Hawaii is a state that’s famous for its beaches, volcanoes and mountains, but it also has a lot more to offer. While it’s often referred to as the “paradise of the Pacific,” it’s also home to many different cultures and traditions, each with their own distinct characteristics.

Aloha: The Spirit of Hawaii

Despite their differences, the Hawaiian islands share an unmistakable ethos that’s expressed in the phrase aloha. The word aloha is translated to mean “face” and “breath,” and it represents a sense of caring for those around you that’s a key part of Hawaiian culture.

You can experience aloha at any of the many Hawaiian hotels and resorts, or you can visit an authentic Hawaiian restaurant. The best way to experience this culture is to visit Hawaii for yourself.

The Islands Are Made of Volcanic Rock

Every island in Hawaii is formed by volcanic activity at an undersea source of magma. This process continues to occur and new islands form each year.

The oldest of the Hawaii islands is Kauai, which is estimated to be over 5 million years old. It is home to the iconic Kilauea volcano, which last erupted in 2018.

A Big Island Beach that’s Almost Black Sand

While there are several different kinds of beaches throughout Hawaii, including the world-famous Waikiki and Waimea bays, the Black Sand Beach on Hawaii’s Big Island is unique. It’s dotted with small, pitch-black pieces of lava that glisten in the sun. It’s a popular spot for snorkeling and is a great place to cool off when it’s hot in Hawaii.

A Great Hike for Everyone

When visiting the Big Island, make time to hike to Waipio Valley, which is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful destinations. The Waipio River divides the valley and offers dramatic views of Kohala Mountain. The region is home to a series of waterfalls, and the Waipio Valley Lookout is a great spot to explore.

Depending on which Hawaiian island you’re visiting, the weather is generally quite pleasant and mild. It averages 28 degC (82 F) most days and rarely drops below 26degC (79 F) during the day or 21degC (70 F) at night.

Avoid Swimming When It’s Murky or Afraid of Shark Attacks

Whether you’re going for a stroll on the beach or enjoying a picnic, it’s important to be safe while in the water. You can’t predict when or where a shark might be lurking, so it’s always wise to wear a swimsuit and to be cautious near any kind of water runoff.

A Hawaiian State with a Rich History

Hawaii was a territory of the United States until 1900, when it was granted self-governance. It remained independent until December 7, 1941, when Japan conducted a military air strike on Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II.

In the early 19th century, American Protestant missionaries tried to convert the people of Hawaii to Christianity. This lead to a series of religious conflicts, as some Hawaiians converted and others stayed true to their traditional beliefs.

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