that sparkle with international dining options. Japanese, European, continental United States, and traditional Hawaiian culinary pleasures are found on menus throughout Hawaii, while the seafood dishes are the renowned regional specialty.
Hawaii is found some 2,000 miles to the southwest of North America’s western coast. Therefore, flying to the state is the main method of transportation for both international and domestic travelers. Inter-island ferries run between some of the lands, but flying is the primary way to connect between islands. There are no rail links on any of the eight Hawaiian Islands, so road travel is the best way to explore each area. Visitors will notice that highways and streets are better maintained in urban areas than in rural region and outside of the large cities like Honolulu and Kona, traffic congestion is low and roads are easy to navigate. If you don’t want to worry about driving, most tour packages include transfers and transportation to attractions.
Various local and US airlines run domestic routes to Hawaii, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and Alaska Air. These carriers connect to dozens of major mainland US cities. In addition, Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and China offer international flights to Hawaii. Honolulu, which contains more than 80 percent of Hawaii’s population, is home to the main international airport.
- Surf Waikiki Beach and the remarkable North Shore of Oahu
- Enjoy the views of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu from the top of Diamond Head
- Take a scenic flight over Maui
- Explore Pearl Harbor and its monuments, including the USS Arizona Memorial
- Feel the intense heat from active lava fields in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Take the family on a fun day out at Waikiki’s aquarium and zoo
- Go scuba diving or snorkeling in the clear blue waters