- The Hawaiian Islands contain some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Outdoor adventures on these island can be as short as a few hours or last several days and nights. Because the islands formed, and continue to grow, through volcanic activity they harbor many plant and animal species that don't exist anywhere else in the world. Each island supports many miles of beautiful public beaches. The island of Kauai is the farthest north in the chain, which makes it slightly cooler than the others. Much of Kauai's northwestern coast and interior is maintained as forest preserves and state parks.
Copyright: National Park Service
Haleakala National Park
Oahu Island lies south of Kauai moving eastward. This island is teeming with tourist attractions and is highly developed. Hotels and restaurants line the beaches and streets of Oahu, which embraces modern American society. Honolulu, the capital and largest city in Hawaii, lies on this island's southern shore. The eastern portion of the island contains several natural areas as does the the western shore.
The largest city on the island of Maui is Kahului on the northern shore. Lahaina on the western shore is a historic whaling port and historic district. Between these two communities lies The West Maui Forest Reserve. The eastern side of the island contains Koolau Forest Reserve, Haleakala National Park and Kahikinui Forest Reserve.
Molokai is the least developed of the islands and it lies in the middle of the chain. The dense wilderness area of Molokai Forest Reserve lies on the eastern portion of the island as does Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The western half of the state is agricultural land surrounded by beaches and reefs.
Lanai Island is the smallest island that will be described here. This is the Pineapple Island that was once occupied by pineapple groves of the Dole Fruit Company. Dole sold its portion of the island in 1995 and development has occurred since then. Today visitors come to the island and its resorts for water sports and humpback whale watching.
The Big Island of Hawaii is twice as large as the other islands combined. Hilo is the largest community on the island and lies on its eastern shore. The southern area of the island contains the natural areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kau Forest Reserve, Mauna Loa Forest Reserve, Hilo Forest Reserve and Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve. The western shore of Hawaii supports many small communities and three National Historic Sites.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities abound throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy a myriad of water-oriented sports on every island. The National Parks and forest reserves on many islands support hiking, camping and viewing archaeological sites.
Climate - The climate is pleasantly mild on these islands throughout the year. Temperatures vary annually between 60 and 90 degrees F. Summer temperatures range from 68 to 82 degrees F with the water usually near 80 degrees. Winter temperatures vary from 61 to 80 degrees F with the water temperature close to 77 degrees. More rainfall occurs during the winter than other seasons of the year.
The Hawaiian Islands are located in the central Pacific. Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. Hawaii is 2,390 miles from the coast of California and 3,850 miles from Japan. Geographic coordinates of Honolulu, the state capital, is 21:18:25 North Latitude, 157:51:30 West Longitude.