Hawaii, the chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, has been America’s paradise and dream vacation since it joined the United States on August 21, 1959.
The 50th state is everything people imagine and more. It has big city life in Honolulu, sandy beaches of all shapes and colors, high mountains and volcanoes, rain forests, snorkeling and diving, and an amazing diversity of cultures, traditions and foods.
Let’s take a look at some amazing places on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Kauai.
The biggest island in the archipelago is Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. The island is constantly growing, since there are two active volcanoes on the island.
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaii
Established in 1978, the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park was created to protect both the beautiful but fragile ecosystems of the Hawaiian sea, beach and mountain areas, as well as preserve and document the native Hawaiian culture. Visitors can SCUBA, snorkel, and do other water activities, as well as hike throughout the many trails.
Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on earth, and is constantly (in geological time), but slowly, erupting. Although it hasn’t had an eruption in more than 30 years, scientists are always observing it for potential eruptions, as there is significant volcanic activity inside the mountain. Tourists can hike or even take helicopter rides to view the volcano up close!
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Oahu is the third largest island, but is home to the most Hawaiians and the state’s capital, Honolulu. The big city is built right on the ocean, providing an amazing blend of relaxing beach life and fun nightlife.
Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, known for beautiful vistas as well as elite surfing, and it is actually part of the city Honolulu. World surfing competitions are regularly held on the beach, which is suffering from massive and rapid erosion.
Matsumoto Shave Ice, Oahu
Anyone who has been to Hawaii has had shave ice, and everyone knows that Matsumoto’s ice is possibly the best. Located on the North Shore of Oahu, it has grown from a tiny store to a major tourist destination. The ice is great, and worth the inevitable wait that comes with becoming an international sensation.
Diamond Head, Oahu
Volcanoes are an everyday sight in Hawaii, and Diamond Head in the suburbs of Honolulu is a really cool place to visit. It is a beach, a volcano, a tourist destination and a state monument.
Diamond Head Lighthouse, Oahu
Diamond Head beach juts out at the bottom of the South Shore of the island, and a lighthouse on the beach helps direct ocean traffic and serves as a Coast Guard site, as well as serves as a cool sight to see for tourists.
Pearl Harbor, Oahu
Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu is a military base that was attacked on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II. The site of the attack has been turned into a memorial for those killed or wounded on that day. Visitors to Oahu should make a day trip to see the memorials and learn more about the attack and the aftermath.
USS Arizona, Oahu
The USS Arizona was a battleship that sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and is one of the ships turned into a living memorial of the tragic day.
Haleakala Crater, Maui
The Halekala volcano makes up a large majority of the island Maui. The volcano is also a national park, and provides visitors with a desert environment completely different than the tropical beaches and rain forests many dream of when planning vacations to the archipelago. Nonetheless, visitors love to hike the caldera to view the magnificent sunrise. Scientists are drawn to the area because its unique location and climate provides superior clarity for telescopes peering into the universe.
Waimea Canyon National Park, Kauai
Kauai is nicknamed the “Garden Island” and it is breathtaking. Mountains jut out of the ocean, and tropical vegetation thrives. Some areas of the island get more than 450 inches of rainfall a year, more than anywhere else! The rainfall contributes to the unique landscape, which includes Waimea Canyon, which is more than 3,000 feet deep, and visitors love to hike through the park’s trails and enjoy the matchless beauties of the island.
Visitors to Hawaii should be prepared to be blown away over and over, as they view sites unlike anything else in the other 49 states. Volcanoes, beaches, sunrises and sunsets, tropical forests, mountains, valleys and more make this last state perhaps the best.