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Hawaii Hotels, Attractions, and Information

Written by Julie Greiner

Hawaii is the world's number one visitor destination, world's top surfing and windsurfing mecca and a spectacular place for a vacation. With northeasterly trade winds and an average temperature of about 83 degrees, which only differs some 7 degrees from winter to summer, Hawaii is a tropical paradise in every sense of the word. Balmy evenings, fantastic water sports, golf, lush tropical landscapes, hotels and motels of every size and accommodation - this is definitely the place to vacation.

History and Geography of Hawaii at a Glance

The Hawaiian Islands stretch 1,523 miles and the main islands are in the tropic of Cancer. Hawaii's eight major islands have a total land area of 6,470 square miles, which includes 96 small nearshore islands with a combined area of less than 3 square miles. Being located some 2,500 miles from the nearest landsmass, the Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated group of islands in the world. A crack in the earth's mantle that has been spitting molten rock for more than 25 million years created the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii's active volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa are both on the Big Island. The mountain Mauna Kea, which is also on the Big Island, is the world's highest mountain (33,476 feet) when measured from the ocean floor. Hawaii, the northern point of the huge triangle of Pacific Ocean islands known as Polynesia, was first settled between 500 and 700 AD. In 1898 Hawaii entered the 20th century as a territory of the USA. Its strategic location of being midway between the USA and the Philippines gave cause for the building of Schofield Barracks, the largest US army base in the world. On December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into WWII. On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA.

Places of Interest in the Hawaiian Islands

The island of Oahu is home to the North Shore and its huge winter surf, Pearl Harbor, Kailua's beach, Diamond Head summit and Honolulu's historic downtown which houses the only royal palace in the United States. Maui is known for its winter whale-watching, fantastic beaches, the serpentine coastal drive to Hana and historic Lahaina. On the Big Island there is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Rural Waipio Valley, Akaka Falls, ancient temple ruins and the Place of Refuge. Kauai is known for lush mountainous scenery, the Kokee State Park, hiking and nature trails and excellent kayaking. Molokai features Papohaku which is the longest beach in Hawaii, a leprosy colony and ancient fishponds. Lanai is famous for its luxury resorts and Hulopoe Bay for its diving and snorkeling.

Climates of Hawaii and What to Wear

The balmy weather encourages a casual attitude towards dress. At the lower elevations it's summer all year. The "upcountry" can get to 20 degrees cooler, so jackets are a good idea. Binoculars are handy for whale watching, flashlights are useful for exploring caves and snorkeling gear may be just the thing. However, most anything you forget to pack can easily be purchased in Hawaii.

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