Hawaii is a group of volcanic islands located in the central Pacific Ocean. Occupied by indigenous groups at first, the United States incorporated the region into a state in 1959. It consists of eight main islands and numerous smaller ones, with a total land area of 10,931 square miles. The islands are approximately 2,390 miles west of California and 3,850 miles east of Tokyo.
A diverse range of natural features characterizes the geography of Hawaii. Over millions of years, the islands were formed through volcanic activity, resulting in rugged mountain ranges, deep valleys, and steep cliffs. The highest peak in Hawaii is Mauna Kea on the Big Island, which stands at 13,803 feet above sea level.
Ironically, in this tropical paradise, the summits of the sporadically active volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, are frequently snow-capped. Kilauea is the youngest volcano in the Volcanoes National Park, which still erupts occasionally, spewing lava and creating new land. Other volcanoes of note include Maui's Haleakala, Oahu’s Diamond Head, and Mt. Waialeale on the island of Kauai. Mt. Waialeale is widely referred to as the (rainiest spot) on the planet, with over 450 inches of rain each year.
Waimea Canyon on Kauai is one of the island's most dramatic landforms, and across the larger island’s fertile mountain valleys, volcanic craters, deep canyons, and waterfalls are also commonplace. There are no sizeable navigated rivers in Hawaii, however, the Anahulu on Oahu, the Wailua on Kauai, and the Wailuku on the Big Island are the most significant small rivers. Hundreds of narrow streams flow down from the volcanic summits, either to the sea or into the fertile valleys below. The state’s lowest point is the Pacific Ocean (0ft).
The islands are also surrounded by vast stretches of ocean that contain some of the richest marine life in the world. The Pacific Ocean currents bring nutrient-rich waters to Hawaii's shores, supporting a variety of plant and animal species. Coral reefs can be found throughout the area and are home to colorful fish and other aquatic creatures.
Rugged sea cliffs fringe the outer edges of many of the islands, with the Na pali Coast of Kauai, southeastern edges of Maui, and the north shore of Molokai the most dramatic. The state’s highest point is the dormant volcanic mountain - Mauna Kea. Located on the Hawaii island, it rises to an elevation of 13,796ft.
The climate in Hawaii is generally warm and tropical, with temperatures ranging between 75°F to 85°F throughout the year. However, the weather can be unpredictable at times due to its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii experiences occasional hurricanes and tropical storms that can cause significant damage to the islands.
The vegetation in Hawaii ranges from lush tropical rainforests to dry grasslands. Unique plant species such as hibiscus flowers, plumeria trees, and coconut palms thrive in this environment.
The State of Hawaii is divided into 5 counties. In alphabetical order, these counties are: Hawaii County, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui.
With an area of 16,638 sq. km, Hawaii is the 8th smallest and the 11th least populous state in the USA. Located on the southeastern coast of Oahu Island is Honolulu – the capital and the largest city of Hawaii. It hosts the headquarters of several large Hawaiian companies and is also the state’s principal port, financial and economic hub. Honolulu has been classified as a “Modern City” by international standards with its skyline being dotted with numerous skyscrapers.
The State of Hawaii (Hawaiian archipelago) is located in the Pacific Ocean to the southwest of the contiguous United States. Hawaii is located in the North Pacific Ocean, just a few degrees south of the Tropic of Cancer, approximately 2,392 miles west of San Francisco; 2,550 miles southwest of Los Angeles; 3,900 miles southeast of Tokyo, and 4,536 miles northeast of Australia.
Regional Maps: Map of North America
|Legal Name||State of Hawaii|
|ISO 3166 Code||US-HI|
This page was last updated on March 6, 2023