What is Hawaii known for? What is Hawaii known for?

What is Hawaii Known For? 5 Fascinating Facts to Know

The history of Hawaii is fascinatingly similar to its topology. It is America’s perfect summer retreat. Furthermore, when you visit Hawaii, you can have a breathtaking experience. You can find vast things to indulge in. But what exactly is this 28,412 sq km island famous for? What is Hawaii known for? Look no more, as here is the answer.

The USA added Hawaii as its 50th state, and it is now the summer destination for Americans. As a result, Hawaii generates its primary income from tourism. Initially, the country annexed this island as a territory, and it became a major military location in World War- II when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Later, it was officially declared a state through voting in 1959.

However, Hawaii is well-known for many other reasons. Let us consider those too.

1. What is Hawaii Known For?

Hawaii is a tropical paradise, and there is no denying it. Furthermore, you can have a unique experience due to its stunning beaches, active volcanoes, and more. Hence, without prolonging, let us look at all these fascinating facts about Hawaii.

1.1. Hawaiian Traditions

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by Maridav from Unlimphotos

Hawaii is a beautiful island with a unique history of traditions and cultures. Moreover, the culture here is a fusion of different cultures influenced by early Polynesians settling on this stunning island. The Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese also followed suit later. Furthermore, you can find the various Hawaiian traditions in detail below.

1.1.1. Luau Tradition

Traditional Hawaiian Luau

A Hawaiian evening is incomplete without the Luau Tradition. It is a traditional Hawaiian party or a fest with famous Hawaiian food, accompanied by joyous dancing to lively music. 

Furthermore, this tradition dates back to the 19th Century, and the present-day Luau tradition is a mixture of the ancient Hawaiian culture and Globalization, inheriting few things from other cultures, especially the Polynesian culture. 

1.1.2. Aloha Shirts


Aloha Shirts are the fashion statement of this tropical island. They are also called Hawaiian Shirts. These shirts are the perfect souvenirs from this summer island, and they usually come in bright colors with eye-catching floral prints. Moreover, you can find them comfortable to wear during summer. Also, in Hawaii, you can wear these shirts as smart casuals.

1.1.3. Lei

A look at the history of the lei | GMA

Any outfit in Hawaii is incomplete without this traditional Hawaiian garland. This garland consists of flowers, shells, leaves, feathers, and seeds. Furthermore, these garlands symbolize respect and affection. It is a tradition to exchange it between friends and family. These days, you can use them to welcome tourists as well. So don’t worry. You will also receive one when you visit Hawaii. Moreover, when you pair this with the Aloha shirts, you are good on the summer island.

1.1.4. Hula Dance

Traditional Hawaiian Hula Dance with Pu'ili Bamboo Sticks

You can witness people in Hawaii performing this traditional Hula Dance to a song(mele) or a chant (Oli). It is a form of storytelling consisting of many hand forms that portray the words in the song or chant. The native Hawaiians developed this native tradition centuries ago and usually performed this dance as an extension of a religious ceremony.

Furthermore, you can notice dancers dancing at temple ceremonies to chants that depict stories about the weather patterns, the stars, and the movement of lava, and sometimes you can witness them perform this to honor the gods or chiefs. The natives used this method to pass on information when the Hawaiian language didn’t exist in Ancient Hawaii.

Currently, there are two primary forms of hula dancing, including Hula kahiko and Hula auana. Hula kahiko is essentially the older version, and Hula auana is a more modernized version of Hula dancing. Furthermore, Hula Kahiko preserves the original roots of Hula dancing, and Hula Auana is a less formal version danced to a song played with stringed instruments. Moreover, these days Hula dancing is performed in front of tourists for entertainment.

1.2. Hawaiian Food

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by its_al_dente from Unlimphotos

Seafood lovers will love this place! You can find traditional Hawaiian dishes comprising lots of seafood on this island. The Hawaiians consume Poi as their staple food, similar to Asians, who consume rice as their staple food. Furthermore, you can find delicious food on this island. You can find some more notable delicacies of Hawaiian cuisine below.

1.2.1. Poke Bowls

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by kasto from UnlimPhotos

These colorful and flavorful bowls are one of the most famous and trending Hawaiian delicacies. Furthermore, the original dates back centuries before, and the Japanese enjoyed this dish after settling on this island. Poke in Hawaii means slice. This poke bowl consists of raw fish or octopus cut into cubes marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, and other sauces served with white rice. 

1.2.2. Poi 

Poi is the staple dish of Hawaii. In this dish, pounded steamed taro root is mixed with water. Moreover, the origin of this dish is from the Polynesian Culture. This dish is the favorite of visitors and natives alike. Furthermore, this dish is green in color and tastes sweet and sour. Also, some might even say it is an acquired taste.

1.2.3. LauLau

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by ogqcorp from UnlimPhotos

LauLau is one of the best local cuisines, and you can find it conveniently across the island. It is made of sliced pork or fish, wrapped into taro leaves, steamed, and later served with sweet potatoes.

1.2.4. Kalua Pork

Kalua Pork is a traditional Hawaiian dish. This dish is prepared using a particular type of oven called the Imu or an underground oven. Furthermore, it is made with pork, rubbed with salt, wrapped in leaves- usually banana leaves, and slow-cooked in the oven for several hours.

Finally, you can find the result to be tender, juicy pig meat falling off the bone. This dish is often shredded and served with rice at Luaus or Hawaiian parties, and the term Kaulua essentially means cooking something underground. Furthermore, Kaula Pork is one of the most famous dishes as well as one of the most loved traditional dishes of Hawaii.

1.2.5. The Pineapple Island

What is Hawaii known for
Photo by Phoenix Han on Unsplash/ Copyright 2019

You must visit the Lanai Island of Hawaii if you love pineapples. Furthermore, this island is known as the pineapple island. It once accounted for 75% of the world’s pineapple production. 

In addition to culture and traditions, Hawaii is known for its clear waters, mesmerizing beaches, and spectacular volcanoes. Let us see more about them.

1.3. Hawaiian Beaches

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by Creatista from UnlimPhotos

Hawaiian beaches are the heart of Hawaii. You cannot leave this island without visiting them. This big island boasts over 100 beaches, each unique on its own. Furthermore, this tropical beauty owns some hidden beaches and you can access them only through boats or trails. The beach comprises clear and calm waters which are apt for swimming. It also has thrilling high tides where you can test your skills as a surfer. Hence, the beaches here satisfy everyone according to their preferences.

Moreover, when you are at a beach in Hawaii, you can have maximum fun. It will be hard to miss those beautiful waves. You can also witness the unique sea life here. Undoubtedly, it is an unforgettable experience. Let us glance at a few of the most visited beaches in Hawaii.

1.3.1. Waikiki Beach, Oahu

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by Cloudia from Unlimphotos

Waikiki Beach is located in Oahu, which is the capital city of Hawaii. It is also the island’s largest city. This beach is of magnificence and famous for its surfing culture. Furthermore, Waikiki Beach is so famous because you can find the renowned surfer Duke Kahanamoku teaching surfing on the beach.

You can also encounter the statue of the famous surfer located at the beach. Moreover, you can observe that this beach stretches along a long area divided into different sections. However, there will be no barriers and, hence you can easily walk across the stretch of the beach.

1.3.2. Waimea Bay Beach, Oahu

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by bill_perry from Unlimphotos

Do you wish to challenge the inner surfer in you? Your wish can come true here. Waimea Bay Beach is the perfect beach if you love surfing. This beach is located in Oahu. It is also a spectacular sight for the spectators to watch the experts surf the big waves here. Furthermore, during the winter, it hosts tides more than 30 ft in height.

If you prefer snorkeling or swimming, you can try them in summer, since the waves calm down considerably. You can also visit the famous volcano tuff cone, Diamond Head, found closer to this beach.

1.3.3. Poipu Beach

What is Hawaii known for?
Image by EllenSmile from UnlimPhotos

Poipu Beach is situated on Kauai Island in Hawaii and is one of the best beaches in America. It is a crescent beach with clear shallow waters and white sand that shimmers under the sun. Furthermore, the beach comprises a family-friendly environment. Your children and beginners can swim in these waters since it is the best place.

Moreover, the beach boasts friendly aquatic life, and you can spot Humpback whales far off in the bay. You can visit the beach sometime between December to May and witness some of the largest mammals in the bay.

1.3.4. Mauna Kea Beach

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by EricGBVD from Unlimphotos

Mauna Kea is one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. This is the ideal beach when you think of Hawaii. It boasts clear waters, the white sand shimmering under the sunshine, and picture-perfect waves. Furthermore, it is a family-friendly beach, and you can find tall palm trees to provide shade. You can always visit this beach to enjoy snorkeling during the serene summer months.

The lava rock creates the perfect coral reef north and south fronts of the bay. During the winter months, you should check the ocean currents first, as pounding shore breaks and powerful rip currents can make entering the ocean dangerous, and there are also no lifeguards on the beach. 

1.4. Hawaiian Volcanoes

Hawaii is home to five volcanoes. Of these, you can find three of them to be active. You will find it breathtaking to witness these volcanic eruptions from a distance.

1.4.1. Kilauea

Kilauea Volcano Eruption | A Perfect Planet | BBC Earth

Kilauea is the most active shield volcano on the island and the most active volcano in the world presently. It was last active for three weeks till December 2022. Furthermore, according to Hawaiian Legend, it is home to the Hawaiian goddess of fire, Pele. It started to erupt in 1983 and was consistent till 2018. Moreover, you can find no other volcano worldwide that has continuously erupted for 35 years.

1.4.2. Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea: summiting the world’s "tallest" mountain

Mauna Kea is the highest point on the island, with its base underwater. This active volcano is known to compete with Mount Everest, the second-highest peak in the world, with an estimated height of 4,207m above sea level. Furthermore, it is also named the White Mountain due to its seasonally snow-capped summit.

1.4.3. Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa, World’s Largest Volcano, Erupting In Hawaii

Mauna Loa is the largest subaerial volcano on the island and the second largest in the world, overrun by Tamu Massif. As per records, it first erupted in 1843. To date, it has erupted 34 times. Furthermore, in the Hawaiian language, the name means long mountain, and it remains true to its name with its broad rounded slopes.

1.4.4. Mount Waialeale

Mount Waialeale | Kauai | Hawaii | USA ,  shield volcano  with  substantial rainfall and waterfalls

Mount Waialeale is referred to be the wettest spot in the world. This 5000ft tall mountain is usually enshrouded in clouds and receives almost more than 500 inches of average rainfall annually. The name Waialeale means overflowing or rippling water. Furthermore, it is a dormant shield volcano. In the mountain basin, also known as the weeping wall, you can witness numerous ribbons of the waterfall flowing down the sloop.

You can experience a great hike to the weeping wall, although you may need the guidance of a native as there is no marked trail. Moreover, you can easily get lost. You should also be conscious of the risk of flash flooding. Furthermore, you can spot the mountain’s top from various places. You can visit these spots in the early mornings and relish the mountain’s top before the clouds form.

1.4.5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park | GoTraveler PASSPORT

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park consists of the summits of Kilauea. It is also the world’s most active shield volcano. It also comprises Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano in the world. Furthermore, in this park, you can learn the story about the Island formation, and at night you can watch the Goddess of Fire, Pele at work, and if you are lucky enough, you might also witness a small eruption.

1.5. Some Interesting Facts about Hawaii

1.5.1. Site of the Pearl Harbour Attack

The Attack on Pearl Harbor

When you think of Hawaii, what is the thing that comes to your mind apart from its beautiful beaches? Undoubtedly, it will be the Pearl Harbour Attack. In Pearl Harbor, the Japanese conducted an unannounced aerial attack on the US naval base. This Harbor is situated on Oahu Island of Hawaii. Furthermore, this attack announced the participation of the US in World War II.

The Japanese deployed a massive attack on the Pearl Harbour base, successfully destroying 188 U.S. aircraft, killing approximately 2,400 people, and damaging essential base installations. Moreover, this attack took the US by surprise, as there was no previous declaration, and as a result, the relationship worsened between the two countries for a decade.

1.5.2. Hawaiian Language

A brief history of Hawaiian language

Hawaii is the only state in the USA to have an official language of its own, apart from English. Though Hawaiian being their official language since 1978, you can see only 0.1% of the island’s population as native speakers. Presently, Hawaiian is spoken daily only in Niihau, a small island in Hawaii. Furthermore, Hawaiian was only an oral language initially. Later, after the arrival of Europeans, the missionaries transformed it into a written language.

The Hawaiian language is fairly simple. Furthermore, its alphabet comprises thirteen letters, eight consonants, and five vowels. Currently, there are approximately 1000 native speakers and 8,000 people that speak the language fluently. Slowly and steadily, you can find the language reviving with the establishment of public Hawaiian language immersion preschools and schools. According to UNESCO, Hawaiian is a critically jeopardized language. 

If you are visiting Hawaii anytime soon, you can use these simple greetings upon arriving; Aloha means Hello, and Mahalo means thank you. Ensure you use them when you reach there.

1.5.3. Home of the Monk Seal

The Big Island is home to the Monk Seal. This Hawaiian Monk Seal is among the world’s most threatened seal species. Furthermore, you can find these species only in Hawaii and nowhere else. You can spot the seals across the 1500-mile-long Hawaiian Archipelago. You can easily encounter it at Poipu Beach, Kauai. Stay alert, so that you can spot them in the warm, sub-tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, these seals are friendly unless they feel threatened.

1.5.4. Diamond Head 

Visit Honolulu's Iconic DIAMOND HEAD CRATER (OAHU | Hawaii)

Diamond Head is one of the most eminent tourist havens in Hawaii. It is a volcanic tuff cone located in Oahu, Hawaii. Furthermore, it is a broad, saucer-shaped crater formed 300,000 years earlier after a single fiery eruption.

It is now known for its stunning coastal sights, hiking pathways, and past military association. Currently, Diamond Head is the most popular state park.

1.5.5. Ukuleles- A Polynesian’s Gift to Hawaii

What is Hawaii known for?
Photo by Creatista from Unlimphotos

Ukulele is the most familiar Hawaiian instrument, and you can spot it in every musician’s hand in Hawaii near its beaches. It is a small type of guitar introduced to the Hawaiians by Portuguese settlers in 1879. Furthermore, it became popular quickly, and the credit goes to three men. Of these, one was Agustusu Dias. He became the then King’s favorite court musician.

The instrument was accepted rapidly in the Hawaiian culture due to the liking of King Kalakaua, whose whole family also knew how to play the instrument. Furthermore, the King included the Ukulele’s lilting tempo to the Hula. It became his preferred instrument.

Currently, Ukulele is the most famous Hawaiian Instrument, and thanks to the island for introducing it to the music industry. So be sure to spot a Ukulele performance when you visit Hawaii.

2. Conclusion

You can never witness a dull moment in Hawaii as there are several things to explore, namely Hula dancing, Hawaiian Music, and the list is endless. Furthermore, you can have an unforgettable experience on this island which is surrounded by nature and a welcoming and joyous culture.

Has your question What is Hawaii known for been answered? Then, wait for the next holiday to plan a trip to Hawaii and be welcomed by the scintillating waves.

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi