A Wonderful Hawaii Vacation
Over 7 million people visit Hawaii each year. Time is spent on the beaches, shopping, exploring the rain forests and everything this incredible destination has to offer.
Hawaii was formed by volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean and is made up of more than 100 islands. It's known for its more popular 8 islands, of which only 7 are inhabited.
Hawaii -- also known as the Big Island -- is the largest of the Hawaiian islands. The Big Island is 4,028 square miles and is the third most visited by tourists each year. When visiting the Big Island, you'll want to see the Maunaloa volcanoes, Kau desert, Puna Fern Forest, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kealakekua Bay.
Maui is 727 square miles, making it the second largest island. Maui is most notable for its mountain ranges and valleys, and is often called the Valley Isle. It is the second most popular tourist destination in the state. While visiting Maui, make time to see the Kaanapali and Wailea resort areas and Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano crater in the world.
Oahu is by far the most popular destination among tourists, attracting nearly twice as many visitors as Maui each year. It is the third largest Hawaiian island, with 597 square miles. It is also the most populated, and home to the capital, Honolulu. Must-sees during your stay include Waikiki and Pearl Harbor.
With 562 square miles, Kauai is the fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands, as well as the fourth most visited by tourists. Kauai's nickname is the "Garden Island" because of its tropical climate, waterfalls and lush vegetation. If you're planning a trip to Kauai, you'll want to visit Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Poipu Beach.
Molokai is the fifth largest Hawaiian island, and has 260 square miles. It is best known for agriculture and ranching, but is also notable for being home to the world's highest sea cliffs. Notable attractions to check out include the Molokai volcanoes in the east and west and the Hansen's Disease Settlement, a historic park.
Lanai was once nicknamed the "Pineapple Island" because at one point, nearly the entire island was a pineapple plantation. Lanai is now the fifth most visited island, and has 140 square miles. Most of the island remains undeveloped, though there are several resorts and golf courses.
During your trip you probably won't get to visit the 7th largest island, Niihau, as it is privately owned. Niihau has 69 square miles and is used for raising livestock.
The smallest of the eight major islands, Kahoolawe is a mere 45 square miles and is another island you are unlikely to encounter in your travels. Kahoolawe is uninhabited, and access is prohibited. It was once used as a target by the U.S. military, which is still cleaning up unexploded artillery shells.