Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located outside North America. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
The eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the “Big Island” or “Hawaiʻi Island” to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
Hawai‘i’s official nickame is “The Aloha State,” but has been called Paradise of the Pacific and The Islands of Aloha. Any visitor who has been to the Islands, as well as those who live here, truly believe it is a paradise filled with the Spirit of Aloha.
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